On July 25, the APCC delegates returned home to Honolulu after a ten day stay in Fukuoka, Japan where they took part in the 23rd Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention, which was held from July 14 – 25, 2011. Hosted by the Fukuoka government, the APCC promotes international relationships between children so that they will become adults with a strong social responsibility for the world. The Hawaii delegates spent eight days with a Japanese host family in the city of Minami-ku and two days at a camp called Global Arena with 213 children from 42 countries and cities throughout the Asia-Pacific region. They performed their hula, Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai, four times while on the trip – for their host families in Minami-ku city on July 17, at the APCC “Public Relations” Event in Fukuoka City on July 18, at Kashihara Elementary School on July 20 and at the “We Are the Bridge” cultural exchange festival at Global Arena on July 23. For the first time, JASH APCC Program Director, Elizabeth Stanton-Barrera was invited to attend a portion of the APCC as one of five liaison officers. Liaison officers from Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Fiji were also invited. She attended the camp at Global Arena on July 22 and 23 and gave a presentation to the chaperones and Peace Ambassadors about how Hawaii selects and trains its Junior Ambassadors each year.
When it was time to say goodbye to their new friends and host families, many tears were shed at the airport, but the delegates are looking forward to building on the relationship they started for many years to come.
After their return, the delegates and their parents met for one last workshop at the JASH office where they shared their experiences being a part of the APCC program this year. Everyone who attended the last workshop was pleased to hear about all that the children had learned while in Fukuoka. JASH would like to thank all of the families and friends who helped to prepare the delegation for their trip.