Partners in Development Foundation is saddened by the death of Dr. Joakim “Jojo” Peter, a founding member of We Are Oceania (WAO) and a vibrant leader in Hawaii’s Micronesian community.
A native of Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Jojo lived and studied here in Hawaiʻi for five years in the 1990s. He earned two Master’s degrees, one in Pacific Island Studies and one in History. Jojo published several articles through the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
After completing his Master’s degrees, Jojo returned home to Micronesia and worked at the College of Micronesia- FSM for 15 years. He served as Cultural and Education Specialist and was Director of the Chuuk campus.
Jojo returned to Hawaiʻi in 2011 to pursue higher studies, and earned his doctorate at U.H. Mānoa in Special Education with a focus on special needs children of immigrant families. From 2013 to 2017 he served as Outreach Liaison with the Legal Aid Society of Hawaiʻi, supporting Honolulu’s Micronesian diaspora communities and other homeless populations.
In 2017, Jojo became Hawaiʻi’s first Micronesian Commissioner, being appointed by Governor David Ige to serve on the Hawaiʻi State Civil Rights Commission. He also served as a Senior Specialist for Community Engagement and Educational Equity with Pacific Resources in Education and Learning (PREL).
Along with other community advocates, Jojo co-founded the COFA Community and Advocacy Network (COFA-CAN), which raises awareness of and provides support for crucial legislative initiatives that affect the lives of the Freely- Associated States’ (FAS) citizens living in Hawaiʻi and the rest of the United States.
A champion of civil rights, Jojo was extremely involved in promoting the rights and opportunities of disabled individuals in FSM. He was an advocate for the Chuuk Disabled Persons Organization, and was worked with the national government to help ratify a United Nations Convention to protect the rights of disabled persons.
We celebrate Dr. Jojo Peter’s life and community impact, and join together to mourn his passing. Arrangements will be announced by We Are Oceania this week. May he rest in peace.