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:

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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

 

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UN PGA High Level Event on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda

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Peace Boat US participated in the recent UN PGA High-level Event on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda, where leaders from around the world gathered to discuss the challenges they face to mitigate climate change, making it clear that many nations are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the well-being of the Earth today and in the future. The event provided an opportunity to highlight synergies between Climate Change and the 2030 Agenda and to gather representatives of Governments, International Organizations, the Private Sector and other stakeholders who are advancing solutions to implementation of the SDG and Climate Change agreements.

20170323_165436 (1)Agreeing on the fact that the planet should not warm by more than 2 degrees Celsius within the next century, it is the responsibility of each and every nation, developed and developing, to implement new practices in response to this ongoing environmental crisis. New, old and improved climate change action plans were brought to the audience’s attention through shared information on what has been tried before, what methods are actually working, visions of innovative approaches and predictions of a substantial amount of positive change. As was pointed out at the conference, global temperatures are rising each day, and we must remember that this affects us all. Temperature change is not limited to a particular part of the world, but contributes to all weather patterns globally.

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Many representatives from developing countries put emphasis on their need for committed support from developed ones. Every nation is to provide concrete ownership and share the responsibilities of implementation of the SDGs. Peace Boat supports the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the message stated by Ambassador Sareer from the Permanent Mission of the Maldives to work towards solutions to climate change across all sectors and take significant steps to reach the goals of the Samoa Pathway outcome document. Greater improvement requires all forces to join together to help those vulnerable populations in creating new lifestyles that are “harmonious with Mother Earth”. Climate change not only affects the environment, but trickles down to other SDGs such as poverty, health care, and social and economic growth. Representatives from the Philippines and Nicaragua stressed this point in order to present the need for assistance when determining how to adapt its population to the change. Representatives from the Permanent Mission of Sri Llanka agreed that, “Adaption is the most suitable way to approach climate change”, while representatives from Morocco reassured everyone that their methods of reducing greenhouse gases and energy dependencies continue to work. They are willing to transfer this knowledge to others and to continue to spread awareness to conserve the environment.

The 2030 Agenda,  which “recognises that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge” (according to the UN Division for Sustainable Development), and the Paris Agreement, which “brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so” (according to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), influenced the direction of presentations for many speakers during the assembly. Representatives from Panama shared that what is done by other countries should benefit everyone. Integrating new policies, innovating strategies and assuring everyone’s commitment should start things off on the right track for a better future for the planet and its people. With Earth Day coming up in April, the shared perspectives were useful and necessary to spark innovative ideas globally and locally to protect the environment within our own communities.

This post was created and published by Sommer B. Flood (Intern from Peace Boat US). 

Creating Cultures of Peace: Art, Music, and Peace Museums

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IMG_8964How can the United Nations and NGOs unite people and cultures to make the world a better and more peaceful place? That was a central question posed at a UN Department of Public Information (DPI) briefing  titled, “Creating Cultures of Peace: Art, Music, and Peace Museums” that Peace Boat US attended on  February 23, 2017,

Dr. Joyce Aspel, author of Introducing Peace Museums and member of the International Network of Museums for Peace, explained that peace museums promote understanding of peace as a significant part of history and provide a space for people to come together.  She identified some of the peace museums around the world, including Pasos Peace Museum,  a virtual museum accessible to everyone in which different webpages act as “rooms” in the museum.  Lea Giddins, a representative of the museum, explained how peace museums can be used to connect, empower, and inspire peace builders.

Next, Michael Dinwiddie and Mercedes Ellington, granddaughter of Duke Ellington, spoke on behalf of the Duke Ellington Center for the Arts and how music can promote peace and intercultural understanding.  They discussed Duke Ellington’s role as a goodwill ambassador for the State Department and his worldwide tours which started in 1963.  He wrote over 3000 compositions inspired by his travels, including the famous “Far East Suite.”  Mercedes Ellington shared anecdotes from her time with him on his USSR tour and discussed how “arts come to the rescue.”  Finally, Lily Gray, Liaison officer at UNESCO, and Hajime Kishimori, Counselor of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, both talked about the role their institutions can play in supporting cultures of peace. Lily Gray discussed how culture and art can be drivers of sustainable development and mentioned some of UNESCO’s programs that emphasize them.  For example, UNESCO’s General and Regional Histories focus on scientific, cultural, and religious contributions (instead of battles, kings, and violence) that support global citizenship and conflict prevention.  Hajime Kishimori focused on the role governments can have in promoting art and cultures of peace.

Overall, it was a very interesting event that brought into question how we define peace and how we can foster it.   It fit well into Sustainable Development Goal #16 (Peace,Justice and Strong Institutions) as well as Peace Boat’s commitment to connecting people from different cultures to make a more peaceful world.

This post was created and published by Lindsey Sokol (Peace Boat US Intern).

Celebrating Women Artists On Music Freedom Day

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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.

LISTEN TO VALE COLVIN on SOUNDCLOUD HERE :
https://soundcloud.com/valecolvin/

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!

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A Day at the UN: Together Campaign, The Ocean Conference, and Forging Partnerships

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The United Nations has declared 2017 “the year of peace,” and on  January 19, Peace Boat interns gathered to hear the first briefing of the year at the DPI/NGO (Department of Public Information/Non Governmental Organization) Inaugural meeting in New York City. It was the first time this team of interns had the opportunity to sit among NGO representatives at the table. Speakers Maher Nasser and Damian Cardona introduced the TOGETHER campaign, which is an umbrella coalition to counter xenophobia and negative perceptions and attitudes towards immigrants and refugees. This global movement aims to distinguish between facts and myths of narratives circling in the media about immigrants. Daniel Shepard and Kim Quarles spoke about the upcoming Ocean Conference being held June 5 – 9, 2017. The conference aims to build partnerships among the private, public, and civil society society sectors; develop a firm commitment to act and preserve the oceans; and to educate and share a more robust understanding of ocean issues and the negative impacts of these.

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We also had the opportunity to attend the UNDESA/DSPD (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs/Division for Social Policy and Development) Stakeholder Engagement Series on Partnerships to Transform Goals. Speakers Daniel Perell, Chair of the NGO Committee on Social Development, and Hanifa D. Mezoui, Senior Advisor of the Humanitarian Affairs and Civil Society, emphasized the importance of bringing all voices to the table such as those of indigenous peoples, older generations, and people with disabilities. The guest speakers emphasized inclusive NGO meetings that are representative of a variety of backgrounds and NGO work. Together, the meeting participants agreed to start a dialogue on specific tasks they can do to ensure that the information collected and discussed in their meetings is dispersed throughout the entire UN. The team also agreed to develop a statement to collectively emphasize the team’s stance as well as educate non-members on the activities and initiatives of the team.

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Utilizing Information And Communication Technology For Sustainable Development

csm_unsustainabledevelopmentgoals_cover_01_43148a588aToday Peace Boat US interns attended “The Role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in accelerating the achievement of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development” at the United Nations Headquarters. They learned that while 98% of Americans have access to the internet, only 47% of the global population has similar access. This meeting focused on the opportunities and concerns involved in increasing the connectivity of the international population.

Of particular interest to our interns were the impacts ICTs could have on the environment. They learned ICTs can serve as an integral tool in collecting big data for analysis of biodiversity, pollution, weather patterns and ecosystem evolution. In addition, satellite monitoring increases accountability by providing accurate global data. Running parallel to these positive impacts of ICTs, however, are the concerns. An increase in ICTs also creates an increase in electronic waste (e-waste).  According to the EPA, e-waste is the fastest growing municipal waste stream in America. Internationally, 40 million tons of electronic waste are created each year. In addition to having a negative environmental impact e-waste is also a health hazard, particularly to the impoverished young girls and women who scavenge for survival in various countries. Peace Boat interns were thrilled to learn about the various opportunities and concerns surrounding ICTs, and how they can be used in the undertaking of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. They look forward to incorporating this knowledge and awareness into Peace Boat’s mission of promoting sustainable and equitable development around the world.

 

(This post was created by Lilly Potter)

 

January Term 2017 Interns from Hollins University

Collaboration with Peace Boat US and Hollins University

Hollins University is a liberal arts school located in Roanoke, Virginia. Each year students have the opportunity for the month of January to choose between studying abroad, interning with an organization, researching independently under a professor, or taking a course on campus. This is the fourth year Hollins and the Peace Boat US have partnered together to give students a closer look into what the Peace Boat does for the world and current projects and initiatives to promote peace and sustainability. This month 4 Hollins interns will be promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through various activities in New York, attend events hosted by the UN and other local partnership organizations such as Global Kids, research funding opportunities for building the world’s greenest ship, the Ecoship, and canvass for the summer Peace Boat voyage  entitled “Peace Education and the Sustainable Development Goals in Latin America.”

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Nicole Curran is a senior International Studies major at Hollins University. Through her major, Ms. Curran’s studies focus on the DPRK (North Korea), China and Japan. She is interested in the censorship and its portrayal in media; specifically how it creates preconceived notions and negative effects that play around the world today. Peace Boat US caught Ms. Curran’s attention because it is a place where anyone from any background and anywhere in the world can come together to create sustainable dialogue and break barriers to promote peace.

15879361_10210563412428810_1154074831_nAlexis Hughes will be a graduate from Hollins University in February of 2017 with a degree in philosophy. Prior to the Peace Boat US, Ms. Hughes interned with the largest child law program in Virginia, the Legal Aid Justice Center, advocating for equal access to education and proper support for children with special needs and mental health issues. She worked briefly with the Legal Justice Aid team on the RISE for Youth campaign to close juvenile prisons and promote community-based and rehabilitative alternatives to youth incarceration. Ms. Hughes is enthusiastic about women’s rights as well as moving education and religious systems forward. She is skilled in problem solving and public speaking. Alexis plans to devote her life to advocacy for disenfranchised populations and will be pursuing a Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution in the fall. She’s thrilled to have the chance to be mentored by professional peacemakers at the Peace Boat who spend their time fighting for a more equal, just, and peaceful world.

15942703_10210563412588814_767808214_oLilly Potter is a sophomore at Hollins University double majoring in English and International Studies. She is passionate about human rights, international relations, and sustainable development. Ms. Potter has taken every opportunity to be a global student, listen to foreign perspectives, and immerse herself in other cultures. She was fortunate enough to study environmental sustainability through urban development and eco-farming while in Singapore and Malaysia. Ms. Potter is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue her global education as an intern at Peace Boat. Looking forward, she hopes to take the lessons she has learned at Peace Boat and apply them in her pursuit of a graduate degree in international law.

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Dade Hundertmark is a sophomore at Hollins University double majoring in international studies and philosophy. At this time, she is also the standing president of Humans for Justice, a 501(c)3 that supports education for survivors of human trafficking within the United States. Passionate about ethics and developmental economics, she looks forward to this opportunity to observe and participate in an internship that will allow her to see the extent to which nonprofits can make their mark on the world. Outside of her work, Ms. Hundertmark is an avid equestrian and a resident feminist killjoy, as well as a fan of nail polish, Daenerys Targaryen, and the mangrove ecosystem. She believes that through practical application of theory, passion, and an ear toward the community, both sustainability and development can flourish, while protecting the rights and customs of native communities. Ms. Hundertmark also firmly believes in the role that youth serve to further these goals in this age of communication, and is grateful for her chance to serve Peace Boat US for this term.