Could you please introduce yourself and describe what your collaboration with Peace Boat involves?
My name is Sara Hirsch, co-founder of Universal Models for Peace; a network of fashion and media experts working together to help generate models of sustainable solutions to current local and global issues. By bridging efforts and creating partnerships from the world of both art and commerce UMP uses its vast network of leaders in fashion, music, film and finance to help highlight the efforts of organizations, companies, and individuals committed to creating partnerships which honor the realization of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals.
What do you see as the major issues faced by the global community right now? How do you think civilians are coping with these issues?
There is an overlaying issue of blame and wrong-making based on fear of the “other”. I feel this is the origin of many problems that could be avoided through an open mind and tolerance. Education for all is imperial to overcome this fear. I also see a fundamental issue being what we spend on warfare (we spend 1.4 trillion $ on warfare just about a year), almost as much as we spend on ‘looking great’. It has been estimated by sources within development that approximately 3-4% of this budget for “Beauty” and “War” would cover the basic needs of all the two-legged inhabitants of the world. It starts with you realizing it’s your job to change this dynamic.
What inspired you to get Universal Models for Peace involved in this particular line of work with Peace Boat?
We are very excited to be collaborating with the Peace Boat to bring forth an Industry that generates an approximate 1,3 trillion dollars annually, an empire that we are fortunate enough to be the faces of. We are especially happy to be partnering with the Peace Boat because of the very important relief work they do world wide, for the ideas that they deliver and live by, and for their strong belief in the values and principles of the United Nations. The Peace Boat is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations which gives them a voice on the global arena.
Specifically, we are looking to involve the Peace Boat in a global media project that is going to have a vast reach on the younger consumer of popular culture – promoting being an activist as the latest “coolest thing”. “Giving back is the new black” if you want to use Fashion Terms!
Creating a peaceful and safe world can be fun, sexy and involve fashion, modeling and all the things we adore!
A great example is the Model Ambassador Program, where models are given the skills and knowledge on to how to create and produce an International development program of their own. The program curriculum also include sessions on Body Image and Self Esteem, which we feel are an important component. One of our partners in this is the IMatter Initiative with Supermodel Hana Mayeda.
The general public sometimes criticizes the fashion industry as a shallow or even wasteful business. Do the efforts of Universal Models for Peace represent, in part, an attempt to change this image?
Through our projects, we attempt to highlight the significance of sustainable Fashions, fair trade, educated consumers and the correlation to human rights, development and environmental awareness. We believe that being a sustainable consumer is the ultimate luxury and it is becoming highly regarded among the influential trendmakers. Modeling can be about so much more than just a pretty face and a fabulous product, it can have an impact. We are working with some very brilliant and bright girls who are combining their talent with their passion to better the world. Changing public opinion and common negative perceptions is never an easy job but, we take pride in trying.
What do you enjoy most about Peace Boat?
I love the spirit of the Peace Boat! It was such an amazing experience where everybody I came across gave, contributed, laughed and had a positive outlook. It was a remarkable atmosphere with a uplifting group spirit. I am very impressed by the fact that the Peace Boat is so active in idea sharing and simultaneously, perform such an impressive amount of “on the ground” work. Overall, interacting with the Peace Boat, whether it is working with the office teams or venturing out on the actual ship, is a truly inspiring and educational experience!
Where would you like to travel in the future on the Peace Boat, and why?
Universal Models for Peace would like to travel everywhere with the Peace Boat! A goal of ours is to produce a several month long production where UMP helps spreading the message and work of the Peace Boat in relation to the Model Ambassador Program to foster the education of the younger generation on the combination of fashion, culture and giving back as a way of life. Personally, I would like to travel to all the countries in the world, and all the RAIN FORESTS! Forest conservation is another big passion of mine, if I could host education about the forests of the world I would be in heaven! UMP would like to drive a project I call “Park It” with the National Park Conservation Association for raising awareness on the matter of conserving the parks and keep them accessible for the next generations to come. Environmentally friendly initiatives are in line with the Peace Boat’s aspiration to create a new sustainable cruise liner.
How would you convince people to get onboard the Peace Boat and learn about global issues that our world faces today?
I could go on and on about this forever! It is just a great experience, I think it is self explanatory that traveling the world, being participants in work shops, expand experiences with dance and laughter is going to render an impression you cannot find anywhere else. It is a completely unique experience! Learning by doing is very true and when you see, touch and interact with global issues this way, you obtain a broader perspective and a deeper comprehension on how to respond. They are truly breaking ground and water for what is possible. Peace!? Totally doable!
For more information about Universal Models for Peace visit their website: www.universalmodelsforpeace.org
Universal Models for Peace was founded by Michael William-Paul. For more on the Director and Photographer please visit: ttp://michaelwilliampaul.com/home/philanthropy/