Hiroshima-Honolulu Exchange Program | YMCA of Honolulu | Honolulu, Hawai‘i | www.ymcahonolulu.org

Atherton Branch

K to 12 Programs

Hiroshima-Honolulu Exchange Program

Since 1961, students from the YMCA of Honolulu and Hiroshima YMCA have participated in a summer exchange program. This is the longest running exchange program in the nation. Each year, the two YMCAs alternate sending student delegates to tour historical sites from World Wars, visit dignitaries, and participate in homestays. This enables youth to learn each other’s culture firsthand. The purpose of the program remains steady since its inception—to provide experiences for youth to build strong friendships that create lasting peace.

History of Let's Get Together! Hiroshima-Honolulu Exchange Program

It was January 1960 when Neal Blaisdell, Mayor of Honolulu, and Shinzo Hamai, Mayor of Hiroshima, met to strengthen international understanding and friendship. What came forth from this meeting was a vow to work for peace, an opportunity for a lasting relationship as "Sister Cities," and one of the strongest bonds of friendship.

Built on the foundation that had been laid, the Hiroshima YMCA proposed a student exchange program and the YMCA of Honolulu gladly accepted. In the summer of 1961, the first group of teens from Hiroshima came to Honolulu. After many years, the friendship of the two YMCA's, and the "Let’s Get Together!" Program, blossomed into what it is today.

"Let’s Get Together!" allows students of different backgrounds to experience diversity in cultures, social practices, environments, economies and life styles. Students are to honestly and openly work towards achieving the objectives which are integral to the program.

Program Objectives:

  • Build an illusion-free understanding of our countries.

  • Understand the philosophy, objectives and programs of the YMCA in our country.

  • Enable youth to learn, understand and appreciate themselves and others.

  • Gain a better understanding of our country by visiting and learning about another country.

  • Cultivate ways in which youth can develop friendship and lead the way for world peace.

  • Learn and understand the attitudes and feelings of others about our country.

  • Have fun while making new friends.

  • Recognize and take advantage of the opportunity that Hawai'i presents to all to be a living bridge between the people of the Pacific area.