Governor Ige’s Remarks at the International Astronomical Union

Posted on Oct 20, 2015 in Main

Remarks of Governor David Ige as prepared

August 3, 2015 at the Hawai‘i Convention Center

Aloha and welcome to the Hawaiian Islands. We’re pleased to host the 2015 General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union. It’s been over 25 years since the United States hosted this event, and it’s the first time the General Assembly has convened in Hawai‘i.

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the photos taken from the Apollo 8 spacecraft of the Earth rising above the lunar horizon. Those images were the first to show what a small island Earth is in space. Similarly, satellite photos of Hawai‘i show just how small and isolated these islands are from most of the world’s population.

As you know from your own journey here, Hawai‘i is 2,200 miles or 3,500 kilometers from the nearest continent. The Polynesians who first settled in the Hawaiian Islands practiced the finest land management and resource system in history and were able to sustain a large population. Later immigrants brought their own beliefs, heritage, music, food and values. Together, the people of Hawai‘i are playing a critical role in resolving issues that face humanity, such as the management of our natural resources, the generation of clean energy and the resolution of conflict.

As you are seeing before you, resolving conflict is not going to be easy or quick. We do not seem to be talking with each other but rather at each other. I believe there can be a resolution. We need to begin by listening to each other, truly listen and try to understand perspectives entirely different than our own. We need to hear the frustration of those who feel unheard. We need to find ways to honor as many interests as we can. I am committed to that path, and ask you to join me on it. You are among the greatest explorers of our age. You are seeing our future and seeing our past. You are offering us opportunities that the mind can hardly encompass. There are the opportunities in the sky and there are opportunities on earth as well. As leaders, let us work on both paths together.

We deeply honor and appreciate the work you do. You are making a difference for humanity. And so on behalf of the State of Hawai‘i, I want to acknowledge and thank the following individuals for recognizing that Hawai‘i is a special place to do business:

  • Norio Kaifu, President, International Astronomical Union;
  • Megan Urry, President, American Astronomical Society;
  • and France A. Córdova, Director, National Science Foundation.

Finally, I welcome all of you to our home…the Hawaiian Islands…where we are known around the world for our unique people, place and culture…where one of our kupuna or elders – Pilahi Paki – shared with us the hope that..

“as the world searches for peace the world will turn to Hawaii because Hawaii has the key…and that key is aloha”

It’s an honor and privilege to host you in the Aloha State…so, on behalf of our people…I wish all of you…my sincere mahalo and deepest aloha.