Ties between the Beehive State and the Pacific Islands are undeniable. In fact, Utah has the largest number of residents of Pacific Island descent per capita in the continental U.S. So, it’s no wonder that the U is home to a thriving Pacific Islands Studies program.
And it’s about to get even stronger thanks to a new $1 million grant from the Mellon Foundation, says Maile Arvin, the program’s director. That’s on top of a $600,000 grant the foundation awarded the U in 2018. “Many of our students say that our classes are the first time they ever learned about their own histories and cultures at school,” notes Arvin.
With the new funding, the U’s School for Cultural and Social Transformation plans to add a graduate certificate, create a Center for Pasifika and Indigenous Knowledges, and launch an International Network of Trans-Indigenous Scholars.