Parents and children were both anxious and excited as the six Hawaii Junior Ambassadors (Kailoa Akaka, Kevan Elias, Ian Shigezawa, Jocelyn Bonilla, Shyen Hirabayashi, and Betsy Wo) departed for the 23rd Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC) in Fukuoka, Japan on Thursday, July 14. They were accompanied by chaperone Daniel Hwang, Peace Ambassadors Jacob Saiki and Kara Tsuzaki, and former Peace Ambassador and Bridge Club Hawaii (APCC alumni association) founder Colby Takeda. For most of the Junior Ambassadors (JAs) this is their first trip overseas. They will spend a total of ten days in Fukuoka — seven days with a host family and three days at camp with other 11-year olds from over 40 different countries.
On Tuesday, July 12, prior to their departure, the six JAs were given the opportunity to meet with Governor Neil Abercrombie in his Executive Chambers. For many of the JAs and their families this was the first time to meet the new governor. Governor Abercrombie offered friendly advice to the JAs on what it means to be an ambassador. He also emphasized to them the unique perspective of Hawaii where “diversity defines, not divides.” The governor invited the JAs to meet again when they return from Japan.
The delegation will return to Honolulu on July 25.