In May 2018, Hawaiʻi SEED hosted a community conversation in Honolulu with UC Berkeley’s Dr. Ignacio Chapela, PhD Candidate, cultural practitioner and scientist Kelsea Kahonokuahiwi Hosoda and Malia Nobrega-Olivera, the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge Director of Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement. Dr. Chapela shared his insight on several issues including sovereignty over genetic resources, unregulated Extreme Genetic Engineering proposals, and his involvement in the debate on the economic and social consequences of biodiversity loss. Together and with the audience they discussed the challenges new genetic engineering proposals pose to the Islands’ biodiversity and Hawaiian cultural practices and sovereignty. Dr. Ignacio Chapela is associate professor of microbial ecology at the University of California at Berkeley and senior scientist at the Norwegian Center for Biosafety. Since 1996, he has advised national governments and multilateral institutions on policy-making on genetic engineering and sovereignty over genetic resources. He assists indigenous organizations and NGOs in Latin America and elsewhere to meet challenges related to genetic engineering. He has held various research posts in the UK, Switzerland, Norway, and the United States. In addition to his work on microbial ecology he has also engaged in research on the access, ownership and stewardship of genetic resources. Dr. Chapela also served on the US National Academy of Sciences’ Special Committee on the Environmental Impacts of Transgenic Crops. Malia Nobrega-Olivera is from Hanapēpē Valley, Kona, Kauaʻi. She is currently the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge Director of Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement and also the Director of a program called Loli Aniau, Makaala Aniau (LAMA) (Climate Change, Climate Alert). Malia is a Native Hawaiian educator, kumu hula, salt maker, cultural practitioner, film maker, community organizer, and advocate of indigenous rights at all levels-locally, regionally, and internationally. Her experiences demonstrate her commitment to her people, language, and culture and to indigenous peoples worldwide. Ms. Nobrega-Olivera’s advocacy work has taken her to various international meetings such as the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Kelsea Kanohokuahiwi Hosoda, M.S. is a PhD Student at UH-Mānoa Communication & Information Sciences Kelsea is a cultural practitioner, scientist, and educator. She obtained her Masters in Molecular Biosciences & Biological Engineering. Currently her doctoral research focus is at the intersect of Hawaiian Language and Computer Science. She is committed to advancing the people of Hawaii via education in both the Native Hawaiian culture and 21st century science skills.
If you enjoyed this article please consider sharing it!