News Archive
Nov 7, 2014 - Sailing across Asia with Future Leaders: Peace Boat Special University Programme on Social Cohesion in Multiethnic Asia
Peace Boat's Special Global University Programme on "Social Cohesion in Multiethnic Asia: Nurturing Leaders for the Next Generation" took place as part of Peace Boat's 84th Global Voyage between October 3 (Friday) and October 14 (Tuesday), 2014.

This intensive peace education programme conducted entirely in English, targeted students and young professional interested in or working in the fields of peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and reconciliation. The programme was joined by 12 participants from five different countries, namely Japan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar/Burma, the Philippines, and the US. The five Japanese students were from the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, and participated in this programme as part of the university's programme on conflict resilience. Participants included practitioners active at the grass-root level, such as two participants from Sri Lanka Unites, and one participant from Myanmar/Burma working for Burma Partnership.

The participants sailed from Sri Lanka to Cambodia through Singapore, while engaging in onboard seminars on a wide range of issues, including post-conflict justice, reconciliation, peacebuilding, and migration. At the three ports of call, Colombo (Sri Lanka), Singapore and Phnom Penh (Cambodia), the participants had chances to deepen their understanding on the themes learnt onboard through the Exposure Programmes (field visits), which allowed them to interact and exchange views with the local activists and young leaders.

Dr. Mario Gomez, Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) in Sri Lanka, joined the group as the navigator, and facilitated participants' learning process. At the end of the programme, he led a simulation exercise on justice and reconciliation in an imaginary post-conflict island state. Each participant was assigned a role, such as representative of government, minority group, civil society organization, mediators, or journalists. The participants discussed different options to achieve reconciliation, including the option of establishing a truth commission and granting amnesty.

The programme provided a dynamic environment, where participants were able to freely exchange opinions and views that stemmed from their own unique backgrounds. They were often reminded that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to the kind of complex situations they dealt with. However, the programme provided a deeper understanding of the dynamics involved and motivated participants to take actions. "Even though peacebuilding and reconciliation are not easy tasks, I realized we are the ones who must take actions and we must be the ones who advocate for change", said one of the participants reflecting on his experience.

A full Programme Report (PDF) can be downloaded from here.

About Peace Boat's Global University

Peace Boat's Global University is an intensive peace education programme that takes place at sea during Peace Boat's Global Voyages. It offers a unique curriculum that combines exposure programmes (field visits) in ports with workshops and seminars onboard Peace Boat's ship, and addresses a range of global issues that include peace, human rights, and the environment. The Global University programme aims to nurture future leaders by equipping them with the knowledge, means and experiences necessary to actively engage in the third sector, such as non-government organizations, international bodies, and local activism.

The next Global University programme will be carried out as part of Peace Boat's 88th Global Voyage. For more information, please contact us stating your interest in the programme.
Documents for download