Marshallese Educational Initiative

Points of Contact:

  • April Brown, Ph.D.; Co-founder and President; albrown@mei.ngo
  • Benetick Kabua Maddison; Project Specialist: Youth, Nuclear Issues, Climate Ambassador; benetick@mei.ngo
  • Carlnis Jerry, MEI Director, carlnis@mei.ngo

Phone: 479-365-7019

Website: https://www.mei.ngo

Location: Springdale, Arkansas

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The Marshallese Educational Initiative (MEI) is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization founded in 2013, and located in Springdale, Arkansas, where the highest concentration of Marshallese in the continental United States reside. Through educational programming, MEI promotes the cultural, intellectual, and historical awareness of the Marshallese people and facilitates intercultural dialogue to foster positive social change. In addition to education and advocacy work on the nuclear legacy of the Marshall Islands, MEI also works on climate change awareness, women’s advocacy, and raising educational attainment levels among Marshallese community members.

Successes

  • 2014: Held “Nuclear Remembrance Day, 2014: Reflect. Honor. Educate.” in Little Rock, AR, on the 60th anniversary of the Castle Bravo nuclear test in the Marshall Islands.
  • 2014: MEI panelist, “Nuclear Weapons Testing: History, Progress, Challenges,” at the U.S. Institute for Peace in Washington, D.C., at an event to recognize the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty hosted by the Embassy of Kazakhstan, the Embassy of Canada, Green Cross International, the Atom Project, and the Arms Control Association 
  • 2016: Hosted “Nuclear Legacy Summit” in Salem, Oregon, bringing together Marshallese and American elders and youth, activists and researchers, survivors and students to engage in a dialogue on the devastating consequences of nuclear testing. 
  • 2016, 2017: MEI panelists at Native American Forum on Nuclear Issues, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, presented on nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands in collaboration with members of the Dine and Southern Paiute nations who actively protest against further nuclear contamination of Native lands 
  • 2019: Keynote presentation, I2SL Conference, Denver, CO; discussed climate change and nuclear legacy in the Marshall Islands

Current Projects

  • Educational outreach – presenting, sharing stories of Marshallese nuclear legacy – community presentations, holding classes, workshops, and forums, scholarly research
  • Documenting personal stories through their Oral History project 
  • Developing curriculum and a textbook on Marshallese culture and history
  • Collaborating with RMI National Nuclear Commission to raise awareness of nuclear testing
  • Hosting an exhibit, the Marshallese in Arkansas, that highlights nuclear testing legacy

Opportunities for Collaboration

MEI has successfully collaborated with national nuclear organizations like Native Community Action Council, WAND, and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, but generally only on specific or one-time projects. They hope to find ways to make these relationships more long-lasting and sustainable. 

  • Collaborating on advocacy around the 75th Anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 
  • Finding more opportunities to present on the Marshallese Nuclear Legacy around the country; Find more platforms for Marshallese community members to share their stories
  • Sharing their educational resources, such as textbook and curriculum, more widely. 
  • Presenting more broadly on the connections between climate change and nuclear weapons, a nexus that MEI was one of the first to highlight and discuss.

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