The non-profit dedicated to revitalizing the Hawaiian language has named Ka‘iulani Laehā as its new Chief Executive Officer.
Started as a grassroots effort, the ‘Aha Pūnana Leo (‘APL) has become a national and international model for indigenous language revitalization. The organization devoted its first 35 years to reestablishing a 100 percent immersive Hawaiian language medium education system and is now setting its sights on expanded platforms to further normalize ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i. Building on the solid foundation of Pūnana Leo Preschools, ‘Aha Pūnana Leo is increasing its leadership capacity to execute strategies for creating new, innovative environments for ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i to grow and thrive.
“He nūhou holomua kū i ka ‘oli‘oli kēia no kākou, ka ‘ohana kāko‘o i ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i!” i ‘ōlelo mai ai ‘o Kauanoe Kamanā, ka Pelekikena o ka ‘APL. “Ka‘iulani’s deep understanding of the value and continued relevance of the Hawaiian language today coupled with her background and experience make her a perfect fit as our new CEO. We are confident she will provide the perspective of a new generation and the leadership we need to evolve and explore new opportunities furthering our vision of E Ola Ka ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i.”
Prior to joining ‘Aha Pūnana Leo, Ka‘iulani served as the development manager for Kupu, promoting public awareness and engaging donors for the non-profit that educates and mentors Hawai‘i’s youth to become good stewards of our culture and environment. Ka‘iulani’s new role is consistent with her previous service in the non-profit sector, attracting resources and raising community appreciation for some of Hawai‘i’s distinguished organizations.
“He pōmaika‘i maoli nō ka hiki ke komo pū ma kēia hana ko‘iko‘i ‘o ka ho‘ōla ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i,” i hō‘oia mai ai ‘o Ka‘iulani. “I have a deep aloha for the legacy of our Hawaiian language movement and the vital role ‘Aha Pūnana Leo and its educational programs have played for the past 35 years. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this organization that is shifting mindsets and attitudes about ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i’s place in our home, making it normal again to use and hear ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i all around us.”
‘Aha Pūnana Leo has led the ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i revitalization and re-normalization movement for 35 years and is well-poised to take on the challenges and opportunities of coming decades. For more information about ‘Aha Pūnana Leo and their critical work for the Hawaiian language movement please visit ahapunanaleo.org.