Naomi Ostwald Kawamura was elected unanimously by Densho’s board and staff search committee to succeed Founding Executive Director Tom Ikeda.
She will join Densho’s staff in September and formally succeed Ikeda on Nov. 2.
“We had a very competitive candidate pool, but as an educator with specialized knowledge of Japanese American history, and with her strong background in nonprofit leadership and administration, Naomi has the rare combination of skills and experiences we were looking for,” said Densho Board Chair Ron Tanemura in a news release.
Ostwald Kawamura previously served as the executive director of the Nikkei Place Foundation. She holds a master’s degree in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Ostwald Kawamura was born to Japanese immigrants in San Diego, California. She lives with her husband, a tenured professor at the University of British Columbia, and their daughter in Vancouver. As a graduate of the University of Washington, she has maintained a strong network of friends and family in Seattle.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Ostwald Kawamura. “I feel honored to have been selected to lead Densho, an organization that I have long admired and that has played such a critical role in preserving Japanese American historical memory.”