The day opened with a visit to the University of the Ryukyus, where President Greenwood received an honorary doctorate. To express UH’s gratitude to the University of the Ryukyus for their generous gift of two bronze shiisaa (which we hope will be seen on campus sometime next year), and their support of Okinawan Studies at UH, President Greenwood presented UR President Iwamasa with a replica of the voyaging canoe Hōkūle’a inscribed with the motto “One ocean, one people.” The Hawaiian Protocol Team chanted an oli and performed a dance with paddle, and ended with a mele composed just for this occasion, during which they danced hula noho (seated style). Hawai’i Governor Neil Abercrombie delivered a moving speech that continued the theme of oceans uniting, and of island peoples, with strong indigenous traditions, facing similar challenges, while President Greenwood spoke of the opportunities available for UH and UR to work together to solve these challenges. The President and Governor then went outside to plant two Okinawa cherry trees to commemorate the occasion. These trees joined others planted over the years by former UH presidents and Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw.
The UH group and the Governors entourage then crossed the island to visit the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, and brand-new innovative research center, funded by the Japanese government, and poised to take its first class of graduate students next year. UH delegation member Dr. Ken Kaneshiro has close ties with the Center, as does COS Senior Adviser Bob Nakasone. Preceded by an oli from the Hawaiian Protocol Team, Governor Abercrombie delivered a rousing speech which included a challenge to the scientists at this new research center to be mindful of the needs of human society as they pursue their research. He then took his leave to go to another appointment. The UH delegation stayed on and toured the facilities, which President Greenwood had an extended private meeting with Center’s Director, Dr. John Dorfan, over collaborative projects with UH.
The UH delegation enjoyed the Opening Ceremony for the Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival in the evening, which at times felt like a soccer match, with attendees from the various nations with large uchinanchu populations, such as Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and of course the US (with Hawai’i sending over 1000 people to the Festival) trying to out-cheer each other.