Celebrating International Youth Day with a special interview featuring “Youth for the SDGs” scholar Juan Sebastian Huertas Olea

Today we are celebrating International Youth Day! As said by UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres: “Young people are on the frontlines of the struggle to build a better future for all. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the dire need for the kind of transformational change they seek – and young people must be full partners in that effort.”

At Peace Boat US we want to support young people in their endeavors to make a positive difference in the world. Earlier this year, we provided the resources for youth activist’s voices to be accessible to the public, engaging in meaningful, accessible actions for the United Nations World Oceans Day through our “Action for the Oceans” program. 

Onboard the Peace Boat, we love bringing international youth together aboard through our “Youth for the SDGs” program and the Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassador Program, which brings youth leaders from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) on the front line of climate change and marine degradation to travel onboard Peace Boat’s ship, engaging in capacity building and bringing their message to citizens and government representatives through the voyage

We also support youth closer to home. Our hybrid internship program is an excellent opportunity to gain insight and experience in the civil society, non-profit and non-governmental field (both virtually and also at various in-person events around the United Nations conferences during the year). Our interns attend events at the UN as Peace Boat US representatives, support campaigns, projects, and educational programs through outreach efforts, and write news and blog articles about our activities. 

Juan Sebastian Huertas Olea joined us on a Peace Boat Global Voyage in 2018 as one of our “Youth for the SDG scholars”. This past week, he also presented at the NYC Peace Festival and we had the opportunity to interview him about his experience
on the Peace Boat.

🚢  Tell us about your experience  on the Peace Boat? Are there any moments that stand out for you? 

  • My best experience on the Peace Boat was traveling through Latin America and being inspired by the testimony of different youth. The most memorable experience was sharing with the Embera Quera indigenous community in Panama and being a part of their family for an overnight home-stay program in their village.

☮️  How did your meeting with the Hibakusha onboard the ship inspire you to work for a nuclear free world? 

  • Getting to know the Hibakusha, who are survivors from the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, inspired my work on peacebuilding in Colombia. Meeting them changed my life as their experience was so far removed from the reality of my country, influencing international decision-making to work towards a more peaceful world.

🌎  Tell us about the “Youth for the SDGs” program and what you learned onboard the ship and in the ports ?

  • The “Youth For The SDGs” program focuses on gaining knowledge on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, also targeting young people who contribute to the agenda. We learned along with youth leaders, Panamanian government officials, UNDP representatives, students from different universities, indigenous communities, the Hibakusha and many others.

🗽  What were you most excited about when attending the NYC Peace Festival? 

  • I was excited because from NYC we can inspire humanity, taking this event as a replica, I would like to reach corners of the planet to make a positive change in the world.

🌊  How did you participate in the UN World Oceans week event?  Tell us about your experience 

  • I participated as a youth activist. Inspired by the movement to abolish nuclear weapons, I chose to focus on getting rid of ocean nuclear waste. We need to take these decisions to clean up the oceans from nuclear debris, instead of leaving them for the future generations.

💭 What message do you want to share with youth who are interested in the Peace Boat and why should they join? 

  • Be an example and make a difference. Peace Boat will teach you to dream big and that there are NGOs like this one that allow young people to believe in the construction of peace, sustainable development and climate action.

#peace #disarmament #education #peaceful #future #nuclearfree #sustainable #world #peaceboat #hibakusha #project

This article was published by Tasmeen Arin and Angheli Samaniego Moya from the SYEP program, and Peace Boat US Interns

Peace Boat US x Global Kids: Welcoming Youth to the Summer Youth Employment Program in New York City!

We are delighted to welcome Tasmeen Arin and Angheli C.S. Moya who joined the Peace Boat US Summer 2021 intern team this year! Coming to us through the non profit organization, Global Kids, Tasmeen and Angheli have attended the United Nations High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and will be attending exciting upcoming events like our youth programs for climate action building up to Climate Week NYC in September.

While we have collaborated with Global Kids for more than 20 years, and they have joined Peace Boat onboard for various Global Voyages in the past, this is the first time we have had the opportunity to have two of their youth interns join us! This is possible through Global Kids’ Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), which is the nation’s largest youth employment program, connecting NYC youth between the ages of 14 and 24 with career exploration opportunities and work experience each summer.

Participants have the opportunity to explore their interests and career pathways, develop workplace skills and engage in learning experiences that help in developing their social, civic and leadership skills. By participating in structured project and work-based opportunities, the aim is to encourage NYC youth to be better prepared for careers of the future.

Founded in 1989 and going 30 years strong, Peace Boat’s partner organization, Global Kids strives to educate and empower youth to become leaders in developing solutions for the most critical challenges of our planet. Global Kids’ Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) allows youth between the ages of 12 and 18 to acquire service learning and educational experience whilst simultaneously developing job readiness.

To learn more about the work of Global Kids, please visit https://globalkids.org/ 

Our Global Kids Youth Intern profiles can be found below:

Tasmeen Arin was born in Queens, New York to Bengali immigrant parents. She is fluent in English and Bengali. She recently graduated from the William Cullen Bryant High School and served as a member of the Red Cross Society during her high school years. This upcoming Fall, Tasmeen will be pursuing a degree in Biology at New York University. She aspires to become a Physician’s Assistant in order to help better individuals’ health internationally. Tasmeen is particularly passionate about SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being) and SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities). Her lifelong objective is to ensure that all individuals have access to medical treatment and proper healthcare, particularly those residing in underserved communities in the world. Tasmeen is grateful for the opportunity to intern with Peace Boat US and to learn more about the SDGs. She believes that change can be achieved with the help of all her fellow interns.

Angheli Samaniego Moya was born in Queens, NY where she was raised by her Peruvian mother. She recently graduated from William Cullen Bryant High School and is fluent in Spanish and English. Starting this Fall, Angheli will be attending the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to pursue a degree in Criminology which combines her passions for Politics and Psychology. Throughout her high school years, Angheli enrolled in several law classes and participated in diverse law-related endeavors such as a Mock Congressional Hearing and projects focusing on the US Constitution. She aspires to become an immigration lawyer who supports and stands up for the rights of immigrants. Angheli is excited to learn more about Peace Boat US, its diverse programs and activities, and hopes to support the organization through her research skills, among others. She is grateful for this opportunity to increase her knowledge of social affairs and activism as well as the UN SDGs, particularly SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 5 (Gender Equality). 

To learn more about Peace Boat US and internship opportunities, please visit the website here and download the application: https://www.peaceboat-us.org/get-involved/intern-with-peace-boat-us/


Peace Boat US Welcomes Summer 2021 Interns!

This summer, we welcome a new team of talented interns to join us for the exciting events coming up, including the United Nations High Level Political Forum in July, youth programs for climate action and the build up to Climate Week NYC starting in September.  To help support us in these events, we welcome ten new interns for Summer 2021, Virna Seminario, Christelle Barakat, Brittany Wright, Michael Dion, Elijah Cook, Arielle Fishman, Corinne Bunt, Maya van Rosendaal, Farrah Hasnain, and Kobby Bekoe, as well as returning intern Georgine Verano. As an organization we value youth participation and activism, and can’t wait to grow our community with our interns.

Read more below to learn about our intern team:

Virna Seminario is a Peace Boat US Intern for the summer of 2021 and a rising third-year International Relations major at Pomona College. Growing up in Lima, Peru, and attending an international school allowed her to gain fluency in Spanish and English and early exposure to the international community, and the value of cultural understanding through her peers. She became interested in international relations, the environment, and sustainable development during high school when she had the opportunity to attend COP21 as a delegation member for her school. Since then, she has attended three other COP conferences, worked as a campaign fellow during the 2020 elections, and is currently working as a scriptwriter at Finding Founders, a podcast based out of UCLA. Her main focus is to use her passion for storytelling to help tell the story of others and promote cultural understanding.

Virna is looking forward to interning at Peace Boat US and working on the intersection of social and environmental issues. As she aspires to learn more about the inner workings of NGOs in Consultative Status with the United Nations, she is excited to be working with Peace Boat US over the summer.

Christelle Barakat is a Lebanese Fulbright graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro pursuing a M.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies with a concentration on International Peace Development. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Affairs with high distinction from the Lebanese American University where she was also part of the honors program, with 3 minors in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Gender Studies, and Legal Studies. She was selected in 2020 by UNODA in New York as 1 of 10 U.N. Youth Champions for Disarmament. Her areas of interest include conflict analysis and resolution, gender and women’s rights, democratization, disarmament, globalization, migration and refugee studies, and the sustainable development goals, among others. Christelle is excited to be joining the Peace Boat US family as a summer intern, furthering her passion in disarmament and the sustainable development goals, and getting to learn more (and contributing to) Peace Boat’s programs!

Brittany Wright was born and raised in Jamaica before immigrating to the US in the summer of 2017. She is a rising senior International Relations major at Pomona College. While attending Kingsborough Community College, she was a scholar in Cohort 13 of the Kaplan Educational Foundation’s leadership program. The program focuses on the development and assistance of community college students of color. She received leadership development and training, academic advising, transfer admissions support and financial aid. Brittany then went on to intern for the non profit organization providing assistance to the executive director and director of operations which included researching the policies of over 100 colleges for college access publication “Your Guide to College Transfer”.

Brittany knows, first-hand, the issues that plague developing countries. Empowered by her experience growing up in Jamaica, Brittany would like to become an international attorney. She believes that more representation as well as the opinions and contributions of voices from developing countries are important and needed on a broader scale. In addition, she hopes to contribute to the development of more tailored approaches to the problems developing countries face. She looks forward to the interning at Peace Boat as their mission aligns with hers. 

Michael Dion was born in Santiago, Chile to an American father and a Chilean mother. He grew up speaking both Spanish and English due to his schooling at an English private school in Santiago. He moved to the United States when he was ten, after which he graduated highschool and is currently a senior attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor studying International Studies. Michael’s family is deeply involved in the international professional world; his uncle, father and grandfather work and worked for the United Nations for decades each, and his mother worked at the European Union as well as the British Consulate offices in Santiago, Chile. Michael thus cultivated a deep passion for international relations, global issues and intercultural relations throughout most of his life as he was constantly exposed to international content. He is currently passionate about global health, global environmental sustainability and environmental conservation.

Michael is excited to work for Peace Boat US in the summer of 2021, eager to hone his research and reporting skills, as well as expanding his knowledge on his areas of interest. He will bring his rich cultural background as well as bilingual skills to Peace Boat US.

Elijah Cook is a recent graduate from the University of Michigan. He majored in International Studies and minored in Japanese language. His interest in US-Japanese relations began while he studied abroad at Keio University. Currently living in Japan, he is eager to get involved in NGO work and contribute to effective international conflict solving. Current issues he is interested in involving Japan are nuclear disarmament, US military base politics, and mixed-race identity.

Elijah is very excited to be a team member at Peace Boat US where his involvement in the Hibakusha project can lead to not only the archiving of these invaluable testimonies but also contributing to nuclear disarmament worldwide. He is also looking forward to getting his first hands-on experience in an international NGO. He is grateful for the opportunity to get to learn the essential work that goes into working towards achieving a just international community.

Arielle Fishman was born and raised in Chicago, IL. She is currently a senior at Pace University in New York City where she majors in Sociology/Anthropology on the pre-med track. Arielle plans to obtain a master’s degree in Global Medicine before going to medical school. In the future, she wants to be a physician with an organization like Doctors Without Borders, where she can aid individuals all over the world. Arielle served as a peer leader for first year college students to aid in the transition from high school to college life in New York City, as well as a mentor for middle school students through the New York Academy of Science Afterschool Mentoring Program where she taught students and site staff the basics of computer coding by integrating gardening with coding. 

Arielle is a part of the Pre-Professional Health Society, and Global Brigades at Pace University. Arielle advocates for the importance of mental health awareness and is certified as a Mental Health First Aid Responder. She is passionate about women’s rights, climate change, and immigration rights. She is extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with Peace Boat US in their promotion of education and advocacy to connect people from differing cultures around the globe.

Corinne Bunt is a senior majoring in both Language, Culture, and World Trade and Stage Management at Pace University. From New York, Corinne’s passion for diplomacy and research stems from her first love of learning languages. She started speaking French at age 5 and Spanish at age 16, and hopes to expand upon her love of languages and appreciation for other cultures in the coming months with Peace Boat US. Corinne is very excited to begin working with Peace Boat US and learning about the daily operations of an NGO as well as furthering her knowledge in research, writing, and diplomacy.

Farrah Hasnain is a rising second-year Peace Studies Master’s student at International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan through the Rotary Peace Fellowship. Her thesis is on Brazilian-Japanese identities and multicultural education conditions in Japan. Her research interests include advocacy for minority communities in Japan, multicultural identities, intercultural communication, and mental healthcare access for Japanese youth. She has lived in Japan for 7 years and has published articles on minority experiences in Japan with The Japan Times. Her participation in minority and youth advocacy began during her undergrad term in Washington, DC at The George Washington University. Farrah joined Peace Boat US to build upon her advocacy experiences with the Hibakusha Project in order to support atomic bomb survivors with their aspirations to promote peace and disarmament.

Kobby Bekoe was born and chiefly educated in Ghana. He has just completed the graduate program in Media and Communication Arts at Pace University, where his team of three was selected as finalist in the annual Pace Pitch Contest for an innovative attempt in creating an interactive application tailored to alleviate inconveniences endemic to international students. He also has a background in filmmaking (New York Film Academy), and writes short stories as a pastime (his work has appeared in Open Road Review, South Asia’s Leading Magazine of Literature and Culture).

Passionate about forces and affairs impacting global environments, he has joined Peace Boat’s internship program to volunteer his skills in any media-related capacity as needed or demanded.

Maya van Rosendaal is a senior at Tufts University studying International Relations and History with a focus on gender, migration, and globalization. Having grown up in New York and Europe and coming from a mixed Japanese, Syrian, and Dutch family, she has always been surrounded by varied cultures. She hopes to apply her experience with cross-cultural interaction to her work at Peace Boat and beyond. After graduating this upcoming spring, Maya is planning to continue to work with humanitarian and non-profit organizations. In the past, she has also engaged with her other interests through historical archival work, projects utilizing GIS and mapping technology, and coordinating community-oriented volunteer projects for her university.

Through her coursework at Tufts, Maya has gained a passion for human rights, anti-colonialism, and the SDGs. She is very excited to work with Peace Boat US this summer and to contribute to their goals of promoting global connections and sustainable development!

Georgine Verano is a transfer student at Bergen Community College who was born and raised in Singapore. She is currently working towards her degree in Psychology, and is passionate about anthropology and research classes. She worked on projects centered around environmental issues, animal welfare and human rights while in Singapore and in the United States where she is currently based. A horse rider since childhood, she worked with horses and children at RDA Singapore and EQUAL, organizations that provide therapeutic riding and activities – she currently works with GALLOPNYC, a similar program in New York. Previously a writer at Singapore’s Business Times paper among others, she also enjoys both reading and content creation.

Peace Boat US has several projects and goals that align with Georgine’s personal goals, and she hopes to get more hands on projects like Climate Action and the Galapagos Revitalization Project. She is eager to contribute to the organization and gain more experience in a field of her passion.

To learn more about Peace Boat US and internship opportunities, please visit the website here and download the application: https://www.peaceboat-us.org/get-involved/intern-with-peace-boat-us/ 

Celebrating 2021Earth Week, working towards a more Sustainable future for all!

In honor of the 51st Earth Day,  throughout the month of April, Peace Boat participated in numerous virtual conferences, including “Discover the SDGs – To Make Peace With Nature” and the Earth Day Initiative’s kick-off event. At their virtual booths and in event sessions, Peace Boat  raised awareness of issues that affect our oceans and the essential role of youth in realizing the #SDGs.

The events stretched out all week long and allowed us to network with others while also learning about the innovative ways that organizations and individuals are promoting sustainability and protecting our environment, all while contributing to our mission of peace education and climate action. One interesting event that Peace Boat participated in for the whole month of April was hosted by the United Nations Office for Partnerships and the Conscious Fashion Campaign. This virtual event allowed Peace Boat and other organizations to set up informational booths about various SDG programs. Peace Boat also invited partners from the PangeaSeed Foundation to join the event to showcase their work towards raising awareness for the oceans through art and education.

On April 19th, Peace Boat US also held a virtual booth with partners during the online week of celebrations organised by the Earth Day Initiative. The aim was for the participants to learn from leading environmental organizations and businesses which promote sustainable practices. After personalizing their profiles and avatars, participants were able to move in between booths, read information, and communicate with other participants with video and audio.

On April 21st, the youth of Reverse the Trend shared their climate stories. The youth-focused organization Reverse the Trend embraces an interdisciplinary perspective on critical issues related to international peace, security and climate activism. This event  focused on the stories of indigenous communities, island nations and young leaders who are working towards environmental sustainability and nuclear disarmament. Silvia Cantu, Peace Boat’s “Youth for the SDGs” scholar, joined the event as a guest speaker and talked about her experience onboard Pece Boat’s 100th Global Voyage, as well as how she was inspired by the exchange with the Hibakusha onboard. She gave a presentation about her current work and how this has shaped her future as a youth leader for climate action.

Addressing ocean conservation and climate action from a different angle, Peace Boat US also curated the exhibition “Fashion x Oceans” and took part in the Global Fashion Exchange “Swapateria” Earth Day event at Selina hotel. Combining great designers, ideas from the traditional barter economy, and innovative technology, this event allowed people to swap clothes and accessories while learning about sustainable fashion and the issues of the current fashion industry.

More than 20 sustainable designers came together for the clothing swap along with Global Fashion Exchange, Peace Boat US and NYC Fair Trade Coalition. The clothing swap took place on April 21-25th with activities throughout the day,  from special presentations to art installations, music and fashion shows. The fashion industry is one of the most wasteful and harmful to the environment, and so connecting people with sustainable designers and curators as well as providing a channel for sustainable shopping is very important to help change the consumer habits of the fashion industry. The “Swapateria” event transformed the Selina Chelsea NYC Hotel into a blockchain-powered swap closet featuring gently used clothing and gave people access to quality, sustainable clothing while also raising awareness for climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals. One designer, Faiza Jarie-Kachan, owner of Zen-Ami, who participated in the sustainable designer booths told us, “I love these events because it helps us network. And Peace Boat US really creates a space for people to learn more about the causes and educates the public.”

On April 22nd, Peace Boat took part in the March for Science discussion on climate change. The event was also organized by YOUNGO and the official youth constituency at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).It highlighted young climate leaders from around the world. The presentation features all seven members of the Secretary General’s youth advisors, each representing every major region of the world. Eve Isambourg, Peace Boat’s Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassador and Peace Boat US Director Emilie McGlone gave presentations about Peace Boat’s work for climate action and ocean conservation. 

Peace Boat’s partner, Global Kids invited us to be a part of their online celebrations for Earth Day on April 22nd. More than 75 youth participated in the event and shared their experiences advocating for environmental justice. 

Although we officially celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd, we recognize that every day should be lived with the Earth in mind. Our daily activities impact the health of the Earth, so let’s continue to Reduce and Reuse as much as possible, and keep pushing for green and sustainable policies. We enjoyed collaborating with others and learning about the wonderful initiatives different organizations are taking part in to help alleviate the stresses on the environment during our celebration. Because a healthy planet is not an option – it’s a necessity!

This article was published by Jonea Mathis

Every Second Counts for the Survivors – Virtual Testimony Sessions Featuring Guests Junko Watanabe and Mariko Higashino from Hiroshima

It has been more than 75 years since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Each year, there is less opportunity for the voices of survivors to be heard. However, it is through initiatives like Peace Boat’s project, ‘Every Second Counts for the Survivors’, that we are able to hear first hand testimonies from Hibakusha, survivors of the atomic bombs. This also enables us to pass down the stories of the Hibakusha, as well as other people who have personal experiences with nuclear weapons. Since 2008, Peace Boat has been organizing the “Global Voyage for a Nuclear-free World: Peace Boat Hibakusha Project,” through which over 170 Hibakusha have given personal testimonies on their experiences as atomic bomb survivors. Peace Boat is also an International Steering Group member of ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. Both Peace Boat and ICAN believe that the testimonials of the resilient survivors have the power to deeply move people and draw attention to the humanitarian consequences these weapons cause. The opportunities to listen first-hand to a Hibakusha are becoming less and less, and so Peace Boat is celebrating their lives and work through this project. This is why on April 14th, the University of North Carolina Greensboro hosted Ms. Junko Watanabe in coordination with Peace Boat. On April 15th, in collaboration with the East Asia Committee (of Bachelor Students of International Studies at Leiden University, Peace Boat also hosted Mariko Higashino, a second-generation Hibakusha, who came to tell her mother and grandmother’s story of surviving the Hiroshima atomic bombing. 

At the University of NC Greensboro, Ms. Watanabe shared the inspiring story of her resilient journey as a Hibakusha in a virtual event with students from various backgrounds. She recounted her experience with the black rain following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima when she was just 2 years old, and how she only found out that she was a Hibakusha when she was an adult at age 38. Since then, Ms. Watanabe has been turning her experience into a positive way to make impact for disarmament, advocating internationally for the abolition of nuclear weapons. 

As a second-generation Hibakusha born in 1952, Ms. Higashino’s testimony consisted of the survival stories of her mother and grandmother. Her mother Chisako was 17 at the time. At the moment of the bombing, she saw a blinding flash of light and was unconscious for a time. Waking up later, she could not move her legs. She looked up at the sky, and saw something like an enormous cloud, black and white, both cloud and smoke at the same time, heading to the north. She forced herself to get up and saw people severely injured by the bombing. She was also exposed to the black rain. Chisako then searched for her mother, Mariko’s grandmother, through the debris. It took her six days. Ms. Higashino explained the difficulties after the bombing to find food and medical treatment. Her mother compared the situation to a living inferno.

Later in life, her mother advocated at the United Nations and continued to plead for the abolition of nuclear weapons. She asked governments to neither create nor use these weapons. Atomic bombs do not only affect the people that are directly touched by its explosion, but have a negative impact and continue to hurt generations to come. Ms. Higashino explained the differences between an atomic bomb and a conventional bomb, particularly the vast effect that radiation has on the human body. The radioactive effects last for decades and never disappear. 

Attendees also heard the heartfelt and touching stories of others that have been affected by the bombing, and how they live with the effects of the bombing to this day. Although Ms. Watanabe does not remember the actual day of the bombing, through her peace activism she was exposed to stories of others and studied about what happened on that day. Radiation can be carried through multiple generations, and many survivors fear that their children will also have diseases which might be connected. The impacts of nuclear weapons also go beyond physical effects – they can still be felt today, as the emotional wounds of the survivors. Ms. Watanabe explained that Hibakusha have experienced a lot of discrimination, for example rumours which discouraged people from marrying a Hibakusha. This has been emotionally draining for the survivors.

The humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons on society is unimaginable. Ms. Watanabe and Ms. Higashino gave us a glimpse of the difficulties survivors face on a daily basis – both physically and mentally. We need to pass on the stories and accounts of those impacted by atomic bombs to truly understand the gravity of these weapons, which are now made thousands more times powerful. In closing, Ms. Higashino shared her thoughts towards peace: “There is nothing in this world that is more brutal and tragic than war; nuclear weapons should not be used on this earth for the third time. Only peace can bring happiness”. “Knowing the dangers, and not doing anything is the worst,” said Christelle Barakat, a Youth Champion for Disarmament and student moderator of the April 14th testimony session, who called for participants to take action and further educate themselves on this important topic. 

This article was written by Aya Taqi and Lucie Gamba (Peace Boat US interns). 

10 Years since Fukushima: Global Conference for a Nuclear Free, Renewable Energy Future

March 11th, 2021 was the ten-year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan. To commemorate this tragic event, the Federation of Promotion of Zero-Nuclear Power and Renewable energy organized the Global Conference for a Nuclear Free, Renewable Energy Future. Over 100 speakers from around the world presented in more than 75 events to promote the ideals of the conference. There were various events, film screenings and discussions that took place informing people of the hardships of the Fukushima survivors, updates in nuclear usage in Japan, and other nuclear energy related topics from Japan and beyond. 

Peace Boat US interns attended  various sessions to learn about the work being done around the world to promote a renewable energy future. The remarkable day was kicked off with a discussion between leading civil society representatives where they examined different perspectives from Japan on the ongoing nuclear disaster and the future of the energy industry. Each speaker presented a unique perspective on the power of renewable energy in their own countries and how it related to the other countries around the world.

A historical moment at the Global Conference for a #NuclearFree, #RenewableEnergy Future included former Prime Minister of Japan, Koizumi Junichiro, together on stage with two other former Prime Ministers Kan Naoto and Hatoyama Yukio. 

These three, together with Hosokawa Morihiro & Murayama Tomiichi have made the “3.11 Declarations from 5 Former Prime Ministers of Japan” to encourage Japan to move forward for a nuclear-free, 100% renewable energy future!

The Fukushima incident is still very much a big part of the lives of people who experienced it, affecting their health, their children’s upbringing and their access to healthy food. The conference was an important reminder of the consequences of nuclear power, especially the devastating impacts it can have on both the environment and people. 

To learn more and watch the sessions online, please visit :


Peace Boat US youth representatives attend the Sustainable Energy for All First Annual Youth Summit

At the beginning of this year, the world officially entered the countdown – 10 years left to 2030, the year the world hopes to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Out of the 17 ambitious goals, SDG 7 calls for affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030, yet as a collective we are not close to achieving this by the 2030 deadline. With only a decade left to provide universal electricity, clean cooking access and more, immediate action is required. According to Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), there are currently 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10-24 who will live with the consequences of inaction and the climate crisis that is headed our way if we continue at this pace. That is why SEforALL took the leadership in hostingthe SEforALL Youth Summit on 9-11 February 2021, with the aim to educate, connect and inspire youth to actively participate in achieving SDG 7. 

Peace Boat US youth representatives joined the three day forum and participated in breakout sessions and plenary forums to learn more about the various solutions for sustainable energy worldwide. On the first day of the Youth Summit, SEforALL presented two separate agendas: The Energy Dialogue and Net Zero Emissions. Attendees heard from the CEO of SEforALL and the Special Representative at the UN for Sustainable Energy, Damilola Ogunbiyi,  who urged youth to take leadership roles in government to truly make a difference when it comes to addressing energy concerns at the governmental level. Damilola Ogunbiyi was joined by youth speakers Vanessa Nakate, who is a climate activist in Uganda; Wenhao Sun, a student at Columbia University; and Ana Sophia Mifsud, an associate at Rocky Mountain Institute. The speakers highlighted the importance of honesty and spreading the truth about sustainable energy, and the role youth play in advocating for sustainable energy. Peace Boat US intern Aya Taqi, attended the event and “was inspired by their respective work and enjoyed hearing what movements the youth were leading…I left the summit with knowledge on sustainable energy which I have already started to apply in my internship at Peace Boat US,” she said. 

On the second day of the summit, more breakout rooms were held for participants to brainstorm and share ideas. One focus of this event was the “This is Cool” campaign which highlights the need for affordable and green cooling solutions. To support this campaign, SEforALL created a contest for youth to submit innovative ideas for cooling solutions. During the summit, the winners were announced to be Adekoyejo Kuye, Uzochukwu Mbamalu, Charles Aliozo and Chigozie Enemoh, and their project of “Refrigeration as a Service: The Coldbox Store” from the top 3 finalists. This allowed summit attendees to see the new and creative ways that youths from around the world are tackling the climate crisis. 

The third day included a series of roundtable dialogues led by UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake. In the first session, youth activists Kanika Chawla, Evelyn Addor, and Beniamin Strzelecki stressed the importance of energy compacts in achieving SDG 7, and how young people can affect change “both inside and outside the table of power”. The second dialogue focused on how youths can make their voices heard at the upcoming COP26 – the Conference of Parties, which is the decision-making body responsible for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. COP26 Engagement Coordinator Anum Ahmed and youth activists Nisreen Elsaim and Vishal Prasad discussed the role that global inequality plays in the ability to participate in climate efforts.

The importance of this first annual summit is its focus on youth innovation and participation. Peace Boat US has always believed in the power of youth as shown through our many programs that position youth as leaders against the climate crisis. We are so pleased that we were able to attend this historic event.

Peace Boat US Welcomes Interns from Around the World for Spring 2021!

Peace Boat US is proud to welcome five new interns for Spring 2021, Luca Khalsa, Georgine Verano, Aya Taqi, Lucie Gamba, and Thomas Menten, as well as returning intern Jonea Mathis. Peace Boat US has worked with a variety of interns over the years, and each group has brought unique perspectives to the experience. This year, the interns will join us remotely from their homes around the world expanding from California, to New York, to France. This well-rounded and diverse team will work together to prepare, organize, and report on Peace Boat US’ spring events, with a special focus on the launch of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, education for nuclear disarmament and youth engagement in action for the UN SDGs.

The interns are introduced below: 

Luca Khalsa was born in India of an American father and Italian mother. He moved to Italy when he was two, and returned to India for the rest of his elementary and middle school. His first language was Italian, and when he learned English, it was with a distinctive South Indian accent. This lack of clear cultural roots has prepared him for what will be the norm in the years to come, where all of us will need to be global citizens. Luca has had experience with interning for a nonprofit Documentary Film company (Optimist) who combines activism with a visual medium. There, he was able to incorporate his passion for film with his drive to make a tangible impact on the world. As a Sophomore at Claremont McKenna College, Luca works for his college’s news platform The Forum as a photographer and writer and at his college’s podcast Free Food for Thought as an interviewer and writer. 

He is eager to intern for Peace Boat US and help their mission to find peaceful, long-term solutions for small communities and global advocacy networks alike. As someone who aspires to work for the United Nations in some capacity, he is excited to gain experience in what comprises the fabric of UN events and proceedings. He hopes to build a network of talented peers at Peace Boat US and to prove useful in these coming months.

Georgine Verano is a transfer student at Bergen Community College who was born and raised in Singapore. She is currently working towards her degree in Psychology, and is passionate about anthropology and research classes. She worked on projects centered around environmental issues, animal welfare and human rights while in Singapore and in the United States where she is currently based. A horse rider since childhood, she worked with horses and children at RDA Singapore and EQUAL, organizations that provide therapeutic riding and activities – she currently works with GALLOPNYC, a similar program in New York. Previously a writer at Singapore’s Business Times paper among others, she also enjoys both reading and content creation.

Peace Boat US has several projects and goals that align with Georgine’s personal goals, and she hopes to get more hands on projects like Climate Action and the Galapagos Revitalization Project. She is eager to contribute to the organization and gain more experience in a field of her passion.

Aya Taqi graduated from Pace University where she majored in Political Science and minored in Peace & Justice Studies. Her passion for politics comes from growing up in the Middle East, where topics like sectarianism, the role of women, human rights and political movements are constantly being raised. Since she was a girl, Aya was always fascinated by the disparities in society and this passion only grew stronger when Aya travelled around the world and met diverse people. Hearing local’s grievances encouraged Aya to pursue this field as she realized the issues in her hometown were prevalent at the global scale. 

Aya was an active member of her university’s Model UN team, where she researched various UN agenda topics including the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, where Aya recieved an award for her position paper recognizing the validity and aplicibality of her policy reccomendations. She has experience interning at the Kuwaiti Mission to the UN and Nonviolence International New York where she worked on projects focused on Sustainable Development and Counter-Terrorism Strategies adopted by Arab States. This Fall, Aya hopes to begin a Masters Degree in International Affairs with a regional specialization in the Middle East. Aya is excited to work with Peace Boat US and immerse herself in a collaborative environment to promote a culture of peace, a mission that aligns very closely to her own. 

Lucie Gamba is a young graduate of the Master’s degree in International Security and Defense from the University of Grenoble Alpes, France. Passionate about multicultural environments, she spent a year in Poland to study her first year of her master’s degree, and studied transitional justice for a few weeks in Sarajevo during the summer.

She had her first NGO experience as an intern with Nonviolence International New York, where she is still a volunteer. Passionate about the issue of human rights in armed conflicts, she is particularly interested in gender issues in conflicts and their resolution. She joined Peace Boat US because their campaigns for a sustainable and peaceful world align with her aspirations. In addition to this, she volunteers with NGOs advocating disarmament and respect for human rights, and practices sewing and embroidery in her spare time.

Thomas Menten is a sophomore majoring in International Politics and minoring in Asian Studies at Georgetown University. From New Jersey, Thomas has worked for his hometown’s historical society and non-profit organizations focusing on veterans. At Georgetown, Thomas is a staff and opinion writer for the Caravel, the University’s student-run international affairs newspaper, as well as the International Relations Club, participating in and staffing Model United Nations Simulations. Interested in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, Thomas hopes to support Peace Boat US in its Hibakusha Project along with its other campaigns. In the next year, Thomas hopes to study abroad in Japan, where he can research Japan’s domestic politics, Article 9, and the nation’s nuclear legacy.

Thomas looks forward to working with Peace Boat US, learning the day-to-day operations of non-profit organizations, as well as expanding his knowledge on issues of interest. He will bring his communication, research, and technical skills to Peace Boat US and is excited to contribute to its campaigns. 

Jonea Mathis is a Communication Studies major and Spanish minor at Hollins University. She lived in Central Florida all her life before deciding to go to college in Virginia. In her hometown she worked at a small nursing home and helped to foster a community between residents, staff, and the local neighborhoods. At Hollins she holds positions in the Black Student Alliance as well as the Sexuality and Gender Alliance, both of which work on and off campus to foster a more inclusive and welcoming community. In the future she hopes to travel and work around the world to expose herself to different experiences and ideas. With her degree, she wants to work with individuals and organizations to globally address issues of education and discrimination.

Jonea is very excited to continue working with Peace Boat US, learning more about the intersections between the social and environmental issues they address as well as the innovative solutions they implement. She hopes to utilize her communication and writing skills as well as learn more about working with NGOs and global communication to apply to later ventures and experiences.

Peace Boat US also welcomes students from the University of Michigan, participating in the Global Scholars Program (GSP) from the Fall of 2020 – Spring of 2021. This is the third year that the University of Michigan and Peace Boat US have partnered together to encourage youth involvement in programs for peace and sustainability. GSP is an academic living-learning community that prepares sophomore, junior, and senior University of Michigan students to be interculturally competent global citizens, champions for meaningful change, and innovative leaders of tomorrow. Participants learn about global justice and human rights issues from multiple cultural perspectives in a community that includes U.S., international, and exchange students.

To learn more about Peace Boat US and internship opportunities, please visit the website here and download the application: https://www.peaceboat-us.org/get-involved/intern-with-peace-boat-us/ 

Sustainable Energy For All Youth Summit – featured interview with AY Young, Musician and Youth Leader

A large part of Peace Boat’s mission, in addition to working towards peace and sustainability, is the involvement of youth at all levels of their work. The “Youth for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” program which is a unique experiential learning and capacity-building program for young activists and scholars engaged in SDG-related initiatives from around the world. Peace Boat US aims to promote and strengthen youth engagement with the UN SDGs campaign, a goal identified as critical to achieving the SDGs. One example of this was the “Youth for the SDGs program” during the Patagonia segment of Peace Boat’s Global voyages.  In partnership with the nonprofit organization LIter of Light, the youth participants were able to join renewable energy projects as part of the “Voyage of Light” in February 2019.. This group of participants sailed among the Patagonia Fjords and participated in workshops focused on creating solar lamps with recycled materials and distributing the finished products to local communities when they arrived at the port of Valparaiso, Chile. Peace Boat participants and volunteers of Liter of Light also donated electronic components that, together with products such as disposable bottles, will make 40 self-sustaining solar lamps

Youth for the SDGs scholars organize a workshop with local community members to make solar lamps from recycled materials with the nonprofit Liter of Light in Valparaiso, Chile —

This focus on youth empowerment has led to Peace Boat’s participation in the first annual Sustainable Energy All Youth Summit which takes place this week, February 9th – February 11th. This event seeks to educate, connect, and inspire youth from around the globe to come up with innovative solutions for SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy. As a part of our collaboration with SEforAll, Emilie McGlone, Director of PBUS, conducted an interview with musician and youth leader AY Young.  who is one of seventeen young global leaders unveiled by the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth in 2020 as a ‘Young Leader’ for his contributions to the SDGs.

AY is a producer, singer, songwriter, entertainer, and entrepreneur. While touring the USA, he learned that over 1 billion people lack access to electricity and began powering concerts using renewable energy, raising awareness about sustainability, and fundraising to bring people electricity. Thus, the Battery Tour was born and has plugged in 17 countries to date.

He will champion SEforALL’s #BeBold Call to Action campaign – raising awareness and mobilizing youth across the world to actively contribute to the achievement of SDG7. He is also currently working on ‘The Global Goals Project’ – an album of 17 tracks with one track per SDG and will be performing at the live summit. #YouthLeadSDG7

During this year’s conference, we heard from Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL),  and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy. When thinking about the energy solutions worldwide, especially for local community development, “Instead of asking them to transition to another option, give them something clean”. That is exactly what AY Is doing during his Battery Tour run with solar energy. Let’s all “get plugged in” to renewables! 

1) As the Youth Champion for SE4ALL, how do you think young people can contribute towards a sustainable energy future?

Yes, I am a youth champion for SE4all, but beyond that I’m an outlet for change. I think that youth will be propelled to contribute towards a future of sustainable energy is simply realization. Once we all realize that we are “outlets for change” and that it is possible to take one step, one action towards sustainability every day we will create our own future. Believing and understanding that we, if plugged into each other can and will change the world. We can use our passions to make a difference. We will not only contribute but will create a future built on sustainability.

2) Tell us about the Battery Tour and why you are inspired to promote SDG 7 for Affordable and Clean Energy?

Well the battery tour is an outlet for  anyone to plug-in to and connect to their passion. We happen to have just launched the Battery Tour Global Goals project worldwide. The battery tour has always been powered by, created for, and successful with the people. In a 3 phase rollout we aim to not only promote SDG 7 but advance all the SDGs using music as the primary vehicle. Of course the Battery Tour is known for executing 100% renewable energy powered concerts. We will continue to do that and help bring clean energy to people around the world who need it! 

I’m inspired to change the world. Energy was just the start. Right now i’m inspired by all the outlets who care about SDG 7, SDGs, music, sustainability, etc registering to be an outlet and getting active in helping us achieve the global goals of the world right now!

3) How did you get involved with music?  Do you have a favorite song you would like to share with the audience?

I got my start on a tv show called X Factor! It was dope! I got 4 “yes”s from the celeb judges: LA Reid, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato & Simon Cowell. After getting off the show I never gave up my pursuit of having a music career and bringing the world together under love! 

If I had to pick something you should hear, I’d pick my original single “Save The Planet” from my current album “Hello Again” I released recently under my name AY Young. 

I’m not sure I have a favorite song, but right now i’m really digging the new stuff I’m putting together with major producer Troy Noka. I’m working on my debut album “Just Call Me AY”. It’s a prelude to the major Global Goals music album I am releasing that is part of the global goals project I just launched. I’m really happy to make  music that I  will really connect with people around the world in the sustainability space. I’m here to be your voice :)! The outlet for sustainability I guess! 

4) We love your catch phrase “Get everyone plugged In” and it is important that we make sure we are inclusive in our commitment to sustainable energy. How do you think we can make sure everyone has access to renewable energy in local communities? 

Well thanks! When people started sending me pictures of wall outlets they have in their homes, gyms, schools, etc. that’s when I really feel all we have to do is get the world plugged in. 

I think the first step to getting everyone access to energy is education.Teaching people that many others don’t have energy and need it. I see a serious lack of education!

This is why I launched the Battery Tour Global goals project. I feel like music is a universal language. So one of the best vehicles to connect, inspire, raise awareness, and reach all types of people is music. This is why the project is so pivotal and I aim to collaborate musically with some of the biggest names in the music industry to produce this album. How else can you better influence the world to help in achieving SDG 7 than with music? At least, those are my thoughts as a musician and someone focused on using his passion to get the world plugged-in!So yeah I think through music!

5) We hope to invite you onboard the Peace Boat to share your Battery Tour around the world. Are you ready for the Decade of Action for the SDGs?  

This would be amazing! How soon can we go?

6) What inspires you about Peace Boat’s Ecoship to use renewable energy to sail as a flagship for the UN Sustainable Development Goals with solar and wind power? 

Peace Boat is inspiring within itself. The pivots, Emilie, you have made to keep the organization afloat are legendary! 

Renewable energy is something I will always stand by and commend. It’s inspiring that you guys are using this flagship as a way to champion the goals. I love that! I’m all for it, and I’m fully plugged-in and behind it!

7)  Anything you would like to share – words of encouragement for youth who are working towards ideas for sustainable energy or tuned in this week? 

I want anyone going to this conference to hear this. It’s time. Time to not just talk about it but to be a real outlet for change and make things happen. I was on the road 5 years ago doing 8-10 hour shows powered by batteries. I remember the day I googled and found out that over 1 billion people lack access to energy in the world. I didn’t need 20 conferences to tell me what to do. I didn’t have a million dollars or some major company or financial backing to make an impact. I figured out how I would use my passion to actually make an impact. Since then I’ve helped get energy access to over 17 countries. Our world is changing. Our time is now. It’s time to really be an #outlet for change. Come ready to make a difference and I hope all your readers get plugged-in to the battery tour to power this movement for ALL!

Interview with AY Young by Emilie McGlone, Director of Peace Boat US
Article by Jonea Mathis, Peace Boat US youth representative

Reverse the Trend: Art and Activism

On the eve of the Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons entering into force, Peace Boat US co-sponsored a celebratory event and the launch of “Reverse the Trend: Save Our People, Save Our Planet”, using art and activism as a tool for positive change! Reverse the Trend is a global youth network that seeks to amplify the voices of youth from the frontline communities who have experienced the threats of nuclear weapons and climate change. 

The effects of nuclear weapons development have been far reaching, from indigenous peoples in the United States, the environment and health of Marshallese people, victims of atomic bombs, and many others. At this event,  the historical significance of the TPNW was celebrated along with the launch of “Reverse the Trend”. The event was sectioned into the past, present, and future of nuclear weapons. Peace Boat provided special guest speaker Ms. Toshiko Tanaka, a Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor and artist. Ms. Tanaka has worked with Peace Boat before to share her testimony around the world as a part of their Hibakusha Project and through her work as an enamel mural artist she has “appealed to the world to realize a ‘peaceful world without nuclear weapons’”. At the launch event she shared her personal testimony from Hiroshima. She urged everyone to make friends with many people all over the world as a way to encourage positive relationships and discourage war. Ms. Tanaka also offered a message of hope by stating, “I know one day we will live in a nuclear free world, and a beautiful blue sky will continue to shine above the heads of our future generations”. 

Other speakers included the Ambassador of Kiribati to the United Nations, a representative of the Marshallese Education Initiative, international activists, and many youths involved in climate action and nuclear disarmament activities. The focus on youth activists was present throughout as their powerful thoughts and actions will be crucial to the future fight against climate change and nuclear weapons. They recognized that the TPNW entering into force is the beginning, not the end, of the work towards a nuclear free world. 

To continue to support the Hibakusha Project with Peace Boat and sharing the testimonies of the survivors, please visit the link below : 


This post was created and published by Jonea Mathis (intern from Peace Boat US)