Peace Boat’s 100th Global Voyage – Youth for the SDG’s Program

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This year, Peace Boat celebrated its 100th Global Voyage. It started on the 26th of December and ended on the 31st of March, 2019. Participants sailed around the Southern hemisphere starting and ending in Yokohama, Japan.  During the voyage,  seven young activist-scholars participated in an experiential study program organized by Peace Boat US called “Peace Education and the SDGs in South America,” from Ushuaia, Argentina to Valparaiso, Chile.

Over the ten days, they immersed in the application of the UN SDGs through leading workshops, participating in cross-cultural dialogues, improving their leadership skills, and aiding in the advancement of responsible tourism and peace worldwide.

 

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Peace Boat US selected these seven passionate individuals with unique and diverse backgrounds from the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean to join the voyage from Ushuaia, Argentina in Patagonia on February 18th to Valparaiso, Chile where their program concluded on February 28th. During their journey, the scholars were exposed to cultural immersion programs in communities near the embarking ports, networked with various local members and NGO leaders that felt strongly about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and explored the glaciers of the the mountainous region of Patagonia. 

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Along with Peace Boat US Director, Emilie McGlone, the youth participated in a variety of community workshops, where they shared about their background and presented about Peace Boat’s work towards achieving the SDGs. The youth also had the opportunity to engage with other participants onboard and volunteers to work on Peace Boat’s ship such as the GET (Global English/Español Teachers), Communication Coordinators,  Global University students, members of the organization Liter of Light, and atomic bomb survivors among many others.

Through the educational activities, experiential programs in ports and group presentations, the youth were continuously learning and putting in practice their leadership abilities such as networking and forming partnerships, presenting and public speaking, and event planning.  

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One of the highlights of the program was to collaborate with the Liter of Light team onboard. Together they built solar lamps that were distributed as part of the Voyage of Light.

Watch this video below to learn more about the program and the collaboration between the youth taking part and the Liter of Light team.

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Thanks to partnerships with Liter of Light in Chile, the youth also had the opportunity to lead workshops on renewable energy and install solar panels with local community members as they disembarked the ship in Valparaiso.

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Peace Boat hopes that through these experiences, the youth can become innovative advocates for the SDGs and well-equipped global citizens. The youth demonstrated their passion for the SDGs when presenting their final report to CEPAL – the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean at the United Nations of Santiago, Chile. Concluding their Peace Boat journey, the seven youth formed long-lasting bonds with each other and expressed their plans to form future partnerships to collaborate on SDGs initiatives in their communities.

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Climate Action and Ocean Conservation

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Introducing Our 2019 “Youth for the SDGs” Scholars

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Congratulations to the seven exceptional young scholars that have been awarded our “Youth for the SDGs” Scholarship to join our 100th Global Voyage.  We will be sailing from Ushuaia, Argentina to Valparaiso, Chile, passing through the Patagonia fjords from February 18th to the 28th. Our scholars are joining us from all over the world, including youth from Saint Martin island to New York City to Chile. As the Peace Boat sails from port to port, our scholars will bring their intensive, specialized knowledge of their field in sustainability to the conversations taking place on the boat. The scholars will have the unique opportunity to engage with other academics and activists from around the world, taking part in informative workshops while marveling at the Andes Mountains, glaciers and the green plains of Patagonia.

patagonia picture 9Experiencing the glaciers and mountains in the Southern hemisphere, the scholars will be reminded of the vastness of the ocean and of the land we inhabit. Over these ten days, participants will immerse themselves in the application of the UN Sustainable Development Goals through leading workshops, participating in cross-cultural dialogues, improving their leadership skills, and aiding in the advancement of responsible tourism and peace worldwide.

screen shot 2019-01-10 at 3.32.57 pmThis South American program will empower the scholars to specifically delve into the SDG13 for Climate Action and SDG14 for Life Below Water. We hope this program will enable the young scholars to take what they learn on the Peace Boat and bring it into their communities, empowering other youth to raise their voices for a more sustainable world. Our 100th Anniversary Voyage also celebrates our cooperation with local partners such as the environmental organization CODEFF – National Committee to Protect the Flora and Fauna of Chile to promote the campaign to declare Patagonia as a World Heritage Site recognized by UNESCO. For more information on Peace Boat and CODEFF, please visit their website here : www.codeff.cl

Learn more about our 2019 Youth for SDGs scholars and their program coordinator below.

14257483_10157567867030294_777450253933390469_o (1)Emilie McGlone has been working with Peace Boat since 2004 and currently is the United Nations liaison and Director of the New York-based office of Peace Boat US, a non-profit organization working to promote peace, sustainable development and respect for the environment through educational programs organized onboard the Peace Boat, a chartered passenger ship that travels the world on peace voyages. Peace Boat holds Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and works in partnership with UN representatives, Nobel Peace Laureates and community leaders from around the world to create opportunities for international cooperation focused on environmental sustainability, cultural awareness and peace education. Emilie works to foster youth education and develops specific programs to learn about important global issues onboard the Peace Boat. Founded in 1983 and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008, Peace Boat has sailed on over 100 global voyages, carrying more than 60,000 people to more than 100 countries. Peace Boat has recently launched a new initiative to build an Ecoship to sail around the world, showcasing green technology and design, while inspiring positive change to radically reduce our carbon footprint. Peace Boat is a committed campaigner for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, sailing with the Global Goals Logo on the hull of the ship. Peace Boat’s Ecoship Project will build the world’s most sustainable passenger ship. A flagship for the SDGs, Ecoship seeks to address ocean acidification with reduced carbon emissions and significantly reduce marine pollution.

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Sara Van Eerde holds a Masters degree from the NYU Silver School of Social Work. During her undergraduate career at Muhlenberg College, Sara pursued a Psychology major and a self- designed Gender and Sexuality Studies major. Her focus took a global perspective when she researched machismo in Costa Rica, youth activism and climate change in Germany, and art therapy interventions at an orphanage while living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Sara is currently living in New York City and works for Global Kids, where she teaches environmental justice through a program called the “Human Rights Activist Project,” leads a “LGBTQ+ and Allies” support group,  and is piloting a new mental health program at a high school in Queens. In her spare time, Sara loves adventurous activities such as flying through the air on aerial silks, rock climbing, hiking, and performing musical improv. Sara is deeply inspired by the work that Peace Boat does and is honored to share her passion and love for the ocean with them.

michaelMichael Valdivieso obtained a BA in international relations and political science (magna cum laude) at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador (2016), and an MSC in Conflict Studies (Merit) from the London School of Economics in the UK (2018). He has participated in the National Model United Nations  New York from 2013 until 2018 both as delegate and as staff member. Michael previously served as a Public Information intern at UNHCR-Ecuador. He founded an international relations student association at his university in 2014, called Student Committee for International Affairs, where he served as president. He was the editor in chief of “A Different View,” an academic blog published by IAPSS, ending his 18-month mandate in September 2016. Additionally, as of December 2015, he serves as youth representative at a political think tank organized by Participación Ciudadana, one of the largest NGOs in Ecuador. Currently, he is one of the founders of Momentum Novum, a social business based in Germany that promotes sustainable development through advisory, education, and information services.

mareekaMareeka Dookie, born in Trinidad and Tobago and raised on the beautiful sunny island of Sint Maarten/Saint Martin is a creative young professional. She loves to travel, learn about different cultures, learn new languages, and gain worldly experiences. She prides herself on being a life long learner.  As an elementary school teacher, she enjoys working with children as they begin to unlock their knowledge and understanding of their inner powers and their ability to make positive and lasting impacts in the world. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Spanish and a Masters of Teaching from Sacred Heart University in CT, USA. Currently Mareeka is focusing on recovery efforts in the lives of children on the island after the devastation of hurricane Irma on September 6th, 2017. She is working as a Programme Administrative Officer with UNICEF- Nederland  in Sint Maarten. She is beyond grateful for the opportunity to embark on the Peace Boat’s 100th Voyage focusing on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in Patagonia!

silviaSilvia Cantu Bautista is a junior at Middlebury College, majoring in Political Science with a minor in History. She speaks Spanish, English, and Portuguese. Born and raised in Mexico, she has previously lived in Victoria, Canada, where she spent two years of high school at UWC Pearson College. While at UWC, she took a course on Marine Science and conducted research on ocean acidification. She is passionate about Environmental policy and conservation, particularly concerning marine ecosystems. She is a PADI certified Advanced Scuba Diver and an avid photographer interested in climate change photojournalism. She hopes to become an advocate for climate justice and sustainability involved in the drafting and implementation of local and international environmental policy and adaptation plans. She is beyond excited to join PeaceBoat’s 100th voyage from Ushuaia to Valparaiso!

donovaneDonovane Tremor is a 27 year old professional photographer. He grew up as an island child, spending his life between the small island of St. Martin and Guadeloupe. He discovered his passion for photography at a young age, but pursued a Management and Marketing degree in Montreal and Guadeloupe. After graduation, he decided to follow his passion for photography, developing his specialization in landscape and architecture photography.  Most of his professional work focuses on the tourist economy between St. Martin, St. Barts and Anguilla.  He is enthusiastic about travel, specifically when he has the chance to discover new cultures from around the world. He is always ready for a new adventure!

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Carol McDonnell Schmidt is a geographer working at CODEFF, the oldest environmental nonprofit organization in Chile. She works specifically with biodiversity, in the IBA (Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas) program, trying to assess the status of birds for a more specific approach at protection initiatives within the context of climate change. Birds are a very important indicator of the health status of an ecosystem, and ecosystem conservation is the goal of her organization.  CODEFF continues to collaborate with Peace Boat to raise awareness about important environmental issues affecting the region and to promote the campaign to declare Patagonia as a World Heritage Site recognized by UNESCO.  Carol will share her knowledge about the important work that CODEFF is doing to make a positive difference for Climate Action and Ocean Conservation throughout Chile.

hansierHansier Rodriguez is a Dominican-American young man. He spent the first 12 years of his life in his native country, the Dominican Republic, before moving to the United States, where he eventually became a citizen. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Public & Nonprofit Administration with a second concentration in International Affairs at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. Hansier considers himself a change agent and a social justice activist as well as a global citizenship advocate. One of his long-term goals is to become a polyglot. His leadership model is inspired by the following quote, “the most powerful thing a leader can do is to empower others.” Hansier is enthusiastic, resilient, and a resourceful collaborator. His greatest attributes are his integrity and maturity, both of which are surpassed by his desire to succeed and live to his fullest potential. He prides himself on being organized, having an outgoing personality that’s full of energy, and maintaining a positive attitude, all while staying self-reflective. He hopes to continue to innovate his community through the rest of his college and professional career with his determination and perseverance. 

This post was created and published by Maddie Clevenstine and Maria Jdid (interns for Peace Boat US).

Review of Climate Week NYC

Climate Week in New York City brings together businesses, social enterprises and non-governmental organizations to work together on creating a world in support of the United Nations’ 2030 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. This year, Peace Boat attended several of these events held from September 19-25, and hosted one called “Sailing for Sustainability and Climate Action” to present its Ecoship Project. In addition, Peace Boat  attended the Sustainable Investment Forum, the Social Good Summit, and the International Conference on Sustainable Development during this week.

Social Good Summit

The Social Good Summit is a two-day conference examining the impact of technology and new media on social good initiatives around the world. Held annually during UNGA Week, the Social Good Summit unites a dynamic community of global leaders and grassroots activists to discuss solutions for the greatest challenges of our time. Our theme, #2030NOW, asks the question, “What type of world do I want to live in by the year 2030?” During the Social Good Summit, global citizens around the world unite to unlock the potential of technology to make the world a better place.– Social Good Summit website

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Social Good Summit Digital Media Lounge

For more than 30 years, Peace Boat has been working for the social good, fostering global citizenship, and carrying out activities that are embodied in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, so Peace Boat US’ presence at the Social Good Summit in New York City on September18-19, 2016 was a natural fit.

The Social Good Summit brought together inventors, artists, activists,  youth, and UN leaders, and featured an incredible line-up of speakers that included Vice President Joe Biden, actors Alec Baldwin and Michelle Yeoh, and singers Demi Lovato and  Cody Simpson.

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Cody Simpson, Singer; Emilie McGlone, Peace Boat US Director

In addition to being a singer, Cody Simpson is a surfer whose strong connection to the ocean has made him a voice for ocean preservation—a topic that is also of great importance to Peace Boat as it sails around the world. Cody spoke about fuel alternatives that would be better for the environment, and expressed interest in Peace Boat’s Ecoship Project, which is aiming to build the world’s most sustainable cruise ship and reduce carbon emissions by a whopping 40 percent.

At the Summit, underwater photojournalist Brian Skerry, whose work is featured often in National Geographic magazine, also spoke passionately about our oceans and climate. He focused on the damage caused to ecosystems from overfishing, and proposed the concept of fish farming instead. We should go from being a gatherer under the sea to being a farmer under the sea, he said.  Alec Baldwin talked about indigenous peoples, forests and climate change. Tropical forests are essential to fighting climate change, and we should invest in the people who are protecting the forest, he emphasized.

2030nowPeace Boat US looks forward to continuing to work with other organizations and individuals throughout the world toward global sustainability—especially with those who hold strong visions for positive solutions as represented at the Social Good Summit.

 

 

 

International Conference on Sustainable Development 2016

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Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica

As an international organization that strongly supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the goal of ending poverty worldwide, Peace Boat took a special interest in the fourth annual International Conference on Sustainable Development held at Columbia University in New York City on September 21-22, 2016. Keynote speakers at the conference included Andrew Holness, the Prime Minister of Jamaica; Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway;  and Jeffrey Sachs,  Director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network.  With a focus on how to end poverty, the conference included panel discussions on the SDGs and how they related to the private sector, youth involvement in solutions, and data.

Prime Minister Holness spoke about his goal to end poverty not only in Jamaica, but also in the larger world.  Though not everyone believes this can be accomplished, nor does

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Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network

everyone believe in the SDGs, he stated, everyone wants to develop into something better.  This aim and desire for something better is the power we need to use to effect change, he asserted. Jeffrey Sachs spoke about the ethics of politics, and where countries should place their focus.  Currently, the United States is spending millions of dollars on war in other countries, he pointed out, while this money should be spent on education instead. By focusing attention and funds on education, we could teach more about the SDGs and make a significant difference.

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Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway

Prime Minister Solberg talked about her work for the SDGs, and how she was chosen by the UN Secretary General to lead the working group for the SDGs because of how Norway operates.  Our current young generation is the last generation that will be able to eradicate poverty from the world, she emphasized, and it is therefore important for youth to learn more about sustainability in order to be able to reach the SDGs.

The panels at the conference focused on different approaches to reach the SDGs, such as through the involvement of the private sector, youth, and effective use of data.  Various participants were invited to show what their company is doing to address climate change and poverty.

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Panel discussing different approaches to reach the SDGs through involvement of the private sector

It is important to work towards the SDGs, but it will be hard to reach these essential goals for global sustainability if most people in the world are not aware of them. Therefore, Peace Boat encourages youth to travel to Latin America in the summer of 2017 with Peace Boat to learn directly about the SDGs as part of a special study program. To see the full itinerary of the Peace Boat voyage in which the program will take place, visit: http://peaceboat.org/english/index.php?page=view&nr=122&type=4&menu=64

 

Sailing for Sustainability and Climate Action

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Jon Bruno, Executive Director of the International Ecotourism Society (TIES)

How can world leaders and decision-makers understand the fear that people living in small island countries face regarding the effects of climate change–and how can they viscerally understand the need to take urgent action–when global discussions about the problem take place in comfortable hotels in cities like Paris, far removed from the realities of those on the frontlines?  This was the question posed by Peace Boat Director Yoshioka Tatsuya at an event called “Sailing for Sustainability and Climate Action” held on September 22 as part of Climate Week New York City. Climate Week is an international event that gathers business and government leaders together to demonstrate how continued investment in innovation, technology and clean energy will drive profitability and lead toward net zero emissions.

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Yoshioka Tatsuya, Founder and Director of Peace Boat

At the event, Yoshioka spoke about how Peace Boat is currently developing the world’s most sustainable cruise ship—a project that will decrease the vessel’s CO2 emissions by an astonishing 40 percent through the use of wind and solar energy.  This Ecoship will also feature vertical gardens, a zero waste water system, and other innovative features. Peace Boat’s aim in building the ship is to not only offer a solution to climate change and set a high new standard in the shipping industry, but to take thousands of people around the world every year to places that are directly feeling the effects of rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change.  This will give people a much better understanding of the urgency of the problem, and of the need to help find solutions with those who are most affected.

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Ambassador Ahmed Sareer of the Permanent Mission of the Maldives Republic to the United Nations speaks about the effects of climate change on island states. 

Peace Boat was joined at the event by Ambassador Ahmed Sareer of the Permanent Mission of the Maldives Republic to the United Nations, who emphasized the importance of taking action on climate change.  Wanjira Mathai, Chair of the Board of the Green Belt Movement, highlighted the important role that Peace Boat plays in providing education and experiential learning opportunities to young people, noting that Peace Boat has given people the opportunity to help plant trees in Kenya and learn from Green Belt Movement members about reforestation and other issues. John Bruno of the International Ecotourism Society noted that Peace Boat’s plan of reducing emission by 40 percent is truly groundbreaking, considering other companies and organizations generally aim for cuts of 2 percent. Margo LaZaro of the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development expressed the importance of forming partnerships to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and lauded Peace Boat’s plan to use the Ecoship as a flagship to sail for the SDGs.  Clayton Banks of

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Clayton Banks, Founder of Silicon Harlem

Silicon Harlem spoke of the need to provide young people greater access to the technology they need in order to succeed in education, and noted that Silicon Harlem and Peace Boat have the shared goal of giving people access to the technology and opportunities they need to reach their fullest potential. “We are all united in this,” he emphasized.

The speakers also agreed that being on a ship in the middle of the ocean is akin to our experience here on Earth—just as one cannot simply leave the ship when waste builds up or suddenly find new resources while at sea, human beings cannot simply exit the Earth to leave behind our devastation or to seek out new solutions. We must be aware of our existing environment and work together to find solutions to keeping it sustainable. Creating and expanding partnerships with governments, the private sector, schools, and civil society organizations is the key to making this happen, they concluded.

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Yoshioka Tatsuya, Peace Boat Founder and Director; Margo LaZaro, Co-Chair, NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY; Jon Bruno, Executive Director of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES); Emilie McGlone, Peace Boat US Director

Peace Boat is aiming for its Ecoship to sail in 2020, and experts from various fields have already met and created the ship’s design. To contribute ideas to the project, including on how to fund the ship’s construction, contact Peace Boat.  No idea is too big or small for consideration.

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Wanjira Mathai, Chair of the Board of The Green Belt Movement speaks about empowering communities to take action for climate change.

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This post was created by and published Cecilie Barmoen (Intern from Peace Boat US)

Ari Beser Joins the Peace Boat – Special Interview

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Photo by Mark Thiessen from National Geographic

Peace Boat has the pleasure of welcoming Ari Beser to the October Global University program this fall, 2016. The program is centered around humanitarian disarmament, international law, and the UN. The ship will be going from The Hague, The Netherlands, to Amsterdam to Reykjavik, Iceland, to New York. Ari will join a two-week course from 4-21 October 2016 during our 92nd Global Voyage. This program will bring together 30 students and young practitioners from across the world to learn about the humanitarian impact of nuclear and other weapons, analyze various disarmament initiatives, and exchange ideas and perspectives with the international experts, educators, survivors and activists. The programme will conclude with a visit to the United Nations Headquarters in New York where participants will present the outcomes of the course.

Ari M. Beser is the grandson of Lt. Jacob Beser, the only U.S. serviceman aboard both B-29s that dropped atomic bombs on Japan in World War II. He traveled through Japan with the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship to report on the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the fifth anniversary of the Great East Japan earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima. Beser’s storytelling gives voice to people directly affected by nuclear technology today, as he works with Japanese and Americans to encourage a message of reconciliation and nuclear disarmament. His new book, The Nuclear Family, focuses on American and Japanese perspectives of the atomic bombings.

We asked Ari a few questions about his upcoming trip:

Q) What is your grandfather, Lt. Jacob Beser’s view on nuclear war?

A) He did not regret his actions but he believed what he did could be repeated and that we should not have nuclear weapons. I think since he participated in it, he knew what humans were capable of. It was not something he felt was worth the risk. 

Q) What are you most excited about for your upcoming Global University Voyage?

A) I am so excited to meet the young new personalities that are dedicating themselves to this issue. I think its obvious why I do this work, because of my grandfather and my duty to carry on his message. When someone who doesn’t have a family connection in the history is interested in the topic, i always want to know more about why. If they can get interested I think they are more relatable for other people who do not know much about the topic, and don’t know anyone who was part of the history. 

Q) Is there some way you plan to use what you learn on the ship? If so, how?

A) I hope to be able to create more content with the stories I discover on the ship. We are all trying to figure out a way where a world without nuclear weapons can be a reality. I look forward to hearing ideas, and learning from the perspectives each student will bring with her or him. 

Q) Do you think your history with Hiroshima and Nagasaki will make this a more fruitful learning experience than if you hadn’t had experience?

A) I do not think my experience in Hiroshima and Nagasaki is crucial for someone on GU to get an enriching experience. However I think what IS crucial is listening to a Hibakusha. Any chance you have to speak with a survivor no matter where you go, or dont go, is precious. I think in some ways you can never get back the first time you hear a testimony. That moment, that first survivor you speak with, it changes you and I think its really an important moment for any nuclear guardian. Not everyone can get to Hiroshima or Nagasaki. That being said, I think its extremely important that everyone who has the chance should visit Hiroshima AND Nagasaki. I think its important to visit both and not just one. Two cities were bombed, you don’t learn the whole story when you visit only Hiroshima.

To learn more about Peace Boat’s Global University, visit

http://www.peaceboat-us.org/programs/global-university-program-fall-2016/

 

This post was created and published by Christina Irwin (Intern from Peace Boat US)

The UN Prepares to Remember Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

If you have visited the United Nations recently or plan to, you may notice a large space on the first floor waiting for its blank walls to come alive with pieces for an upcoming exhibition. You may also notice that across from that space is a wall of informative panels that will make up part of the larger exhibition. This special exhibition is well worth the wait.  It is being prepared to commemorate the UN’s International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which will be held on March 25.2016-02-16 15.48.30

Every year, the UN hosts a series of educational activities to mark this day, including film screenings, roundtable discussions, and a global video conference in partnership with UNESCO featuring students living in countries affected by the transatlantic slave trade. There will also be tours of the newly established  “Ark of Return” permanent memorial, which honors the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, as well as the exhibit on the first floor that is currently under preparation. All activities are part of an important effort to spread knowledge and awareness of the causes, consequences, and lessons of the slave trade.

The exhibit will include fascinating narratives that are little known, such as an exhibition on Africans in India that details how Africans became slaves, generals and rulers in the country.  This exhibition was created and curated by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and The New York Public Library, and is being presented in partnership with the United Nations Remember Slavery Programme and the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations.

2016-02-16 15.39.14So mark your calendars for March 25; it will undoubtedly be a powerful, moving, and eye-opening exhibit.To receive further information, please visit:rememberslavery.un.org or write to education-outreach@un.org

This annual exhibit is very much in line with the values of our organization, Peace Boat US. Peace Boat travels by ship promoting peace, human rights, equality, and understanding. Interestingly, our 93rd global voyage will be traveling from Africa to Brazil, which used to be part of the slave trade route, but is now a route we take as we advocate for peace. For further information about Peace Boat’s upcoming 93rd voyage, please visit: http://peaceboat.org/english/?page=view&nr=121&type=4&menu=64

This post was created and published by Claire Jolly (Intern from Peace Boat US).

Humans of Peace Boat US, Panyin Conduah

Peace Boat is dynamic in that it boasts a broad array of partners and participants working on projects in various corners of the world. Both on deck and on shore, members exchange ideas and knowledge, and quickly create bonds of friendship through common interests and motivation to engage in projects that promote a culture of peace and sustainability. On Peace Boat’s 88th Global Voyage held in the autumn of 2015, one such person included Panyin Conduah.

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Conduah is a recent graduate of DePauw University in New York, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Writing and Communication. She is a freelance writer, as well as a videographer, and has interned at various production houses. Currently she participates in the Downtown Community Television (DCTV)  Apprenticeship program in Pro-TV under the instruction of Johnny Ramos.

DCTV has been partners with Peace Boat US since 2003, and provided Conduah with the opportunity to film her experience on the 88th Global Voyage. DCTV is a media arts center offering a cooperative workspace used for professional training. Dedicated to using media to promote social justice, this program highlights economic as well as social divides in an effort to advance tolerance. Conduah’s latest project, for example, examines the effect of tuition costs and student loans on people’s lifestyles by illustrating their struggle. As a part of Pro-TV, the largest free media arts training program for youth in New York City, Conduah has honed her videography skills by taking lessons on cinematography and learning how to use video editing software, including Final Cut Pro.

Upon hearing about Peace Boat, Conduah was not sure what to expect. However, having thoroughly enjoyed her travels through Europe, she was eager to experience Central America on a three-day study program that would start in Mexico, continue on to Belize, and end in Panama. Conduah was also enthusiastic about having the creative freedom to film as she wished while maintaining a focus on sustainability issues.

Conduah’s first experience with Peace Boat’s sustainability project took place in Mexico. She helped communities become more aware of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by helping to paint a mural depicting the seventeen goals. Goal fourteen, which promotes the sustainability of oceans, features prominently in the mural. Catching to the eye and mind alike, the painting successfully emphasizes the importance of conservation for future generations.
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In Belize, Conduah, along with her fellow adventurers, stopped to enjoy a few hours of snorkeling in the renowned coral reefs of the country. Conduah was keen to let me know that Belize has the second largest coral reef system in the world after Australia. Despite her initial alarm at the presence of nurse sharks, she later enjoyed a swim and embraced the sea life in the ocean. She now remarks upon the beauty of the nature she had the opportunity to be so close to.

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The trip ended with final projects being carried out in the Kuna indigenous community in Panama that Peace Boat has worked with for the past decade. On this particular voyage, Peace Boat US aided the community in three ways:

(1) Supporting local Kuna women with their fair trade project making mola handicrafts. Mola are part of the traditional dress of women in the Kuna community and are worn on the back and front side of blouses.

(2) Constructing an improved sanitary system.

(3) Building safe pathways within the community of approximately 900 people.

Peace Boat US helped to raise funds to support these activities as part of the Music and Arts Peace Academy (MAPA) project in 2015. A total of $5,000 was raised. Peace Boat visits this Kuna community twice a year and is the only regular supporter of the village.

Conduah describes her involvement onboard Peace Boat just as positively as her experience on land, likening the ship to an incubator for sharing ideas. Cultural exchange through workshops and lectures en route allowed for knowledge sharing between a broad demographic of participants.

Piquing her interest in sustainability, Conduah says her experience onboard Peace Boat opened her eyes to future possibilities in terms of what she can give back to society to make the world more accessible to others. Her participation in Peace Boat’s projects has made her even more determined to travel and share the stories of underrepresented people. Conduah hopes her positive experience during the 88th Peace Boat Global Voyage will inspire others, especially youth, to partake in sustainability projects that support grassroots initiatives on future Peace Boat voyages.

In the near future, Conduah looks forward to screening her footage from Central America at the DCTV studio in New York, as well as the United Nations Headquarters. For now, she often relives her time in Central America with Peace Boat through watching her footage from the trip, some of which can be viewed here.

This post was created and published by Tara Richards (Intern from Peace Boat US).

“A Journey through Indigenous Communities in El Salvador and Panama”

On September 23,rd 2014, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Permanent Missions of El Salvador and Panama to the UN and Peace Boat US hosted a film screening of a documentary which was created as a collaborative project between Peace Boat US, the non-profit Downtown Community Television (DCTV), and youth from New York City who joined Peace Boat’s 84th Global Voyage as participants of the Music & Art Peace Academy (MAPA). Peace Boat US sponsored the ten-day trip for three teenage youth from the non-profit organizations Global Kids, DCTV and the Brooklyn Community Media and Arts high school to visit El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama. The film aims to raise awareness about issues that local indigenous communities are facing in Central America during the 2014 UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.

Peace Boat’s International Coordinator Emilie McGlone introduced the organization and the background behind the film to attendees, including representatives from El Salvador and Panama, indigenous leaders, and three of the students who participated in the Peace Boat voyage and helped create the documentary.

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The film documented the students’ trip through indigenous communities in Central America this past summer as they traveled with the Peace Boat. The documentary started with the MAPA students’ first stop in El Salvador at a school in the Pilpil community. Here, children from the community participate in a language immersion program to learn Nahuat, the indigenous language, as part of a language revitalization program where Pipil women teach the local language to children. As of now, only about 150 to 200 people still speak this language, and according to UNESCO, Nahuat is a critically endangered indigenous language. Since the project to preserve this language started in 2003, there are now 11 schools participating in the project, and 2,500 preschool children aged three to five who are learning Nahuat.

The documentary followed the MAPA students’ to their next stop, the city of Colon, Panama, where the Embera community, consisting of eight families and 40 people, sustain their culture through eco-tourism. In the documentary, their leader, Atilano Flaco, discussed their goal to improve living conditions for each family member and younger leaders in the community discussed the importance of access to education.

Among the main speakers at the documentary screening was Salvadoran Ambassador H.E. Ruben Zamora, who stated that “in 1932, indigenous people were massacred in my country,” however, “we have been overcoming the invisibility of the indigenous communities in our country.” He explained that the government is working to devise better policies in order to improve the situation for indigenous people in El Salvador. He stated that, “a bonus has been granted to the last Nahuat speakers- trying to encourage them to speak the language in their houses.” He stressed the importance of dialogue between the government of El Salvador and the indigenous people, in order to overcome many obstacles.

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Her Excellency Paulina Franceschi, Ambassador, and Deputy Permanent Representative of Panama to the UN, congratulated Peace Boat for their work on peace and human rights and recognized that, “there are a lot of things to improve” in the lives of Panama’s indigenous peoples, and assured the attendees that, “there is political will and commitment to their well-being and quality of life.” She welcomed two indigenous community leaders at the event who attended the UN Conference to advocate for their communities in Panama and El Salvador.

A representative from the Ngobe-Bugle indigenous community in Panama, who was working along side the Permanent Mission of Panama to the UN during the Conference, began her speech by thanking all of the attendants and stated, “As the highest authority of my community, to express the main concern of my community, I’m here for all of Central America, not just my territory.” She invited those at the event to visit her country and see their culture. She explained that protection of indigenous culture and communities are written “in the constitution, but are violated.” She said, “it is important to express our concern since our lands are violated by transnational corporations. We are living in two different countries: the rich and the poor. The poor don’t have a voice.”

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An indigenous leader from El Salvador who also attended the event said, “I am happy to see the children learning the indigenous language. But I think there is a long way to go to strengthen the culture of my people.” She noted that June 12th, 2014 the national constitution was reformed, and Article 63 now officially recognizes indigenous people and commits to pursuing polices which will improve the situation for indigenous people in El Salvador. She noted that, “this is a very important achievement that we’d been fighting for, for a long time, but we still have a lot of things to do to strengthen the indigenous people in El Salvador.” She also added that “as an indigenous woman, I am happy to be here with my indigenous sister. Some efforts have been done, but we have to go deeper into the rights of the indigenous people. The transnational companies want to use our resources but we don’t want the interest of the empire to be above the national interests of the country.”

The event closed with a short discussion session where attendees expressed their interest in the work of the governments of Panama and El Salvador and the efforts they are currently undertaking to improve the conditions for the indigenous communities in both countries.