Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that President Obama has appointed Mr. Iosefa F. Aina as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). This Commission is a component of Executive Order 13515 signed by President Obama to reestablish the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
According to Executive Order 13515, signed by President Obama on October 14, 2009, the purpose is to establish a White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and a President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The Initiative and the Commission are to improve the quality of life and opportunities for AAPI populations through participation and access to various federal programs. Also, each will work to advance data collection and analysis for AAPI populations in order to help address the specific challenges affecting the communities.
The Commission of 17 members representing the AAPI communities and populations throughout the United States and in the Territories was sworn in during a Reception and Swearing-in Ceremony in the U.S. Capitol last night. The President appointed Daphne Kwok as Chair of the Commission. Members of the Commission include Iosefa Aina, Debra Cabrera, Kamuela Enos, Frances Eneski Francis, Farooq Kathwart, Hyeok Kim, Ramey Ko, Rozita Villanueva Lee, Sunil Puri, Amardeep Singh, Unmi Song, Dilawar Syed, Khampha Thephavong, Doua Thor, Hector Vargas, and Hines Ward.
Mr. Iosefa Aina is currently the Director of the Asian American Resource Center and the Associate Dean of Students at Pomona College in Claremont, California. He has been actively involved with our Pacific Islander community in California through his work as a founding member of the Pacific Islander Education and Retention, National Pacific Islander Educations Network, and Empowering Pacific Islander Communities.
Iosefa, or “Sefa” as he is popularly known by his peers and friends, is a graduate of the University of California-Los Angeles with a Bachelors of Arts in History, and is currently working on his Masters in Higher Education at Claremont Graduate University. He is from the village of Aoa and is the son of Mr. Savea Aina of Fitiuta, Manu’a and the late Lutena Pulu Faiivae from Aoa.
“I want to personally congratulate Iosefa Aina on his appointment to the President’s Advisory Commission,” Faleomavaega said. “I am especially pleased to have nominated Sefa to the White House for consideration in this prestigious Commission and as I reminded him after the swearing in ceremony, his input will be critical in improving the welfare of all our Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans throughout the nation. Given that there are more than 16 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and still growing, the White House Initiative and the work of the Commission will ensure that the quality of life and opportunities for the AAPI’s will be increased.”
“Sefa’s Polynesian background and experience through his grassroots work will bring insight to the work of the Commission. As Vice-Chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and Member of Congress from American Samoa, I look forward to working closely with the President’s Advisory Commission. I am proud of Sefa’s success and I wish him the very best as he begins this endeavor,” Faleomavaega concluded.