On January 9, 2016, a JASH committee selected six 11-year-old students (three boys and three girls) to represent Hawaii as JASH Junior Ambassadors (JAs) at the 28th Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC), which will be held in Fukuoka, Japan, from July 9 – 24, 2016. A total of 226 children from 44 countries and cities throughout the Asia-Pacific region have been invited to participate this year. The delegation will be led by JASH volunteer Makua Dori Kim, a Hawaiian Studies Teacher at Aina Haina Elementary.
This year, JASH received a total of 30 applicants from Oahu’s private and public schools. After a day of interviews and group workshops held at the JASH office, the final six JAs were selected: Christian Kauhane (Punahou School); Makoto Murata (Niu Valley Middle); Spencer Niemann (Kainalu Elementary); Miya Kanetake (Moanalua Elementary); Davina Li (Aina Haina Elementary) and Kourtney Nishimura (University Laboratory School).
The students will spend one Saturday each month from now until July preparing for their trip to Fukuoka. The workshops are designed to develop teamwork skills and build students’ knowledge about Japan, Japan-Hawaii ties, cultural etiquette and the 43 other countries and cities represented at the Convention. Each delegation is required to give a cultural performance unique to that country or region. The Hawaii delegation will be performing a Hawaiian chant and hula in Fukuoka.
The first workshop was held at the JASH office on Saturday, February 6. The new Junior Ambassadors and their parents attended and learned more about JASH, the APCC and their responsibilities as a JA. They also had a chance to meet the 2015 JAs and parents and hear about their experiences in the program last year. The two groups had the chance to get to know each other better after the workshop through a potluck arranged by the 2015 delegation.
On March 3, we were notified by the APCC office in Fukuoka that Jocelyn Bonilla was selected to be the Peace Ambassador for this year. Jocelyn was able to attend a portion of the second JA workshop on March 5, where the delegates began learning the chant they will perform in Fukuoka and learned some basic rules of etiquette they will need in Japan. The Peace Ambassador has more responsibilities than the Junior Ambassadors and participates in separate programs, working closely with the Bridge Club International Organization during their stay in Japan. Jocelyn Bonilla was a JA in 2011 and has actively participated in Bridge Club Hawaii. She is currently its President Elect. JASH is very pleased to send our six JAs and PA to Japan this summer to participate in the APCC and represent the State of Hawaii, building international friendships and sharing the Aloha Spirit.