Monday, October 13, 2014

The Significance of an Intergenerational Conference Convening in Hawai'i

There are two reasons we’re excited about next year’s international conference. First, will it be the first time we convened a conference outside of D.C. Secondly, it's in Honolulu, Hawai'i!

Our guest blogger, ASN Consulting Services' Audrey Suga-Nakagawa, explains the significance of an intergenerational conference convening in Hawai'i.

Hawai'i is one of the most racially diverse places in the world.  

It has become home to many different ethnic groups over the last 200 years, as each ethnic group has added elements of its own culture to local life. 

Hawai'i's variety of cultures can be traced back to the old “plantation days” in the Islands, when various ethnic groups from all over migrated to Hawai'i to earn a living and support their growing families. 

Today, contemporary culture in Hawai'i is a mix of the different cultures and ethnic groups that make up its unique population.

The State also enjoys one of the longest life expectancy in the nation and the world.  The average 65-year-old woman in Hawai'i today has a life expectancy of 88 years while men can expect to live past 84 years of age.   

Hawai'i’s respect and reverence for its kupuna (Hawaiian for elder, grandparent or older person) deeply rooted in the local culture.  

A kupuna is an honored elder who has acquired enough life experience to become a family and community leader. 

In ancient times, they were teachers and caretakers of grandchildren and that bond was especially strong. Even today, the kupuna is expected to speak out and help make decisions on important issues for both the family and the community. 

Many are actively engaged as volunteers in our schools, hospitals, community service organizations, churches, ethnic and cultural clubs and continue to play a vital role in their multigenerational households. 

Our kupuna show how rich a resource they are and why they should be tapped to contribute to the betterment of Hawai'i, for they truly represent one of Hawai'i's fastest growing natural resources.

The City and County of Honolulu is currently engaged in becoming an internationally recognized Age Friendly City, a prestigious designation by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities.

1 comment:

Jay Bloom said...

As someone who has lived and worked in Honolulu and throughout the state Audrey has captured some of the aloha spirit that is there. Please join us at the conference. It promises to be special.