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

Well before our pandemic hit, the team at Hawai‘i International Film Festival suggested we return to our theme of CHANGEMAKERS for our collaborative 2020 Film for Thought program. Now, thrust into tumultuous change, we couldn’t be more grateful for the intensity these films dare to hold. Each of our five CHANGEMAKERS films this year show us a world that is exploding apart instead of coming together. And though this is feeling unbearable in real life, watching these films somehow helps. Each hold burning stories with strength and care. They help us feel less lonely when we ask: how can we move forward into a future we really want?

Films Featured in 2020:


Click HERE to find out more about these FFT selected films.



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.