Program and Agenda

Keynote Address

Elizabeth Kapu’uwailani Lindsey, National Geographic Explorer

Bringing the Wisdom of the “Elders” Together with Modern Science for the Future of the Environment

Sunday, February 23, 2014

6:00-7:30pm, Ballroom ABC

Download the chants that will open the meeting (PDF).

Elizabeth Kapu’uwailani Lindsey is the first Polynesian explorer and female Fellow in the history of the National Geographic Society. She is an internationally recognized expert in the field of cultural intelligence – a wholistic system of knowledge and wisdom based on indigenous science.

Lindsey serves as an advisor to world leaders and global institutions, including such boards is the Tibet fund for his Holiness the Dalai Lama and the United Nations ambassadors Islands First.

In 2010 she received the Visionary Award from the United Nations for her contributions in intercultural engagement and understanding.

A humanitarian who created scholarships in India, the former Miss Hawaii is also an award-winning filmmaker who has received numerous honors, including the prestigious CINE Eagle Award.

Elizabeth continues to explore ways in which cultural intelligence addresses 21st century challenges. She has been interviewed on NPR, CBS, National Geographic, the L.A. Times and others, regarding her work.

Her keen insights and first-hand accounts from around the world have made her keynote addresses an inspiring call to action. A sought after speaker in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Pacific, her audiences have included: Oxford University, Harvard University, Stanford University, TED, the YPO/WPO, the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian.

Her work will provide a cultural record for future generations.

Lindsey's expeditions take her to some of the most remote regions of the world. She recently returned from a solo, three-month journey around the world where she documented fragile cultures, including the Moken who are sea nomads.

Lindsey who holds a doctorate specializing in ethnonavigation, credits her lifelong commitment to indigenous elders who have influenced her, most importantly Pius “Mau” Piailug, a navigator-priest from the Micronesian island of Satawal. Mau also was the teacher of navigators Nainoa Thompson, Shorty Bertlemann and others.

“As a child I was cared for by three old Hawaiian women while my parents worked,” says Elizabeth. These elders were revered in our community for their mastery in ancient traditions. They told me that I would travel far to keep the voices of the ancestors alive and that it would take the wisdom of these elders to return the world to balance.”