Pac Rim 2024

Keynote Speakers

Mia Ives-Rublee

Disability Rights Advocate

Mia Ives-Rublee is a disabled transracial adoptee who has dedicated her life’s work to civil rights activism. She began her journey as an adapted athlete, competing internationally in track, road racing, fencing, and crossfit. She obtained her Master’s in Social Work at UNC Chapel Hill and began working with disabled people to help them find work and independence in their communities at the NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

Mia has worked with numerous organizations, such as the Ford Foundation, Women’s March, Families Belong Together, etc., on disability justice and inclusion. As a public speaker, Mia advocates on the national stage for the rights of disabled people, immigrants, and other marginalized communities. She currently works as the director for the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress and was appointed to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.

Justine "Justice" Shorter

Disability Rights Advocate

Justice Shorter is a skilled organizer/facilitator, Disability Justice amplifier and senior advisor on issues at the intersection of race, disability, gender, health, climate, and crises. She is a national expert on disability inclusive disaster protections, emergency management and humanitarian crises/conflicts. As a curator and composer, she has orchestrated immersive training experiences for thousands of participants worldwide.

As a strategist and dreamscaper, she has worked with countless organizations to meaningfully and measurably enhance their equity efforts. Justice recently formed SeededGround, an agency devoted to content creation that centers people of color with disabilities. Determined to sow justice and harvest dreams, SeededGround projects are intentionally designed in ways that are imaginative and intersectional. Her work is lovingly wedded to worldbuilding our collective liberation into fruition.

Portrait of Kiran Singh

Kiran Singh Sirah

​Speaker / Consultant / Peacebuilder / Storyteller / Folklorist

Kiran Singh Sirah is an award-winning Storytelling for Peace and Justice specialist, Folklorist and Artist. He is also the Past President of the International Storytelling Center and has established several award-winning arts, cultural, and human rights programs. Kiran has spoken at the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, the American Public Health Association, the US State Department, the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and has facilitated several interactive storytelling conversations for world peace assemblies. In 2015, he was invited to the White House in support of national grassroots dialogue and peacebuilding efforts and in 2017, Kiran was selected to receive the “Champion of Peace” award at Rotary International Day at the United Nations in Geneva, for advancing storytelling for global peacebuilding.

A Rotary Peace Fellow and Senior Fellow for the Alliance for Peacebuilding, he develops stories for change initiatives. In addition, his passion includes mentoring marginalized youth and partnering with peace activists, artists, and poets and other underserved folks and supporting them to become the story of change they wish to see in the world.

Māhealani Ahia

Kanaka ʻŌiwi Artist, Scholar, Activist, Songcatcher and Storykeeper

Māhealani Ahia (she/her/ʻo ia) is a Kanaka ʻŌiwi artist, scholar, activist, songcatcher and storykeeper with lineal ties to Maui. With a background in theatre arts, writing and performance from U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Irvine, Māhea is committed to creating artistic and educational projects that elevate voices of Indigenous feminist decolonial storytelling. She is a PhD candidate in English (Hawaiian Literature) and Graduate Certificate student in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where she has taught “Indigenous Women’s Health,” “Writing For Healing,” “Indigenous Feminisms,” and currently “Intro to LGBTQ+ Studies.” Māhea serves her community as a cohort member of Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND), as a Hawaiʻi Pacific Foundation/East-West Center scholar, as Grievance Chair for UHM graduate Academic Labor United (ALU), as editor for Hawaiʻi Review and ʻŌiwi: A Native Hawaiian Journal, as co-organizer of the Mauna Kea Syllabus Project, and as co-facilitator of “Committed: A Decolonial DeTour” which re/stories “asylum” mental health history in Hawai’i and is sponsored by the Indigenous Dis/abilities Hui Hawaiʻi and Mānoa Center for the Humanities And Civic Engagement.