Rev. Dr. Cindy Paulos, a Maui music producer, author, poet, lyricist, composer, artist, and announcer on multiple stations for KAOI radio, was named a UNESCO Cross-Cultural & Peace Crafters Award Laureate by the United Nations (UN). UNESCO, a specialized agency of the UN, aims at promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, the sciences, and culture. The virtual award ceremony, held during the commemoration of the 2020 International Day for Peace, honored artists, scientists and social-justice activists from around the world.
Paulos, host of the longest-running radio talk show on Maui, has done over 18,000 interviews over the years, with eight of her CDs submitted for Grammy considerations. She is currently writing her seventh book, and is involved with The Peace Projects, an inspirational endeavor at the UNESCO Center for Peace.
“I was honored to be recognized by UNESCO for my peace efforts,” Paulos said. “It would have been wonderful to go to the UN for the event, but, understandably, it was on Zoom.
My background is in communications; therefore I will be sharing the Peace Projects being done by Hawai’ian peace-workers and others around the world, via radio and website. By spreading the word, we can inspire people to work for harmony and goodwill in their communities and worldwide. My award motivates me to do more, as I am so touched by the work done internationally by other UNESCO recipients.”
Award-winning Maui filmmaker Dr. Tom Vendetti reflected, “It is refreshing to know that there are influential people working in the media who are committed to promoting peace and harmony on our island and in the world. Cindy Paulos is one of those individuals. She walks her talk by creating beautiful spoken word albums that share the concept of aloha. Her radio programs have touched millions of lives around the world, resulting in a continuous flow of positive energy, promoting love and compassionate thinking.”
Hawai’ian slack-key guitarist and Grammy Award nominee Keola Beamer noted, “With her tireless efforts to keep the public informed, combined with her love of community and culture, Paulos is a wonderful credit to Hawaii’s artistic community.”
The world is in dire need of peacemakers. We all need to contribute, each in our own way, to making it just a little better.
Peace Project 1 Interview with Deidre Teagarden
Welcome to the Peace Projects. I'm Cindy Paulos, and I'm here with a wonderful friend and she's part of our peace projects team, Deidre Teagarden, the Executive Director of the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center Deidre, it's so nice to have you here.
Deidre: It is wonderful to be here with you, Cindy, and all of your friends, and it's really an honor to be on your first show. I am excited about that and excited about everything that you're doing as it relates to peace, I think you're just... Your marvelous and... Congratulations on putting this together.
Cindy: Well, I invited you for a couple of reasons, you have been an inspiration for this in many ways, the work you've done with your mother, your mother, Melinda, I'm going to have on the show next week, is a peace activist, and she was an inspiration for so many... She has a passion for peace, I rarely have seen in anyone... She took you to Japan when you were young. She went and interviewed many of the survivors of Hiroshima, she's worked and knows the importance of peace, and because of everything that you've learned and growing up and spending time in Japan, you speak fluent Japanese, and you now work for the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center, you're able to communicate in Japanese, and you go to Japan many times and you've been influenced by the understanding of how the peace effort is so important, and I thought, “What a unique opportunity to understand you and your Mother, the influences of heard dedicated work for peace. And how important that really is, you truly are living what your Mother has taught you through your work,.” When you first were young and seeing your mother's work towards understanding the importance of peace, how did it affect you and how did it influence you as you are in your work today?
Deidre: Well, I definitely... Both my brother and I are very thankful to our mother for taking us to Japan back when she did... We lived there for several years, and yes, she was doing research on at that time, interviews with A Bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and it was in the early 80s that she was doing this, and we have the, I guess, the honor or to learn these stories. First hand, they're very difficult stories, but as you will speak with her next week, these people really allow us to learn first-hand the devastation of war, the devastation of the nuclear bombs, and how they were able to go beyond that devastation and that violence to live lives of their own. And I think what was so surprising is there wasn't a... I guess we would assume that there is a hatred or dislike toward Americans, but we never really never encountered that... The people that we met with had gotten beyond that to talk about the importance of never having something like that happen again, and so every day we just heard those messages of peace and not to focus on all of the protests that had happened, rather take all of those understand what they were and move forward to make sure something like that never happened again, and I think that philosophy had a big impact on both my brother and I over the years to this day, and it's interesting from that early influence, which is life-changing, really...
Cindy;: Very few people could say they grew better from the west, could say they grew up with that kind of background. To where you are now, at the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center, again.
Hearing stories from the very brave and valued and many times humble, Beyond Belief, humble survivors of those who fought in World War II, when the rest of their family and friends and countrymen were often put in concentration, concentration camp, they were put in internment camps, and me, while they were out there fighting for peace, having to survive, and many of them didn't survive the battle of World War II, and you've heard some stories from them that are also life-changing...
Deidre Yes, the story of the Nisei soldiers of World War II is just one that is heart-wrenching and at the same time is full of valor, and these were men who a nation had decided were enemies just because of how they looked, because me say mean second generation Japanese, but a lot of these men, primarily from Hawaii, and then of course on the West Coast, they were called aliens and they... Especially on the West Coast, but also here in Hawaii, we had a definite in tournament story where the professors, the businessmen, the teachers, they were all put into internment camps, and on the West Coast, you have a much larger internet story, but yeah, so these people's parents were put in internment camps, shipped away, and yet their sons went to fight for America to prove their loyalty, and I think it was President Truman at the end of the war, said to this specific group of Mesa soldiers, you fought not only prejudice on the battlefields far away, you bought it right here at home and one... And as a result, our Hawaii was transformed by... They're coming back and opened up many opportunities for those next several generations of Japanese Americans, but they all went with those values, those values of responsibility and loyalty and duty and shame, don't shame your family, you go and fight, you are Americans and even though you're a Japanese ancestry.
Cindy; There are so many stories that are just... You can't believe them, but we had... One of our veterans in one of our oral history said, we did what we had to do at that time, many of them came back, of course, started businesses, got into politics, but a common theme that we hear from them... It has been more hell, don't go to war. Be nice to one another. It's just what you lose is not worth it, so the stories and the sacrifices of those men and their families are something that we hold is our foundation, we share those, and we also like to share that message of, let's not make the same mistakes again. Whether it's internment or... So beautifully put, and I can't help but think as I'm listening to these stories and what you've been through and what they've been through, how important it must have been for them to learn to forgive because the families... I mean, some of them lost everything and didn't get back what they had... There were people who are doctors, lawyers, they were wonderfully dedicated people who had done nothing wrong, who lost everything, there were these people who went and lost their friends who were ness, who died so many die in these battles, and the pain and resentment could have completely eaten up all of these people's lives if they didn't learn forgiveness, so I think there's a theme that I might like to explore a little bit how forgiveness can bring peace.
Deidre:: Now, you're exactly right, I haven't thought of it like that, but you're right. It is all about forgiveness. In every aspect of what we do, isn't it?
Cindy: Well, if we are to learn as you have from all these amazing story, think of all the stories that are literally movies in your head that you've experienced from listening to these people's life stories, but if these people who have gone on to be leaders in their own right, even here in a war, so many who are involved in politics, if they hadn't learned to forgive and change their course, if they had taken that anger and hurt and resentment and let it grow, they would have not been able to continue to just... Even where you're sitting right now, because the NASA extra armorial Center was built on the dedication of these people who were so brave and wanted and were so completely feeling they had to do something important that was valuable, that was good. From their experiences?
Deidre:: Yes, there was all a luncheon in 1952 where they're returning hundreds infantry guys got together and they adopted a motto of continuing service, giving back to your community, and each island here in Hawaii, that manifested itself in a different way, and for us here on... May, it was basically our center, which took many years and many amazing people and lots of hard work to create, but it started with an intergenerational center, so on our campus, we have both a preschool and an adult daycare center, and then of course, we have our center downstairs with an education center where we hold exhibits and an archive with over 200 special collections from Marissa and Sansa veterans. But the point is, yes, they forgave somehow, and they came back to do great things, and we wouldn't be here if it weren't for them, and for their idea of continuing service and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, they adopted motto of go for broke. Just give it your all. And I think those two autos really share exactly what these men and their families, what we're all about, because the family is sacrificed so much also, if
Cindy;: We just want to take that concept of forgiveness and put it in our minds to the Middle East and to the Palestinian and Israeli conflict, there's been such a desire for peace for so long there, and now, of course, there's so many people around the world, but if for just a moment we could understand how forgiveness could change the hatred, the death, the conflicts, the devastation that happens, but it seems so hard for some people who are so fairly wounded inside that they can't forgive, that seems to continue and perpetuate on and on, to the point where some people say, Well, there never can be peace in the Middle East. How many times have you heard that in. People said they tried to try and to fail, so we have to then take that concept back to inside us because Buddha said peace begins with them, don't look for it without... So if indeed, I think that these Mesa veterans, I think that the families, I think that the people that had to be interned in those really difficult camps, I wonder if their philosophy and maybe even Buddhism or something, found that place of peace within them, found that place that they were able to achieve that piece that might have been able to carry forth that healing process.
Deidre:: You know, I often wonder if, because the Nisei, the second generation, whose parents were ESA, first generation, if they were somehow able to take that philosophy of Buddhism and forgiveness and respect and endurance, that is such a big concept in Japan of common... It's not just patients, it's hard core endurance, if they were able to take all of that and also mix it with that American... We're going to get it done. That Americanism, to have this, to really help with this philosophy of combining the two of them, if that helps them along the way, I don't know, but... You talk about Buddhism and everything is within. I mean, if that is true, if we all were able to practice forgiveness and we could start with really little things like for giving your friend on Facebook for not having your exact political ideas. Thank you, there's so much of that. And you can be both. You can love your friend and at the same time, perhaps disagree with their philosophy about whatever it is, if we can really... Doesn't mean you have to accept it, it doesn't mean you have to accept that viewpoint, but perhaps you can still love your friend.
Where is that balance? And how do we make that happen?
Cindy;: Thank you for bringing that up because I know you ran for office and you certainly qualified, you have a wonderful background and of all the qualifications, and you are a woman, but there are other women who run for office, but it did get extremely painful and negative and it's very hard when people bring out tools that are frightening and attack in ways that are shocking sometimes, even here in the land of aloha, and I have to bring up your mother, your wonderful mother, military has tied in and she did a Peace pilgrimage, sharing a concept of Aloha and the importance of it, and I keep saying, If we can't have a LOCA, and this has been challenging times this last year, and if we can't share the Aloha here, where in the world can it be shared? You understand that because your mother's passion for a loop.
Deidre:: You're exactly right. And I think whether we talk about the Nisei values or the who to talk, what our state teaches, the law of aloha is written into our Constitution here in the state of Hawaii. And that's huge. And yes, Aloha, my mother made these pins that she took with her to Japan on her pill permit about Aloha and the idea of it, and it was beautiful, she gave them all around the different temples and different people she met, but yes, in Hawaii is known for its aloha, it's in our constitution, we talk about it, but sometimes perhaps we don't practice it as much as we could, and if you really look at the meaning and what aloha is supposed to do, I think that is just another way that if we actually practice that practice the golden rule. Wouldn't things be better? Little by little. And the Aloha is needed, always note, but it's needed now, especially because there's so many people who are full of fear.
Cindy;: I see a lot of fear coming in about what's going to be happening politically... Yes, also what's going to happen when visitors come back and fear about people catching covid 19 fear about so many things, and I have to see that seeds of fear, wherever there's fear, you can see peace going right out the window, because fear is the opposite of having peace when you're at peace, you're not full of fear, when you're at peace, you are finding that place inside where there's love and contentment and understanding, and it really is the upper... Completely convicted that that piece, when you have fear.
Deidre: And I agree, and I think that you can still be cautious, but you can also have these... It's not as if you have to be either or I think this is just my opinion. But I think sometimes in Western culture, we jump to... It's either this or it's that, you're either right or you're wrong. If you don't agree with me, I can't speak to you anymore, or maybe the device of mentality whereas... And again, just my own opinion, and this is throwing up for many years in Japan and China and living there, there's more of that middle area, there's more of that gray area there... You can be peaceful, but you can be cautious, you can endure, but you don't have to accept more treatment, there's a way to balance the two, and I think if we could find as humanity more of a balance doesn't always work, of course, there are extreme situations and... That's just the way it is, but I think that there's a way that we can practice more of a balance and realize that you can be afraid of covid, so therefore you can be cautious and you can wear your mask and you can wear gloves when you fill up your car with gasoline. If you still have a gasoline car, there are things you can do, but you could also be a peace and to find that perfect balance that... That is the holy real.
Cindy;: That's also in Buddhism called the middle path, which is What is a musical following the middle path for that reason for exactly what you're so beautifully said, because when you are in that middle path, and sometimes that middle path can be called also a razor edge because you can slip either way and fall off, but yeah, it doesn't have to be either, or if you are centered with your intention on that path and an intention, again, if you setting yourself of doing something good in working for good with peace in your heart and peace in your soul, then yes, all the rest teaches us as we go, and it's not easy because we are facing a lot... I understand that when I got that UNESCO piece award, I was so blessed to be on a webcast like this, it was really my first big podcast, I didn't have a light, but the other things... But there were people from everywhere working on peace, people from Nigeria, people from Japan, people from South America, people from Canada, people from all around the world. And when I was able to see that this is a worldwide thing of people working everywhere, understanding that importance of peace, and that is we're not perfect, but that is part of their intent and understanding of how important that is, and there's people like your mother that raised you to understand these things.
Cindy: I think there's probably more people alive right now understanding the importance of peace than ever before, and yet still we're practicing every day, and you said we're learning as we go, and sometimes the hard lessons like... Well, for example, what people went through the NSA, veterans and World War II and their families. The hard lesson sometimes can teach us the most...
Deidre:; That's very true. And if we practice peace or if there were more peace classes or in school, and I know that they are... People can get their degree in peace education, really... I know Rotary does a piece certificate and there are other piece institutes out there which are wonderful, and if we were able to take that idea of peace and make it a little bit more mainstream... I don't know, I mean, everybody knows. I don't know, I'm just pontificate, but one of the things my mother talks about a lot, and it really helped me was observation versus judgment. I think as humans, we have a tendency to judge others, we judge ourselves, everything is a judgment, and if we were able to just kind of shift our mind and think of judgment, smarts, observations, if you look at something as an observation versus a judgement, it's a different feeling... And she was talked about that a handful of years ago, and I always try to have that in the back of my mind to look at something, whether it's something I've done, maybe I didn't do my Zoom correctly, maybe I forgot to put the camera on...
Oh, what a horrible mistake. Well, actually, that's a judgement, maybe I just observe and then learn for next time, but that's a tiny, ridiculous example, but there are much bigger examples, and if you just take a day and try to serve instead of judge how different it feels at of at the end of the day. That would be to challenge
Cindy; I've written many times about the term the objective observer, and that part that you're talking about is exactly that that part of us that can discern... We're watching, we're discerning, but we're not judging, we're just going, Oh, this is this, this is this. But then you took it even one step further, which I really appreciate, which is taking responsibility, because with judgments, basically, we are putting our blame on other people, so we don't take responsibility for ourselves, and once we take... And again, I go back to Buddhism. There was a lovely teacher. And I just loved him, Lama Tenzin and I went with him to Tibet. He is no longer around, but he always said in one of his last talk I Zendo there was, I take blame for everything, I take responsibility for everything, I don't put it on anyone else, and when I take responsibility for everything around me, then I can change and I can control myself out of my ego and not with the ego is the ego responds and gets upset, then you have responses that are not from the objective or observe there's reactions versus non-reaction.
There's that moment of like, Oh, oh, I'm here because I can learn from. But it's hard not to kick in that reaction of the ego, and once you do, the other person almost always react back or something, and it's very hard to... Then you have the acceleration of a problem when you judge from the ego and you can't necessarily take it right back if there's a response, it's even stronger. Back at you.
Deidre: We have this gentleman who comes to the office, he is in his late sends, his name is Mr. Ito retired business man, he comes and he cuts our grass twice a week, and he doesn't have to... He does it out of law for the center, but he has these wonderful each OSs, and he'll come, and I'll say, Oh, so and so was supposed to be here at such and such a time for a meeting. Where are they? And then he says, Well, you have to be so thankful that somebody is late because it will help you appreciate more when someone else is on time or I'll come to me, I complain a little bit maybe about the election, if someone doesn't agree with me, and he said, Well, that's wonderful. The more people that disagree with you, the better it is because you can look at back at your own ideas and see where maybe you could fix them and... Anyway, I have them all written down and that's
Cindy: book. I love those. Maybe you can just frame them, put them in little things, I mean, what a wonderful spin, what... It's
Deidre:: So the next time... So whenever I get a little frustrated with life, I could go to my little Mr. Ito sayings, and they're like, Oh, oh, you've written the Itoism I write them down a little post-it note so that I put them around my office and every now and then I'll come across one on me... Well.
Cindy: I see them framed in little beautiful frames and put up on the wall. If people want to understand what we're talking about, I recommend. They try to find you. Whether they're here on now, you're not... They can go to VMC, heavens, memorial center, VMC dot org, have hundreds of stories. There are... Or it's just an amazing resource, movies, there's clips, there's so much that people can learn, and I honor the fact that you understand the importance of that and you're getting yourself to preserve what has been learned from these wonderful people.
Deidre:: Well, it's really an honor to do it, we love what we do here at the center, we have a dedicated team, dedicated board, dedicated supporters, anyone who walked through the door, of course, we're doing it by appointment only now because of course, it's covid. But everybody who walks... And these are uniquely American stories also, we always tell people, you don't have to be Japanese American, you don't have to have a love of history to enjoy the stories that are here that go beyond politics or ethnicity or gender, anything like that. These are just amazing stories of humanity, which every culture has, of course, and we're very honored to share the ones that we have, and I think you, Cindy, because you are just a huge advocate of everything that we do, and I'm in awe of all of the work that you do. And I say Thank you.
Cindy: And I do want to just give a shout out the fact that you have some wonderful... I'm probably going to mis-pronounce a Takoyaki
Deidre:: Is the Japanese word for a bamboo, and we started this series where we invite leaders from across the state and nation to come on and talk about this new normal that we're all going through. We've had everyone from the President of the University of Hawaii, the CEO of Central Pacific Bank, to come on and talk. And talk is bamboo, which is known for its resilience and flexibility during difficult times, so that's why we named the series tucked its author series as well.
Cindy: And that's all at NVMC. Org, NiseiVeteransMemorialCenter.org. And I thank you for taking the time you had to get an early... Set everything up there and you help me learn how to do my zooms, you took the time to do that amidst your very, very busy schedule, and I appreciate you. And the piece of projects will continue with your mother, next week will record one of those and they'll be available, I'm going to also put them all up on the piece projects. That's what is at the end. For a reason, there's so many... The piece projects dot com. The piece, projects dot com, I have peace quotes up there, I have a piece of meditation up there, I'll have the audio of all these posted up there as well, and it's just my way of giving back after I was so touched to receive the UNESCO peace Award and so it's just my way of saying, Yes, this is something I can give back as you give back. And what an honor to be here with you today. I thank you so much. A big aha ball. Gratitude to you. Beautiful, dedicated. Thank you, thank you.
Deidre: And thank you for what you do. Thank
Deidre: You very much. Congratulations, and I can't wait to watch the other interview.
Cindy: Thank you, I love talking to you.
God speaks to me in many ways
I love listening to the language of light
And when my mind is to busy to hear I ask...
To be open to hear ..,
Holy Spirit speak to me
let me soul truly hear
what it is I need to do
to overcome all fear
lord let life reveal
that feeds my soul
in your lessons and stories
translate the meaning
and the inner symbology to know
lead me out of darkness
to the beauty of a bright new day
let your voice be heard
with the right things for me to say
let me see the good in life
and have the faith to believe
that your greater purpose
directs our destiny
let your great love
open my my heart I pray
lord speak to me today
and guide me on the way