The peace sign gesture is a staple of Japanese people posing in pictures. Post WWII, Japan has embraced pacifism, which is exemplified with its absence of a standing military. The peace sign is often done with both hands, signifying double peace. The double peace hand gesture consists of two fingers on each hand. It’s probably a coincidence, but the date Hawaii Tokai International College (HTIC), an American liberal arts college that also offers an ESL program, was established was on May 22, 1992.
This year, HTIC is celebrating 25 years in Hawaii as an American two-year liberal arts college. HTIC reflects the combined educational philosophies of Tokai University Educational System founder, Dr. Shigeyoshi Matsumae, and the HTIC founding president Dr. Richard Kosaki. Matsumae believed that schools were more than a place to acquire knowledge; they were places where people could cultivate their thoughts, develop their ideas and nurture their individualities. The cornerstone of Kosaki’s educational philosophy was his favorite maxim: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Both Matsumae and Kosaki believed that internationally oriented education was the best route to establishing lasting world peace. Kosaki, who is credited as the architect of the University of Hawaii’s community college system, founded HTIC with a vision to educate students to become enlightened global citizens who contribute to world peace.
Twenty-five years later, HTIC continues to be a bridge between East and West to promote world peace. With the campus relocation to Kapolei in April 2015, HTIC has renewed its commitment to Hawaii and West Oahu.
The campus features new LEED Gold Certified Buildings that are more spacious to accommodate increasing student enrollment. HTIC offers an Associate in Arts degree program and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). HTIC serves as a gateway for local and international students who are interested in pursuing a Bachelor’s degree at a university in the United States, Japan and around the world.
In addition to their academic aspirations, all students are encouraged to participate in the local community to earn service learning hours and have volunteered across the island. Last year, thirty-nine HTIC students visited Pearl Harbor to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the December 7th, 1941 attack. The students led a campus-wide effort to fold 1,177 cranes, symbolizing one crane for each person who lost his life on the USS Arizona on December 7th, 1941, these cranes were presented to the USS Park Service and were displayed through the month of December.
In addition to HTIC’s community service activities, the college hosts workshops, seminars, conferences, and training at its facilities in Kapolei. Following the theme of peace, HTIC hosted the Pathways to Sustainable Peace Symposium on December 4th. The event featured Dr. Tosh Minohara of Kobe University, a renowned expert who will spoke on the future of the US-Japan relationship.
The most recent service learning event was a field trip to Mouna Farm Arts and Cultural Village on April 29, 2017. Participants struck hammer to metal as the Peace Bowl was fashioned by the community event as a symbol of the connectedness and hopes for peace that each of us harbors. Connections to the soil, to the sky, to health of the community, to the past and future…these are celebrated through arts and cultural events at the farm with the vision of the farm’s leader, Sooriya. Sooriya’s farm cultivates strong relations with leaders of many spiritual traditions as well as socially-responsive efforts both locally and internationally, and the many events throughout the year make these relations vibrant and productive. Among the projects on the farm is a boat-turned-shelter that is dedicated to Gen, the son of Linda and Robin Fujikawa, who died eleven years ago at the age of eighteen. As young as Gen was, he helped the homeless and took care of nature. The Peace Bowl is now situated on a site close to Gen’s Boat.
Linda Fujikawa, a former HTIC board of trustee’s member, has also re-established the International Cafe at HTIC. In 2015, Linda was recognized at Kapiolani Community College as one of the University of Hawai‘i Community College system’s 50 Finest. She originally established the International Cafe, with a mission to develop student leadership and a sense of belonging which contributes to the development of the individual student. The International Cafe promotes overall student retention success, contributes to service and international awareness, and develops an understanding among the college, regional, national and international communities. At HTIC, this legacy of peace will continue to be perpetuated into its community.
HTIC will always strive to be a positive influence by providing global education and community engagement for a pathway to peace. Based on the strong philosophical foundation of fostering understanding, a commitment to building ties, and the promotion of peace, HTIC has succeeded for 25 years. Please join us in making our world harmonious for generations to come by sharing in our vision.