Rev. M. Kalani Souza
Kalani is a gifted storyteller, singer, songwriter, musician, performer, poet, philosopher, priest, political satirist, and peacemaker. A Hawaiian practitioner and cross-cultural facilitator, he has experience in promoting social justice through conflict resolution. His workshops and lectures inspire, challenge and entertain the listener while calling all to be their greater selves.
His native roots allow him a unique perspective of the collision of two worlds: one steeped in traditional culture and the other a juggernaut of new morality and changing economic and political persuasion. He is a messenger of integration and collaboration in a world normally rife with exclusion, oppression and hopelessness. His work in behavior modification research, leadership, teambuilding and political strategy gives him generous insights into group dynamics and systems of governance.
Kalani is the Founding and current Director of the Olohana Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit based on Hawaii’s Big Island since 2008. Olohana focuses on building community capacity, cohesiveness, resilience, and emergency preparedness around food, energy, water, and knowledge systems.
Kalani is also a Coastal Community Resilience Trainer with FEMA Consortium member, the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center at the University of Hawaii, in Honolulu, Hawaii. He serves as a cultural competency consultant for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Services Center of the U.S. Department of Commerce and is regularly called to lead and participate in workshops and webinars on topics including disaster preparedness, community, relationships, knowledge systems sharing, indigenous environmental stewardship, and climate change adaptation. He also serves as a mentor with the Hawaii non-killing effort out of the Spark Matsunaga Center for Peace and as a board member for the Ala Kahakai Trail Association, part of the National Park Services Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail.
Previously, Kalani taught Conflict Resolution at University of Hawaii at Manoa in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. He served as the chairman of the Indigenous Knowledge & Education (IKE) Hui of the Pacific Risk Management Ohana (PRiMO), a collection of federal, state, county and non-governmental agencies that work primarily to mitigate and respond to disasters in the greater Pacific region; and recently consulted with the Presidents Ocean Policy Task Force around the indigenous knowledge and science integration perspective in Washington D.C.
Kalani was on the Committee for Intense Public Conflict of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), a body of 6,000 international professional peacemakers; and served as one of two Hawaiians in the Native Network, a group of 450 peacemakers on the Department of the Interior (DOI) out of the Morris Udall Center for Peace in Tucson, Arizona.
Kalani engaged in a musical and media project, the Big Blue O, that produced an album in 2011. The project is also working on a film highlighting issues of community and cultural capacity through the lens of our relationships to one another and to water.