In 1928, did those delegates, over 150 women, from thirteen countries gathered in Hawaii, under the auspices of the Pan Pacific Union, really anticipate a continuity of their first meeting for so many years, devoted to the enduring problems ever challenging women?
The conference was made more memorable when the delegates were honored guests of the Territorial Governor and Mrs. Wallace F. Farrington at Washington Place. The records say "everywhere was lightness, color, and laughter".
As PPSEAWA Hawai'i is readily recognized and honored with the special status of "Founding Member", we could not let the 75th Anniversary pass us by with just a birthday cake. And our members responded to the call!
Our celebration, on October 24, 2003, at Queen Emma Summer Palace was a uniquely Hawaiian affair: beautiful arrays of flowers, on stage and at the tables; conch shell greetings and pule blessing; children performing enchanting "young" hula; all set the warm and friendly tone for the gracious serving of a superb luau, starting with Ulrike Siddiqi's sparkling toast in celebration of PPSEAWA.
Before the luau, a special tribute was paid by Irene Fujimoto to Kay Yoshimoto, a beloved, much honored member, recognized as our PPSEAWA "Ambassador" for ever entertaining visiting members, contributing to scholarships and supporting our activities through her 40 years with PPSEAWA, holding offices locally as well as on the International Council.
Valerie Hogan, 1st Vice President of the International Council graciously gave the Council's greetings on behalf of HRH Princess Nanasipu'u, President of the PPSEAWA Council - whose arrival in Honolulu was unexpectedly delayed. However, we were happy to have with us Council Members Valerie Hogan, Lillian Jasko and our own Florence Kelley, as well as Dr. Shirley Lim (Coordinator for PPSEAWA Singapore).
The Program, "...In the Beginning" recounted the contributions of two men forever associated with the founding of PPSEAWA: the Hon. Mark Cohen of New Zealand who, in 1924 proposed the almost revolutionary idea that the Pan Pacific Union plan a conference for women and Alexander Hume Ford of Hawaii, president of the Union, who implemented lavishly the proposal.
The extraordinary differences between the two men were related by Valerie Hogan of New Zealand who humanized Cohen being the good and idealistic visionary, and Dr. Paul Hooper of Hawaii who profiled Hume, the colorful, creative entrepreneur and charismatic "inventor of facts."
The celebration concluded with the singing of Hawai'i Aloha, led by Floraine Van Orden who also had introduced us earlier to the history and charm of our place of celebration, Queen Emma Summer Palace.
As we "store away" our memories of the 75th, we enter our 76th year with renewed vitality and increased confidence.