May 18th, 2017  | Featuring: Secretary Elaine L. Chao and Reed Hastings

“Inspiring a Sense of Service and Idealism,” will be led by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, former director of the Peace Corps, and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, a former Peace Corps volunteer, who reflected on their experiences and discuss the need for a spirit of service and idealism. Ann Compton, former ABC News White House correspondent, moderated the event.

The event on May 18 was held at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and live streamed locally at 12:30 p.m. at two locations: the William Richardson School of Law, at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center (600 ‘Imiloa Place) at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.

This third lecture, in a five-year series, focused on the evolution of the Peace Corps and how its ideals are still relevant today. In recognition of President John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday, the lecture was planned in collaboration with the Kennedy Center and the Peace Corps to focus on the values of service to the country and cause of peace, values which were held dear by both Inouye and Kennedy.

Featured Speaker

Secretary Elaine L. Chao

U.S. Secretary of Transportation

Secretary Elaine L. Chao is the 18th U.S. Secretary of Transportation.  An immigrant who arrived in America at the age of eight speaking no English, Secretary Chao has devoted her professional career to ensuring that others can access opportunity and build better lives for their families.

Secretary Chao served as the 24th U. S. Secretary of Labor from 2001-2009, the first Asian-American woman to be appointed to a President’s Cabinet in American history. Prior to that, her distinguished career in the public, private and non-profit sectors includes serving as President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of America, Director of the Peace Corps, Deputy Secretary of Transportation, Maritime Administrator, and Deputy Maritime Administrator.  She began her public career working in the White House Office of Policy Development, after serving in the private sector as a transportation banker for two major banks.

Secretary Chao earned her MBA from the Harvard Business School and an economics degree from Mount Holyoke College.  She is a resident of Jefferson County, Kentucky.

Featured Speaker

Reed Hastings

Netflix CEO

Reed Hastings co-founded Netflix in 1997. In 1991, Reed founded Pure Software, which made tools for software developers. After a 1995 IPO, and several acquisitions, Pure was acquired by Rational Software in 1997.

Reed is an active educational philanthropist and served on the California State Board of Education from 2000 to 2004. He is currently on the board of several educational organizations including CCSA, DreamBox Learning, KIPP, Pahara, and the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley. Reed is also a board member of Facebook, and was on the board of Microsoft from 2007 to 2012. Reed received a BA from Bowdoin College in 1983, and an MSCS in Artificial Intelligence from Stanford University in 1988. Between Bowdoin and Stanford, Reed served in the Peace Corps as a high school math teacher in Swaziland. Reed is married with two children.


Ann Compton

ABC News

Ann Compton joined ABC News in 1973. Only weeks after the Watergate scandal came to an end in 1974, she became the first woman assigned to cover the White House on a full-time basis by a network television news organization, and she was one of the youngest to receive the assignment. From 2007-2008, Compton served as the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, coordinating coverage and access issues with the White House staff. On September 11, 2001, Compton was the only broadcast reporter allowed to remain aboard Air Force One during the dramatic hours when President Bush was unable to return to Washington. Reporting for all ABC News broadcasts, Compton has traveled around the globe and through all 50 states with presidents, vice presidents and first ladies. Twice during campaigns, she was invited to serve as a panelist for presidential debates (1988 and 1992), and she was assigned as a floor reporter at the 1976 Republican and Democratic National Conventions. In 2000, Compton became Chief Washington correspondent for, where she wrote and anchored a digital political column, “On Background.”

Engaging Students in Our Lecture Series

Since the very first lecture, student generated questions posed to panelists have been a part of the Daniel K. Inouye Distinguished Lecture Series in an effort to reinforce a key tenant of the Institute to mentor and engage the next generation of leaders.

This year, students from the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Richardson School of Law and College of Social Sciences, and the University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Hawaiian Language, were asked to produce video segments with questions for panel members.  In addition to the students, currently deployed Peace Corps members stationed in Guatemala, Tonga, Fiji and Belize also provided taped video segments to the Library of Congress.

While not all questions could be used during the limited time we had for the lecture, the questions presented by the students were both insightful and thought provoking, and could be a compliment to the use of the video for teaching purposes.

Peace Corps

For more information on the Peace Corps, visit and to connect with Peace Corps alumni, advocacy organizations and communities in your state, visit the National Peace Corps Association website at