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Flags Salute Global Flavor Of Laie College

BYU-Hawaii students display flags from their countries - including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tonga, Australia, Guam, India and Sri Lanka - at a special flag-raising ceremony Feb. 16 during the college's spirit week. A total of 68 flags were hoisted proudly and simultaneously by students at the campus Flag Circle. Photo courtesy of BYUH University Communications.

Brigham Young University-Hawaii is among the most international of U.S. college campuses, with about half of its students coming from other countries.

Last month the students celebrated Spirit Week and the school’s founding by hoisting nearly 70 banners at BYU-Hawaii’s historic flag circle, all of them held and presented by representatives of those nations.

“This is a place where we learn to live together, people coming from different horizons, different cultural backgrounds, different countries,” said Nowah Afangbedji, a junior from Africa who addressed the crowd at the unique flag ceremony Feb. 16. “I’m forever grateful for people whose hands have laid the foundation of this school.”

The event commemorated the college’s groundbreaking in 1955, and many knew of David McKay’s 1921 vision at the first flag ceremony on his 1921 visit to Laie. A church elder at the time who later became president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, McKay foresaw a school that “would bring students together from all across the globe, and then send them back as learners, leaders and builders in their respective countries.”