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Punahou's newest initiative welcomes outside students in to discuss civic literacy

Punahou school initiative.jpg
Kathleen Connelly
Punahou Schools
A Punahou Schools student speaks to Mark and Janie Davis, who are funding the Davis Democracy Initiative for civic literacy.

Punahou School has launched a new multi-campus initiative to teach K-12 students about civic literacy.

The Davis Democracy Initiative will host public lectures, faculty seminars and internships. The Initiative’s core themes include discussions on civil rights, media bias and community engagement.

Mark and Janie Davis have donated $2.5 million to the program in an effort to get students involved with current events outside of social media.

Punahou Schools.jpg
Kathleen Connelly
Punahou Schools
From left to right: Sen. Brian Schatz, Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, Janie Davis, Mark Davis, Gov. Josh Green, Punahou President Mike Latham

"It is never too early to teach the principles of fairness, respecting opposing opinions, and that civil discourse still has a place in our society," said Mark Davis, a notable Honolulu attorney.

"I have had the good fortune of understanding civility and engagement from my career of almost 50 years in the courtroom, where we see daily the vigorous advocacy of opposing ideas often leads to facts," he said.

A ceremony to launch the initiative was held Wednesday afternoon and included notable guests such as Gov. Josh Green, Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke, Sen. Brian Schatz, and Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi.

“The Davis Democracy Initiative will explore issues vital to the success of American democracy and help to prepare generations of young people from Hawai‘i to make essential contributions as citizens of their communities," said Punahou president Mike Latham.

The Davis Democracy Initiative will be open to Punahou and non-Punahou students beginning this spring. The program plans to bring in speakers on local issues such as environmental stability, immigration policy and more.

More information can be found at Punahou School's website.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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