Navigating Humanity Towards a Sustainable Future

Welcome to the Pacific Worlds Institute. We specialize in education and training for non-native peoples working in the Hawaiian Islands, helping you understand, navigate and conduct yourself appropriately and effectively.

If your work has brought you to the Hawaiian Islands, you may have envisioned that you were coming to “paradise.”  If you’re from the Continental United States, you may have assumed things would work here pretty much just like at home.  And you have quickly found out that they do not. Now that you’re here, you realize you are deeply unfamiliar with this island group, its peoples, its history and its environments.  And this is hindering your ability to do your work:

• there is a unique culture here, rooted in Hawaiian tradition and transformed by immigrants, mostly from Asia, who came to work on the plantations;

• your unfamiliarity with Hawaiian history and language leaves you baffled by the place names and street names, and unable to pronounce them;

• there is no single, dominant ethnic group, and while this plural society can have its tensions, it also exhibits an outstanding collegiality and togetherness;

• the colonial history and the transformation of the lands and of society created enormous disparities of wealth and land ownership that disenfranchised the Native Hawaiian population, splitting the population between plantation workers and owners;

• the Hawaiian Kingdom was an independent country recognized through treaties with other sovereign nations, including the U.S.A. That government was illegally overthrown in 1893 by non-Hawaiian businessmen with the aid of U.S. troops. The subsequent “annexation” of the islands through a joint resolution of Congress (instead of a treaty of annexation) is of questionable legality, and challenged by a widespread and diverse Hawaiian sovereignty movement;

• local people are much more closely tied to the environment, to their families and to their communities;

• the “transactional” approach to business interactions does not work very well here;

• these islands are remote and finite, and local people know that they need to be taken care of for future generations. Native Hawaiians demonstrated the values and techniques for doing that.

Hawai‘i offers to the world a sense of aloha—a way to recognize the humanity in each of us. But this is burdened by the mantle of unrecognized and unresolved historic trauma. Despite this huge drawback, the doors remain open to those who hold in high regard all opportunities to move from victim/victimizer to friendship across time and space.  We offer training that allows participants to help each other move the world toward balance and pono relationships.

The Pacific Worlds Institute is a group of Hawai‘i scholars, educators, activists and cultural practitioners. We bring together Western science and Hawaiian tradition to help you and your team become familiar with the Hawaiian Islands, giving you surer footing to navigate situations and conduct yourselves appropriately and effectively.

Whether you are a private citizen, business person, government employee or military, our services can help you gain the knowledge and experience you need to connect with the people of Hawai‘i, and to understand how to work in these unique environments.

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