by Diane Ako
HONOLULU (KHNL) - From Nepal to New York, there are about 5,000 scholars who have passed through the halls of the East-West Center (EWC) since it was established in 1960. Most of those people came from all over the US and the Asia Pacific, to study more about the region and how to better promote peace within it.
You may have heard of two of our more famous participants from that era: Mau Pialug, mentor for the Polynesian Voyaging Canoe's famous Hokule'a; and Dr. Rebecca Sanchez Ovitt, principal of Hawaii Baptist Academy and author of the popular book, My Journey of Healing from Cancer.
Though their stays were measured in months, often the bonds created lasted a lifetime. It's the perfect example of how the EWC works to create harmonious ties between countries. Now, the EWC is looking to rejuvenate some of those ties, with a reunion of its 70's alumni.
The support group Friends of the East-West Center (FEWC) is helping reconnect alumni with host families. During the decade of the 70's, host families helped smooth the transition to Hawaii for about 250 EWC participants. The alumni are now mostly scattered around the Pacific Rim and the USA. The 150 families that were active in that time period are mostly still in Hawaii.
Organizer Trudy Schandler-Wong of FEWC says, "We served as the bridge between the community and the participants. The host families became the participants' home away from home and their link to this community. Many of the relationships forged have lasted a lifetime."
The reunion is planned for the weekend of August 24, 2007. The Friends will host the 70's reunion tea at the Friendship Circle at the EWC from 4:30-6 p.m. on Friday 8/24. The other activites for that weekend will be hosted by the EWC.
FEWC needs your help in getting the word out to any families who hosted EWC participants in the 70's, or any students who were enrolled at the EWC. If you know of anyone please have them call the FEWC office 944-7691 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.