Wo International Center
Wo International Center serves as a beacon for educational practices, discussions and international learning through a global perspective. The Center has become a conduit for connection and communication among schools locally and internationally.
The Center provides challenging opportunities and innovative experiences for students and educators. Programs include intensive language instruction, study abroad and summer programs for foreign students, lectures and seminars and professional development programs.
Many of the Center's programs serve as an outreach to the international community by supporting and initiating programs that promote an appreciation of cultural diversity and global responsibility for students both from Punahou and the larger community.
The center houses four classrooms, a telecommunication room, the 150-seat Luke Lecture Hall and conference spaces, as well as office space for Wo International Center program administration and a portion of the Advancement Department.
Language and Culture
Language and cultural studies, at beginning and continuing levels, as well as Hawaiian, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese immersion.
School Year Abroad
Junior or senior year or semester immersive study abroad.
School Year Abroad at Punahou
Year Abroad at Punahou for international students entering their 11th year of schooling.
Student Global Leadership Institute
Two-week summit with international partner schools, followed by senior year projects and online collaboration.
Summer Study Trips
Hawai‘i high school students in grades 9 – 11 Immersive several-week trips abroad (varying destinations and educational themes).
Community Partnerships Workshops
A collaboration between Punahou School and Catlin Gabel School to support educators looking for innovative ways to connect their classrooms to the community. Available to all educators.
Global Education Teacher Strand
One week of learning, exploring and designing globally focused curriculum with a cohort of educators. Available to all educators.
Teacher Study Trips
Opportunity to collaborate on the development of international curriculum. Available to Punahou faculty.
Beginning in the 1960s, Punahou was home to an outreach organization known as the Foundation for Study in Hawaii and Abroad (FSHA). Led by long-time foreign language and curriculum expert Siegfried Ramler, FSHA brought foreign students to campus each summer to learn English, and sent Hawaii youngsters into the Pacific to learn French, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese.
With a generous gift from Jim ’43 and Bob ’41 Wo funding construction of a dedicated facility in 1993, FSHA agreed to disband and come under the umbrella of the Wo International Center.
The 150-seat Luke Lecture Hall, honors a major gift by K. J. Luke and his family.
Jim ’43 and Bob ’41 Wo
Jim ’43 and Bob ’41 Wo are a team in many aspects of their lives. After working together to take over and transform the family business C. S. Wo and Sons, they continued their partnership in commitment to community organizations.
In addition to the Wo family's generosity, Jim also gave of himself as a Punahou Trustee from 1970 until 2001, serving in a number of leadership capacities.
The brothers’ exposure to worldwide business led them to support global studies opportunities for students throughout Hawaii.
Endowed Funds and Scholarships
- The Luke Center for Chinese Studies
- The Akio and Yoshiko Morita Endowment for International Studies
- The Freeman Foundation
- The Edward E. Ford Foundation and the Education Research Initiative
The Luke Center for Chinese Studies was established in 1993 by K.J. Luke and family to support innovative programs between Punahou School and China.
Thanks in part to funding by the Luke Center for Chinese Studies, and supported by the Wo International Center, the study of China, its history, civilization, values and language are integrated throughout the school's K-12 curriculum and outreach programs for students, faculty and the community.
Punahou School boasts one of the largest Chinese language programs in the country, and has been supporting immersion experiences in China since 1982.
For students, the Center supports curricular focus on China's culture, language and way of life, beginning in first grade and expanding in later grades, across various disciplines. It also supports immersion experiences through summer and yearlong opportunities in various parts of China, with a focus on study and work in community service projects.
To enhance faculty understanding of China, the Center supports travel groups to China visiting schools and engaging in professional dialogue with local teachers, to collect resources for the classroom and establish contacts for collaborative telecommunication projects. Post-trip grants are also available for teachers to integrate their learning into the curriculum.
The Center supports presentations by distinguished Chinese speakers, artistic performances and cultural displays, which are open to the community.
Projects in China supported by the Center include teaching English in Baojing (a rural village of ethnic minorities in Hunan) and ongoing projects with the Soong Ching Ling Foundation and the Beijing Normal University school system.
The endowment, with its overall themes of technology and international study, supports creative ideas from inspired faculty and other school leaders:
- Changing technology needs of language study and global communication
- International cultural resource programs including music, art, drama, folklore
- "Morita Scholars" program for student exchange program development or scholarships
- "Morita Fellows" program for faculty development or exchange programs
Dr. Rosita Leong
Mary Lou Lewis
Jan Luke Loo
Warren K.K. Luke
Hideo Morita (in Japan)
Chai Reddy (Director)
Mike Latham (President)
Robert W. Wo (Bub)
John Field, Jr.
Dr. Emily McCarren
Dr. Paris Priore-Kim