Former President Hilda C. Heine served as the eighth President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands from 2016 to 2020, and is the first Marshallese woman to hold this office.
Dr. Heine was born on Jaluit Atoll in 1951, where she grew up and attended public school. Following high school studies, Dr. Heine attended school in the United States where she earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon in 1970, a master’s degree at the University of Hawaii in 1975, and an Educational doctorate at the University of Southern California in 2004.
Prior to entering politics, Dr. Heine was Program Director of Pacific Comprehensive Assistance Center at the Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) in Majuro (2006-2011) and Director of Policy and Capacity Building and Scholar for FAS Education, consecutively, for PREL and based in Honolulu (1995-2006). Before relocating to the State of Hawaii, Dr. Heine served the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands starting as a classroom teacher, school counselor, school administrator, college President before being named as Secretary of Education.
During her tenure as President of the College of the Marshall Islands and as Secretary of Education, Dr. Heine supervised the transformation of the College from a continuing education program into a fully operational community college. Dr. Heine currently serves as an advisor, officer and member of multiple task forces, committees and working groups. As Minister of Education, Dr. Heine headed the RMI Teacher Standards and Licensing Board and Chaired the Human Resources in Health Task Force. Dr. Heine was awarded honorary doctorate degree from the College of the Marshall Islands. Dr. Heine is also the founder of the women’s rights group, Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI).
Dr. Heine co-authored a number of publications and reports, and read historical and contemporary writings with special emphasis on education and social administrations in small islands developing states.
Heine was Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific (USP) from 1 July 2019 to 12 January 2020. On 12 November 2021, the USP Council elected her as Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council for a three-year term beginning 1 January 2022.