Hawai'i's hosting of this year's APEC meeting will show that the islands are ideal settings for serious business meetings.
“THE WORLD WILL TURN TO HAWAI’I AS THEY SEARCH FOR WORLD PEACE BECAUSE HAWAI’I HAS THE KEY…AND THAT KEY IS ALOHA.” So said Pilahi Paki, a Hawai’ian spiritual leader, kumu (teacher), chanter, writer, composer, translator and rights activist who is possibly best remembered as an advocate of Aloha. It is her message that Hawai’ian officials will share with 21 world leaders during the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting (APEC), Nov. 7-13.
Make no mistake—Paki was not alone in her vision of Aloha.
“This is our opportunity to step up and show who we are,” says Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. “We grew up in Hawai’i, with our ethnic culture, believing that we could shape the future of the world.”
In Hawai’i, Aloha is law —quite literally encoded in the Hawai’i Revised Statutes, to which all citizens are obliged to conduct themselves while performing their duties and obligations and day-to-day living (this includes visitors). According to the law, “the Aloha Spirit is the coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to the Self. Each person must think and emote good feelings to others.”
To Hawai’ians, Aloha is more than mere greeting; it is a means of mutual respect and extends warmth and caring with no obligation for return. Aloha is the essence of relationships in which all people are mutually important. “Aloha means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.”
And it is this knowledge and tradition that Hawai’ian officials so desperately hope to share with their Asia-Pacific counterparts this month—only the second time APEC leaders will meet on U.S. shores since the year of the organization’s founding in 1989. In doing so, the state’s leaders focus on four pillars: a) clean energy; b) sky, ocean and earth sciences; c) health and life sciences; and d) meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions.
The APEC 2011 leaders’ week marks the culmination of a yearlong series that began with a symposium on Dec. 8 in Honolulu before traversing the nation from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. For the final event, U.S. President Barack Obama will be joined by leaders from 20 other nations that border the Pacific Ocean to address the issues of economic growth, trade and investment. Officials are calling the conference the most important business convention in Hawai’i history—attracting 20,000 international delegates including finance ministers, diplomats, policy-makers and Fortune 500 CEOs.
The 21 APEC member economies account for 40 percent of the world’s population, 54 percent of the world gross domestic product and 44 percent of world trade. Hawai’i leaders hope to prove that the destination is more than beautiful beaches and great vacations.
“APEC will show that our islands are an ideal setting for hosting serious business meetings and especially adept when it comes to gatherings involving international interests,” says John Monahan, president and CEO of the Hawai’i Visitors and Convention Bureau.
Hawai’i’s meeting industry has been aggressively preparing for the event—properties renovated their spaces and leaders focused on the requirements of the various government agencies involved with the hosting of so many leaders and dignitaries at the same time. At center: The Hawai’i Convention Center at the entrance to Waikïkï, which will host ministerial and business meetings and house the media center for an estimated 2,000 journalists from organizations around the world (including MPI).
It’s a once-a-generation event for the 21 attending economies through which it rotates. This year, it’s Hawai’i’s turn to impress the world. One+
The Aloha Spirit
The word Aloha constitutes the following.
- Akahai (kindness expressed with tenderness)
- Lôkahi (unity expressed with harmony)
- ‘Olu’olu (agreeability expressed with pleasantness)
- Ha’aha’a (humility expressed with modesty)
- Ahonui (patience expressed with perseverance)
One+ November 2011