Nainoa Thompson, President of the Polynesian Voyaging Society
Nainoa Thompson is the president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and a master in the traditional Polynesian art of non-instrument navigation. Through his voyaging, he has opened a global, multi-generational dialogue on the importance of sustaining ocean resources and maritime heritage. Thompson is the first person in 600 years to practice Polynesian wayfinding: long-distance open-ocean voyaging on a traditional double-hulled canoe without the aid of modern instruments. Nainoa has dedicated his life to exploring the ocean, maintaining the health of the planet and ensuring that the ancient marine heritage and culture of Polynesia remain vibrant into the future.
President Hilda C. Heine, Ed. D
Republic of the Marshall Islands
"Sustaining the Aina"
President Hilda C. Heine was one of three women elected to the Nitijela following the November 2015 general elections representing Aur Atoll for four years. She previously served as the Minister of Education. Prior to entering politics, President Heine was the Program Director of Pacific Comprehensive Assistance Center at the Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) in Majuro from 2006 to 2011 and Director of Policy and Capacity Building and Scholar of FAS Education for PREL in Honolulu from 1995 to 2006. Before relocating to Hawai'i, she served the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands starting as a classroom teacher, school counselor, school administrator, and college President before being named as Secretary of Education. She was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the College of the Marshall Islands. President Heine was born on Jaluit Atoll in 1951 where she grew up and attended school until moving to Majuro to pursue her secondary level education at the Marshall Islands High School. President Heine earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon in 1970, a master's degree at the University of Hawaii in 1975, and an Educational Doctorate at the University of Southern California in 2004. President Heine has co-authored multiple publications and reports and reads historical and contemporary writings with special emphasis on education and social administrations in small islands developing states.
Ben Hartman, Clay Bottom Farm and Author of "The Lean Farm"
"The Lean Farm"
Ben Hartman grew up on a corn and soybean farm in Indiana and graduated college with degrees in English and philosophy. Ben and his wife, Rachel Hershberger, own and operate Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana, where they make their living growing and selling specialty crops on less than one acre. Their food is sold locally to restaurants and cafeterias, at a farmers market, and through a community-supported- agriculture (CSA) program. The farm has twice won Edible Michiana’s Reader’s Choice award. The Lean Farm, Ben’s first book, won the Shingo Institute’s prestigious Research and Professional Publication Award. In 2017, Ben was named one of fifty emerging green leaders in the United States by Grist.