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Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Kelii Akina Named President of Grassroot Institute
By News Release @ 1:34 PM :: 6615 Views :: Akaka Bill, Hawaii State Government

Keli`i Akina, Ph.D. Named President/CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawai`i

News Release from Grassroot Institute March 20. 2013

Dr. Keli`i Akina has been named President/CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawai`i, succeeding Chairman and Founder Richard Rowland. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, the free market, and limited, accountable government throughout Hawai`i and the Asia-Pacific region.

 Dr Keli`i Akina

Dr. Akina is a recognized scholar, educator, public policy spokesperson, and community leader. In 2012, he was a candidate for the non-partisan position of Trustee in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Akina has decades-long experience leading non-profit organizations including Youth for Christ Hawai`i and the Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders. An expert in East-West Philosophy, he has taught at universities in China and the United States, and continues as an adjunct instructor at Hawai`i Pacific University and the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa.

The public is invited to “Pa`ina in the Country,” a celebration of Dr. Akina’s appointment as Grassroot Institute’s new president on April 6, 2013 from 12 PM to 2 PM at 45-114 Waikapoki Road Kane`ohe, Hawai`i 96744 (Kane`ohe Congregational Church grounds). (MAP) (Register for event) In addition to local entertainment and a barbeque lunch, Dr. Akina will share his vision of bringing all people together for a better Hawai`i. According to Grassroot Institute Founder and Chairman Richard Rowland, “Akina’s leadership and success as a community leader makes him a natural choice for our organization. I know he will move Hawai`i towards improved economic prosperity and government policies that allow individual achievement and success.”

Dr. Akina states: “While building upon Grassroot Institute's reputation for quality research, I look forward to working with all in Hawai`i who want to create a better economy, government and society. Working together, which is the value of E Hana Kākou, we can promote the cause of freedom and democracy throughout the Aloha State, our nation, and the world. I am grateful to Chairman Richard Rowland, the Board of Directors and the supporters of Grassroot Institute for the opportunity to take part in their legacy of service to the people of Hawai`i.”

Business, government and community leaders of diverse political persuasions have expressed support of Akina and his vision.

Representative K. Mark Takai (D-Aiea) says “Keli`i is more than just a great husband, father, professor, and community leader. I have known him since my college days as a dear friend and mentor. I am grateful for the impact he has had on my life and the community. Keli`i stands for a positive vision for all people of Hawai`i. As President of Grassroot Institute of Hawai’i, Keli`i will help make Hawai`i a better place.”

Former Congressman Charles Djou (R-HI) adds “Our problems are bigger than one party and it takes working together to accomplish a successful vision for Hawai`i. Keli`i Akina has the breadth of vision and ability to unite and bring people together around real solutions for our state.”

As he assumes leadership of GRIH, Dr. Akina brings a team of seasoned professionals including Tim Lussier as Executive Director. Lussier’s background includes management, public relations and extensive experience with local and national political campaigns.



WILLIAM KELI’I AKINA, PH.D. is a recognized scholar, educator, public policy spokesperson, and community leader. As President/CEO of Grassroot Institute Hawai`i, it is his mission to build upon Grassroot Institute’s reputation as a respected public policy think tank and develop it into a society-transforming champion of freedom in Hawai`i and the Asia-Pacific region. Dr. Akina’s professional background combines academic scholarship and successful non-profit management and fundraising with international teaching, consulting and leadership development. A political philosopher with degrees in both Eastern and Western philosophy (from Northwestern University and the University of Hawai`i), Dr. Akina has published in leading peer-reviewed academic journals.

Dr. Akina has long pursued the vision of influencing society with the principles of individual liberty, free markets and limited, accountable government. Since retiring in 2011 as president emeritus of Youth for Christ Hawaii and the Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders, Akina has taught in universities in Asia and Hawai`i and has led a team of consulting academics in Beijing (East-West Leadership Ethics, LLC) focused on developing solutions in the areas of human rights, liberty and business ethics. He has also become active as a spokesperson for issues that affect freedom and the quality of life in Hawai`i. Dr. Akina teaches as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Hawai`i, the state’s largest public university, and Hawai’i Pacific University, the state’s largest private university. He has also been a visiting scholar at Peking University in Beijing.

As a part-Native Hawaiian, a Kamehameha schools alumnus and a practitioner of Hawaiian cultural arts (mentored and trained as a chanter by the late Winona Beamer), Dr. Akina represents the inclusiveness and commitment of Grassroot Institute to all people of Hawai`i. In 2012, Dr. Akina garnered 37,800 votes in his statewide bid for public office as a Trustee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Contact Dr. Akina at (808)591-9193 or and be sure to visit:

For more information call Grassroot Executive Director Tim Lussier at (808) 591.9193 or email


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