“A truly fitting tribute to Hawaii’s contributions to the Peace Corps’ legacy” – March 27, 2014, Washington, DC
by Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Director of the Peace Corps,
RPCV Samoa 1981-1983

“For more than ten years, Peace Corps trained volunteers on the islands of Hawaii, giving volunteers a unique chance to learn about Asian and Asian-American culture before departing for their country of service. During this time, the warm hospitality extended by the people of Hawaii played a key role in helping volunteers from the mainland prepare for Peace Corps service. Hawaii continues to be a wonderful, welcoming state for Returned Peace Corps volunteers. More than 1,390 Hawaiians have served as Peace Corps volunteers since the agency was created in 1961, and 26 currently serving volunteers from Hawaii are carrying on the state’s legacy of service.”

“The fascinating story of Hawai’i’s unique role in training Peace Corps volunteers” – January 2014
by Robert G. Buss, Executive Director,
Hawai’i Council for the Humanities

“The documentary Sending Aloha Abroad tells the fascinating story of Hawai’i’s unique role in training Peace Corps volunteers at the program’s beginnings in the 1960s and 70s and reflects on the national importance and idealism behind one of America’s most innovative and inspiring civic experiments. It dramatically shows another side of the coming of age of Baby Boomers, along-side Cold War fears and reactions against the War in Vietnam.”

“Sending Aloha Abroad is a highly successful film” – December 2013
by Dr. Mari Yoshihara, Professor
Department of American Studies, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

“The filmmakers have done an excellent job of telling a coherent story without flattening its complexities. I was happy to see that the film incorporated critical perspectives on the Peace Corps as part of the United States’ agenda in the Cold War, the relationship between the Peace Corps project and the Vietnam War, and the protests against the U.S. foreign policy both within the United States and in hosting nations. The method of presenting these critical perspectives not through an omniscient narration but through the voices of the volunteers and others involved in Peace Corps added richness to the narrative. I also think that the film provided a good discussion of the significance of Hawai‘i as the training site, especially its relationship to the East-West Center founded during the same period. I believe that these contextual and critical perspectives make the film a fine piece of humanities project beyond a hagiographic narrative about the Peace Corps and its volunteers. The extensive usage of footage, images, and objects from the period, as well as interviews with subjects ranging from Senator Inouye to Daniel Boylan, gives historical realism as well as contemporary relevance.”

“Sending Aloha Abroad – …transports you back to the 60’s” – February 2014
by Moon Yun Pellerin, RPCV Mali 1995-1998
Sending Aloha Abroad” shines a light on the little known period from 1962 to 1972 when Hawaii was the training ground for more than seven thousand Americans prior to their Peace Corps service in developing countries. With its illuminating testimonials from volunteers that trained in Hawaii at that time, the documentary also recounts the famous and impassioned speech of President John F. Kennedy who started the program and the accounts of the respected Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye.

The almost 30-minute documentary also takes a fascinating look back at Hawaii’s role in this iconic, but often overlooked American institution. In the documentary, a bright-eyed and eager Tom Decourcy answered the call of the Peace Corps and left Boston to go to Hawaii for a pre-service training before heading to the Philippines. Looking back on it now, he says with a smile: “I left Boston, Massachusetts on a cold, sleety October night. We got off in Hilo. I smelled the air and I said ‘I’m never going home.’ And I never did.”

“I had read the ‘Ugly American’ and I wanted to make a change in the world and decided to join the Peace Corps,” said one volunteer who was wearing a Peace Corps cap.

Howard Takata, Malaysia 1966, recounts how he wanted a “fun job.” Glo Boylan, Malaysia 1966, turned down teaching jobs to see the world. Dan Boylan, Malaysia 1966, thought the idea of the Peace Corps was better than the U.S. Army. Gene Bruce, Malaysia 1963, got a telegram from then Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver to go to a place he had never heard of.

This documentary also takes you back to the sixty’s with vintage footage of Peace Corps recruiting videos, images of the volunteers engaged in tough physical training and photos of volunteers roughing it in the islands. They also came to Hawaii to study the cultures and languages of other countries prior to departures of their assigned countries.

“Sending Aloha Abroad” brought out of the archives images of Kennedy’s rousing speech during his presidential campaign at the University of Michigan. In October 14, 1960, then Senator Kennedy challenged the students to give two years of their lives to help people in countries of the developing world. Shortly after Kennedy’s inauguration, he put in place the Peace Corps agency which is not only still in existence today, but thriving and growing around the developing world.”