|8th President of the Marshall Islands|
28 January 2016 – 13 January 2020
|Preceded by||Casten Nemra|
|Succeeded by||David Kabua|
Hilda Cathy Heine
6 April 1951
Majuro, Trust Territory of the
Pacific Islands (now Marshall
|Education||University of Oregon (BA)|
University of Hawaii, Manoa (MA)
University of Southern
Hilda Cathy Heine (born April 6, 1951) is a Marshallese educator and politician, who served as the eighth President of the Marshall Islands. Prior to assuming office, she served as the Minister of Education. She was the first individual in the Marshall Islands to earn a doctorate degree, and the founder of the women's rights group Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI).
Heine is the first woman to hold the presidency of the Marshall Islands. She is also the first female president of any Micronesian country, and only the fourth woman to serve as head of government for any independent nation in Oceania (following Jenny Shipley and Helen Clark of New Zealand and Julia Gillard of Australia). She is one of only three women currently serving in the Nitijeļā, the country's legislature, as of January 2016.
Early life and education
Heine was born on April 6, 1951, in Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands. She attended college in the United States where she earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon in 1970. She earned a master's degree at the University of Hawaii in 1975, and an educational doctorate at the University of Southern California in 2004.
Heine worked at Marshall Islands High School in Majuro from 1975 through 1982, serving both as a classroom teacher and as a counselor. In 2000, Heine founded Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI), a women's rights group. Since 2005, she had been Pacific Resources for Education and Learning's (PREL) Director at the Pacific Comprehensive Assistance Center. Heine participated in the 2009 with the Pacific Islands Climate Change Education Partnership. She has also been associated with the Leadership Pacific Advisory Board, the Commission on Education in Micronesia, and the Human Resources in Health Task Force.
On January 27, 2016, Heine was elected President of the Marshall Islands after defecting from the Aelon Kein Ad party along with former Minister Thomas Heine and Wilbur Heine who joined the coalition and the majority Kien Eo Am (KEA) party. After a vote of no confidence removing Aelon Kein Ad elect Casten Nemra, President Hilda Heine was chosen as the replacement by the opposition. As sole candidate she received 24 votes with six abstaining and three absent from the 33 members of the Nitijeļā. Heine was sworn into office on January 28, 2016. She succeeded Casten Nemra who was ousted by a no-confidence motion just two weeks after his inauguration.
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- "Statement by the Spokesperson on the election of the President of the Republic of Marshall Islands" (Press release). European Union (EEAS). 28 Jan 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- "Hilda Heine elected first female Pacific leader as president of Marshall Islands". ABC News. January 27, 2016. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
- "Hilda Heine elected Marshalls president". Radio New Zealand. January 27, 2016. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
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