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Peace Leaders Honored: Martin Luther King, Queen Lili'uokalani, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Zhou Enlai
Former Governor John Waihe'e said, "It's exciting, to build diplomacy around people, as opposed to governments. It's a good fit." Calling for action, he concluded, "Now that we have learned what's happening in the world, the key is, what happens now? The real test is: What do we do about it?"
Speaker Emeritus Calvin Say, the longest-serving State House Speaker in American history, observed, "I learned, after more than 40 years of public service: 'It's better to give than to receive."
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Maya Soetoro is a Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Hawaii. She advised, "Let us privilege community source solutions that are a manifestation of extended family, where we can 'refamilialize' ourselves with one another, and with the land itself."
In a tribute to Reverend Martin Luther King, a video excerpt was played from his 1963 speech: "We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."
Queen Lili'uokalani, the first and last Queen of the Kingdom of Hawai'i, was recognized by Nalani Olds, celebrated poet and singer, who recounted on film her timeless prayer, "Behold not with malevolence the sins of man, but forgive and cleanse..." She later added, "Justice will prevail in the end."
Raj Kumar, the President of the Gandhi International Institute for Peace, added, "The name of Mahatma Gandhi transcends the bounds of race, religion and nation-states, and has emerged as the prophetic voice of the twenty-first century."
Mother Teresa is a beacon of compassion, who embodied love and empathy. Her words were understood in fresh light: "Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do…but how much love we put in that action...Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."
Nelson Mandela led a global struggle for human rights and racial equality. He championed a peace and reconciliation process, and his advice stands up today with new meaning: "It always seems impossible until it's done…To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
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Xiaofang Zhou is the grand-niece of Zhou Enlai, the first premier of modern China -- and a respected global peacemaker. She observed, "Zhou Enlai strived to transform enemies into allies. He lived a life of simplicity and humility, on the same level as all ordinary Chinese people." She considered "people's diplomacy," in light of recent meetings with young leaders in Beijing, saying: "They want to rebuild trust between China and America. We are determined to help them."
She finished by challenging the audience: "Are we ready to be Nelson Mandela, today? Martin Luther King? Mahatma Gandhi, today?"
A seventh peacemaker, Chief Arvol Looking Horse preserves his people's traditions and advocates for peace, justice, and environmental harmony. He is chief of the Sioux Nation. "Peace Prayer," a short documentary, was produced for this event. "Remember that sacred walk here on the earth. We are at the crossroads. Either we will be faced with chaos, global disasters, and tears from my relatives' eyes. Or we can unite..as nations upon the earth. All nations, all faiths. One prayer. We can do that."
Writer-producer Michael North described a searing visit to Huairou, a battleground in China. He told of those who helped save the young nation of China through their blood and sacrifice, and establish its identity, and of the common ground they share with those who struggle for peace everywhere.
Follow-up: an annual event, celebrated each year on November 11. A complete documentary, together with support materials for schools. An exchange visit to China, and a sponsored visit to France, just before the Paris Olympics in July 2024.
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