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.

Climate Action in Patagonia – Interview with Stephanie Dawn Hawkins

The Director of Peace Boat US, Emilie McGlone, recently coordinated a trip to Patagonia, Chile in February 2018 with an aim to make the Chilean side of Patagonia a World Heritage Site recognized by UNESCO. Peace Boat has been working alongside Chile’s most venerable environmental organization–the National Committee to Protect the Fauna and  of Chile (CODEFF)—on a campaign to declare 7,500,000 hectares of Chilean Patagonia territory a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In recent years the Chilean Patagonia has faced an uphill battle against private interests. The Aysen region, which houses diverse wildlife and other biological and geographical features, is continually endangered by development and resource exploitation.  By becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site–like its Argentinean neighbor, the Patagonia will enjoy the benefits of global funding for conservation initiatives, ecologically responsible tourism, and recognition of its autonomy from the private sector. Peace Boat US recently ventured on a trip to the Patagonia region for the purpose of the aforementioned initiatives. Below is an interview conducted with Stephanie Hawkins, a participant on the trip led by the Music & Art Peace Academy to raise awareness about environmental issues through creative means. For the interview about the Patagonia trip with the guest artists Holmar Filipsson and Philipp Jung (M.A.N.D.Y.), visit this link : PATAGONICA VOL 10 in Chile 

 

 

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Tell us about your experience traveling to Patagonia:

I can’t imagine a more perfect team of people. The trip as a whole was ideal because of the people I was with! As a team we were together almost every moment of the tour and before that the majority of us had never met. The fact that we were able to not only tolerate but enjoy each other’s company throughout the whole trip is really impressive. I think it speaks directly to the wisdom of our organizer and leader Emilie McGlone!

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The team on the way to the isla Magdalena

What left the most impact on you from the trip ?

The real answer to this question is “everything”. Chile is such a beautiful place, even the 6-hour-long bus rides were fulfilling! It was really hard to rest on those long bus rides because the changing views out the window were so beautiful you didn’t want to sleep and miss anything.  

There were so many moments on the trip where the landscape reminded me of my home state, California. But in many ways the Chilean landscape is more wild and naturally

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The glacial waters of Chilé, taken by the Patagonica  team.

beautiful. This was especially true at the beach we visited near Valparaiso. The beach itself was filled with big boulders that formed small tidal pools. The seaweed and kelp all looked vibrant and overgrown on the rocks. In less than 5 minutes I spotted 4 of the coolest looking starfish I’ve ever seen in the wild. A few feet from all of this there were children playing and a crowded cafe and lots of beach goers in general. Regardless, the beach was pristine. I didn’t see one piece of litter.

What did you learn about Climate Change and the Penguins ? 

I’ve always identified with penguins. They’re kind of clumsy but they have amazing endurance. Also, they’re black and white. Like penguins, I keep a pescatarian diet and can be very loud. The fact that I get to exist in the same time and space as these flightless

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On the boat ride to Isla Magdalena the captain and crew of the boat provided clear instructions on how to limit our disturbance of the penguins. There was a roped off circular path that led up to the lighthouse at the hilltop and back down to the waiting boat. By the time we exited onto the island, most of the tour group had already made it halfway to the lighthouse. We were given a full hour to make the loop so I lingered at the beginning of the trail until I was almost alone.

The Magellanic Penguins chose this island as a nesting site long ago because of its proximity to abundant food resources. At the time of our visit in early February most of the babies had lost their fluffy down feathers and looked more like slightly smaller versions of their parents.

On the trail I witnessed different stages of the penguins nesting. Hundreds of different little groups and couplings of penguin communities nestled in their little burrows and

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Here is a close up image of the Penguins of Magdalena.

waddling their way to the shore. I wasn’t on the trail long before I was surrounded by the sounds sights and smells of the penguins; flapping, preening, cooing, squawking honking and calling to one another in the cool wind. These birds have a healthy lifespan of 25 years in nature and they mate for life. Traveling thousands of miles each year to return to the exact same burrow to nest each spring. It’s not hard to imagine stories like the ones narrated by Morgan Freeman in March of the Penguins.

The lighthouse keeper shared the real narrative. During the summer of 2014 Magdalena Island had a population of over 60,000 penguins. This year the population was just 23,000. The Magellanic penguins were first named after the explorer Ferdinand Magellan when they were spotted in 1520. Their conservation status is “near threatened” and rapidly declining. Because environmental changes have displaced the fish populations that serve as their main food source. They now swim an average 50 miles further to find food, which delays the time away from their hungry penguin families.

I’ve seen documentaries and television specials about penguins. It was a privilege to witness this precious environment and I plan to share the experience with everyone I can now that I have first-hand information and experience.

Do you feel you have made a positive impact on the purpose of this trip?

I hope so! It was a privilege to join a team full of so many inspiring individuals. Being

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Vegan BBQ at the DJ School Chile

surrounded by them for nearly 2 weeks has certainly left an impact on me. As we moved from town to town the general buzz created by the tour was palpable. I think the true impact of this tour is still building up now.  At the very least, I helped prepare a plant-based barbecue for a crowd of hungry carnivores and introduced the concept of biodegradable glitter to some new friends on the dance floor.

What was the most inspiring portion of this trip?

On a professional level it was really inspiring to watch Holmar Filipsson and Philipp Jung  perform with great music night after night. Their energy was consistent and it kept me smiling on and off the dance floor. It was a privilege to watch these two collaborate, they were clearly having fun and that kind of joy is infectious!

What was your personal goal for this trip?

Whenever I travel I try to manage my expectations and keep an open mind and heart. For me, this trip was the farthest South anyone in my entire family has ever traveled. I had no other expectation than to have accomplished that and what I truly accomplished was much more than that. To be honest I’m still processing my goals for this trip.

I decided to go to Patagonia with the MAPA project because of the group of amazing people that were going. In my wildest travel dreams I would never be able to see this much of Chile with so many people that I love and respect. The more I learned about the itinerary the easier it was to make the decision!

 

 

Blog post written by PB US Intern, Vivienne Hólmarsdottir

 

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Rutgers University Division of Global Affairs partners with Peace Boat US

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PB97-Spring-Flyer-1-980x400Peace Boat US is pleased to collaborate with the Division of Global Affairs at Rutgers University to promote a culture of peace and sustainability through education. Along with special invitations on upcoming global voyages, Peace Boat US is housing a number of interns specifically from the Global Affairs program at the United Nations-based office in New York. This is the first year Rutgers and Peace Boat US have partnered together to give graduate students an in-depth look at their current projects and initiatives to promote peace and sustainability around the world. The Division of Global Affairs will collaborate with Peace Boat US in various events and lectures, as well as craft innovative programs together. This April, both Dr. Richard O’Meara, Director of the Division of Global Affairs, and Sonam Tashi, Global Program Manager within the program boarded the Peace Boat as part of its 97th Global Voyage.

Rutgers University-Newark is a Top 25 research university and the only institution in the United States to offer both Master of Science and Doctoral degrees in Global Affairs. The main goal of the Division of Global Affairs (DGA) is to provide intellectual and practical training in eight Areas of Inquiry: Ethics, Security, and Global Affairs; Global Governance; Human Security; Global Political Economy; International Law; History of International Business; Global Development; Human Rights and Mass Atrocities. The program offers its ethnically and internationally diverse student population an interdisciplinary and multicultural perspective on global issues.

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Onboard the ship, youth working to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) traveled with the Peace Boat and learned about local sustainable development in the program “Sailing for Sustainability in Asia”. From April 2-20 during Peace Boat’s 97th Voyage, the group visited Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Among these young people were students, activists, and lifelong learners of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities who are currently or previously involved in SDG-related activities or have a strong desire to learn about sustainable development. Participants from the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, India, Barbados and the Philippines joined the Peace Boat voyage to attend presentations, seminars, and workshops addressing the SDGs.  In the ports of call, youth had the opportunity to visit local NGOs working on issues related to climate change, youth engagement, ocean conservation, mangrove restoration, and policy-making. With the goal to promote the SDGs and socially and environmentally responsible tourism, these youth scholars have strong leadership skills and a passion for sustainability.

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Dr. O'Meara

Dr. Richard M. O’Meara presently serves as the Director of the Division of Global Affairs, Rutgers University and as a Professor of Law and Global Security Issues. He is a retired Army General Officer and trial attorney and received his PhD in Global Affairs from Rutgers University and his JD from Fordham University. His research interests include the application of ethics to the use of military technologies, the intersection of ethnicity and violence in conflict zones, security and foreign policy issues in Sub-Saharan Africa and the North Pacific, and conflict resolution. He has travelled widely in Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and Latin America working with stakeholders to create dialogue and solutions regarding the cessation of conflict. His recent work includes Going Home For Apples and Other Short Stories (Amazon), amongst many other written works that allow for further reflections on peace and conflict resolution.

SonamSonam Tashi is the Global Program Manager at the Division of Global Affairs at Rutgers-Newark. His research interests include social capital, voting behavior, and democratization. His work examines voter turnout in violent elections across Sub-Sahara Africa. Previously, Sonam was the Principal Sovereign Risk Analyst for a consultancy firm advising hedge funds and other large institutional investors on political and economic risk in the emerging markets.

 

 

 

For more information about the Rutgers Division of Global Affairs, visit their website at dga.rutgers.edu.

 

Blog written by Shelby Moulton, Rutgers Division of Global Affairs
Peace Boat US Intern

Peace Boat US speaks about Youth Education for the SDGS during the 62nd UN CSW Conference in March 2018

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Mark Twain, “Innocents Abroad” 

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On March 13, Peace Boat US Director, Emilie McGlone, participated in a panel in a Parallel Event to the 62nd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62). The panel, titled “Education for Sustainable Development: A Tool to Empower Rural Women and Girls” explored how education for sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of non-violence, and global citizenship can contribute to achieving peace and empowerment for all, and to improve dignity, respect and the overall living conditions for rural women and girls.

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IMG_8501Moderated by Dr. Liberato Bautista, Assistant General Secretary for the United Nations and International Affairs of the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, the four panel members discussed their respective organizations in regards to utilizing education for the SDGs as a tool for rural women and girls to achieve sustainable development in their local communities..

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LILY GRAY, Liaison Officer at UNESCO New York Office

“Traditional knowledge has been recognized as an important pillar of sustainable development.”

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an ambitious, universal agenda, supported by all UN agencies, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to IMG_8507.JPGend poverty through sustainable development by the year 2030. To begin the panel discussion, Lily Gray, Liaison Officer at the UNESCO New York office, emphasized the importance of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as a key element of quality education and a crucial enabler for global development. Ms. Gray discussed previous as well as ongoing initiatives taken by UNESCO to achieve the 2030 Agenda including: the UN Decade of ESD (2005 – 2014), the Global Action Program for Sustainable Development (2014 – 2019), and the annual UNESCO-Japan Prize on ESD which awards 3 individuals or groups $50,000 for impressive projects related to Education for Sustainable Development.

In reference to the empowerment of rural women and girls, Ms. Gray stressed the importance of sharing and strengthening “traditional knowledge”, or knowledge developed and embedded within the cultural traditions of indigenous, or local communities.

EMILIE MCGLONE, Director of Peace Boat US, ICAN Member

“It is important to bring the SDGs into local communities and to learn from their traditional practices to see how we can work towards a more sustainable future together.”

IMG_8517.JPGEmilie McGlone, Director of Peace Boat US, presented on the organization and its mission. Addressing questions such as: How does Peace Boat contribute to global peace and sustainability ? How can we be socially and environmentally responsible travelers?  How can we measure local impact ? 

Touching on the work Peace Boat does regarding disaster relief, the United People’s Alliance, and the Hibakusha Project, Ms. McGlone stressed the need for global peace and education. Appealing directly to the theme of the panel, Ms. McGlone explained the International Student Program which aims to increase access to peace education and conflict resolution training for young people from post-conflict regions. unnamed-2In addition to peace-building and  training, the international students programs have a strong focus on the Untied Nations Sustainable Development Goals and learn directly from the communities they visit throughout their time traveling with Peace Boat. This experiential learning is integral to the success of Peace Boat and international education. The ship, Ocean Dream, serves as a flagship for the UN SDGs with the Global Goals logo painted on the hull of the ship, and continuously promotes the SDGs in local communities while employing traditional learning and teaching. “When we dock in port,” said Ms. McGlone, “we are not there to teach, but rather to learn from the communities we visit.”

AKARI YAMADA, President of PPSEAWA USA

“Friendship is an undervalued commodity in this world.”

IMG_8523.JPGThe Pan-Pacific & Southwest Asia Women’s Association, celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, is known to be the only international women’s organization devoted to families, peace and understanding in the Pacific and Southeast Asia. Akari Yamada, head of the USA sector of the organization, discussed the the first part of PPSEAWA’s mission, friendship, and how it is integrated into different programs globally. Focusing on three projects, though making clear that there are many more, Ms. Yamada explained the work being done in Fiji, Thailand, and Indonesia to empower and strengthen women. From leadership training for marginalized girls in Fiji to the mission to ensure equitable access to life-skills learning in Thailand and quality education in Indonesia, PPSEAWA recognizes that “when we educate a girl, we educate a village.” The notion of education for all, especially rural women and girls, is more important now more than ever.

SAIONARA KÖNIG-REIS, Representative to the UN and Head of NY Office, Dianova International

“Women have so many talents, and often times their ambitions are taken away by the roles imposed on them by their communities.”

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Dianova International aims to implement advocacy initiatives to defend and promote a number of causes. Among these are gender equality and women’s empowerment in all areas. Ms. König-Reis focused two areas where Dionova International is implementing positive change: Chile and Nicaragua. In Chile, the organization is working to equip women to become teachers and role models. By emphasizing the need of capacity building and sustainability of programming, Dianova promotes women empowerment through teachings of an amalgamation of gender equality, peace, and citizenship.

In Nicaragua, Dianova is working to utilize basic facilities in rural areas for education purposes. In addition to empowerment, Dianova in Nicaragua aims to break gender norms, implement family involvement in SDG learning, teach basic life skills, and prevent teenage pregnancy among the rural youth.

While Ms. König-Reis had much to say regarding the work done by Dianova in South America, she ultimately let this video to do the talking.  Thank you to everyone who participated in the panel and we look forward to more partnerships towards reaching women and girls in rural areas with education for the SDGs.

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This post was written Shelby Moulton, Intern
Rutgers University Division of Global Affairs

Introducing Peace Boat US Interns

sabrina headshotSabrina Oliveto is a sophomore at Pace University double majoring in Modern Languages and Peace and Justice studies. Prior to Peace Boat US, Sabrina was an intern with the Arab American Association of New York. There, she taught about the process to obtain American citizenship and helped prepare for the citizenship exam. Sabrina’s passion for cultural immersion lead her to Amman, Jordan where she studied Arabic and volunteered with local refugee communities. Peace Boat’s ideology of promoting a culture of peace and sustainability through global voyages appeals to her the most. Sabrina is excited to intern with Peace Boat US and combine her interests of traveling, cultural diversity, global peace and sustainability.

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Zeynep Sayiner is a sophomore at Yeditepe University majoring in International Management. In addition to economical topics due to her major in school; she is interested in human rights and environmental sustainability. She has been involved in special projects and volunteered in nonprofit organizations that are mainly helping the environment and communities. She is positive, open minded, willing to learn more and improve herself continuously so that she can reach her goal: being a superior help to people and environment. She finds the internship opportunity at this non governmental organization very valuable and important step in fulfilling her goals and expanding her vision. She is eager to gain more experience and knowledge at this organization while interacting with interesting people worldwide. In her free times she enjoys spending time with her pets, reading books, traveling, watching documentaries.

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Shelby Moulton will be graduating in the spring with a Masters in Global Affairs from Rutgers University with plans to continue her education by pursuing a Doctorate in the same field. Her research explores environmental security in regards to migration and refugees in Southeast Asia. She is particularly keen on the human dimensions of climate change, environmental advocacy, and policy promoting sustainable development in developing regions. Shelby is thankful for the opportunity to grow with Peace Boat US and further the mission in building a culture of peace around the world.

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Gin Sanchez is a graduate student in the Global Affairs program at Rutgers University. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in History from William Paterson University in the summer of last year. Due to Gin’s interests in developmental modernization, peace initiatives and environmental policy, Peace Boat was a natural destination. Having been fortunate enough to conduct research both at home and in Latin America, Gin is familiar with the many struggles faced by those living in poverty and their susceptibility to the consequences of phenomena such as violence and climate change. He believes that through his time in Peace Boat he will be able to more effectively answer the fundamental question on how civil society and the international community can multilaterally assist fragile states in building a sustainable infrastructure that safeguards all members of their society. 

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Ria Wan is a junior at the School of International Liberal Studies, Waseda University, in Tokyo. During an event she was volunteering at last year, she had the opportunity to learn about Peace Boat and was drawn to its concept and goals instantly. With her interests in cultural studies, along with different human rights issues, she has been an intern at the international division at Peace Boat headquarters for six months prior to coming to New York. She helped conduct a variety of events and workshops, translate documents between languages, and many other duties to improve Peace Boat voyages. Here at Peace Boat US, she’s hoping to learn more about the organization along with the global campaigns which Peace Boat and United Nations are involved in.

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Vivienne Hólmarsdottir is currently a freshman at the School of the Future (SOF) in New York City. Interested in fields such as human rights and climate change, she is interested in the work Peace Boat conducts globally. Through her extensive research on environmental change as well as sexual assault while at SOF, she has become well educated regarding how animals are affected by rising sea levels in addition to the serious issue of rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She is hoping to learn more about these subjects as well as other important global issues in order to contribute to their resolution. She believes that her time at Peace Boat US will bring her one step closer in helping promote change.

 

Peace Boat Interns Attend the 2018 ECOSOC Youth Forum

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This week Peace Boat US interns took part in the 2018 ECOSOC Youth Forum. Interns Gin and Zeynep attended a Youth Forum Side Event titled “Leaving No One Behind: A Lens of Practices that Strengthen Inclusivity in Poverty Alleviation”. During this conference styled presentation, DPI NGO Youth Representatives and other panelists engaged in a heavy IMG_2139dialogue concerning the importance of youth involvement in the area of policy making and poverty relief at the grassroots level. Afterword, the interns made their way towards the SDG Media Zone where they were able to attend a live broadcast in which various speakers shared their passion for the UN SDGs and the important ramifications that they have globally. Interestingly, during the broadcast, a special new partnership between SONY and the UN had been unveiled by actress Meghan Boone.

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Later in the week, Peace Boat US participated in the “Youth 4 Global Goals” event of the Youth Forum. The event was about the new game that AIESEC and UN Habitat have teamed up to launch together. The aim of this game is to raise awareness about SDGs and to demonstrate to the youth that anyone can contribute to the realization of the SDGs. The game revolves around all SDGs and their relation to SDG 11. The main mission is to create better cities while fighting typical urban challenges along the way. #UrbanAction

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This post was written by Gin Sanchez, Intern

Rutgers University Division of Global Affairs

 

Rutgers University hosts Peace Boat “Youth for the SDG’s” Scholarship Info Session

 

UNSDGs-On February 1st, Peace Boat Intern Gin Sanchez gave a brief talk to undergraduate students at Rutgers University concerning the “Youths for the SDG’s” Scholarship to travel onboard the Peace Boat while learning about sustainable development in different regions of the world. He opened the discussion by explaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Following the introduction, he offered information about Peace Boat, the organization’s global mission to promote peace and sustainability through education, and ultimately the grand opportunity it is offering young people to travel onboard. The students at Rutgers University were inspired by the prospect of sailing on the Ocean Dream, Peace Boat’s ship, and advocating for the SDG’s in the upcoming journeys in Asia and Latin America.

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This post was written Gin Sanchez, Intern

Rutgers University Division of Global Affairs

Peace Boat US Winter in Review: 2018

This January, four interns from Hollins University had the opportunity to work with Peace Boat US. Hollins is a liberal arts school located in Roanoke, Virginia. Each year students have the opportunity for the month of January to choose between studying abroad, interning with an organization, researching independently under a professor, or taking a course on campus. This is the fifth year Hollins and the Peace Boat US have partnered together to give students a closer look into how the Peace Boat impacts the world as well as the current projects and initiatives in place to promote peace and sustainability. This month, the interns worked on projects ranging from drafting press releases, promoting Peace Boat’s Spring and Summer voyages, as well as attending events at the United Nations. The four interns from Hollins were comprised of two fourth year students: Aubrey Hobby, Political Science and English double major, and Emily Garcia, Spanish and International Studies double major as well as two second-year students: Amanda Davila, Environmental Studies, and Katie Grandelli, International Studies. Throughout their J-term, the interns from Hollins were joined by four other Peace Boat interns: Shelby Moulton, Sabrina Oliveto, Gin Sanchez, and Zeynep Sayiner.

Mobilizing youth for the achievement of the United Nations’ seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is one of Peace Boat’s primary goals. Peace Boat believes that this can be done through youth entrepreneurship, volunteering, research, education and other endeavors. During their attendance at UN events and work within Peace Boat, the  interns had the chance to see, firsthand, the impacts of the SDGs.

January 9: Tour of the United Nations

In order to orientate to their new surroundings, the interns began with a tour of the United Nations. The tour involves UN pillars such as the Council Chambers for the Security Council, the now-dissolved Trusteeship Council, the Economic and Social Council, the General Assembly Chamber, the Hall of Disarmament, exhibits on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Peacekeeping Missions, and a short talk on the Sustainable Development Goals. This discussion of the SDGs with their tour guide was the first real introduction to the power behind the interconnectedness of the agencies of the UN and the goals themselves.

Sustainable Development Goal #17, Partnerships for the Goals, was the goal that came to mind when asked about the overarching theme of their UN tour. Emily Garcia described the experience as “extraordinary to learn just how interconnected not only the UN E_SDG-goals_Goal-17.pngmember states and organizations are, but feel it in practically every corner… from the diplomatic gifts from other countries to learning about different nations’ contributions to the construction of various Council Chambers, it was a mesh of connectivity that I knew defined the United Nations, but didn’t really understand the extent of until my visit.” The effects of SDG #17 followed the interns for the rest of the month as their work progressed.

January 18: UN DPI/NGO Briefing

The interns had the chance to attend the first winter briefing by the UN Department of Information (DPI) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) office. This event was a J TERM FINAL REPORT mmmOne-on-One Meeting with the Assistant Secretary-General, Victims’ Rights Advocate for downloadthe United Nations, Jane Connors. At this event, Ms. Connors spoke about the initiatives she hopes to roll out during her year in office. Shining light on SGD #5, Ms.Connors’s numerous plans revolve around creating a roadmap for sexual violence victims to realize their rights and inviting the entire international community to dialogue about this issue. Katie Grandelli particularly enjoyed hearing Ms. Connors’ plan for change at the UN because “it’s important to start change with the UN, because then others have a desire to uphold those beliefs and goals.” This event was an amazing chance for the interns to explore other topics covered by the UN since the majority of their work with Peace Boat was centered around sustainable development.

January 19: Japan Society Screening of Hiroshima

All seven interns met up at the Japan Society after a full day for the screening of Hiroshima. Directed by Hideo Sekigawa, this 1953 film is a chilling depiction of the horrors of the atomic bomb. The audience received introductions to the film given by Mitchie Takeuchi, a second generation hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor), and Allison Pytlak, member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), recipients of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. With Peace Boat as a member of the steering committee for ICAN the Peace Boat US  interns were thrilled to have a chance to connect with Ms. Pytlak and Ms. Takeuchi to hear their testimonies regarding nuclear weapons. The chance to see this incredible film, especially the opportunity to learn more about the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons was greatly appreciated by all.

Even though there is a great difference in time between the bombing of Hiroshima anddownload.png Nagasaki and the publication of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, there is yet again another link between them. The focus of SDG #16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions) can be applied to the work that by the UN following the destruction of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Aubrey Hobby found a way to express what the rest of the interns were thinking after the film: “it’s amazing to see the progress that the UN has made with its own agencies and outside organizations for the promotion of peaceful and inclusive sustainable development, as well as the creation of better access to justice and effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels in countries.”

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Peace Boat US interns pictured with Mitchie Takeuchi (top right) and Allison Pytlak (top left)

January 22: “Peace is… Acceptance”

Peace Boat US staff and interns attended the sixth installment of the “Peace is…” series entitled “Peace is… Acceptance” at the United Nations Headquarters. The event focused on refugees and the ways we can stand with them by raising awareness through music and art. The event included a performance by Japanese musician Miyavi, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, in collaboration with Japanese painter Fantasista Utamaro and IMG_5130Afghan refugee rapper Sonita Alizadeh. The event involved a special performance by Miyavi and Sonita in which they sang “Long Nights”. Throughout the event, Fantasista Utamaro painted messages on the “Peace Wall” located behind the singers. At the end of the live performance, the audience had the special opportunity to write what peace meant for them in their native languages on the “Peace Wall”.

In addition to the music and art, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho spoke briefly what peace means to them. An important and PeaceISinsightful thought from them was not only how music and art provide a path to unite people and raise awareness on refugees, but how it can also heal and aid in refugees’ readjusting to life. This event confirmed that music and art can heal people, and then that peace will create common ground for a common future.

While giving an interview about the event to Fiji TV, Katie Grandelli was download (1)asked for her thoughts on the power of music to bridge the divides created by the many places of conflict in the world. Her answer revolved around the language of SDG #10, which zeros in on the reduction of inequality within and among countries. She spoke on the power of collaboration between artists and others and its great power to provide a greater understanding of what actions need to be taken by the international community.

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January 25: UN DPI/NGO Briefing

The interns attended the second UN NGO/DPI briefing entitled “Holocaust Remembrance: Diversity and Lessons to be Learned for Human Understanding”. This event focused on ways to continue education to young people about the Holocaust. Regarding Holocaust IMG_3210.jpgeducation, the Secretary General laid out two guidelines: to remember the civil, evil, and systematic attempt to eliminate Jews during the Holocaust and remaining ever watchful of the dark clouds on the horizon. The various speakers provided their different insights about new, innovative ways to engage youth with the realities of the Holocaust and similar political themes. They all showed a great faith in the power of social media and the ease of access it creates for education on a multitude of issues. There was discussion of the power of social media as it is seemingly increasingly impossible to remain ignorant on certain topics. The organizations also all believe in the strength and power behind initiatives to humanize and preserve the stories of Holocaust survivors.

Emily Garcia found the connection between this discussion and SDG #4, Quality download (2)Education. She explained the connection: “even though this goal has a focus on developing countries, it’s also easily applied to all nations because it is always important to have an education system that is comprehensive to all major global events.” The work of the organizations at this event demonstrate the efforts put into never forgetting the causes and horrors of the Holocaust in today’s changing political climates. Education in this day and age is more important than ever, which is why the Peace Boat US interns were grateful to see the emphasis that the UN places on always working for the continuing development of education.

At the end of the month, Peace Boat US said goodbye and good luck to the four interns from Hollins University. However, there are opportunities for all to go on the Peace Boat in the future, so it was not a goodbye to the group for forever. Starting off the year strong, the chance to attend events at the UN was a great experience for everyone and will not be forgotten. A wonderful thing about working in the realm of the international community is that the work is never actually done.

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This post was created by Shelby Moulton, Peace Boat US Rutgers University Intern

(with assistance from Hollins University J-Term Interns)