Amid global political tensions that include the island of Guam, the Guam Municipality of Tamuning-Tumon-Harmon (“Tatuha”) courageously continued its tradition of promoting peace, friendship, diversity, and cultural exchange – not only for the citizens and visitors of Guam, but for the entire world by hosting its 12th Annual Latte Peace Festival at the Tamuning Mayor’s Office Park on January 20.

The latte is a man-made construct carved from limestone or basalt that was used as a foundation for a shelter against the elements or as a structure which may have represented a sacred place. The latte was constructed and used by the CHamorus throughout the Mariana Islands during the Latte Period from 1,000 Before Present (BP) to 500 years BP.

During the opening ceremony, the former Mayors’ Council of Guam (MCOG) Executive Director Angel R. Sablan – the emcee for the event – welcomed attendees to the festival. He later pointed out that the festival is held beside the busiest intersection on Guam where, in addition to the participants in the park, thousands of individuals were able to witness various portions of the festival in progress including the performances onstage.

Eleven years ago, in January 2013, inspired by peace efforts of ICAP founder, activist, philosopher and SGI (Soka Gakkai International) president, Daisaku Ikeda, Tamuning-Tumon-Harmon Mayor Louise Rivera and her office conceived the Latte Peace Festival. Her vision was to create an empowering communal celebration of unity, diversity, collective strength, and peace. Over the years, it has evolved into a significant event for the community, fostering cultural education and exchange.

The ceremony began at 10:00 a.m. with Mr. Sablan greeting all attendees, followed by the posting of colors by the John F. Kennedy High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC), and the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the Guam Hymn by Trevan Atoique and the Tatuha Youth Congress. The Tatuha Cultural Dancers provided a spiritual blessing.

Mr. Sablan then introduced Mayor Louise C. Rivera, calling her his “Symbol of Peace.”

Mayor Rivera, accompanied by Vice Mayor Albert M. Toves warmly thanked the festival sponsors – including Mr. Sablan, Leah’s Fabulous Productions, Buddy’s Home Furnishings of Guam, and the Bank of Guam – as well as the American Legion, the VFW, the John F. Kennedy ROTC, the Governor of Guam, the SGI Guam, the International Committee of Artists for Peace, the Catholic Daughters, MPC Members, the Mayor’s office staff and volunteers, vendors, and entertainers for their support of the event.

An inspirational address on peace was offered by educator and former Speaker of the Guam Legislature, Dr. Judith Won Pat. The text of her remarks can be found below.

Following Dr. Won Pat’s address came the ceremonial “Lighting of the Lattes.” Installed in the Tamuning-Tumon-Harmon Mayor’s park are three large latte stone replicas that also serve as torches. The two outer latte stones were already lit as the Mayor joined with Lt. Governor and a small group of participant-sponsors to bring the two outer flames together to light the center flame, signifying the Festival’s purpose of unifying all in an observance of peace.

The completion of the opening ceremonies was celebrated by all with the song “Let There Be Peace on Earth” marking the beginning of two days of diverse, cultural celebrations expressed by many groups through music, dance, food, art, and a general tone of conviviality.

Cultural presentations throughout the two-day event included many performance groups, including Tropic Trio, Thun Gases, Daniel Deleon Guerrero, FAS Refin Band, Poetry Slam Contest, SGI Jose San Nicolas, SGI Isa Chorus, SGI Bon Dance, Tumon Bay Youth Orchestra, Tatuha Hula & Fire Cultural Dance Group, Opening of Decorating Contest, Korean Drum Group, SKIP, Talent Box, Patrick Camacho and Pacific Cool.

Regarding the significance of the festival, Senator Jesse Lujan of the Guam Legislature said: “The Annual Latte Peace Festival is not just an event, it’s a celebration of the values that hold our island community together.”


The following is the text of an address by former Speaker of Guam Legislature, Dr. Judith Won Pat, EdD:

Buenas yan Hafa Adai!

It is so wonderful to see all of you here as we celebrate the 12th Annual Latte Peace Festival!

Every year, we come together during the Latte Peace Festival to inspire individuals to be agents of peace in their communities.

Today, I want to share a message of hope and resilience, because now, more than ever, it is difficult to hold light in our hearts with conflicts occurring throughout the world . . . and when so many Palestinians are fighting for their lives every day.

Such acts of violence take a toll on our spirits, no matter how far away we are from it, and whether we realize it or not.

Peace is not merely the absence of war; it is the embodiment of understanding, compassion, and unity. It is navigating the delicate dance of diversity and the recognition that despite our differences, we are bound together by our shared humanity.

From The Wisdom for Creating Happiness, “Peace is not something to be left to others in distant places. It is something we create every day in our efforts to cultivate care and consideration of others, forging bonds of friendship and trust in our communities through our actions and examples.”

Consider the profound ripple effect of a single pebble tossed into a pond. Similarly, every act of peace, no matter how small, has the potential to resonate across communities and nations. It begins with the choices we make in our everyday lives, the words we choose to speak, and the empathy we extend to others.

Today, we have the opportunity to be the architects of a future defined by harmony. Let us be the generation that breaks the chains of hatred and intolerance that threaten to tear us apart. The challenges we face may be great, but the power within us is greater still.

Let us continue to practice the CHamoru value of respect in our homes, schools, workplaces, and communities. Show respect for your neighbor, where she comes from, who she worships, and who she chooses to love.

By fostering dialogue, embracing diversity, and promoting education, we can create a fertile ground where the roots of peace can firmly anchor themselves.

We cannot let the tragedy our parents have experienced be repeated by generations to come. We must recognize our roles as global citizens. Each action, no matter how small, can contribute to the collective effort for peace. By promoting understanding, tolerance and compassion in our daily lives, we create ripple effect that extends beyond our immediate surroundings.

Let us strive together to walk this path, towards a world where peace reigns supreme.

Thank you.

•  •  •

Following the address, ICAP spoke with Dr. Won Pat regarding the history, significance, and impact of the Latte Peace Festival. The following is a summary of the main points of that interview:

“One of the partnering organizations of the Latte Peace Festival is the Soka Gakkai International (SGI). Soka Gakkai means ‘value-creation society,’ and the SGI is an international Buddhist community dedicated to realizing world peace through each individual’s happiness. Toward that end, SGI promotes peace, culture, and education.”

SGI was founded in Guam on January 26, 1975, by Daisaku Ikeda – who became its president, and who is also the founder of ICAP – during the World Peace Conference held at the ITC (International Trade Center) building. Mr. Ikeda strongly felt that because the people of Guam had suffered one of the bloodiest battles during World War II, therefore it was a most significant place in which to found a global organization devoted to peace. In his historical novel, The Human Revolution, Mr. Ikeda wrote: “Those who have wept the most bitterly have the right to become the happiest people of all.”

“Over the years, the SGI developed a relationship based on friendship with then-Mayor Blas and Vice Mayor Rivera. As a result, the SGI and the Mayor’s office became partner organizations in building the peace monument and the pavilion at the Latte Peace Park. The inscription on the center peace monument reads: ‘Rather than seeking after your own praise or glory, I hope that you will dedicate your noble lives to sowing the seeds of peace throughout the entire world. I shall do the same.’ This is what President Ikeda declared on January 26, 1975.”

That monument is flanked by two other phrases quoted by Mr. Ikeda. The inscription on the left reads: “Nothing is more barbarous than war. Nothing is more cruel. And yet, the war dragged on.” And on the right, the inscription says: “Nothing is more precious than peace. Nothing brings more happiness. Peace is the most basic starting point for the advancement of humankind.”

“In Guam, there are many festivals of diversity such as the mango festival, citrus festival, coconut festival, and the banana festival. But Tamuning Village has the most unique festival, which called Latte Peace Festival. I believe it is Mayor Louise Rivera’s vision and leadership to inspire the traditional Latte Festival to incorporate the word peace. It is now the twelfth year of the Latte Peace Festival.

“We want to thank Mayor Rivera for your leadership and vision. As President Ikeda said in Guam in 1975, ‘. . . the waves of peace will start from the Pacific.’ And of course the name ‘Pacific’ comes from the Latin word pacificus, which means ‘peaceful’ or ‘peace-making.’ How appropriate it is then that it be celebrated here, Tamuning Village, Tumon Village and Harmon Village. This community is a miniature version of a global society.”