H.E Hilda Heine

Republic of the Marshall Islands

Her Excellency Hilde Heine is the 10th President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

President Hilda C. Heine, Ed. D, of the Republic of the Marshall Islands represents Aur Atoll and is one of four women in the Nitijela (Parliament).  She was the first woman to be chosen as President from 33 elected senators in the Marshall Islands Nitijela serving in this capacity from 2016-2020 and was re-elected as Head of State following the November 2023 general election.

President Heine previously served as Minister of Education from 2012-2015. As Minister of Education, President Heine successfully passed legislation establishing a separate and independent Public School System for the Marshall Islands, giving it more autonomy including the ability to recruit, set compensation packages and manage its own professional staff.

Prior to entering politics, President Heine served the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands as a classroom teacher, school counselor, college president and Secretary of Education. During her tenure as President of the College of the Marshall Islands, President Heine supervised the transformation of the College from a continuing education program into a fully operational and fully accredited community college.

President Heine relocated to Honolulu, Hawaii in  1995 where she worked for the Pacific Resources for Education and Leaming (PREL) for ten years in various capacities including as Director of Policy and Capacity Building, as the Scholar for Freely Associated States (FAS) Education, and as the Program Director of the Pacific Comprehensive Assistance Center, the post she held until 2010 when she ran for political office. 

In 2019, the Chancellorship  for the University  of the South Pacific (USP), a premier higher education institution serving students from Pacific member countries, was conferred on President Heine.   In 2021, President Heine was elected as Pro-Chancellor  and Chair of Council for USP. President Heine is currently a member of the Board of Governors of the East-West Center,  a member of Pacific Elders'  Voice and other international organizations.   She has also served as an advisor to the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

President Heine is a crusader for women's rights and currently serves as an advisor to the Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI), a non-governmental organization  that she co-founded with other Marshallese  women leaders in 1987;  WUTMI  strengthens the voices of RMI women by promoting  human rights and good governance, the Marshallese  culture, and women empowerment  in the economic and political spaces.  Under President Heine's leadership, the Pacific Women Leaders Coalition was formed in 2019 to provide support and advocacy for Pacific women leaders.

President Heine was born on Jaluit Atoll to Reverend Bourne and Kathy Heine in 1951  where she grew up and attended public school; following  secondary level education at Marshall Islands High School. She graduated from Cottage Grove High School and attended University  of Oregon (1970), where she earned her undergraduate  degree.  She obtained a master's degree at the University  of Hawaii in 1975  and an Educational Leaders doctorate at the University  of Southern California in 2004.   President Heine was awarded three honorary Doctorate  Degrees from the College of the Marshall Islands; a Doctor of Laws from the University  of Guam in 2016;  and a Doctor of Philosophy  from Fu Jen Catholic University  in 2019.

President Heine and her husband, Thomas Kijiner Jr., have 3  children and 5 grandchildren.  She enjoys reading historical and contemporary  writings with special emphasis on education and social  administrations  in Small Island Developing States and enjoys baking and listening to music.