Posted on Apr 14, 2019
On February 27, 2019, the San Diego Downtown Breakfast Rotary Club honored famed local artist James T. Hubbell with the 2019 Peacemaker of the Year Award.  The award is bestowed on community members (or an organization) who by their actions have made a significant difference in promoting tolerance, understanding, conflict resolution and peace. This reflects Rotary’s mission of helping build goodwill and peace in the world.
James Hubbell, along with his wife Anne of almost 61 years, founded the Ilan-Lael Foundation in 1982. The name, translated from Hebrew, means a tree that unites the physical and the spiritual. It is reflective of James Hubbell’s art, which integrates nature and community in a unique magical setting. The Ilan-Lael Foundation creates space to connect people, art and nature for a more sustainable and harmonious world. “The Foundation was started many years ago to engage conversations and many hands-on projects exploring the power of art to foster friendships and understanding among nations. Art brings diverse people together and transcends barriers,” says Hubbell.
In 1994, James Hubbell helped found the Pacific Rim Park Project, which was organized to build “friendship parks” around the Pacific Rim. He launched this project to create a global conversation between San Diego and the Pacific Rim nations, exploring the transformative power of art and the artistic process. It is a way to bridge cultures, establish new connections and helps identify emerging Pacific Rim communities. It is an example of art diplomacy that helps build pathways to peace. The parks are constructed by students from Pacific Rim nations.
Each park has a pearl element design. The pearl, weighing 400 pounds, contrasts the Pacific’s image of a Ring of Fire and historical conflict to the Pacific draped with a string of pearls that will someday link all nations in the Pacific Rim.
In 1998, a park called “Pearl of the Pacific” was built on Shelter Island in San Diego. Students from China, Mexico, Russia, and the U.S. came together to help build it.  There are now seven friendship parks in the world: the U.S, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan, the Philippines, South Korea and most recently China.
The San Diego Downtown Breakfast Rotary Club’s Pathways to Peace Committee selected James Hubbell for this award based on his vision of the Pacific Rim Park Project and his continual dedication to promote peace and understanding throughout the world in the construction of these parks. His art and architecture in California and throughout the world demonstrate the way nature and art can truly dance together as one. “Beauty should be visible for all to enjoy and to be inspired. It changes lives,” said Hubbell. He will always be known as a visionary with unique and breathtaking creations, using art as a catalyst to unite people of diverse cultural backgrounds.
For more information about James Hubbell and the Ilan-Lael Foundation, visit, and