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Students hear social activists, The Elders

Aina Katsikas, Reporter

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Retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland and social activist Hina Jilani spoke to high school and college students about the need for peace in this constantly violent world.

Seniors Erica Freitas, Angelique Racpan, Aina Katsikas and Jessica Manuel and freshman Celine Arnobit heard three of The Elders speak to students on Sept. 6.

The Elders is an international organization of public figures and social activists, including former President Jimmy Carter and former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. The organization, founded in 2007 by former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, advocates human rights and peace.

“Archbishop Tutu made me want to fly to Africa and save all the children and make me consider what I want to do now, to save the world,” said Freitas.

The respected trio also covered such topics as terrorist groups, the fighting in Gaza and the power to convince others.

At one point in the discussion, Tutu cried out, “God, please watch over these children,” referring to terrorism against children in foreign countries.

“I hope you know that was someone’s child,” said Tutu.

“I was very inspired, listening to Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He’s telling us that we are all capable of changing the world, and it’s just up to us to do it,” said Racpan.

Students engaged in discussion over social media, especially Twitter. Participants were asked to tweet to @PillarsofPeace, using the hashtag #peaceHI to ask questions.

“I was very interested when Hina Jilani talked about people teasing her for carrying the same placard for 25 years. It inspires Sacred Hearts to keep going on the things we know need to be done,” said Toni Normand, Director of Student Activities.

Pillars of Peace Hawaii, the sponsor of the event, has  held similar events in the past two years.

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The Voice of Sacred Hearts Academy
Students hear social activists, The Elders