Council Leader Mark Mitsui, who currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges for the U.S. Department of Education, has been selected as the next president of Portland Community College (PCC) in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Mitsui has previously served as president of Washington state’s North Seattle College and was senior administrator and teacher at educational institutions across the Northwest. For more information and a Q&A with Mr. Mitsui, please see this announcement by PCC.
Council Leaders Carole Hayashino and Delphine Hirasuna have received the 2016 Japanese American of the Biennium Award, the highest public service award given by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). Ms. Hayashino was involved in the national legislative effort for redress and reparations for Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II. As President and Executive Director of the Japanese Culture Center of Hawaii, she worked to establish the Honouliuli Japanese American internment camp as a national monument—which came to fruition in February 2015.
Ms. Hirasuna, author of The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese Internment Camps, 1942-1946 and guest curator of the Art of Gaman exhibit, has allowed more than 120 artifacts from Japanese American concentration camps to receive mainstream recognition and has educated the public about the Japanese American internment experience.
On July 26, Council Leader Jose Keichi Fuentes received the 2016 Foreign Minister's Commendation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Consul General Ken Okaniwa of Miami presented the award to Mr. Fuentes for facilitating mutual understanding between Japan and the United States, especially by developing the sister cities relationship between Miami and Kagoshima. Mr. Fuentes has served as Chairman of the Miami Kagoshima Sister Cities Committee since 2002, and recently led his third delegation of Miami high school students, accompanied by Miami Mayor Thomas Regalado, to Kagoshima. For more information, see this article by the Miami Herald.