HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige and First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige returned from a successful and productive trip to Japan and China on Oct. 14. The governor and Mrs. Ige traveled with a delegation from the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) to promote economic development, renewable energy cooperation and international student exchange.
While there, the governor and Mrs. Ige participated in mile-stone celebrations of the 30th anniversary of sister-relations with Okinawa Prefecture, Japan and Guangdong Province, China and expressed Hawai‘i’s commitment to further strengthen these relationships through educational, cultural and economic exchanges in the years ahead.
“Hawai‘i and Okinawa share many similar characteristics, and I was able to observe how Okinawa’s energy companies and educational institutions are developing programs and initiatives that have global impact,” said Gov. Ige. “The Prefectural Government is also committed to developing a workforce skilled in international relations. Our similarities will continue to unite us as we strive to achieve new models of economic development priorities.”
Summary of Gov. Ige’s Meetings in Okinawa Prefecture:
U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy
U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy expressed sincere congratulations to the State of Hawai‘i and Okinawa Prefecture on the 30th anniversary of the sister-state/prefecture relationship. Gov. Ige and Mrs. Ige met with Ambassador Kennedy to discuss support of educational exchanges and renewable energy initiatives with Okinawa Prefecture.
U.S. Consul General Joel Ehrendreich
Gov. Ige was briefed by the U.S. Consulate on areas where Okinawa and Hawai‘i would be able to further collaborate on economic development initiatives.
Gov. Takeshi Onaga
Gov. Ige pledged his support to collaborate with Okinawa Prefecture on educational exchanges and renewable energy development.
Naha Kokusai High School
Gov. and Mrs. Ige met with 40 students from Naha Kokusai High School to discuss Hawai‘i. Kokusai High is a publicly funded international school that has a curriculum focused on developing globally conscious citizens with English speaking ability.
Gov. Ige met with the faculty of the University of the Ryukyus, Meio University and the Okinawa Institute of Science & Technology, who all have relationships with Hawai‘i. Discussions focused on support of joint research and other academic and student exchanges.
Hawai‘i-Okinawa International Student Exchange
First Lady Dawn Ige represented DBEDT’s International Student Exchange and addressed more than 100 students and educators about the value of international exchanges and the opportunities that are available in developing student, academic and professional exchanges to promote global awareness and understanding.
Sister-State Anniversary Reception
Gov. Ige and Mrs. Ige were honored at a reception celebrating the 30th Anniversary Sister-State/Prefecture Relationship with Okinawa. The famous musical group, Begin, made a rare performance in honor of Gov. Ige and members of the Hawai‘i delegation.
Energy Industry Site Visits
Gov. Ige participated in site tours of Okinawa Electric Power Company and J-Power during his visit. He also delivered remarks at The Innovative Energy Forum in Okinawa and a business seminar sponsored by the Japan External Trade Organization.
Together with the Hawai‘i United Okinawa Association, Gov. Ige met with more than 250 members of the Okinawa-Hawai‘i Club with a membership that includes community members, business executives and professionals.
In addition, Gov. Ige and Hawai‘i representatives participated in the Naha Matsuri Parade and Tsunahiki events during their trip. The annual community events attract thousands of visitors to and residents of Okinawa.
Guangdong International Student Exchange
Following their visit to Okinawa, Gov. Ige and Mrs. Ige joined Study Hawai‘i (a consortium of educational programs) in Guangzhou as part of the 30th Anniversary Sister-State/Province Relationship activities in Guangdong. The overall message of their visit was to encourage Chinese students to study in Hawai‘i. Governor and Mrs. Ige and the Hawai‘i delegation visited international high schools and universities in Guangdong. This message was also highlighted during a Study Hawaii Seminar in Guangzhou.
“Our visit to Guangdong Province welcomed new opportunities to foster increased educational exchanges with schools in Hawai‘i,” said Gov. Ige. “I am excited about future opportunities for partnerships between schools in Hawai‘i and Guangdong that promote people-to-people exchange among students as they strive toward developing into globally conscious citizens.”
Summary of Gov. Ige’s Meetings in Guangzhou and Zhongshan City, Guangdong, China:
U.S. Consul General Charles Bennett
Gov. Ige met with Consul General Bennett and his team from the American Consulate in Guangzhou to discuss various economic and educational exchange opportunities with Guangdong Province.
Guangdong Vocational High School and Guangdong Overseas Chinese High School
First Lady Dawn Ige represented DBEDT during school visits to Guangdong Vocational High School and Guangdong Overseas Chinese High School attended by students who are interested in pursuing overseas study abroad opportunities and other international education training.
South China Normal High School and University
Gov. Ige met with officials at South China Normal High School and University. These institutions are among the elite high schools and universities in Guangdong Province and in China. They have a strong affinity to Hawai‘i schools and have established relationships in numerous courses of study.
Study Hawaii Seminar
Gov. Ige welcomed more than 150 students, parents, and representatives from high schools and universities in Guangdong to a Study Hawai‘i Seminar. Fifteen of Hawaii’s educational programs promoted their schools to individuals and educational institutions in Guangdong interested in study abroad opportunities in Hawai‘i.
Gov. Ige met with Zhongshan City Mayor Chen Liangxian and the senior leadership of Zhongshan’s Bureaus of Commerce, Education, Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs and Tourism. The visit to Zhongshan included a visit to Sun Yat-Sen Middle School and Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Residence. Gov. and Mrs. Ige were honored to visit Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Middle School since Dr. Sun spent his formative years in Hawai‘i and has left his mark in both China and Hawai‘i.
In addition, Gov. Ige met with travel wholesalers and retailers during a press conference and luncheon, sponsored by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. More than 50 journalists/reporters from local TV stations, newspapers, magazines, and online publications attended the event.
The visit to Guangdong culminated in a meeting with Gov. Zhu Xiaodan to discuss programs of the past and revisiting those initiatives with updated programs on education and training for the students of Guangdong Province. The 30th Anniversary Sister-State Province Gala was hosted by the Guangdong Foreign Affairs Office with Hawaiian entertainment and traditional Chinese performances.
Nanfang Daily Newspaper and Guangdong Television Interviews
Gov. Ige and Mrs. Ige were interviewed by Nanfang Daily and Guangdong Television prior to returning to Hawai‘i. Reporters was interested in learning more about past and future educational and economic initiatives that were discussed when Gov. Ige paid a courtesy visit to Gov. Zhu.
Deputy Communications Director/Press Secretary