Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities is proud of its rich history in humanities public programming in the islands of Hawaiʻi for nearly fifty years, which has been guided by our mission of enriching lives by connecting people through broadening perspectives and strengthening communities. We invite you to explore some of our past, present, and future public programming here and we hope to see you at our next public event.


Film for Thought 2023

As part of our ongoing collaboration with the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival, the four films in this year’s Film for Thought series, explore the polarization and violence in contemporary society, and ways to heal, connect, and transform. 

Click HERE to find out more about Film for Thought 2023 program.


Ke Kauā o Ka Lāhui: The Life of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole Pi‘ikoi

As part of Hawaiian History Month 2022, Ke Kauā o Ka Lāhui: The Life of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole Pi‘ikoi, a new play written by Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl and produced by Sammie Choy,  debuted at ‘Iolani Palace on September 4, 2022.

Kūhiō is a challenging and controversial leader, and his story is not deeply known. Our hope is that bringing some of his mo‘olelo to life will help us today in grappling with tough issues we face around leadership and civics in our personal lives and in our complex community.


Why It Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation

Why It Matters joins three intertwining strands of programming and media projects. Partnering with the King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center, the Civic Education Council, and Kāhuli Leo Leʻa, and others, we believe this three-strand lei of programming and media will empower and inspire more of us in our community to not only engage with the election and the legislature this year, but continue to act to care for, strengthen, and enrich our communities through longterm committed civic engagement.

We are committed to exploring courageous and controversial topics that matter to our communities, and creating spaces for true exchange and listening across our different viewpoints. In this way, we build genuine and robust political participation.

Find out more about our 2021 programming HERE.


Weaving Voices: Connecting Community Through Hawaiʻi Life Stories

Weaving Voices is a series of public events where, in partnership with the Center for Oral History at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, we explore communities in transition by weaving together voices from oral history recordings together with voices from today. In this powerful shared space, we listen, remember, laugh, cry, and carry forward lessons of resilience and ingenuity, connecting past, present, and futures.

In 2020, we had three Weaving Voices events. We visited and shared recollections from the past with Pālama Settlement, Hawaiʻi’s political leaders, and Kahoʻolawe. Each shared space reminded us of the richness and strength of our Hawaiʻi communities—even in hard times, perhaps especially, we have come together and created a tapestry that connects us all in intricate, difficult, and beautiful ways. Keep scrolling to find out more about Pālama Settlement, our political past, and the movement to protect Kahoʻolawe.

In 2021, the Weaving Voices series will be visiting virtual space with communities in Waialua and Kōloa and exploring the stories of women leaders in Hawaiʻi. To find out more about this series click HERE.


Out of State - Discussion Series

On February 26, 2020, Try Think partnered with Wai‘anae Public Library to do a community screening of the award-winning documentary OUT OF STATE, followed by an open and honest discussion about how transitioning out of incarceration affects individuals, families, and communities. We were honored to be with about 75 people that night, of all ages and walks of life, and felt moved by the stories shared and the compassionate listening.

What an amazing community!

This event is part of a series with Waiʻanae Public Library on the theme of Transitions.


State of Aloha

From the overthrow of Queen Liliʻuokalani and the annexation of Hawaiʻi to Statehood in 1959, the documentary,State of Aloha, highlights topics of the research that include a range of issues and historical events. Areas explored include immigration, the Massie case, WWII, the 442, and Japanese Internment, ILWU and the “threat” of Communist takeover, pursuit of parity, and the democratic revolution, in which a group at the bottom of the social/political/economic hierarchy rose to a prominent political/economic position through the electoral process, a rare step in international history.

The current dialogue and controversy about the legitimacy and future of Hawaiʻi’s state status are addressed, culminating to the Question—What is the next step for Hawaiʻi?


Breaking News: Telling Our Stories

In May 2019, we partnered with the Hawaiʻi Book and Music Festival at Honolulu Hale civic grounds to run a discussion and activity tent titled, BREAKING NEWS: TELLING OUR OWN STORIES(click the link to read a print copy of articles written for Telling Our Stories). Sessions explored questions about news media’s digital transformation, community tensions in Hawaiʻi, and how to become more critical media consumers and media makers. Speakers included experts from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Hawaiʻi News Now, Civil Beat, Honolulu Magazine, HIKI NŌ, Hawaiʻi Public Radio, Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking, the UH Mānoa Center for Oral History, and others. Pulitzer Prize winners William Finnegan and Gilbert King gave presentations on “getting the big story” within highly contested political issues, as well as the characterization of journalists as “enemies of the people” when dealing with tough racially charged topics; and gave free writing workshops following each lecture.

This program was part of “Democracy and the Informed Citizen,” a national initiative examining the critical role of journalism and the power of the humanities to enrich understanding of local and national issues and to inspire an engaged citizenry. We thank the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.