Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Celebrating Peace Day

The third annual "Peace Day Hawaii: Uniting with Aloha" will be held on Sept. 20 and Sept. 21 at the Hawaii State Capitol. This free, two-day celebration will focus statewide attention on creating a culture of peace by weaving the elements of peace through our schools and communities. Events include an educational forum and Peace Day Hawaii Celebration Ceremony discussing peace, equity and justice as a necessity for community sustainability and environmental awareness. Special guest Betty Williams, who won the Nobel peace prize in 1976 for her dedication to promoting a peaceful resolution in Northern Ireland, will be the keynote speaker for both events.

The forum, "Sustainability in the Schools", will be held on Sunday, Sept. 20 in the State Capitol Auditorium. From 11 a.m. – 12 p.m., schools and community organizations that are associated with the Hawaii School Peace Gardens Consortium will give presentations in the auditorium. From 12 p.m. – 1 p.m., Betty Williams will be the guest speaker. From 1 p.m. – 2 p.m., representatives from the various organizations will briefly talk about what they do in schools or would like to offer in partnering with schools. Informational displays and booths on environmental sustainability will be set up in the State Capitol Rotunda from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

The Peace Day Hawaii 2009 Celebration Ceremony will be held on Monday, Sept. 21 from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. in the State Capitol Rotunda. The ceremony will include keynote speaker Betty Williams, entertainment, presentation of this year's Peace Day Award and a candle light ceremony and silent prayer.

A partner of Peace Day Hawaii is Victory Over Violence (VOV), a youth sponsored initiative to help young people identify and counteract the root causes of violence in their lives and promote a culture of peace in the community. The Hawaii chapter of the organization has extended nominations for the VOV Aloha Peace Challenge, an annual humanitarian competition in Hawaii that challenges all people to create value in their communities through activities that celebrate and promote peace and nonviolence, until September 14. To participate in the challenge, please visit

In 2007, Hawaii became the only state in the nation to officially recognize and annually celebrate the International Day of Peace, which was established by the United Nations as the Day of worldwide ceasefire and non-violence. State Representative Jon Riki Karamatsu introduced a bill on behalf of the members of the Hawaii Federation of Junior Young Buddhist Association. Governor Linda Lingle signed the bill into law on April 17, 2007.

Information on Peace Day Hawaii ceremony: 808-586-8490, Peace Day Forum: 808-956-4244.


Manawai said...

Peace Day is great, but I think throwing in everything else (but the kitchen sink) dilutes the importance of promoting peace. Non-violence has everything to do with peace, but sustainability and environmental issues, while worthy in their own right, have little to do with it.

Thelma said...

Aloha Manawai,

Thank you for your insight. However, I have to disagree.

Peace is an idea. It's about bridging gaps of any kind. Peace has everything to do with creating positive arenas for discussions on environmental issues, conflicting nations, conflicting ideas, poverty, community development, sustainability, etc.

Discussions on peace have always focused on war and violence. But why can't we use the idea of peace to promote sustainability? In all reality, one cannot exist without the other.

The environment is also one of the many reasons that war and violence exist. Wars are fought over scarce resources: land, water, food, oil, etc. We even see increases in domestic violence because of the recession as more people deal with the uncertainty of their future. All of these things are connected and affect each other, and they should be part of the peace discussion.

When more resources run bare, don't you think it would cause even more violent conflicts around the world as people fight for security?