The visits to Hawaii by global peace leaders aim to get people thinking about practicing peace in their own lives … and fostering peace around the world

World peace starts with individual peace.

When each one of us chooses to live in peace with our family and neighbors, colleagues, friends, and strangers—meeting anger with calm, hatred with kindness, offenses with justice, and differences with respect—our living example can inspire others.

Peace involves making choices. It’s an active decision that each of us gets to make every day about how to act or react. There is nothing passive about peace. Whether it’s a global issue—like the threat of nuclear destruction—or a personal one—like the threat of a bully—people have the choice (and some would say the responsibility) to act.

What are you doing in your life to make the world a more peaceful place?

Worldwide Pillars of Peace

Meet these individuals and groups who are, by virtue of their compassion and courage, "Pillars of Peace."

Allan BoesakRev. Dr. Allan Aubrey Boesak

Rev. Dr. Boesak has emerged as one of the world's preeminent authorities on liberation theology through his work in South Africa alongside Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Madela fighting against apartheid and promoting reconciliation. See more

Ceeds of Peace

The overarching goal of Ceeds of Peace is to build leadership skills, or “ceeds,” such as conflict resolution, critical thinking, compassion and collaboration, in adults who impact children—and in children themselves. Teachers, parents, and community leaders are invited to Ceeds of Peace workshops to learn how to help youth become peace leaders and create their own action plans. Read more.

Center for Global Nonkilling

Glenn Paige's life work can be seen in his founding of the Center for Global Nonkilling and the writing of "Nonkilling Global Political Science." These acts have resulted in a paradigm shift, where academics and activists now question the assumption that killing is part of human nature. Read more.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The visit to Hawaii by His Holiness the Dalai Lama aims to get people thinking about the role of peace and compassion in their daily lives. Read more about and see videos from his visit to Hawaii

Dr. Denise Pope

Dr. Denise Pope specializes in student engagement, curriculum studies, qualitative research methods, and service learning. She is co-founder of Challenge Success, a school reform nonprofit that partners with schools and families to embrace a broad definition of success and implement research-based strategies that promote student well-being and engagement with learning.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu - South African Social Rights Activist

Desmond Tutu is a South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop who is known for his stand against apartheid. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, he continues to be active in the defense of human rights and campaigns for the oppressed. See videos from his visit in 2012 to Hawaii. Archibishop Tutu was also part of The Elders visit in 2014. 

Dr. Dorothy Espelage

Dorothy Espelage, Ph.D., began studying bullying in 1993—long before the 2011 White House Conference on Bullying Prevention that brought national attention to the issue. Even though awareness has greatly increased, Espelage regrettably reports that “face-to-face bullying is alive and well.” With a focus on prevention and intervention, Espelage shared her research-based strategies with an eager audience of teachers, parents, administrators, and counselors in Honolulu. Read more.

The Elders

The Elders is an independent group of global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007. They use their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering, and promote the shared interests of humanity. Three members of The Elders, former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland, human rights activist Hina Jilani, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, visited Hawaii in 2014. See more from their visit.  


As part of PBS Hawaii’s HIKI NO, the nation’s first statewide student news network, students attended a talk by Aung San Suu Kyi in January 2013 and a talk by The Elders in August 2014. They produced these videos to convey some of the messages that were shared and to capture the powerful impact on the other students and themselves. Read more.


HopeLab's name is a clue to its mission and work. The team combines behavior science and technology design to motivate positive health behaviors. HopeLab is exploring how technology can engage people, especially kids and young adults, to improve their health and well-being. See more.

Iolani Peace Institute

The group's mission is to promote peace inside and outside the Iolani school community through inner peace, peace among people, and peace with the natural environment through activities, speakers, conferences, and active endeavors. See more.

Jake Shimabukuro - Playing with Less

In the hands of Jake Shimabukuro, the strumming of a four-string ‘ukulele is unfathomably rich with emotion. His technical prowess is matched by his passion for playing the uke, and matched again by his humility at having become a musical sensation on the international stage. Read more

John Hunter - Innovative Educator

Internationally renowned as an innovative educator, John Hunter spoke to an enthusiastic audience of over 1,000 public and private Hawaii school teachers as part of the fourth annual Schools of the Future Conference held October 23-24, 2012 at the Hawaii Convention Center. The conference was a particularly exciting venture as the Hawaii Department of Education and the Hawaii Association for Technology in Education joined for the first time with the Hawaii Community Foundation and the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools to sponsor the event. See more.


Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl


For over 20 years, Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, Ph.D. — renowned expert in the area of social and emotional learning (SEL) — has been conducting scientific research that demonstrates that children who attain social and emotional fitness actually do better in school and in life. Learn more.

Dr. Marc Brackett

Real-world implementation is a driving force for Marc Brackett, director of Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, so while emotions are complex, the social emotional learning programs he’s helped create are not. RULER, an evidence-based program adopted by over 1,000 schools; the Mood Meter App in partnership with HopeLab; and a new initiative called InspirED. See more

Mental Health America of Hawaii (MHA-Hawaii) 

A top priority for Mental Health America of Hawaii is to protect against bullying, one of the major factors contributing to youth suicide. Teens in Hawaii may feel like they can’t talk to anyone in confidence and are reluctant to seek help. See more


Goldie Hawn started The Hawn Foundation after 9/11 to help children who were suffering high levels of stress learn not only to cope, but also to flourish. Now in its second decade, the MindUP™program is teaching mindfulness skills to over one million K-12 students in eight countries (including six elementary schools in Hawaii). See more

Na Lei Aloha

Na Lei Aloha Foundation understands that each act of goodness—however small—can have far-reaching effects. The dual nature of the Lantern Floating Hawaii experience—both personal and universal—aptly describes the philosophy of its organizer, Na Lei Aloha Foundation, the secular arm of the Shinnyo-en Buddhist Order in Hawaii. Read more about the foundation here.

Peace on Your WingsPeace on Your Wings

The true story of Sadako Sasaki, a survivor of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan and a inspirations for a more peaceful world, was the basis for "Peace on Your Wings." This play provides a fictional adaptation that touches on the interactions of a group of friends trying to create a peace memorial. See more.

Philosophy for Children Hawaii

Philosophy is a verb to the team of educators behind Philosophy for Children in Hawaii: "Something you do, not something that is done to you." Whether a kindergartener at Waikiki Elementary School or a senior at Kailua High School, the process of inquiry is helping to create good thinkers. See more.

Polynesian Voyaging Society

Two Polynesian voyaging canoes, Hokulea and Hikianalia, are currently sailing across the earth’s oceans; over four years, they will travel to more 85 ports in 26 countries, logging more than 47,000 nautical miles.  At the core of this amazing endeavor is the message that we all share one island earth, and we all need to take care of our precious resources, both environmental and cultural. See more

Mary Gordon


Roots of Empathy - Mary Gordon


When Mary Gordon created Roots of Empathy in 1996, she recognized that human beings are relational creatures, and that the more competent children were in understanding their own feelings and the feelings of others, the less likely they were to hurt or bully each other. This “pedagogy of hope,” as Mary Gordon describes it, led to the development of Roots of Empathy, which is a well-orchestrated series of 27 visits to K-8 classrooms; nine of the visits include a baby and his or her parent from the neighborhood.  Learn more.

The Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi

The Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi is the founding president and CEO of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT. He is working to create a platform for teaching ethics in school. Tenzin Priyadarshi, whose teaching is devoted to raising the level of ethical behavior, admits, “You cannot grade empathy.” See more.