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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 31, 2002

Hawai'i could be a center for peace

By Thomas A. DiGrazia
Center for Primary Dispute Resolution

There has never been a better time than now to raise the issue of Hawai'i as an international peace center or "Geneva of the Pacific."

In light of the tragic events of Sept. 11, America needs to balance security through increased military and security preparations and operations with an equally valued commitment to a peaceful resolution of the immediate and systemic issues posed by the terrorist attack on America.

Concurrent resolutions introduced into the 2002 state Legislature by Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland and Rep. Dennis Arakaki, and broadly supported by the peacemaking community in Hawai'i, address the consequences of failing to fully explore both the security and long-term peaceful-resolution issues arising from the attack.

The resolutions state that such failure: " ... will ... unalterably immerse (us) in an ever-spiraling dance of death and revenge which historically has failed to resolve the root issues of the Middle Eastern crisis ... "

With its unmatched physical beauty, rich historical and present-day peacemaking tradition and peacemaker resources (think ho'oponopono, the Spark Matsunaga Institute for Peace, Center for Conflict Resolution, East-West Center and local trailblazing dispute-resolution practitioners), Hawai'i offers a world in conflict not only a great travel destination but an unparalleled setting for encouraging the peaceful resolution of international disputes.

By combining the University' of Hawai'i's conflict-resolution resources with the tourism expertise and finances of the Hawai'i Tourism Authority, a solid foundation for creating an international peacemaking center and industry could be instantly forged. With its new enlightened leadership and in-place conflict-resolution institutions and personnel, the university would be an ideal lead organization, along with existing political leaders and peacemakers, to marshal appropriate resources and community partnerships to effectuate Hawai'i as an international peace center.

Please let your legislators and the governor know that Hawai'i's time to assume its role as an international center for peace has arrived.

(To see the entire resolutions, go to www.capitol.hawaii.gov)