Soetoro-Ng demonstrates peace at chapel visit

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Soetoro-Ng demonstrates peace at chapel visit

Maya Soetoro-Ng encouraged students to make a difference during a visit to Mid-Pacific.

Maya Soetoro-Ng encouraged students to make a difference during a visit to Mid-Pacific.

Maya Soetoro-Ng encouraged students to make a difference during a visit to Mid-Pacific.

Maya Soetoro-Ng encouraged students to make a difference during a visit to Mid-Pacific.

Kayla Marutani, Staff writer

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If people choose to make a difference in their community, there is nothing they can’t do, according to Maya Soetoro-Ng, a peace activist and half-sister of former President Barack Obama.

She visited Mid-Pacific chapel Nov. 21 to discuss leadership and how to demonstrate peace.

“There is inside us the capacity to do great harm just as there is the capacity for great heroism, generosity, and beauty,” said Soetoro-Ng.  

Students have daily choices and opportunities to make a difference and assist others in their community, said Soetoro. Whether we use that for good or for harm is up to us, she said. 

“There are so many ways [that] you could participate,” she said. “You should be thinking about what you could do to impact your community [positively].”  

Soetoro said teenagers can make an impact in their community by using their social media platforms, such as Youtube, to promote peace and inform people about this topic.

Sophomore Aria Okimoto said she will apply Soetoro’s speech to her life by “being kind to [others] and [try to] join more community service projects that help out in the community.”

Edric Dabu, a senior, said he’s going to make interpersonal peace by telling his parents he loves them and is thankful for them.

“It’ll make peace within myself and peace if we’re in a disagreement,” said Dabu. 

Soetoro works at the Community of Outreach and Service Learning and is a director there. She was also a former high school history teacher.

When Obama was running his presidential campaign in 2007-2008, Soetoro-Ng helped her brother by campaigning and talking about their memories as kids. She also taught at University Laboratory School and La Pietra.

Soetoro-Ng currently works as a Faculty Specialist and Director of Community Outreach and Global Learning at the Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution, based at the University of Manoa.

“Your responsibility as a peace builder doesn’t have to be huge. It can be just about this little patch of land 4 feet around you,” said Soetoro-Ng. 

Staff Writer Abigail Yagi contributed to this report.