Formed by under-sea volcanoes thousands of years ago, the state of Hawaii is a string of islands located southwest of the continental United States. The archipelago is well-known for its beauty, characterized by towering mountains, sweeping valleys, and stunning beaches that form its landscape. It is home to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a designated UNESCO world heritage site housing two active volcanoes, Mauna Loa and Kilauea, as well as rare and endemic wildlife. Thanks to the presence of active volcanoes, the geography of Hawaii is ever-changing and a unique sight to both researchers and tourists alike.
In addition to its dynamic environment, Hawaii has a rich history of culture and tradition. The islands were settled around 400 CE by seafaring Polynesians, who, with their expert knowledge of celestial navigation, ocean currents and wildlife, successfully sailed 2,400 miles in double-hulled canoes to reach their destination. Over the ages, Hawaiians cultivated communities with agricultural and fishing practices, and were unified into one Kingdom in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Hawaiian culture features a polytheistic religion closely tied to nature and ancestry, an importance of music and dance, as well as a myriad of traditional crafts such as woodcarving and featherwork. The significance of Hawaiian culture endures to this day, and is actively practiced and preserved in modern-day Hawaii and beyond.
n terms of recent history, the islands have undergone colonization and globalization since Christian missionaries arrived in Hawaii in 1820. In the late 19th century, American colonists exploited Hawaii’s sugar market and overtook the Kingdom, annexing the archipelago in 1898. In addition to its position in the history of U.S. colonization practices, Hawaii is significant to the discourse on World War II as the site of the Attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and trigger for US involvement in the international conflict.
JASC 72 will be able to explore the variety of knowledge and experiences Hawaii has to offer, especially regarding the Japan-America relationship. For students, this site will provide a unique opportunity to consider local and global perspectives of society, culture, and relations as a united delegation.