Celebrating the UN Day through “Spices for Peace”

Variety is said to be the spice of life, but Earlene Cruz, the founder of Kitchen Connection and an SDGS youth scholar with Peace Boat US, works to literally bring spices to a variety of palates and enhance people’s lives across borders.  To celebrate United Nations Day, which is held every 24 of October to mark the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter, Earlene and the UN Department of Public Information organized an event near the UN that showcased how spices and cooking can be used to create connections between people.

Earlene Cruz began the event by explaining how she was inspired to form Kitchen Connection after she traveled to Ghana and was graciously hosted by a local family. She became fond of the food they served, especially because it was prepared with much love and affection. After returning home stayed in touch with the family phone calls, and then was struck with the idea of exchanging local recipes across the world using technology. Thus, Kitchen Connection was born. You can find out more about Kitchen Connection here: https://kitchenconnection.org/.

Left: Earlene Cruz, after the success of the event
Right: Earlene in the Summer Program of Peace Boat in 2017

The event was followed by a small meditation session by Suzanna. She stated, “We need inner nourishment and outer nourishment”, and pointed out that in the effort to stay competitive and relevant to the external world, we often forget to nourish our inner beings – our souls. Hence Kitchen Connection brings together the effort to nourish our bodies and souls while also fostering peace and uniting this increasingly globalized world.

Mr. Ethan Frisch, the founder of Burlap and Barrel, also participated in the event. His organization rethinks the supply chains of international spices to make them more direct, traceable and visible. It aims to promote the lives of farmers by raising their awareness and knowledge about available international markets. Ethan highlighted the unique characteristics of spices and how they can help in our efforts towards peacebuilding. He said that “Spices are ubiquitous. Every culture and nation uses spices. They can be any part of the plant; they are more expansive by definition and more inclusive in the kind of cuisines. Spices have been the cause of trade routes, colonialism, etc.” You can find out more about  Burlap and Barrel here: https://www.burlapandbarrel.com/)



Chef Nargisse Benkabou guiding the cooking of Amlou

The event also aimed to put on display the objective of Kitchen Connection. Via a video call from an airport while on a trip from Morocco to London, Chef Nargisse Benkabou helped guide real-time preparation in the event of a dish called Amlou to give attendees a nourishing experience. This unique and tasty spread was prepared with roasted almonds, honey, a pinch of salt and cinnamon and the most interesting and pure ingredient of all –  pure argan oil. Argan oil comes from southwesternmost Morocco, where local women procure the nuts and manually break them and extract their oil. So treasured is it, that a pure bottle of argan oil of 700 ml can cost up to US $200! After preparation, the spread was offered for tasting to all of the e attendees of the event, which included representatives from various NGOs and t from the NGO Committee of the United Nations.

Extraction and preparation of argan oil

IMG_8847.jpgVegetarian Chef Andrea Lumbrano Sanchez Goldstein attended the event and gave her approval of the first batch

The event was successful in highlighting the relation of the SDG Goals 8, 11 and 15 through spices, food, talented chefs like Nargisse and passionate women entrepreneurs like Earlene.

Earlene and Peace Boat: Earlene received a partial scholarship to attend the Summer Program at Peace Boat in 2017. She believes that her experience in the Summer Program really shaped her ideas in leading a life that’s contributing towards the Sustainable Development Goals. You can find out more information about our new Summer Program in 2018 here: http://www.peaceboat-us.org/programs/peace-education-and-the-un-sustainable-development-goals-sdgs-in-latin-america-summer-2018/


Earlene 2

The cohort of the Summer Program in 2017


Global Goals Week and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

sdg action campaignGlobal Goals week plays a fundamental role in increasing dialogue on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. From September 16-23 of 2017, political leaders, activists, and celebrities came together to celebrate and discuss ongoing progress toward achieving the 17 goals by 2030.

In one week, dozens of conferences such as the Social Good Summit, Movement Makers, and the Global Pact for the Environment work to spread awareness about key issues such as poverty, education rights, and climate change. Award ceremonies, such as for the Equator Prize, were also hosted to honor the many organizations and individuals that are practicing peace, justice, and sustainability.

With the completion of Global Goals week 2017, it is essential that the dialogue becomes action. As Whoopi Goldberg said at the Social Good Summit, “You should help because you can.” Reach out to local charities and organizations to aid in the completion of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Peace Boat US is taking action to continue the work discussed during Global Goals week. This October 15th, Peace Boat will introduce the Ecoship project, the world’s most sustainable cruise ship. The Ecoship is planning to set sail in 2020 as a flagship for climate action. In honor of this launch, Peace Boat is hosting the “Floating Festival for Sustainability” in New York City.

To attend the event, please RSVP to the link below:

To volunteer at this event, please click here for more information: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfSYhLo6tFEuxn9Uv9cZ4e_h0z-VsC48Z032hAKqQi-WGVWig/viewform?c=0&w=1


Charles Blow, Bob Bland, Barbara Lee, Roland Lescure, and Lorella Praeli discuss how they developed their messages into mass movements at Global Citizen Movement Makers 


The Mali Elephant Project accept their award at the Equator Prize 2017 Award Ceremony


Andrew Freedman, Kate Hampton, and Rachel Kyte discuss the impacts of climate change at the Social Good Summit 


The Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations hosts “The Oceans – A Wealth of Opportunities” at the United Nations Headquarters 

This article was published by Sabrina Oliveto.

Youth for the Sustainable Development Goals in Action!

Peace Boat US provides youth with an opportunity to learn about the UN Sustainable Development Goals through direct experiences working with local communities around the world. Youth are able to see and hear firsthand realities of countries they visit and learn about the Sustainable Development Goals through lectures, workshops, and discussions with guest speakers onboard. Participants of the 2017 Summer program on the 94th Global Voyage of Peace Boat were given a chance to learn about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Latin America and see how they are being implemented in different countries such as Panama, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

After learning about the SDGs through direct experiences in Latin America, participants were invited to join the United Nations High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York City. By the time the program ended, the participants left with not only a deeper understanding of how countries in Latin America and around the world are working towards the SDGs, but they also gained a better understanding of how important it is for civil society to be involved in helping to achieve the goals – especially young people. Along the way, they also forged new friendships across borders and embraced other cultures. To learn more about the SDGs in your country, visit the UN website here : http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals

To join Peace Boat’s upcoming Summer program from July 20 – August 3, 2018 on the Sustainable Development Goals in Latin America, visiting Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico, please send us an email to : info@peaceboat-us.org


Participants are taught about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Panama during their visit to the UNDP office in the City of Knowledge.


Youth from the summer program work together with the refugee youth in RET in order to complete activities regarding the SDGs during their stay in Panama.


Peace Boat US give the RET youth a One World Futbol before playing a friendly match of soccer.


A visit to the Embera indigenous community in Panama teaches the youth about ecotourism and how local communities are working to promote sustainable lifestyles.

Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 6.16.55 PM

Participants present about the 17 SDGs put forth by the United Nations while traveling on the ship to hundreds of participants onboard.


Each youth chose one SDG that was important to them and presented about the goal onboard.


While the ship was docked in Nicaragua, participants posed in front of the ship before going on an eco-cycling tour of Corinto.


Teachers use visuals and songs to teach young children ages 3 to 5 the native language of Nahuat in an educational program sponsored by the University of Don Bosco.


Participants visit the University of Don Bosco to learn about the history of the Civil War, Peace and Security in El Salvador. 


The Universidad Salvadoreña Alberto Masferrer presents the history behind the country along with several live performances with music and dance in El Salvador.


Participants visited the town of Panchimalco in El Salvador, where the Mayor of the city has dedicated a youth arts program to promoting a culture of peace in the city.


The visit to the Maya Nut Institute included a spiritual ceremony from members of the Pipil indigenous community.


Participants were brought onto a farm where they cultivate the Mayan Nut, also known as Ojushte from a female entrepreneur in El Salvador who is supporting sustainable development.


A visit to an archeological site teaches participants of the past history and gives insight to the local indigenous communities in  El Salvador.


The UN High Level Political Forum began with several participants from Peace Boat who learned about the SDGs and were excited to see what how member states and UN delegates are working to achieve the goals in their home countries.


Youth participate in the UN High Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development at the UN Headquarters in New York City.


This article was published by Mina Karimi.

The Ocean Conference: Raising Awareness for Marine Conservation




Visitors wrote down why they thought it’s important to protect our oceans and how they planned to do so.

On June 4th , 2017  New York City hosted the first ever “Ocean Festival” on Governor’s Island to kick off the official Ocean Conference at the United Nations this year. The Ocean Conference is a high level United Nations event focused on supporting the implementation of Sustainability Goal 14- conservation and sustainable use of our oceans, seas and marine resources. In support of this conference, NYC and multiple of non-profit organizations from the region, set up booths, activities, and artwork for the public to enjoy while spreading awareness about UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 and the issues involving our oceans.


Our interns also worked at the booth and did a great job!

Along with supporting the Ocean Conference and its objectives, Peace Boat, as the first organization to make a voluntary commitment to the Ocean Conference, also unveiled its Ecoship Project to the public. Dedicated to studying the world’s oceans and marine conservation, this ship will be the world’s most environmentally sustainable cruise ship. It will set sail in 2020 and will aim to reduce COemissions by 40% through energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources including solar and wind power. Equipped with research laboratories to study the world’s oceans and exhibition halls to showcase green maritime technologies, the ship will carry 2000 people on educational world cruises for social change every three months, taking them to parts of the world directly affected by rising sea levels and degradation of marine ecosystems. More information about the Eco-Ship was revealed on June 9th, 2017 at the Ocean Conference Side Event: “From Awareness Raising to Action for the Oceans: the role of Youth and Civil Society” in Conference Room 6 of the UN Conference Building.


The participants of the Sustainable Development-NY consists of entrepreneurs, scientists, humanitarians, ambassadors, and interns.

On June 8th, 2017, during the Ocean Conference at the United Nations, Peace Boat participated in the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY meeting to bring together various organizations and UN representatives working to protect the oceans. Leaders from multiple fields, including business, non-profit, and science gathered together  to discuss the importance of technology in maintaining safe and sustainable water and in educating young people about our oceans. Most importantly, the conference emphasized the necessity of combating climate change and global warming now, rather than later when the effects have worsened.


Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Vanuatu, H.E. Odo Tevi delivers a message to preserve the waters for future generations.

The conference was co-chaired by Margo LaZaro and Yvonne O’Neal while Peace Boat US’s Director, Emilie McGlone, acted as the moderator. The keynote speakers were experts in various fields, and all emphasized the importance of clean water and preserving our planet as it is today. As stated by Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Vanuatu, H.E. Mr. Odo Tevi, and Professor Jan W. Dash, contaminated water is the leading cause of disease and famine, and climate change not only makes natural disasters much more severe, but also contributes to poverty and other sustainable development issues currently being tackled by the UN. It is on today’s leaders of the world to alleviate some of these issues while preparing the leaders of tomorrow to carry on the fight.


Peace Boat US Director, Emilie McGlone with the Representatives of MY World Mexico.

Various speakers provided information and statistics on climate change and other environmental issues, while other speakers presented their solutions. For example,  Asi Meskin, Co-Founder and General Manager for North America Bowhead Technology, presented his interactive water bottle for kids. Alejandro Laguna presented his idea of an educational app featuring the forests and marine life of his home in South America. Moderator Emilie McGlone also spoke at the conference, introducing Peace Boat’s voluntary commitment to the Ocean Conference – the Ecoship project, set to sail in 2020 as the world’s first eco-friendly cruise ship, reducing its CO2 by 40%. These solutions are only a few of many, created by a community of people who understand that to preserve the planet, they need to act now or it will be too late. The Ocean Conference is not only a high point for this community, but also a debut to a greater effort to work towards achieving SDG #14 to conserve the oceans and marine resources.

This post was created and published by Cassandra Lieu (Intern from Peace Boat US).

Youth for the SDGs: Summer Program 2017

A talented group of youth working for the SDGs are joining Peace Boat’s 94th Global Voyage and internship program this summer. They will be participating in a special edition of the  “Peace Education and Sustainable Development Goals in Latin America” educational program.  This two week long summer program is focused on learning about meaningful development experiences and efforts in the Latin American region to maintain peace and sustainability, traveling to Panama, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Through the program, the youth will be participating in lectures, cultural exchanges and presentations related to peace and sustainability onboard the ship, and learning valuable lessons from the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  These youth are also currently participating in the Ocean Conference at the United Nations and will have the opportunity to join the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July of 2017.



Alexa Atlas

Alexa Atlas is an undergraduate business student at Stony Brook University studying Finance and Accounting. Alexa is an International Relations Scholar for SUNY JFEW with an interest in sustainable investing and global development. After volunteering in Santander Department, an impoverished community of Colombia, she redirected her focus towards directly impacting indigenous communities within Latin America. She hopes that she can gain insight into sustainable practices of the Panama, Nicaragua, and El Salvador and assist in contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN through involvement with PeaceBoat US.



Talia Bank

Talia Bank is a sophomore at Bard High School Early College. She is a new intern with Peace Boat U.S. and she is interested in Peace Boat’s promotion of peace around the world. In light of the recent 2016 presidential election, Talia believes that now more than ever, equality, environmental awareness and world peace are goals that need to be recognized and worked towards to create a more equal, safe and healthy world for all. She is also interested in photography and looks forward to using photography and writing to share the significance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals with the world. Talia will be taking part in the annual Peace Boat voyage this coming summer.



Sommer B. Flood

Sommer B. Flood is a recent graduate of Rutgers University-Newark in New Jersey where she majored in Anthropology and Public Administration. Passionate about change through community development and social responsibility, Sommer aims to foster hope, peace and unity in local communities as well as the international community. Before becoming a Peace Boat US intern, she interned with the Sierra House organization under the Neighborhood Improvement Program, and contributed greatly to the success of their 1st Annual Greenwood Street Festival. Sommer has worked on many school projects, such as celebrating Valentine’s Day with the homeless in New Jersey and participating in the development of a cemetery revitalization project in the state. She also lead student volunteers from Essex County College, NJIT, and Rutgers-Newark weekly at the Goodwill Rescue Mission in Newark. Ms. Flood is very interested in many places around the world, has an open mind, and is ready to explore the various cultures, traditions and lifestyles of the world. Connecting with Peace Boat US through a Social Change course in January 2017, she plans to continue to take on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as her own, spread awareness of them, educate herself on the possibilities for change, and advocate for peace. This effort is an extension of her lifelong commitment to being a responsible global citizen. She is very excited to join the June 20th – July 3rd Peace Boat US summer program this year and travel to Panamá, El Salvador and Nicaragua. In August, she will begin her service as an AmeriCorps City Year member working with the youth in the urban schools of Philadelphia. This will give her another opportunity to focus some SDG’s right here in America. The Peace Boat US summer voyage and City Year will bring great change to her life but she is eager to give back to the world as she believes the world has done so much for her. Sommer’s favorite quote, “No man should have more than enough, while others have less than they need.” – Peter Singer



Mina Karimi

Mina Karimi is a Junior majoring in Sustainability at Stony Brook University. As a Sustainability major she explores what the world has to offer. As a global non profit organization Peace Boat US caught her attention. There is much that she wants to learn about the world. Peace Boat US will allow her to gain an understanding of some of these things. This experience will carry on with her in her future endeavors. Mina wants to work with other organizations in the future that work towards protecting all life.



Ga Yeon (Gia) Kim

Gia is an international student from South Korea, going into her senior year at SUNY Albany. She is majoring in Business with a concentration in Finance and Information Technology Management, while also minoring in Spanish. She is in a programming chair of National  Association of Asian American Professionals at SUNY Albany chapter. Her interests include studies of global negotiation within East Asia and Latin America. Gia is passionate about studying different cultures, involving herself in community service, and traveling. She is excited to be involved in Peace Boat US looks forward to learning about Latin American culture.



Cassandra (Cassie) Lieu

Cassandra (Cassie) Lieu is a rising junior at Villanova University and an English major with minors in Gender and Women’s Studies and Writing and Rhetoric and she is very excited to be an intern at Peace Boat. In terms of peace education, her interests lie in gender and racial equality, LGBT rights, and issues of quality education. In a world where people are more connected with one another than ever, she believes it is important to learn about those of different cultures and backgrounds and to embrace these differences. She is joining Peace Boat not only to help make a positive impact on the world, but also to learn about the world we live in, current issues, and its unique people.



Marla Teixeira

Marla Teixeira is a junior Peace and Justice Studies major at Pace University, minoring in Politics, Pre-Law and Business Management. Ms. Teixeira is currently researching nonviolent revolutions and civil disobedience around the world in order to better assist in her fight against the media’s portrayal of women. She is also working with the Center for Anti-Violence Education in New York City, which helps victims of assault learn self-defense tactics. Ms. Teixeira plans to make her career about ending income inequality and making access to health care and quality education both available and affordable to everyone. She’s thrilled to have the opportunity to intern for Peace Boat US this summer since she believes that it is only through sustainable living that we can secure a quality life for future generations.




Briana Whylie

Briana Whylie is an International Business major at Berkeley College. With her interest in solving international issues, Briana participated in the Model United Nations to get in practice. Briana has always showed passion to change lives for the better; and describes herself as dedicated and enthusiastic. Her volunteer work at Peace Boat is a life changing experience to not only help the organization, but to become educated in world issues. Briana carries legacy from her late grandfather Vincent Whylie who helped pass a union law with Richard Nixon in 1970. Briana hopes to make great, yet bigger life changes, like her grandfather.

Peace Boat US Supports Leadership and Innovation to Achieve the SDGs

FullSizeRenderEvery early spring at the United Nations Headquarters, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) draws thousands of women from across the globe to share their ideas, issues, and solutions on topics ranging from education to economic development and sustainability. Comparing similarities and differences in women’s issues from diverse regions of the world is always a dynamic process, and the vibrant city of New York is a backdrop well suited to it. And yet, during the CSW, the city’s sidewalks around the UN become even more alive and vibrant as women of all ages and backgrounds, many in bright traditional wear, head from one event to another with a determination to change the world for the better.

This year on March 17, Peace Boat US, in partnership with C4: Capital For New Commons and the International Grassroots Women Academy, sponsored a CSW parallel event called “Entrepreneurial & Financial Innovation Leadership to Achieve the UN SDGs” that brought together a panel of diverse young women who are working in different ways to fulfill the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Around the world, the role of women and girls is transforming the workforce demographic not only as founders and leaders, but also as highly valued customers. This parallel event featured some of the best practices and partnerships required to create sustainable economic development for women – particularly within marginalized communities in certain parts of the world–including developed nations. By featuring some of the most innovative partnership solutions in business, finance, and community organizing, it aimed to accelerate the knowledge transfer among CSW participants from around the world and increase involvement of women in helping to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Panelists at the event included:


Megumi Ishimoto, Founder, Grassroots Academy Tohoku (GAT)

Melanie Lavelle, CEO & Founder of Benefit Kitchen

Alexandra Iosso, CEO & Co-founder of Dagmy Motors

Tinia Pina, Founder & CEO of Re-Nuble

Rachel Clark, Peace Boat US

Junko Nagao (Moderator),  Executive Director of C4.

Megumi Ishimoto has been very active in serving women living in the Tohoku region in Japan, where the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami affected and changed many people’s lives. Her organization exemplifies economic development and women’s job creation by empowering the community through projects that bridge older and younger generations. “GAT seeks to develop the next generation of women leaders in the region,” said Megumi, showing beautiful handmade bags and purses crafted from recycled kimonos. Japan’s traditional kimonos are upcycled by Tohoku women, giving them an opportunity for financial independence.  For more details, visit this link.

Melanie Lavelle’s work of more than 15 years focuses on inclusive finance by helping families move out of poverty. Her organization, Benefit Kitchen is an award winning mobile platform that connects working Americans with over $80 billion in unclaimed benefits such as Food Stamps, tax credits and health insurance. Benefit Kitchen’s app won the Grand Prize in Civic Engagement at Big Apps NYC in December 2015 and demoed at the New York Tech Meetup in January 2016. She also has conducted over 700 local, state and national training sessions on topics related to poverty, economic self-sufficiency, and work-support access.

As a presenter on leading sustainability in engineering, energy and motor industries, Alexandra Iosso spoke about her experiences with the company Dagmy Motors, which she co-founded. Dagmy Motors designs, manufactures, and sells high performance proprietary battery packs with multiple use cases including energy storage and generation and inclusion in electric vehicles. Alexandra oversees all corporate relationships, strategic partnerships, product strategy implementation, and overall day-to-day operations. Being a native French speaker and fluent in Tagalog, together with a wide range of international experiences, Alexandra’s speaking skill was so inspiring that her topic, which is traditionally regarded as men’s realm, roused great interest from the audience of all women.

Tinia Pina’s company Re-Nuble demonstrates great partnerships to launch, develop soil and hydroponic nutrients, and technologies to turn food waste streams into bio-based materials for indoor growing systems. Her company shows a strong commitment to addressing climate change. “At our company, we’re aware that climate change, if left unchecked, will have major effects on the communities in which we operate, our business, and the economy at large. That’s why we’re joining more than 620 companies and investors across the United States to encourage the incoming administration and new Congress to stick with the commitments we’ve made in the Paris Climate Agreement. Failure to transition toward a low-carbon US economy now will only exacerbate the climate-related problems we’ll experience in the future. But maintaining U.S. climate leadership can spur innovation, advance our nation’s competitiveness, and position U.S. companies as leaders in the global economy,” said Tinia. Her additional statements on climate change can be found  here.

Rachel Clark is an interpreter and global coordinator, as well as a volunteer staff member at Peace Boat US, an NGO that promotes peace, sustainable development, human rights and respect for the environment through educational programs organized onboard Peace Boat. Rachel talked about promoting peace and empowering communities, especially women in  communities, and highlighted the sustained relationship between Peace Boat and the Kuna indigenous people in Panama that has been fortified through a program called “Sailing 4 Social Innovation”. She also explained Peace Boat’s collaboration with the Development Action for Women Network (DAWN) in the Philippines, a program that supports Filipina migrants through the sales of their beautiful handmade crafts and clothing with traditional textile and design, and that generates awareness of the rights and concerns of the migrant women.  Rachel also spoke about Peace Boat’s groundbreaking Ecoship Project, which is creating the world’s greenest cruise ship with ecologically friendly features such as 10 retractable solar-paneled sails and retractable wind generators, as well as a future-ready hybrid engine. Together with its projected cuts of CO2 emissions and impressive energy efficiency, Peace Boat’s Ecoship will be a flagship for green technology in passenger shipping, serving as a model for cruise operators worldwide. The ship’s maiden voyage in 2020 was announced at COP21 Paris in 2015.

After each panelist spoke, moderator Junko Nagano encouraged panelists and participants at the venue to form a big circle and hold a Q&A session in workshop style. Among the participants, photographer Fiona Aboud passionately suggested that she could connect her friends with the entrepreneurial panelists Filmmaker Donna Tsufura was also among the participants. Donna has been very active in the NGO community and the Japanese American community in New York City. She also showed strong interest in connecting the panelists to her friends and affiliates. Peace Boat’s Ecoship drew many people’s attention. Speaking from her expertise on futuristic technology on vehicles, Alexandra suggested that the Ecoship concept would be greatly appreciated by commuter vessels between Manhattan and surrounding regions.

Sponsoring and participating in UN events is one of Peace Boat’s activities as an NGO in special consultative status with the United Nations, and we look forward to continuing to highlight the leadership and work of women in achieving the SDGs.

This article was published by Rachel Clark


Celebrating Women Artists On Music Freedom Day



In celebration of this year’s annual Music Freedom Day on March 3rd, we give the spotlight to Valentina Colvin, a talented female artist from Concepcion, Chile. Highlighting the contribution of women to music from around the world and their influence on fighting for the right of self expression, Valentina Colvin shares her perspectives and opinions in Chile through a special interview for the Music & Art Peace Academy (MAPA) project in Chile this year. MAPA aims to provide young artists, musicians and producers from around the world with experiences and resources that further enhance and develop their creative talents. Valentina joined a team of artists and musicians to support the project with International NGO Peace Boat and the local nonprofit environmental organization CODEFF ( National Committee to Protect the Flora and Fauna of Chile) to protect the pristine nature of Patagonia and declare it a World Heritage Site recognized by UNESCO.valecolvin

Special Interview with Vale Colvin in Chile for the Patagonica tour Vol 9 with Parties4Peace / MAPA

When did you start to play music, and what was your first inspiration?

I’ve loved many different styles of music since I was young. I would buy my own keyboards, and without knowing how to play I would play whatever came to my mind. I remember that I loved to sit for hours and hours listening to the radio and make cassette mixes with the songs I liked most; I took them with me everywhere in my “Walkman”.

I began to really get into electronic music around the year 2000 when I went to “la Republica”, the only place in Concepcion that had a music and art proposal. There I met the “Negro Estrada”. A couple of years later I started to work with him to make a couple electronic music events. Around the year 2005, after I’d fallen in love with the electronic beats, I approached Pedro Campos, the resident DJ who taught me the art of mixing vinyl. There I started to play and promote music in Concepcion; Pedro and I did many events together. With these I forged connections with other artists in Santiago and abroad that influenced my style and opened many new doors for me.

Is this your first time traveling to Patagonia? What part of the trip are you excited about?

EVERYTHING… I am from the South, and love nature, the trees, the fresh air, the sound of the wind or the birds, and the water. I was dying to be in front of the immense mountains and glaciers; they have such a powerful energy. My younger sister once went on a hike and was incapable of describing to me how incredible they were. I have heard a lot about the immensity and diversity of its landscapes. I am very excited to be able to share this experience with other people and artists from other places that are also interested in its preservation.

unnamed1Why do you think that it is important to protect the beautiful Patagonian wildlife in Chile?

Seeing how the world is today (and all of the recent forest fires in Chile ), I think that it is becoming more urgent than ever that those who are aware of the issue take clear actions to protect the wildlife, and become a daily example for others. After living in Europe and seeing how in developed countries being able to drink clean water or eat an organic and flavorful tomato is very difficult or a luxury, I think that it is fundamental that in countries where there still exists a pure ecosystem we take measures so that man’s ambition doesn’t continue to destroy the planet, before it is too late. With places on our continent like Patagonia, or like the Amazon (the Earth’s “lung”), intervention shouldn’t even be questioned; sometimes it is hard to believe how ridiculous humanity can be.

How do you think music and art can be used as a positive global force for good?

I think that through music and art we can transmit a clear message to open global conscious and influence more people without the message being interfered with (as happens many times with other communication mediums). I also think that through an artist’s sensitivity you can open a similar sensitivity in other people. Through art you can more easily impact those that live “blind” in their day to day lives, always thinking about how to make more money without thinking about the impact of their actions. With art you can increase awareness, communicate with others, educate, and influence. I think that by working in a unified and loving group, in a music or art collective, you can create a powerful influence; these powerful groups can motivate the masses, and with them I really think that true changes can be achieved.

You live in Berlin right now; How is the German scene? Is it similar to the Chilean scene?

The electronic music scene in German is much broader and more developed, as I am still discovering. In Germany there are stores with new and used CDs everywhere you look, an infinite about of clubs that are open at all hours (that invest more in music and sounds than in publicity or PR), magazines that are distributed for free to generate art publicity, labels, thousands of summer festivals, all of the best possible quality. It is more than just an electronic music scene – it is culture and a lifestyle.

Ever since I’ve been involved with this I see how many artists don’t only play or produce music, but also try, through labels or other mediums (like what we tried to do with cigarra.fm) to generate more music culture. But in Chile this is not easy; Chilean many times only follows what is trending.

I think that today’s youth and artists don’t have enough opportunities to travel, and with the current tools they can find more influences and identity in their tastes and what they like abroad through technology. Based on what I have learned by talking with friends that keep trying new things here, today there is more interest. There are movements to create a scene, but it is important for the focus to be on the music and the art, and to make sure that conditions exist for the artists to showcase their work. The idea is to grow not only in quantity but also in quality.


You have a very unique style – why did you choose to play vinyl?

A lot of the music that is produced today is only made in vinyl… through this format, along with a good sound system in a club, you can create big differences in terms of sounds. Furthermore, through this format you can listen to music made several years before, when computers didn’t exist and sounds were 100% original and analogue. Today the use of software and digital technology has made music more disposable. Today you can create your own particular style through a search and selection of vinyl. For me being a DJ involves selecting and collecting discs to create a personal brand that makes a difference. This can take a lot of time and work. When I find a song I love, I like to take the time to listen to it carefully, to play and have it sound good, so that years later I can listen to it again and have it sound the same.

You are going to participate in the MAPA events in Chile – how do you plan on contributing to the cause devoted to making the world a better place through music?

I try to do what I do with love and to the best of my ability. I have some art and music projects with a common purpose. Through participation you can create nets and connections that overtime connect together, complementing and strengthening each other so that public awareness can be generated.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would like to thank and congratulate Emilie and everyone that is part of this wonderful project, and those that work with and for music and art, contributing to better the planet we live on. By uniting to generate small changes and projects we can do great things. I really do love the cause!