title name


"Think of Intercultural Peacebuilding as a long-term transformative process that gets at the how, when, and why of conflict by examining the figurative lenses through which the world is seen. It reconciles relationships between people and reimagines structures between groups in a way that creates sustainable harmony and brotherhood"

    Mckay photo

February 12, 1955, David O. McKay, President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints stood in the middle of a sugar cane field in the tiny village of Laie, on the north shore of Oahu. With a shovel in his hand, he broke ground on what was then called The Church College of Hawaii – a culmination of a vision he had in 1921 when visiting the island of Hawaii as an apostle. In the dedicatory remarks, McKay invoked a grand vision for the school and this tiny village…

“This is the beginning of the realization of a vision I saw 34 years ago when one morning President Hugh J. Cannon, President E. Wesley Smith, others and I witnessed a flag raising ceremony by students of the Church school here in Hawaii in Laie. In that little group of students were Hawaiians, what do you call them—Haoles, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, and Filipinos. We listened to each one, a representative from each of these groups, pay tribute to the stars and stripes as the flag was pulled up there on the flagpole and all vowed allegiance. That ceremony brought tears to my eyes… You mark that word, and from this school, I’ll tell you, will go men and women whose influence will be felt for good towards the establishment of peace internationally.”

In 2005, the David O. McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding was founded as way of helping Brigham Young University–Hawaii students gain the knowledge and practical tools necessary to be those influences for peace that President McKay foresaw.

What is the David O. McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding?

The David O. McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding is a Center on Campus that was established in 2005 as way of helping Brigham Young University–Hawaii students gain the knowledge and practical tools necessary to be those influences for peace that President McKay foresaw. Out of the David O. McKay Center is the Intercultural Peacebuilding Program, a major or certificate program providing the knowledge and practical skills in conflict analysis, mediation, and conflict transformation. The Center fulfills projects on campus and in the community that work to build relationships and sustainable peace between their members. As assigned by President Tanner, the Center works closely with our Homeless Ohana and other organizations around the island to help provide relief and service to them. Any student or community member may participate in the various service projects that we hold throughout each semester. We partner with other local non profit organizations for regular service projects, as well. Another integral part of our Center are the programs we offer to various departments and students on campus. We offer workshops that teach and facilitate conflict transformation. These include "Peace in the Hales" that is offered for our students in the Hales and their roommates, "Peace in the Home" offered for those in marriages or serious relationships, and "Anatomy of Peace" which is for anybody to attend. The Center also offers Peer Mediation Services for members of the campus. View "Our Services" to learn more about these workshops and services! If you're interested in staying updated with the Center, email us at to be put onto our weekly e-newsletter list!

What Is Peacebuilding?

The goal of the Intercultural Peacebuilding program is to teach its students the tools to analyze conflict in various settings and at various degrees, and then to transform those conflicts to bring about peace where it was once missing. Not only this, but we hope to carry out David O. McKay's vision of BYU–Hawaii as a place where students will go from this school to establish peace internationally. The David O. McKay Center is home to the Intercultural Peacebuilding program and out of it we hope to be strong influencers for good on our beautiful campus, in our community, and in the world. Students may come out of the Intercultural Peacebuilding program with the practical experience in Mediation, and Arbinger Facilitation. Additionally, we offer a diversity of courses pertaining to Peacebuilding including Interpersonal Peacebuilding, Peace Ecology, Peacebuilding in the Pacific, Peace Linguistics, Peace Education and so many more! See our Course Requirements for more information.