ASU partners with Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings to initiate one-of-a-kind Global KAITEKI Center

April 1, 2019

A unique center officially opens on April 3 at Arizona State University, housed within the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.

The Global KAITEKI Center is funded by Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation (MCHC) and its group’s think tank and research institute, the KAITEKI Institute, and led by Professor George Stephanopoulos, who holds joint positions in the School of Molecular Sciences and the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.  Global KAITEKI Center The partnership between Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Company and ASU will focus on research aimed at realizing the concept of KAITEKI, which means “the sustainable well-being of people, society and our planet Earth.” Download Full Image

MCHC President Hitoshi Ochi announced the partnership with ASU, which will focus on research aimed at realizing the concept of KAITEKI — “the sustainable well-being of people, society and our planet Earth.” It is an original concept of the MCHC that proposes a way forward in the sustainable development of society and the planet, in addition to serving as a guide for solving environmental and social issues. The Global KAITEKI Center will also be an allied center of the Institute for the Future of Innovation in Society at ASU.

“Professor Stephanopoulos is a very distinguished chemical engineer, an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, who joined us over a year ago and has created this center through his strong ties to Mitsubishi Chemical,” said Professor Neal Woodbury, director of the School of Molecular Sciences and co-chair of the KAITEKI Center Steering Committee.

“The Global KAITEKI Center is a partnership involving ASU at large, not just a collaborative project between a company and a specific group of researchers,” Stephanopoulos explained. “In this spirit, the Global KAITEKI Center will draw knowledge, expertise and infectious enthusiasm from a vast array of excellent academic units at ASU — schools, centers and institutes. In this regard it is a modern form of research alliance between a company and a university, and one of very few such partnerships across the U.S., Europe and Japan. The Global KAITEKI Center will employ ASU’s signature capability — specifying an issue to be solved, establishing the concept necessary to address the issue and promoting science and technology development, while also serving as a hub to promote KAITEKI to the world.”

Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, executive vice president of ASU’s Knowledge Enterprise Development and chief research and innovation officer, will expand on the partnership at the Global KAITEKI Center opening on April 3.

“This center further advances ASU’s commitment to environmental, economic and social sustainability. It enables innovative research and economic development with significant public impact,” said Panchanathan. “This collaborative effort will draw on the strengths of both institutions as well as the broad array of expertise across disciplines at ASU.”

Gary Dirks, director of both the ASU Wrigley Institute and LightWorks; Kyle Squires, dean, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering; Steve Munk, deputy director, the Biodesign Institute; and David Guston, founding director and professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society will speak after Panchanathan about collaborations with the Global KAITEKI Center.

Global KAITEKI Center Board

During the afternoon of April 3, the first four ASU research projects funded by the Global KAITEKI Center will be presented. They are:

  • Visualizing and Quantifying the Social Value of Future Business: Lauren Keeler, School for the Future of Innovation in Society.
  • Developing a Shared Roadmap for the Circular Economy in the Chemical Industry: Kevin Dooley, W. P. Carey School of Business.
  • Design, Development and Testing of Innovative Materials for Urban Cooling: Matthew Fraser, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.
  • Food Waste Reduction and Well-Being for a Sustainable Future: Christopher Wharton, College of Health Solutions and the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems.
Jenny Green

Clinical associate professor, School of Molecular Sciences


Fashioning an indigenous life

ASU's Red Ink Initiative brings Native celebrities to Phoenix Indian Center Youth Leadership Day

April 1, 2019

From hip-hop to fashion and narrative art to indigenous urban pop culture: The seventh annual Phoenix Indian Center Youth Leadership Day on Feb. 23 had it all. The program included two internationally known Native women whose work inspires youth to embrace their own indigenous cultures. More than 100 young people were in attendance.

Arizona State University’s Red Ink Indigenous Initiative secured a project grant from Arizona Humanities to bring Lisa Charleyboy (Tsilhqot’in-First Nations Canada) from Toronto, Ontario, and Cinnamon Spear (Northern Cheyenne-Montana) from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop to Phoenix to help youth find their voices as indigenous people. The goal was to share important cultural knowledge that can solve many of the world’s problems. Participants in the Phoenix Indian Center Youth Leadership Day pose in front of an auditorium. / Photo by Phoenix Indian Center Download Full Image

“The theme that came out of the day was ‘I am here, and I have something to say!’" said Fawn Tahbo (Colorado River Indian Tribes), program manager for the Phoenix Indian Center. "The young people had so many good things to say about Cinnamon and Lisa’s presentations, confirming what a great treasure it was to have them here. Much of the conference dealt with self-respect and respecting others, and Ms. Charleyboy and Ms. Spear underscored the power of self-respect.”

Charleyboy, named by the Huffington Post as one of three important indigenous millennials to watch, is co-editor of “Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices.” Her blog, Urban Native Girl, revolving around indigenous contemporary life and popular culture, evolved into Urban Native Magazine and now “Urban Native Girl TV,” a POV-documentary series geared toward creating connections for indigenous youth in urban environments. Appropriately, Charleyboy’s sessions were centered on "indigenous pop culture.”

Lisa Charleyboy (photo by Annick Press) and Cinnamon Spear (courtesy photo)

Lisa Charleyboy and Cinnamon Spear.

Spear, soon to graduate from the prestigious University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop MFA program, broke onto the national scene with her documentary film “Pride and Basketball,” a cutting-edge look inside Native reservation sports culture. She has just finished a book with Native youth characters (out soon) at the request of the acquisitions editors at Scholastic, Inc., who liked her work so much they solicited another book from her on Maria Tallchief (Osage), the first American and Native American bestowed the rank of prima ballerina. Spear’s presentation was “Healing the Trauma,” a hands-on workshop for addressing historical, familial and emotional/psychological hurt.

Spear and Charleyboy are on the curl of a great wave that is bringing, shaping and advocating for a new future for indigenous peoples around the world. This is the second indigenous cultural series for teens on which ASU Red Ink has partnered with Arizona Humanities. The series allows local Native youth to interact directly with Native artists, authors, poets and filmmakers.

The Red Ink Initiative at ASU is an interrelated set of campus, regional, national and international projects, including an international journal, to achieve its mission and goals in collaboration with indigenous communities. Red Ink is based in the Department of English, an academic unit of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and welcomes participation from any interested students, faculty, and community members with affiliations both inside and outside of ASU.

Written by Jim Blasingame

Photo of Lisa Charleyboy is courtesy Annick Press. Cinnamon Spear photo is courtesy Spear.

Kristen LaRue-Sandler

Manager, marketing + communications, Department of English