Hilda Heine

Born:April 6, 1951 (age 73)
Career:President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, 2016-2020
Minister of Education, 2012-2015
Secretary of Education, 1992-1995
Education:B.A., University of Oregon
M.Ed., University of Hawaii
EdD, University of Southern California

Hilda Heine was the first woman to be president of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, serving from 2016 to 2020.

Heine was born on April 6, 1951, in Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon in 1970. She earned a master's degree in education from the University of Hawaii in 1975 and an educational doctorate from the University of Southern California in 2004. Heine received an honorary doctorate in philosophy from Fu Jen Catholic University in 2019. She is the first person in the Marshall Islands to earn a doctorate degree.

From 1975-1980 Heine worked as a teacher at Marshall Island High School; from 1980-1982 she worked as a counsellor at the high school. She served as the director of continuing education at the Community College of Micronesia from 1982-1986, as an administrator at the College of Micronesia Majuro Campus from 1986-1990 and as president of the College of the Marshall Island from 1990-1992.

Heine served as the secretary of education for the Ministry of Education in Majuro from 1992-1995 and as the minister of education from 2012-2015. She was elected to the legislature representing the Aur Atoll electoral district in November 2015. In 2019 Heine was elected to the East-West Center’s Board of Governors.

Heine founded the women’s rights group Women United Together Marshall Islands in 1987.


Council of Women World Leaders (n.d.). “Hilda Heine” Council of Women World Leaders. Retrieved April 15, 2022. https://www.councilwomenworldleaders.org/hilda-heine.html

East-West Center (2021). “Former Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine Joins EWC Board” East-West Center, May 7. Retrieved April 15, 2022. https://www.eastwestcenter.org/news-center/news-releases/former-marshall-islands-president-hilda-heine-joins-ewc-board.

Marshallese Manit (n.d.). “President’s Day: Hilda Heine” Marshallese Manit. Retrieved April 15, 2022. https://marshallese-manit.org/post-library-jukle/presidents-day-hilda-heine/

Pacific Women in Politics (n.d.). “Hon Dr. Hilda Heine” Pacific Women in Politics. Retrieved April 15, 2022. https://www.pacwip.org/country-profiles/marshall-islands/h-e-dr-hilda-heine/.

Wilson Center (n.d.). “Hilda Heine” Wilson Center. Retrieved April 15, 2022. https://www.wilsoncenter.org/person/hilda-heine.