News Archive
Oct 23, 2015 - Peace Boat's Special Global University Programme 2015
This year's Special Global University Programme on "Re-Defining Security: Is Common Human Security Possible in Asia?" took place as part of Peace Boat's 88th Global Voyage between August 19 (Wednesday) and September 9 (Wednesday), 2015.

Students coming from China, India, Japan, Nepal and South Korea
Launched last year in 2014 , Peace Boat's Special Global University Programme is an intensive peace education programme that gathers students and young professionals from across Asia to discuss a range of global issues that includes peace, human rights and the environment. This year, 15 students explored the concepts of human security and common security using concrete examples from Asia, such as migration issues, energy issues, natural disasters and poverty. Students came from five countries, namely China, India, Japan, Nepal and South Korea. As a positive outcome of Peace Boat's efforts to strengthen strategic partnerships with universities across the region, many students this year were recruited through Peace Boat's partner universities: Tokyo University (Japan), Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS), Hanshin University (South Korea), and China University of Foreign Affairs (CUFA).

Imagining Asia in 2045 ...

Prof. Yi Kiho from Hanshin University in South Korea (centre)
Three navigators led the seminars onboard: Prof. Kim Kyungmook (Professor, Chukyo University, Japan), Prof. Yi Kiho (Professor, Hanshin University, South Korea) and Lalita Ramdas (Activist and Educator, India). In the seminars, navigators combined various creative teaching methodologies, and students enjoyed and benefitted from the kind of exercises they rarely get to experience in formal school settings. In one seminar, students were asked to come up with headlines for news reports in 2045. In another, students negotiated solutions for homeless issues by playing roles of labourers, homeless people, corporations, government and civil society organisations. Students also had opportunities to hear from guest lecturers, such as Prof. Mushakoji Kinhide, Former Vice-Rector of the United Nations University and Ms Ela Gandhi, former member of the South African Parliament and the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi.

Exposure to local realities in Tokyo, Cebu, Singapore and Mumbai

As a part of the exposure programme in Tokyo, students visited the homeless community
In four ports of call - Tokyo (Japan), Cebu (the Philippines), Singapore and Mumbai (India) - students took part in exposure programmes and further deepened their understanding of the issues. In Tokyo, students visited the district where many day labourers and homeless people are based, and learned about certain structures that make poverty and economic disparity invisible or less visible in the society. In Cebu, students travelled to the northern part of the island, the area severely damaged by Typhoon Yolanda of 2013. They heard from local officials how their disaster preparedness has improved since the disaster and also met with the survivors of the typhoon to hear their testimonies. In Singapore, issues affecting migrant workers were at the centre of the programme. Students interacted with migrant workers as well as members of an organization supporting them. They also learned about policy prospects for migrant issues by taking part in the symposium Peace Boat co-hosted with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Finally, in Mumbai, students interacted with community members of informal neighbourhoods to explore the concepts of community engagement, empowerment and participatory development.

Proposing Action Plans

Special session with Ms. Ela Gandhi (right) as a guest lecturer
Towards the end of the programme, students split into two groups, social and environment, and discussed action plans towards common human security in the Asia-Pacific. Each group reflected on what they learned in the countries visited together and the discussions held onboard, and translated their thoughts, findings and ideas into action plans. The social group took up the issue of migrant workers. Mainly based on their experience in Singapore, students elaborated three sets of policy recommendations on labour unions, employment contracts and education reform. The environment group focused on disaster risk reduction, particularly on three aspects: resilience of houses, evacuation systems and cooperation with local communities. The final outcome was presented to the other passengers onboard in a public session.

"We, as global citizens, have the responsibility to tackle the problems"

Throughout the programme, students could be witnessed becoming increasing aware of their potential. After participating in the programme, one student said "this programme made me realize that my contribution matters the most in society." Another said: "[the programme] gave me the chance to consider human security as a personal issue". Whatever path they choose to pursue in the future, Peace Boat hopes that this experience has given them a reason to be certain that they can affect real change in the world. Please read more in the Programme Report.

Documents for download
GU_2015Special_web