Peace and Disarmament

Back to listOct 1, 2011

SGI Members in Hawaii Hold World Peace Festival Held on Coconut Island

University of Hawaii students performing

On October 1, SGI members in Hilo, Hawaii hosted their second World Peace Festival on a small island in Hilo Bay called Coconut Island, along with more than 1,000 participants. The festival included an array of cultural performances and cuisines.

In his welcome remarks, County of Hawaii Mayor Billy Kenoi stated, "We have come together, putting aside our differences, to celebrate peace . . . The spirit of aloha, the universal language of love, means honoring and revering our elders, loving, nurturing and protecting our children, and respecting the harmony of our families, thus creating a healthy community and island."

SGI members in Hawaii

In celebration of the 51st anniversary of SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's first overseas journey for world peace, starting in Hawaii on October 2, 1960, the mayor recognized Mr. Ikeda's lifelong efforts for peace and the promotion of culture.

The World Peace Festival was created in partnership with Hawaii County and the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association, with support from SGI-USA and the International Committee of Artists for Peace. Other community members and special guests who attended the celebration included Hawaii County Councilman Fred Blas, Public Information Specialist Desiree Moana Cruz and SGI North America Women's Vice Leader Matilda Buck.

Professional taiko and Micronesian Chuukese dancers, as well as the Grammy Award-winning Hawaiian musician Sonny Lim, performed at the festival. SGI-USA youth and women also took to the stage for various cultural dances.

SGI members in Hawaii

The day's festivities also included a traditional Pohnpeian sakau ceremony conducted by members of Micronesians United-Big Island, comprised mostly of University of Hawaii at Hilo students, at the foot of the festival stage. In Pohnpeian culture, the sakau ceremony, in which kava root is pounded and prepared as a drink, marks milestones in a person's life such as birth, marriage and death. After the festival, Mayor Kenoi expressed the hope that the citizens of Hawaii would strive to respect and treat everyone with compassion, dignity, honesty and sincerity, drawing on the example of Mr. Ikeda who, he said, "continues to demonstrate the aloha spirit globally."

[Adapted from an article in the October 21, 2011, issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA; photos courtesy of SGI-USA]