About peaceboatusoffice

Peace Boat US is a civil society, non-profit organization working to promote peace, sustainable environment, human rights and respect for the environment throughout the United States and the world through educational programs organized in partnership with the NGO Peace Boat, which carries out its main activities through a chartered passenger ship that travels around the world on peace voyages. The ship creates a neutral, mobile space and enables people to engage across borders in dialogue and mutual cooperation at sea, and in the ports that we visit. These goals are pursued through peace education programs onboard the ship, including conferences, workshops, face to face encounters and field studies. We educate, raise awareness, and inspire action which will bring forth positive political and social change in the world for peace. Learning directly though people to people encounters and grass-roots field experiences, we examine the root causes of local and global issues, nurture compassion, empathy, and responsibility as global citizens.

Peace Boat US 2020 Interns – working together for Climate Action and the Oceans!

Peace Boat US welcomes its 2020 Summer interns! Considering the current global trend of everyone working from home, Peace Boat US was able to adapt by kicking off its first online internship! Transitioning to a digital platform is all the more exciting considering the summer interns are currently working from three different states, and yet are still able to coordinate their work together.

Our dedicated team of interns will help in the preparation for the events around the United Nations World Oceans Day activities which will take place from June 1 – 14 as many partners come together to highlight this year’s theme: Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean. Since its inception in 2008, UN World Oceans Day (8 June) celebrates the ocean and its importance to the planet and our lives, while raising awareness about the many threats it faces. As the challenges to the ocean continue to grow, so does the need for novel solutions and the people driving them. Peace Boat US will be helping to coordinate various events during the weeks leading up to the UN World Oceans Day and will be working on programs specifically focused on innovation, youth empowerment and education for the oceans.

In addition, our team will prepare for the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) which will take place via a digital platform from July 7th to July 19th. This event consists of reviewing the 2030 Agenda of UN Sustainable Development and Goals.

Another exciting project our interns will help with is raising awareness about Peace Boat’s Ecoship, an ongoing project to build a sustainable cruise ship that will be an example of innovation for green technology and renewable energy in the maritime industry, reducing our CO2 by 40%, while sailing as a flagship for the SDGs. By pooling their hobbies and skills together, our new interns will create content with the social media platforms, conduct research, and support the upcoming events in which Peace Boat will be participating.

Maé Klein- New York, NY

Maé Klein is a freshman at McGill University majoring in Political Science and minoring in Communication Studies. Through her studies, she has developed a real passion for geopolitics, world dynamics and the use of media to create change. From an early age, Maé was passionate about climate change and human rights. Her interests led her to take part in her school’s Green Team and in an organization called WISER, which raises funds for women’s education in Kenya. Furthermore, having been born in Paris, having lived in Tokyo, New York and Montreal, she has an international background which has exposed her to many different cultures, perspectives, and hardships. Thus, Maé resonates with Peace Boat’s mission statement becausePeace Boat is representative of the change and improvements that can be made. Maé is excited to share the knowledge she has acquired about the environment and the importance of education. She is looking forward to taking part in and truly understanding what creating change means at Peace Boat US.

Griselda Solis- Phoenix, AZ

Griselda Solis is a rising senior at Wesleyan University. She is double majoring in American Studies with a concentration in Race and Ethnicity and Environmental Studies with a concentration in conservation. Griselda’s passion for sustainability originated from witnessing environmental inequalities. For example, she saw how low-income communities were disproportionately impacted with environmental hazards ranging from higher exposure to pollution from factories to superfund sites. Throughout high school, she got involved with grassroots organizations that worked on lessening environmental inequalities through legislative action, lobbying. To further her understanding of the intersections between social justice and environmental justice, she has been involved in academic and personal projects such as the Peace Boat. In 2018, Griselda participated in the Peace Boat’s 98th global voyage as a youth for the SDGs where she got to get a taste of the Peace Boat while traveling from Panama, to Costa Rica, and disembarking in Mexico. The rich cultural and educational experiences had a lasting impact that draws her back to Peace Boat. Her personal, professional, and Peace Boat experiences have invigorated her to continue to pursue her passion for social and environmental justice.

Claire Elise Cousineau- Minneapolis, MN

Claire Cousineau, a Minneapolis, Minnesota native, is finishing up her undergraduate this winter at Middlebury College in Vermont with a major in Chinese and a double minor in Religion and Psychology. In 2019, she studied and lived in Beijing and Kunming which ignited her passion for community building and creative cross-cultural problem-solving. Additionally, after working with smaller-scale organizations on issues surrounding education, she began to understand the many connections that come together to create an enriching and effective global education. Claire is excited to contribute these experiences to her work with Peace Boat US in order to further explore and build her understanding around creating a sustainable and globally-connected world. She looks forward to learning how Peace Boat US takes its unique and innovative approach to tackling some of our world’s greatest issues.

Silvia Cantu – Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico

Silvia Cantu is a senior at Middlebury College, majoring in Political Science with a focus on Environmental Policy. Born and raised in Mexico, she has previously lived in Victoria, Canada, where she completed high school at UWC Pearson College and in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she attended Universidade Federal Fluminense for a semester of study abroad. She is fluent in Spanish, English, and Portuguese. She joined Peace Boat’s 100th global voyage traveling from Ushuaia to Valparaiso as part of the Youth for the SDGs program in February 2019. She is passionate about marine conservation and youth education and activism. She has vast experience in interdisciplinary academic research, cross-cultural communication, and inclusive teaching. Silvia is also a certified PADI Advanced scuba diver and a conservation photographer. Her interest in the nonprofit sector and international cooperation has only drawn her closer to Peace Boat and its multiple initiatives for peace education and sustainability.

Mehraz Karim –  Old Tappan, NJ

Mehraz Karim is a rising senior at Horace Mann School in the Bronx. He has taken classes on Atlantic World History, Religion in History, and Ethics to better understand topics such as sociology and multicultural psychology. Mehraz first experienced enthusiasm for sustainability when he participated on his school’s service-learning team, where he volunteered at local public schools in the Bronx and helped manage sustainable activities for younger students to partake in after school. Mehraz also has volunteered with Peace Boat in both 2018 and 2019, shooting photography for them at their programs at the Tribeca Film Festival and at the United Nations World Oceans Day, respectively. By volunteering for Peace Boat, Mehraz hopes to further learn about sustainability and its impact on oceans.

Romina Perino – New York, NY

Born in Argentina, she moved at a young age and was raised in New York City. She completed her degree at Adelphi University in political science and peace studies where she took an interest in the Sahrawi Refugee crisis. Since 2013 she’s dedicated her studies and research to ending the occupation of Morocco in Western Sahara. In 2017 Romina accepted an invitation from Artifariti, an annual conference of local and foreign artists in the Sahrawi camps which aims to raise awareness of the occupation and conflict in Western Sahara. Romina has made it an effort to return to the camps every year, most recently collaborating with a group of doctors and nurses from Spain at the hospital in Smara, one of the refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, investigating the challenges faced by doctors and lack of medical resources in the area. Since 2019 she has been working for a communications and strategic firm as Project Manager making ideas come to life and changing the world.

To learn more about our 2020 Ocean Youth Leaders visit our website here :

Peace Boat’s events for the UN World Oceans Day :

Peace Boat is organizing various events during the weeks around the UN World Oceans Day

Hollins University Interns share their Experiences at Peace Boat US

Peace Boat US has partnered with Hollins University for 7 consecutive years, giving students the opportunity to study abroad and promote peace and sustainability as part of the academic signature internship program each January. Students are able to attend various of events in New York hosted by the United Nations and other organizations during their internship, providing them with ample opportunities to network and learn from leaders in the fields of education, disarmament, peace and sustainable development. Students also make themselves at home in the Peace Boat US office, where they work on research and promotions in order to make a positive difference, raise awareness about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and encourage more students to participate in Peace Boat educational programs. With the hope to inspire students and to better understand their experiences at Peace Boat, we have conducted interviews with each intern to reflect on their internship at the Peace Boat US Office: 

Leena Gurung

What is the biggest lesson you have learned working with Peace Boat? 

As a sophomore in college, I am still trying to figure where to go with my international studies degree. Interning at Peace Boat has exposed me to the type of work that an NGO does. This is the kind of work that involves the humanitarian impact, which is what I ultimately want to do in the future. Thus, I have gained significant insights on this and the crucial role that networking plays in this field.

What is the most memorable moment at Peace Boat? 

There are many memorable moments, but my favorite is when I got the opportunity to read the testimony of Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor & recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Ms. Setsuko Thurlow, in The New York City Council. Representing such an inspiring personality in the important process of divestment from nuclear weapons was an absolute honor. For me, it was an incredible way to start a new year and a new decade.

What initially drew you to applying to Peace Boat? 

Traveling around the world, making lasting social impacts, and becoming a world citizen are my core goals. When I read about Peace Boat, I found out about its work for the SDGs and its affiliation with the UN, which is a place I consider working for in the future. It also aligned perfectly with my major, which is international studies. With all these aspects considered, it made Peace Boat my first choice when applying to internships.

What did you learn from Peace Boat that you will continue to carry with you and use in your everyday life?

I have gained a lot of experience at Peace Boat US that have strengthened my teamwork skills. Improving these sets of skills are valuable to me, and very important to master. I plan to use the lessons I have learned, by carrying them out in my everyday life and continuing to work on them. 

Do you see yourself going onboard the Peace Boat?

Definitely yes! 


What is the biggest lesson you have learned working with Peace Boat? 

I learned how important it is for organizations to work collaboratively. The connection between Peace Boat and the United Nations is very valuable, along with the networking opportunities.

What is the most memorable moment at Peace Boat? 

The New York City Council experience was the most memorable. It was an honor to speak at the council and read the testimonies from the Hibakusha. “It was the greatest moment I had at Peace Boat.” There were many important responsibilities that I had as an intern. 

What initially drew you to applying to Peace Boat? 

I have always wanted to do work with a non-profit organization. The focus on SDGs at Peace Boat and the connections with the United Nations. I want to help others just like the organization does. 

What did you learn from Peace Boat that you will continue to carry with you and use in your everyday life?

The importance of working in a team with people who are very different. Effective communication is highly important to work well together. Networking is very valuable for growing connections.

Do you see yourself going onboard the Peace Boat?

Sometime in the future, I definitely want to go onboard the Peace Boat. I love to travel and I wish to experience new learning opportunities. 

Sajila Kanwal

What is the biggest lesson you have learned working with Peace Boat? 

The importance of work ethic, team work, and gaining knowledge of helping others and raising awareness. 

What is the most memorable moment at Peace Boat? 

Peace Boat is an organization that is associated with the United Nations and being able to better understand how the UN functions. Peace Boat played a very important step for me to get to the United Nations.

What initially drew you to applying to Peace Boat? 

Reading about Peace Boat US voyages and how the organization is working on global issues. I am very interested in global issues and people getting justice.

What did you learn from Peace Boat that you will continue to carry with you and use in your everyday life?

Networking and the sense of knowing people and utilizing the connections. I loved the networking opportunities that I received from Peace Boat. I learned more about the Sustainable Development Goals during my time at the organization.

Do you see yourself going onboard the Peace Boat?

Of course, I can definitely see myself onboard the Peace Boat.


What is the biggest lesson you have learned working with Peace Boat? 

I learned how to be a representative of the organization when connecting with other representatives and organizations, because it reflects my knowledge and responsibility for Peace Boat. When we go into the crowd, people know me as a representative for Peace Boat and that power comes with great responsibility. It also helped me realize the disadvantages of myself so I know what I should work on, along with my advantages for what I may want to do in the future.  I now want to spread positivity and my education of what I learned to other youths.

What is the most memorable moment at Peace Boat? 

The NY City Hall Hearing was my most memorable moment when we were representing Peace Boat and discussing the projects such as the Hibakusha project and representing those who were involved. It was even more exciting because we were able to be seen on television.

What initially drew you to applying to Peace Boat? 

I am a Communication Science major and it required an internship and considering Peace Boat is an international organization and I am an international student I believed Peace Boat would allow me to be able to discover my potentials and ways to use my knowledge to influence the world positively.

What did you learn from Peace Boat that you will continue to carry with you and use in your everyday life?

My undying passion. Those simple projects allowed me to find skills and gain passion to influence others because those simple things did matter despite being small tasks and made a difference. I also plan to carry with me the idea of being bold and brave.

Do you see yourself going onboard the Peace Boat?

Yes, because I have never been on a boat and being part of an educator which I want to be, I want to go around the world to see how others go about life differently than myself with no internet but also to help make a change.  Especially because Peace Boat allows many different kinds of people.

Thank you Hollins University Interns for being apart of the Peace Boat US team.

Youth representatives speak out for Nuclear Disarmament at the NY City Hall

On January 28, 2020, Peace Boat US attended the NY City Council hearing at the City Hall to support two legislations about nuclear disarmament. Held by the Committee on Governmental Operations, the hearing focused on two legislations that were sponsored by City Council member Daniel Dromm. RES0976-2019 will encourage council members to divest the New York City pension funds from industries that support nuclear weapons technologies and development and INT 1621-2019 which will make New York City a nuclear-weapon-free zone. Passing these legislations would not only be a city-wide decision but will also serve as a role model for a nuclear-free world.

Peace Boat US interns holding the Nobel Peace Prize 2017 won by ICAN, along with SDGs and signs for a nuclear free world on the steps of New York City Hall.

Many organizations and activists gathered on the stairs in front of the New York City Hall for a press conference to raise awareness for nuclear disarmament. ICAN representative Ray Acheson displayed the Nobel Peace Prize, a sign of hope and motivation for the activists, while calling for the city to step against nuclear weapons. She voiced support for a City Council resolution urging Comptroller Scott Stringer to divest pension funds from companies involved in nukes. Acheson is a member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.

Acheson and other community leaders decried investments detailed in a 2019 report from the International Disarmament Institute at Pace University, which found the city’s retirement funds have put $475 million in 19 “nuclear weapon producers.” The sum includes more than $180 million invested in Boeing and about $67 million in Honeywell International.

Organizations and activists gathered on the stairs in front of the NY City Hall during the press conference.

More than 60 people testified at the public hearing, including Peace Boat US Director Emilie McGlone and our youth delegation from Hollins University, sharing the testimonies of the survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, encouraging Council Member Fernando Cabrera to announce his support for divestment from nuclear weapons producing companies. 

Participants at the hearing expressed their love of the city and strong unwillingness to see New York, or any other place on the Earth, to be exposed to the threat of irreversible destruction that nuclear weapons poses. Nuclear weapons not only eliminate the capacity of human self-defense and mutual aid, but they also create a genocidal level of injury. But so far, an outrageous amount of money is being invested in nuclear weapons instead of more immediate and pressing issues like poverty, health care, and climate change. Nuclear disarmament is a local, national and international issue and thus, in order to rid the world of nuclear weapons, we need actions from all levels, not just words. “It is the will of conscience of humanity,” to educate of truth and create real security that nuclear weapons are incapable of. 

New York City Council hearing for Res 976 & Intro 1621 in session.

Director Emilie McGlone spoke on behalf of Peace Boat US and shared information about the nuclear disarmament initiatives that Peace Boat has been organizing onboard and in the ports of call. Since 2008, Peace Boat has invited Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to participate in the “Global Voyage for a Nuclear-Free World: Peace Boat Hibakusha Project.” This project is held annually onboard Peace Boat’s global voyages. As the average age of the Hibakusha is now more than 76 years old, the time remaining for them to directly share their experience and insights is very limited. 

Chin Wai Wong, Sajika Kanwal, Irina Conc, Leena Gurung, and Emilie McGlone representing Peace Boat US & the Hibakusha Project in a panel at the hearing.

The interns read testimonies on behalf of Hibakusha Shigeko Sasamori, Satsuko Thurlow, and Yasuaki Yamashita as well as activist Linda Chapman. The atomic bomb survivors’ testimonies described their personal experience and trauma suffered from Hiroshima and Nagasaki and urged the New York city council and committee members to support the total abolition of nuclear weapons and its development. The interns felt honored to deliver this important message to the hearing at the City Hall. It was an insightful experience for them to be part of this powerful and pivotal process. 

This post was created and published by Chin Wai Wong, Irina Conc, Leena Gurung, and Sajila Kanwal.

“74 years of Nuclear Disarmament and the Contribution of Youth beyond 2020”

On January 24, Peace Boat US interns attended the “74 years of Nuclear Disarmament and the Contribution of Youth beyond 2020”, held by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations, and Youth 4 Disarmament Initiative, at the United Nations Headquarters. 

Hollins interns attended “74 years of Nuclear Disarmament and the Contribution of Youth beyond 2020”.

The dialogue highlighted the emphasis on education of nuclear weapon disarmament. It is suggested that education, overall, should involve the topic of nuclear weapon disarmament in the curriculum, allowing students from different grades to have the opportunity to connect with people and to be exposed to and involved in this issue. The education itself should be “peace-generating”, and it is a “collective thinking” for people’s various needs, suggested by Mr. Izumi Nakamitsu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs. While appreciating the benefits that technologies have brought to the human world, we should be aware not to be used by technologies but to use them, and at the same time focus on the central question: What makes us human? 

An animated video, “What if We Nuke a City”, was later presented to inform the disastrous effect after an explosion of a nuclear bomb, from the physical scope of influence to a drastic change in humans’ living conditions. We believe it is necessary to prohibit nuclear weapon tests and eliminate nuclear weapons all together. As young people are the heart of the 2030 Agenda towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), students from fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are encouraged to learn from each other and join in international security. Students from all fields are invited to join United Nations Youth Champions for Disarmament, contributing their creativity to advocate for nuclear disarmament on the planet we all share.

This pivotal topic has no doubt raised awareness among youth who attended the event. In addition to learning about the catastrophe nuclear weapons have brought and are capable of, they feel the urge to learn more and contribute their effort to support the aim of the United Nations for international peace and security. Peace Boat continues to encourage youth education for nuclear disarmament through various programs onboard and in New York City through exchanges with experts in the field, conferences and learning from the testimonies of the survivors of atomic bombs.

This post was created and published by Chin Wai Wong, Irina Conc, Leena Gurung and Sajila Kanwal.

The 2020 Dialogues for Peace & UN75

On January 22, Peace Boat US interns attended “2020 Dialogues for Peace & UN75”, held by the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Global Communications at the UNITAR building. Not only did this dialogue highlight the UN2030 Sustainable Development Agenda to “Leave No One Behind” and UN75 for the UN We Need, but it also welcomed Debate for Peace: the Yale 2020 Delegation to share their experiences at Model United Nations.

“2020 Dialogues for Peace & UN75” in session.

Debate for Peace: the Yale 2020 Delegation is a youth empowerment organization working with a diverse student body consisting of 14-18-year-old Jewish and Arab students in Israel, providing students from different communities with the opportunity to discuss controversial, salient topics, and gain problem-solving skills. It was represented by Founder and Director of Debate for Peace Steven Aiello and student Hassan Hassan, Gaia Kinrot, Hosne Grere, Yoad Hershkovits, Romi Rachel Merhav, Mostafa Hassan, Laila Khaled Jabali, Ori Sinvani, and Shahaf Navon. They shared how Model UN has been an empowering experience for them and has contributed to their personal development, their visions of the future, and their ideas for solutions towards turning those visions into reality. 

Student from Debate for Peace: the Yale 2020 Delegation shared his insight into the future.

The UN wishes to launch global conversations in order to listen and learn new ideas, advice, solutions and people’s priorities, which gives way to new voices from the diverse student body. The students shared their insights on their bold initiatives in making the world a better place and emphasized the importance of diverse education and clear communication that are pivotal in making the optimistic visions of gender equality, social justice, and climate change come true in the foreseeable future. Peace Boat’s youth delegation was inspired by the way Model United Nations has influenced and helped the students in their growth and also feel highly obliged to be part of the conversations for peace, hearing voices from different backgrounds, age-groups, and nations. 

This post was created and published by Chin Wai Wong, Irina Conc, Leena Gurung, and Sajila Kanwal.

Learning about Multidimensional Peacekeeping with the International Peace Institute

On January 21, the Peace Boat US youth delegation attended the event “Sharing the Burden: Lessons from the European and Canadian Return to Multidimensional peacekeeping” in the UN plaza. The students had an opportunity to listen to the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the UN, and the French Ministry of the Armed Forces at the policy forum of the International Peace Institute (IPI) event. Since 2013, after years of near absence, a number of European countries, along with Canada, have again deployed to multidimensional UN peacekeeping missions in Africa and other regions of the world. The European presence in UN peacekeeping in Africa is now nearly at its largest since the mid-1990s. 

The UN Secretariat has invested quite a lot of effort into getting European troop-contributing countries (TCCs) back on board with multidimensional peacekeeping operations and keeping them engaged over the past few years. These TCCs provide much-needed high-end capabilities, as well as political and financial capital, to UN peacekeeping operations. Nonetheless, securing and sustaining European contributions to these types of peacekeeping operations remains an uphill battle for the UN.

This policy forum marked the launch of a new IPI policy paper by Arthur Boutellis and Michael Beary. The paper drew lessons from this renewed engagement by European TCCs and Canada, both from their own point of view (from their units in the field all the way up to their ministries of defense and foreign affairs), as well as from that of the UN Secretariat, UN field missions, and other TCCs. It aims to explore how these and other TCCs can best work together in a collective endeavor to improve UN peacekeeping’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Through this forum, Peace Boat’s youth delegation gained knowledge about the UN peacekeeping troops and the TCCs, an important lesson in international dialogue and cooperation for maintaining peace. The students also found this opportunity beneficial as they interacted with important figures from the European UN Permanent Missions and audiences from various organizations.

This post was created and published by Irina Conc and Sajila Kanwal.

Peace Boat US youth delegation attends “Friends of World Oceans Day 2020” meeting

World Oceans Day will be celebrated all week from June 8 – June 14, 2020

On January 16, Emilie McGlone of Peace Boat US, and two youth delegates from Hollins University’s signature academic internship program attended the “Friends of World Oceans Day 2020” meeting at the UN Plaza. 

June 8 is World Oceans Day, the United Nations day for celebrating the role of the oceans in our everyday life and inspiring action to protect the ocean and sustainably use marine resources. The World Oceans Day Theme for 2020 is “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean”.

Each year, we have an opportunity to raise global awareness of the benefits humankind derives from the ocean and our individual and collective duty to use its resources sustainably. Future generations will also depend on the ocean for their livelihoods! Aquariums, science centers and research institutions, NGOs, communities and governments all around the world mobilize millions of people around events big and small. Together with the United Nations Family and our partners, let’s celebrate all that the ocean gives us every day: from the oxygen we breathe to the inspiration that moves our poets.

The Friends of World Oceans Day meeting covered the overview of this year’s main event for the UN World Oceans Day to be held on June 8, 2020, and welcomed inputs from meeting participants from different locations, including New York City, Los Angeles, and San Diego in U.S., Sweden, France, Italy, and Mexico. Emilie McGlone, Director of Peace Boat US, proposed that Peace Boat will hold celebrations during World Oceans Week with all of the UN partners on its ship. It will also host receptions with guest speakers, performances, and music on its ship which will dock in NY at the end of World Oceans Week on June 14th, with SDG Number 14 “Life Below Water” as its overall theme. 

“Friends of World Oceans Day” meeting in session.
Chin Wai Wong and Leena Gurung attended the meeting.

After the “Friends of World Oceans Day 2020” meeting, Hollins interns also participated in an interactive dialogue with Brittany DeGirolamo from the Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA), a youth-driven non-profit organization based in San Francisco, where they learned about SOA’s mission of protecting and sustaining the ocean through innovation, technology and youth empowerment.

Welcome Brittany DeGirolamo representing SOA to Peace Boat US office.
Hollins University interns Chin Wai Wong, Leena Gurung, Irina Conc, and Sajila Kanwal learning about SOA.

This post was created and published by Chin Wai Wong and Leena Gurung.

Peace Boat US interns attend “Eyes on the Goals: A digital series premiere” at the UN Headquarters

On January 17, the Hollins University interns attended “Eyes on the Goals: A digital series premiere” at the ECOSOC chamber in the UN headquarters. As part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, UNDP and Sustainable Partners Inc. partnered with seven unique social influencers to emphasize the role that digital and social media can play in achieving the Global Goals. The premiere included short films from actor Rainn Wilson; Olympic gold medalists Hope Solo and Michael Johnson; Josh Horton: 19-time Guinness World Record Holder; actor, dancer and choreographer Sean Lew; wildlife photographer and TV host Robert Irwin; and the Platinum-Certified alternative band AJR. The films were geared towards spreading the message of the 17 SDGs through the diverse and creative utility of digital media for social good. They entertained, educated, and raised funds simultaneously. Each view of the video equals to one dollar, all of which goes to organizations working to achieve the SDGs that the video is about. Such a strategy invites and engages everyone to contribute to the SDGs by 2030.

Hollins interns attended the “Eyes on the Goals: A digital series premiere” at the ECOSOC chamber in the UN headquarters.

It was a profound and mind-broadening experience for everyone to see artists incorporating activism in their expression of passion like dance, juggling, sports, wildlife conservation, comedy and music. Peace Boat Interns had the opportunity to listen to some leaders who work with celebrities like Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish and Shawn Mendes and how they apply various SDGs in their work and thus, contribute in achieving the SDGs. While networking with the attendees, the students also met Betty E. King, representative of the United States to the European Office of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland from 2010 to 2013. Participating in their first United Nations event held in the UN headquarters in New York was a unique opportunity for the interns. They are thrilled to have more UN related interactive and educational experiences in future through Peace Boat US.

This post was created and published by Chin Wai Wong, Irina Conc, Leena Gurung and Sajila Kanwal.

Peace Boat US interns learn about Peace and Security at the United Nations Headquarters

On January 8th, the Hollins University interns took their first educational tour of the United Nations headquarters in New York. Under the guidance of an exceptional tour guide, they were able to visit the General Assembly hall and the chambers of the Security Council, Economic & Social Council and Trusteeship Council. After becoming more familiar with the building, they now have a better understanding of UN goals and functions such as the UN Peacekeeping Missions, the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that countries get recommendations to work on. They also had a chance to observe the diverse and unique design and architecture of the building in addition to the artwork gifted by many countries that symbolize different significant themes like the awaking of humanity, cooperation, peace, prosperity, freedom and independence. 

Sajila Kanwal excited to enter the UN building.
Irina Conc looking at one of the decorative pieces inside the building.

It was a mind-broadening opportunity for the interns, especially for those who aspire to work in the United Nations in the future. Not only did the experience provide a deeper insight about how an organization, as vast as the United Nations, functions in a physical space, but it would also help the interns when they attend future UN events during and after their internship.

Chin Wai Wong proud to visit the General Assembly Hall.
Leena Gurung standing next to the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals painted at the entrance in front of the UN building.

This post was created and published by Chin Wai Wong, Irina Conc, Leena Gurung and Sajila Kanwal.

Peace Boat US Welcomes 2020 January Interns from Hollins University

Peace Boat US welcomed four talented students, Chin Wai Wong, Irina Conc, Leena Gurung, and Sajila Kanwal from Hollins University as its new January interns. Founded in 1842, Hollins University is a private, liberal arts college in Roanoke, Virginia. During each January term, Hollins University provides its students with the opportunity to join their academic signature internship program. In this program, students get the chance to apply and develop skills in their affiliated fields. Peace Boat US has offered this internship opportunity to Hollins students since 2013. It continues to support their academic program to give students a first-hand experience working with an international NGO affiliated with the United Nations.

The four students interning with Peace Boat US this January term are introduced below:

Chin Wai Wong is a sophomore at Hollins University majoring in Communication Studies. She is passionate about travelling, learning languages, and communicating with people from different cultures and backgrounds, because she believes that in order to be involved in this modern world, communication is the key to create and maintain connections with people who share ideas to make the world a better place. As a yoga instructor, she has been connecting herself to nature more than ever, which has been inspiring her to appreciate nature and act on protecting and improving the environment. In the long run, she is looking forward to working in the field of education, teaching the next generations about the past, the present and the future, inspiring them to be individuals and teammates who are proud of whom they are, and spreading peace between people and nature. 

She highly identified with the goals of Peace Boat and would love to be part of the team to help realize the goals with great diligence and sense of responsibility. By utilizing her skills acquired in Communication Studies, creativity in Theatre, and previous volunteer work as a book-reading project co-founder in her high school, she understands how to turn ideas into tangible objects, how to cooperate with teammates to achieve a greater goal, and how to create greater positive impact with the work she does to invite more prospective volunteers to join the team. 

Leena Gurung is a sophomore at Hollins University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in International Studies as a major and International Economics and Social Justice as minors. Born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal, she has lived most of her life there but aspires to become a world citizen. Growing up taking mostly science classes till grade 12, she finally discovered her passion for social justice in an international students conference about poverty alleviation in Kyoto, Japan. This and a year-long experience working as a Local Committee Vice President at AIESEC, a global youth-run organization present in 127 countries and territories, has led her to believe that a cross-cultural experience is essential for gaining a broader perspective of the world as it challenges you to empower yourself and those around you.

Leena wants her present and future to hold a dynamic combination of travel and activism. Apart from this, she is also interested in photography, videography, dance and spoken word poetry. At Hollins, she was elected as the first ever international student Class Vice President in her first year and is now working as a Resident Assistant. 

The values of Peace Boat align with what Leena aspires to do in life. Through this internship, she hopes to utilize her experiences and skills in support of the tenets of Peace Boat US and in this process, gain a stronger understanding of the inner workings of an NGO in New York City. She is very grateful and thrilled to have received this opportunity.

Sajila Kanwal is from Gilgit, Pakistan. She is  a sophomore at Hollins University in  Roanoke Virginia. She came to the United States at the age of seventeen in 2018. She is pursuing  a bachelor’s degree in international studies and social justice. She has been serving as a social worker since her childhood. Sajila is passionate about working on global issues and issues which arise from her immediate surroundings. 

As an international studies and social justice student at her college, Sajila is interested in working for refugees and immigrants around the globe. She has been working with immigrants from the Middle East in Roanoke, Virginia. She is looking forward to working with the UNHCR in her future. She is working on her Arabic and Persian speaking skills in order to achieve her long-term goals to work with refugees and immigrants from the Middle East. However, Sajila can currently speak seven different languages and is capable of reading and writing in four. 

Sajila is a student leader at her college as a mentor for the international students  and at different colleges in her state as an AAUW( American Association of University Women) ambassador, where she talks about religion based conflicts. She successfully organized three youth camps in summer 2019 in her hometown, Gilgit, Pakistan. With the spirit of activism and bringing positive change in the world, Sajila looks forward to applying her skills at Peace Boat and contributing to the wonderful effort of the organization. She is excited about her forthcoming experiences at Peace Boat, the UN, the networking she would have, and the knowledge she will receive at the end of this program. She is hopeful to share her knowledge and experiences with other people in future.

Irina Conc is a junior at Hollins University, VA who will be graduating with a major in International Studies and a focus on Communication Studies and Public Health. She was born and raised in a small town in Austria where she always dreamed of traveling the world to help people who are struggling with oppression and poverty. Irina started her first fundraiser for families in Romania when she was 12 years old and found passion in raising awareness for global issues. While volunteering at the Center of College and Community Service at Durham Technical Community College in Durham, NC, she worked with various non-profit organizations to support the Durham community. Additionally, she was writing about her work in a blog to raise awareness of these local and global issues and encourage more people to volunteer. After an extensive research project about child marriage in Sub-Saharan Africa, Irina felt motivated to extend her work more globally. Through this project her passion of helping improve Gender Equality and Education grew even more and led her to join the Peace Boat US team as an intern to get familiar with different ways to improve these SDGs.

She is very excited to learn more about the work of Peace Boat US and the United Nations that will benefit her in her intended career within NGOs and non-profit organizations. Her hope is to use her communication and networking skills to bring more awareness to Peace Boat US to motivate people to volunteer and live a sustainable life.  

This post was created and published by Chin Wai Wong, Irina Conc, Leena Gurung and Sajila Kanwal.