Six student “Youth Ambassadors” and a teacher from Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School participated in the High School Students Islands Summit on World Tsunami Awareness Day 2017 in Okinawa from November 7 – 8, 2017. Gabriel Navalta (17), Royce Baun (17), Neil Phillip Navalta (16), Ariana Kayla Jabilona (16), Irish Marzan (15) Marriene Rose Jabilona (15) and teacher, Todd Otake, represented the United States this year.
More than 250 high school students from 26 mainly island nations – Chile, China, Comoros, Cook Islands, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu – which have been faced with tsunami challenges participated.
Marlene Murray, Executive Director of the Pacific Tsunami Museum represented the United States at the World Tsunami Conference which was held on November 5 in Ishigaki, Okinawa, in conjunction with the Students’ Summit. Seven other representatives of museum and institutes from Chile, Indonesia, Japan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, and Portugal also participated.
The Summit and the Conference aim to encourage the participants to learn from each other and become leaders who actively engage in minimizing the impacts of earthquakes and tsunami and play leading roles in the field of disaster risk reduction in respective countries.
The High School Students Islands Summit on World Tsunami Awareness Day 2017 was organized by Okinawa Prefecture (Okinawa Prefectural Government and Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education), in cooperation with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) Office in Japan and Japanese Foreign Ministry (MOFA). The World Tsunami Conference was co-organized by MOFA, UNISDR, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency. November 5 has been designated as the World Tsunami Awareness Day since December 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly.
After returning to Hawaii, the Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School students met with Hawaii’s First Lady, Mrs. Dawn Amano-Ige, to share their experiences from the Summit. Mrs. Ige commended the students for having well represented Hawaii and the United States.