Golfing For Better Diplomacy

Steve Murray
Wednesday - July 01, 2009
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Leilehua Golf Course will host the 17th annual International Golf Classic July 17 to benefit Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, a nonprofit that promotes international understanding and strengthening Hawaii’s role in the Asia-Pacific region.

Entry fee is $175, with $115 of the amount tax deductible. Registration deadline is July 3. For details, call 944-7780.

PAAC executive director Jill Canfield said its programs give Hawaii students the opportunity to understand their community from a global perspective. There are currently 1,500 students taking advantage of the programs.

“There is no doubt that what happens around the world affects your life, and it’s better that they understand how,” she said.

(Getting a hands-on lesson right now are 22 Hawaii teens, including a Mililani High student, on a PAAC study tour of South Korea, where a much-publicized swine flu scare interrupted their itinerary.)

“There are kids who are interested in becoming foreign service officers, ambassadors or they’re interested in international business,” Canfield said.“But I think any student needs to become globally competent no matter what field they go into.”

Since 1954, PAAC has helped more than 150,000 students advance their educational goals via academic and travel grants along with talks and workshops with other students and world leaders.

“Most recently we had a panel from the Korean Economic Institute and someone from the State Department talking about Korea. We had the ambassador from Germany to the U.S., Counsel General from Azurbaijan; we had the vice minister for education in China. We try to have a range of speakers.”

Students also work on simulations, attend conferences and do service projects focused on many issues from health and the economy to the United Nations. It all leads to greater understanding and skills, she said.

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