Maya Soetoro-Ng enthralled the crowd with a talk on a topic she knows very well – peace.
Soetoro-Ng, director of the University of Hawaii Manoa’s Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace & Conflict resolution and former President Barack Obama’s younger half-sister, visited campus Feb. 23. The H.O. La Bounty Chair of Interdisciplinary Applied Knowledge sponsored the event.
During her talk, she encouraged the audience to think of ways to become peace builders and discussed her work with an organization she co-founded called Ceeds of Peace.
Soetoro-Ng shared the Indonesian saying ‘Cuci mata’ with the crowd, which means “to wash the eyes,” she said.
“It means to get a beautiful view,” she said. “It’s changing the way we see one another. It’s changing the way we see ourselves. It’s the ability to see one another from multiple perspectives. Washing the eyes is really peace building.”
She also shared memories of her mother Anne Dunham, an anthropologist who taught women in Indonesian villages the importance of resilience and found family everywhere she went.
“She walked through many worlds,” Soetoro-Ng said. “She was a true sojourner.”