As we give thanks for our blessings and enjoy the fellowship and magic of the holiday season, let us also take a moment to remember our dear senator. Today is the third anniversary of his passing - it's still hard to believe.
With the escalating rancor commonplace in Washington, D.C. these days, the Senator's soft-spoken style and his ability to engage in bipartisan discussions to find common ground through compromise is being raised up with greater frequency as the "gold standard of conduct." Hopefully, it is not a throwback to a time too far gone to return -- where civility and courtesy matter. For the good of this nation, we do hope it is not.
The DKI Institute had another busy and fulfilling year. As was done each year since the Senator's passing, a tree was planted to honor him on the occasion of his birthday in September. Mayor Bernard Carvalho planted an olive sapling in front of the Kauai Veterans Center in Lihue. The olive branch which graces the seal of the United States is the universal symbol of peace. Selected by Kauai's veterans and secured by the National Tropical Botanical Garden, the olive tree will be a reminder of our beloved senator - veteran, patriot, and a warrior for peace, equality and justice.
Since our last newsletter in July, two additional federal facilities in Hawaii have been named in the Senator's honor. The first is the "Senator Daniel K. Inouye Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Center of Excellence." It is a state of the art facility to more accurately identify the remains of fallen service members and to return them to their families. Senator was instrumental in securing the funding and advocated strongly that the facility remain in Hawaii because so many of our missing are in the Asia-Pacific region. Above all, this Center represents our nation's commitment to find and bring home missing service members in fulfillment of our obligation to leave no warrior behind.
A year ago, in December 2014, Congress named the "Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Strategic Studies."
Located at Fort DeRussy, the Center educates young military and government leaders from around the Asia Pacific Region, allowing for collaborative learning and problem solving, diplomatic discussions and regional disaster management planning. Many of these students have gone on to leadership posts in their respective nations, continuing the friendships they made at the Center. Senator led the effort to establish this Center which was patterned after one established in Europe. The re-naming celebration coincided with the Center's 20th anniversary.
Our partnerships with the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution are exciting and fulfilling. Our inaugural Daniel K. Inouye Distinguished Lecture at the Library of Congress with former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell on "Finding Shared Values for U.S. Foreign Policy" was a wonderful success, with live-steaming to a distinguished group assembled at the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus.
The next lecture is set for April 19, 2016, and will feature former U.S. Senator Al Simpson and former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta on the topic of the "Ensuring Civil Liberties in times of National Crisis." Their relationship began as boy scouts - Mineta from a boy scout troop in the Heart Mountain internment camp, and Simpson from another troop on the other side of the barbed wire in Cody, Wyoming. Their friendship carries on to this day. Together with Senator Inouye, they advocated for the passage of the Japanese American Redress measure, wherein our nation apologized for its unlawful action and provided token redress payments.
Turn the clock ahead - whether against Arab Americans following September 11th, or some of the hurtful statements being made today about Muslim Americans, there is a continuing responsibility to remain vigilant in the protection of civil liberties. Senator was fond of saying that history is an excellent teacher, provided you heed the lessons learned. Otherwise, you are likely to repeat them. Our second lecture promises to be most timely in light of recent events. The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii is our partner and live-stream site (12:00 noon). Please let us know if you are interested in attending. To our DC friends, please join us at the Library of Congress at 6:00 pm.
The DKII is a proud partner with the Smithsonian Institution's American History Museum and its "What it Means to be American" Initiative which hosts "conversations" around the country, specific to the locale framed in an underlying Americanism theme. Our first of three conversations was in Kakaako around the topic of "What Hawaii can teach America about Race?" Leslie Wilcox of PBS Hawaii moderated a lively and hopeful discussion with panel members Daniel Dae Kim, Guy Kawasaki, Maya Soetoro-Ng and Corbett Kalama.
Following the panel discussion, there was a "Melting Pot Chef Challenge," coordinated by Kapiolani Community College Chef Grant Sato, with each of the three participating chefs called upon to create a dish using at least 3 diverse ethnic flavors of Hawaii. Their amazing creations were served at the reception, with Smithsonian officials commenting that this was likely be most tasty food served at a Smithsonian gig. A wonderful time was had by all!
Our Oral History initiative is more than three-fourth's completed - the target is 80 interviews and the goal is to capture the heartfelt stories from colleagues, friends, family and staff to add depth and context to the Senator's papers which are about halfway through the archiving process at the University of Hawaii's Hamilton Library. The videographers are preparing snippets from each of the interviews and loading them on YouTube for a quick taste of the stories. The full interviews are being held at the 'Ulu'ulu Archives at UH West Oahu.
Thank you very much for your continuing interest and support. Let us say a prayer of appreciation for the brave men and women who stand in harm's way on our behalf, together with a heartfelt wish for peace on earth and goodwill to all. We wish you a joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year filled with promise and hope for 2016.
Irene, Kenny and Jennifer