The Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education of Tokyo, Japan has pledged $1.25 million to fund The University of Hawai‘i at Manoa Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education. The Academy will be located in the College of Arts & Humanities and support research and education related to the preparation, support, and sustaining of educators, researchers and students who are developing intellectually safe communities of inquiry in their classrooms and schools. The Academy will serve students and teachers from Hawai‘i, the U.S., Japan, and other international locations.
“The creation of the Uehiro Academy will greatly enhance the work of P4C Hawai‘i,” said Dr. Thomas Jackson, executive director of the Philosophy for Children (P4C) program in the Department of Philosophy at UH Manoa. He continued, “It will expand to four the number of educators who will be working full time to extend the reach of P4C to more schools and teachers in Hawai’i and abroad who have shown great interest in this philosophical approach to educationaltransformation.”
Waikiki Elementary School and Kailua High School are the major P4C implementation sites on O‘ahu that serve as Model Schools. During the Dalai Lama’s April 2012 visit to Hawai‘i, the world witnessed how the students have embraced mindfulness and ethical questioning – elements that have been integrated into their classroom experience through P4C.
P4C Hawai‘i is based on the premise that philosophy comes naturally to children who continually wonder about the world, and that the process of philosophical inquiry holds valuable lessons for becoming good thinkers. Since bringing P4C to Hawai‘i in 1984, Dr. Jackson has linked UH Manoa resources with those of the Hawai‘i StateDepartment of Education to help create intellectually safe classroom environments where students learn to inquire together more deeply into topics and questions that arise out of their engagement with the subject matter athand.
“The students’ and teachers’ response to this program is quite remarkable, so much so that the principals of the two pilot schools have seen to it that some portion of P4C will touch everyone on their campuses,” said Thomas R. Bingham, interim dean, College of Arts and Humanities. He continued, “We are very grateful to the Uehiro Foundation and General Secretary Noboru Maruyama for their partnership in this project that has significant implications for teaching our children how to deal with the increasingly complex world.”
“In the past seven years our partnership with UH and P4C Hawai‘i has grown as we have observed the excellent work we have been able to accomplish between educators in Japan and Hawai‘i,” said Dr. Noboru Maruyama, executive secretary-general of the Uehiro Foundation. “Our Foundation appreciates the generous response of the University of Hawai‘i and the efforts of those who have made this possible. There is much work to be done. We look forward in future years to seeing the continued growth and fruits of our collective efforts.”
UH Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw added, “We are so deeply grateful to Dr. Noboru Maruyama and the Uehiro Foundation for their ongoing leadership and support for this highly impacting program. Our strong partnership involves many outstanding educators (principals, teachers, and faculty) who contribute their expertise and passion to this effort. The establishment of the Uehiro Academy at UH Manoa will enable more keiki, now and in the future, to learn about a principled approach to life. ” Hinshaw concluded, “We all believe that such knowledge will improve lives here in Hawai‘i and beyond.”
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