HONOLULU - The Dalai Lama will talk to students and participate in a panel discussion with Native Hawaiian leaders during a visit to Honolulu this weekend.
The Tibetan spiritual leader also will tour several Native Hawaiian cultural sites, though his hosts are unable to disclose which ones in advance for security reasons.
His trip is funded by a grant that eBay Inc. founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife, Pam, made to the Hawaii Community Foundation, and he is visiting at the couple's invitation.
Surrounded by Hawaiian elders, the Dalai Lama bows during an April 2007 visit to Wailuku. The Dalai Lama begins a three-day visit to Hawaii today.
AP file photo
The Dalai Lama will speak to students about tolerance and perseverance Saturday. The next day, he will talk to the public about the role of peace and compassion in everyday life. Both talks will be streamed live online at pillarsofpeacehawaii.org, as will the panel discussion.
Writer and master hula teacher Pualani Kanahele will join him on the panel, as will Nainoa Thompson, who has been at the forefront of a revival in traditional Hawaiian and Polynesian navigation of the seas. The panel also will include business, political and community leaders.
John DeFries, who will moderate, said Hawaii's value of aloha is aligned with the Dalai Lama's values of compassion and tolerance.
"At the heart of this is, we have two native cultures - that of Tibet and that of Hawaii. We'll have an opportunity, through this panel, to be able to explore what it is we have in common as native cultures and what it is we have that are unique because of the different regions we live in," he said.
Jonathan Osorio, a professor of Hawaiian studies at the University of Hawaii, said he's looking forward to hearing the conversation, given the panelists' knowledge and their connections to their ancestors, spirits and the land.
He also hopes the participants will address how both their cultures have been dominated by large powers - China in Tibet's case and the United States in Hawaii's.
"Both groups of people represent cultures and civilizations and peoples and nations that are essentially held in captive by others," Osorio said.
It's the Dalai Lama's first visit to Hawaii since 2008, when he went to Maui. He's arriving today and will leave Tuesday.