Each year, the Punahou Alumni Association recognizes individuals who are dedicated to improving the lives of others through service and contribution to the communities of Punahou, Hawai‘i and beyond. Their achievements are an inspiration to the Punahou community.
Samuel Chapman Armstrong Humanitarian Award
This award is given to Punahou alumni who have made outstanding contributions in the fields of public service, humanitarian or charitable efforts, arts, letters or sciences, to society, garnering national or international recognition.
Pamela K. Hamamoto ’78 was nominated in 2014 by former President Barack Obama ’79 as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. There, she helped find solutions to complex global issues around human rights abuses, global health emergencies, climate change, environmental protection and internet governance. But most rewarding to her was the work she did in the humanitarian field.
Hamamoto created an initiative focused on gender-based violence, healthcare for adolescent girls, economic empowerment and leadership. She led aid agencies in protecting and assisting refugees and migrants. The work brought her to refugee camps and makeshift dirt-floored classrooms. It brought her face to face with migrant families who were risking their lives to flee dangerous circumstances in pursuit of safety and security and shoulder to shoulder with dedicated aid workers.
“I am so grateful that I am part of this amazing Punahou community. A place where we all are committed to instilling these same core values in our children and encouraging them to think beyond themselves and to engage as active and compassionate global citizens as they go off and pursue their dreams,” Hamamoto told an audience gathered to honor the PAA awardees.
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