Introducing Peace Boat US Youth Representatives from the Global Scholars Program: Fall 2020

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

Barbara Mellace is a senior at the University of Michigan studying History. She is looking forward to pursuing a dual masters degree in History and Library & Information Science with the goal of becoming an Academic Librarian. She is passionate about encouraging people of all walks of life to learn about history in general. She is looking forward to working with Peace Boat on their mission.

Julia Schettenhelm is a sophomore at the University of Michigan currently studying Political Science and Spanish with the hopes of being admitted to the Ford School of Public Policy next year. Julia is passionate about issues such as food insecurity and access to health care and hopes to address these problems in Washington D.C. after graduation. She is also very excited to be working with Peace Boat this year and to learn more about their mission to promote sustainability and human rights across the globe.

Sydney Misak is a junior at the University of Michigan studying English with hopes of pursuing a teaching career abroad. Sydney highly values education and its availability to all people, especially those in impoverished or ill-nurtured communities. Sydney endeavors to help young students recognize their potential in the world. She is thrilled to be working with Peace Boat this year and to make an impact in communities across borders.

Reilly Keefe is a first-generation college student in his second year at the University of Michigan and is currently undecided but is focused in the STEM field. He is from Easton, Massachusetts and hopes to serve in the Peace Corps after graduation. Reilly is devoted to advocacy, passionate in gun control, working with Everytown for Gun Safety. and public health equity. He is thrilled to be working with Peace Boat and help implement their mission regarding
sustainability and activism.

Amy Mawi is a first-generation college student pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmaceutical Science at the University of Michigan. She is originally from Myanmar (Burma) and grew up in Battle Creek, Michigan. Amy’s future plans include obtaining a PharmD which she will use to help educate and influence the drug industry back in Myanmar. Amy is hoping to take advantage of this opportunity of working with Peace Boat to gain knowledge of powerful activism.

Anshuman Madhukar is a sophomore at the University of Michigan studying computer science with hopes of pursuing a career in higher education. He lives in Massachusetts and is passionate about access to education and healthcare. By working with Peace Boat, he hopes to learn how conversations across borders can advance sustainability and human rights efforts.

Introducing the Peace Boat US 2020 Fall Interns

Continuing with the online internship program, Peace Boat US welcomes two additional interns for the Fall! The interns will be involved in fundraising campaigns, writing grant proposals, attending events such as the UN SDG Action Zone, Climate Week and the United Nations General Assembly, and updating social media with the organization’s latest activities, among other projects. We are excited to welcome both of them aboard!  

Shivani Karn is a recent graduate of Hollins University, with a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Communication Studies. Shivani is originally from Nepal and has also grown up in Japan and India, along with studying abroad for a semester in South Africa. She aspires to work in Peace and Conflict Resolution; she is specifically interested in working for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to help refugees around the world. She is passionate about reading and will pick up any book on history and politics. Recently, she has also developed a keen interest in religions and theology. Finally, she also enjoys traveling and being exposed to new cultures, and will grab any opportunity available to visit other countries. Shivani previously interned for Peace Boat US as a junior at university, where she learned a great deal about nuclear disarmament, the Hibakusha (survivors from the atomic bombs), and how various NGOs work in collaboration with the United Nations to achieve their goals. As it was an important learning experience, Shivani has rejoined the organization to continue helping Peace Boat with its initiatives and spreading the knowledge she gained. 

Gracie Jamison is a rising junior at The George Washington University, majoring in Political Science and History. Growing up in Arizona, Gracie was able to get involved in issues that touched on multiculturalism, education, and sustainability at an early age, and an exchange trip to Switzerland in high school gave her further opportunity to explore and develop her interests in those areas. As a college student in D.C, she has become further invested in the interconnections between geopolitics and environmental issues, especially after a service trip around Washington related to issues of hunger and homelessness and a service-learning class that touched on the relationship between socioeconomic issues and sustainable living. Moreover, her involvement with the George Washington’s student-run newspaper, active presence on social media, and academic work as a student have given Gracie a deep appreciation for the ways in which mobilization and change can occur through everything from policy memos to Twitter, and she is looking forward to supporting Peace Boat US through such mediums. Peace Boat’s commitment to a better world, the diversity of projects and people within the organization, and innovative spirit drew Gracie to Peace Boat US, and she is beyond excited to contribute to their mission.

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.