Council Member Profiles
Former Reserve Advisory Council member profile
Kem Lowry, PhD.
2003 – 2018
"The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve is one of the most important initiatives in large marine ecosystem management in the world. It is a privilege to be involved in this extraordinary experiment in marine resource management."
– Kem Lowry
Q: What do you see as the Reserve Advisory Council’s greatest achievement during the time you have been directly involved?
A: The council’s greatest achievement has been in contributing to the development of the institutional strengthening of monument management. Increasing knowledge, experience, and commitment among council members have made it possible to complement staff work in research, planning, management and monitoring. The council has often provided a strong external “voice” for conservation advocacy, establishing new monument boundaries, and representing the monument in local and national forums.
Q: As a member of the council, what is one of your most memorable experiences?
A: In my almost two decades as a Reserve Advisory Council member, nothing has been as memorable as being a junior associate to the team that has developed the Native Hawaiian Plan. Because it is of great importance to Hawaiian cosmology, the plan is designed to express cultural knowledge, traditions and spiritual significance of the monument, and to guide management activities. The deep knowledge, commitment, and creativity of team members and the love that infused their work made this an enriching experience for me.
Kem Lowry is an emeritus professor and former chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and former Director of the Program on Conflict Resolution at the University of Hawaiʻi. He was a Fellow at the Marine Policy Program at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He has more than 30 years of research, planning assistance, and training in ocean and coastal management programs and climate adaptation in Hawaiʻi as well as with government agencies, donor organizations, and universities in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. He was a Peace Corp Volunteer and staff member in Malaysia.
His early involvement with the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve began as a facilitator during the President Clinton administration, when he was asked to co-lead a series of statewide visioning sessions on the potential future of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Subsequent to this he also advised on the management plan for Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. He worked alongside staff to provide guidance on how best to improve our management plan evaluation process, overall planning process and site capacity-building needs. Before his retirement, he served as part of the council leadership and actively led several of the subcommittees. Since his retirement, he has been an active participant working with communities across Hawaii to facilitate their active engagement in how best to sustain their resources for future generations.