The goal of the Jan. 25-27 Hawaiian Rotary Global Peace Forum was to bring young leaders (under age 40) from all over the world in one place to give them an opportunity to share their visions for making a world at peace and to have Rotary leaders support and encourage those ideas.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Laureate and leader of the democracy movement in Myanmar, inspired everyone with her message of persistence and perseverance in the face of severe obstacles in her work for peace.
Many young people, including youth from the southern Kenai Peninsula, gave presentations that were enthusiastically received by Rotary leaders. Many students were given advice, offers of funding and support from Rotarians. Some were even offered scholarships.
Local delegates included Traven Apiki of Homer, Ivana Ash of Nanwalek, Katherine Dolma of Homer, Taylor Ellison of Anchor Point and Amelia Tyrer of Homer.
For the Homer-area youth attendees, the peace forum was an amazing experience with numerous awe-inspiring moments. The young people were able to make a great impression with Rotarians from all over the world and talk with a lot of them about our future plans and what we planned on doing after the peace forum.
What happens now that the peace forum is over?
Well, it is not really over. There is another peace forum in Hiroshima, Japan, in May and a Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal, in June. Plans are to send some of the best youth presentations from Hawaii to these meetings for additional exposure of great ideas and support funded by local Rotary clubs and community organizations.
The key to sustainability is the ability to create social entrepreneurships from these ideas and working with experts from Ashoka, a worldwide youth venture organization, youth are learning how to turn their ideas into social businesses. In this way the momentum created by the Hawaii Global Peace Forum goes on.
Since the peace forum, the two projects that were taken from Homer have become reorganized with new resources we were given.
Forming CAMP, Caring About My Planet, Ellison and Dolma received a generous donation from a Rotarian that will go toward sending students to the camp planned for this summer at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. CAMP will allow youth to be immersed in nature.
The other project, created by Apiki, Ash and Tyrer, was a way to educate individuals about the potential the state of Alaska has with tidal energy. Alaska contains 90 percent of the United States potential for tidal energy and it is slowly being realized and exploited. The individuals on this project were able to learn a great deal about alternative energy and are continuing to learn all they can so that one day they can turn it around and teach others about it.
For more about the Global Peace Forum, visit www.peaceforumhawaii.org.
Steve Yoshida was chair of the Rotary Global Peace forum in Hawaii. He and his wife, Noko, own a house and spend their summers in Homer. Traven Apiki is a Homer High School graduate who served as a youth delegate to the Rotary Global Peace Forum. Homer-area youth delegates to the forum were sponsored by Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies and the Homer Foundation.