IVLP: People to People Diplomacy

January 04, 2016

“People-to-people diplomacy is a powerful and under-estimated asset. Despite recent focus on the supposed influence of social media, it is not even in the same league as direct interaction between individuals of different nationalities and cultures.”  ~Ambassador Richard LeBaron 

2015 was another great year for the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) in Hawai`i. In total, 19 groups from 45 countries met with more than 220 Hawai`i experts in their related fields. International exchange programs like the IVLP are powerful tools to unleash the potential of individuals to build connections and solve global challenges.

Seven visitors from Mexico who work to provide educational opportunities for their indigenous people through Intercultural and Indigenous Universities met with the University of Hawai`i School of Hawaiian Knowledge for a meaningful exchange of language, culture and experience. At the Hale of Ka Papa Lo’i o Kanewai (pictured above), visitors were moved to share greetings in their own indigenous language after hearing the Hawaiian welcome oli. Discussions on support of indigenous education, preserving language and culture, and shared family linkages were shared amongst all.

Three Japanese museum professionals sought to understand how history is portrayed, interpreted and taught in the U.S. Robert Castro, Hawaii’s Plantation Village docent, guides visitors through the village to show the history of immigrant plantation workers (pictured above). The group visited many of Hawaii’s most renowned museums and historical sites including `Iolani Palace, Bishop Museum, Hawai`i Army Museum, Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, and the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

Seven professionals in the Indonesian fisheries industry were briefed by Mr. Brooks Takenaka, Manager of the United Fishing Agency, on the regulations and operations of its Honolulu Fish Auction and the importance of global governance to benefit the sustainability of the world’s fish supply (pictured above). The group also met with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Oceanic Institute, Hanauma Bay, and the Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture. The group experienced a wonderful Hawaiian-style Thanksgiving dinner hosted by Ms. Carolyn Uehara.

Ten Nepalese experts in the field of disaster management and emergency relief examined best practices in emergency preparedness, management, planning, and coordination among the private sector and federal, state, and local governments. They met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (pictured above), Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC), Naval Facilities Command, and the Society of Nepalese in Hawai`i. The group was also invited to give an update on the recovery efforts in Nepal at NDPTC’s Third Thursday event, and were then treated to a reception hosted by NDPTC.

Consider getting involved with an upcoming group. Contact Niki Shishido at 944-7783 or iv@paachawaii.org. Jan- Mar 2016 groups: “Developing Agricultural Entrepreneurs” (Japan), “Base-Hosting Communities in the U.S.” (Japan), “ASEAN: Port Security and Trade Safety” (East Asia & Pacific), and “Environmental Protection & Biodiversity: Forest Fires” (Indonesia).