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The 4th Annual Hawaiʻi Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conference
Elizabeth McDonnell

We are excited to share about a leadership opportunity that four of our Upper School students have been involved in this school year. Juniors Janice Cheng, Angela Yu and Elena Hollenbeak, and senior Meena Kutty, with advisors Mrs. Mara Garcia and Mrs. Alden Watts formed the St. Andrew's Schools Shanti Alliance Cohort.

The Shanti Alliance is a Stevens World Peace Foundation Program, launched in Fall 2020, to equip both students and educators with the knowledge and skills necessary to be effective diversity, equity, and inclusion practitioners. Learning from expert practitioners and each other, students develop school action projects to improve their school communities with students & faculty developing and broadening their skills to facilitate conversations surrounding topics related to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. 

For the 2021-2022 school year, SAS joined the Shanti Alliance Laulima Corhort made up of local as well as international schools. Involvement throughout the school year has consisted of weekend seminars hosted by leaders in the field of DEI education and weekly planning meetings, culminating in the opportunity to present at the annual Shanti Alliance Hawaiʻi Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conference. 

The DEI Conference was an opportunity for high school students and educators to design, lead, learn, and share their hopes, questions, and insights for a more connected and aware world. The theme of this year's conference was “Interrupting Injustice to Create a More Peaceful World.” Participants had the opportunity to learn from their peers, make connections, and walk away with ideas and the skills to create a more just and equitable school community.

The conference featured facilitated conversations and presentations by Shanti Alliance Aloha and Laulima Cohort students, as well as a keynote from Ms. Rosetta Lee, renowned speaker and trainer, and teacher professional development workshops facilitated by Jason Craige Harris and Jacqueline Nelson of Pollyanna, Inc.

Our SAS Priory cohort presented on the theme, “Inclusivity in Single Gender Schools in 2022.” Their presentation was an examination of gender and offered questions to the audience as to what active inclusion looks like in their schools. The SAS cohort was joined by more than 100 students and educators from 21 private and charter schools from Hawaiʻi, the continental U.S., and Hong Kong.

Mahalo nui loa to the Stevens World Peace Foundation for their tremendous generosity in sponsoring this conference so that all participants could attend free of charge.