Over the course of 104 days, Peace Boat’s 102nd Global Voyage circumnavigated the world whilst visiting 23 ports in 21 countries. A critical facet of Peace Boat’s voyages are the guest educators who come on board to deliver lectures, host events, and facilitate workshops connecting their own experience and expertise to the initiatives of the global peace and sustainability community. The 102nd voyage was grateful to welcome a diverse set of individuals participating in anywhere from a few days to several weeks of programming.
The ship’s first port of call was Honolulu, Hawaii, introduced to participants through the instruction of Mr Tak Wada, a Japan-born alumni of Hawaii University now residing on Hawaii’s Big Island. Through lectures on the history of Japanese immigration to Hawaii and local history and culture, participants were able to thoughtfully prepare for their first destination. Joining the voyage from Honolulu, retired U.S. Army Colonel Ann Wright spoke of her decision to resign from a diplomatic role in the U.S. government in opposition to the country’s war in Iraq and shared her ongoing involvement in peace activism. Upon arrival in Hilo, Hawaii, Ms. Wright accompanied participants to the protest site of a proposed observatory on the sacred land of Hawaii’s tallest mountain, Mauna Kea. Also on board at this time was guest educator Ann Mayeda, who recounted her experience as a visiting scholar at the Kathmandu University School of Education researching best practices for empowering both students and educators, especially women and children, to take ownership over their education.
Member of the Caracas Municipal Orchestra joined the voyage during its Central American passage through the Suez Canal. Whilst onboard, these talented musicians gave many performances and workshops, as well as recounting their experience as alumni of “El Sistema”, a Venezuela-based social movement that aims to connect children and youth with strong social networks free from violence or drugs by providing free musical education. Hibakusha (survivor of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki) Yamashita Yasuaki, who has lived in Mexico since 1968, was six years old when an atomic bomb was dropped on his home city of Nagasaki in 1945. Now 80, his active speaking schedule included the sharing of his testimony with Peace Boat participants.
As the voyage traveled northbound towards Canada, participants welcomed actor and activist Azuma Chizuru helped participants to express themselves through drawing with eco-friendly chalk made from discarded scallop shells. Ms. Azuma founded the non-profit Get in Touch in 2011 with the goal of creating a “Mazekoze Society” – a mixed, diverse society where no one is excluded or left behind. Get in Touch leads various initiatives to raise awareness for minority groups such as Japan’s LGBTQ+ and autism communities. Finally, director of Vancouver’s Peace Philosophy Centre Satoko Oka Norimatsu shared a series of lectures and workshops combining her practical knowledge of such topics as peace and justice, historical memory and war responsibilities, human rights, military bases, and nuclear issues in East Asia and in connection with the US and Canada.
Guest Educator Walter Chang joined Peace Boat before its departure from North America. After traveling through 60 countries over a period of three years, Mr. Chang, a graduate of New York University’s film and television programme, returned to New York in 2015 to compile his experiences into a video/photography project entitled “We Call This Home.” A subsequently produced viral video raised over $30,000, enabling him to publish a book chronicling his life-changing journey.
During its Transatlantic crossing, Peace Boat welcomed Dr. Anna Gawlewicz of the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow. An expert in international migration and its effect on social diversity and multiculturalism, Dr. Gawlewicz invited participants to consider the effect of Brexit through the lens of recent Polish migrants and the long-settled population of Glasgow.
13 students from Tübingen University’s Masters in Peace Research and International Relations programme joined the voyage for the eighth iteration of a joint partnership with Peace Boat and the Berghof Foundation’s Peace Education Programme. Whilst onboard, students shared their diverse perspectives on the aftermath of World War II in Germany and the ways in which time may affect our perception of historical events, underlining the importance of continued and open dialogue.
Participants were shown another aspect of the aftermath of conflict through Dr. Xara Tziouvara’s presentations on her work supporting refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean. Both as president of the Greek Chapter of Doctors of the World/Médecins du Monde Greece and an active pediatrician, Dr. Tziouvara called on participants to think about the danger, poverty, and insecurity faced by those crossing sea and land borders in need of refuge. Upon Peace Boat’s arrival in Piraeus, participants had the opportunity to accompany Dr. Tziouvara to her clinic to learn about these issues firsthand.
Boarding Peace Boat in Piraeus for its journey through the Suez Canal towards the Indian Ocean, social entrepreneur and former Peace Boat intern Dennis Chia discussed the creation of BOUNDLESS, an enterprise connecting the global with the hyper-local in pursuit of shared sustainability. Participants learned how coordinated community building has helped breathe new life in Japan’s rural areas and helped them to recover from the effects of falling birthrates and the decline of primary and traditional industries.
Finally, Soyama Naoyuki, known as SOYAMAX, demonstrated the collaborative power of the arts through outdoor calligraphy performances on the deck of Peace Boat’s cruise vessel, the Ocean Dream. Diagnosed with Stage 4 malignant lymphoma at age 18, SOYAMAX received a life-saving bone marrow transplant which inspired him to become a traveling calligrapher, using his special skill as a way to build a connection with whomever he meets. Skilfully manipulating his huge brush before an excited audience, SOYAMAX painted the character “EN”, meaning “bonds,” highlighting the connections and friendships made with participants before the conclusion of their global voyage.