Special Report
93rd Voyage Web Reporter Profile - Nancy Roberts, Nov 29, 2016
93rd Voyage Web Reporter, Nancy Roberts
A British national born and raised in Belgium, 93rd Voyage Web Reporter Nancy Roberts attended a European school until the age of 18, where she developed a love of languages and cultivated an interest in cross-cultural communication and cooperation. Soon after completing her degree in psychology and philosophy in the United Kingdom, her passion for travel and adventure led her on a backpacking trip to Southeast Asia. There she spent several months photographing the fascinating and mesmerizing cultures of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and deepening her understanding of the countries' tragic past during the Second World War and the subsequent decades.

A few months after returning home, Nancy set off on a new adventure in the summer of 2008, this time to Kyoto, Japan, where she would work for one year as an Assistant Language Teacher with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme. She was immediately captivated by the unique culture of Japan, in which tradition lives on harmoniously alongside modernity and near-constant regeneration. After completing a master's degree in human rights at University College London, Nancy returned to Japan in 2010, where she has resided for the past six years in Tokyo. She has traveled extensively across the country to some of its most remote corners, using photography to shed light on lesser-known cultures and traditions such as the ama female free divers in Mie prefecture, and the namahage 'ogres' of Akita prefecture.

Nancy's commitment to human rights and social justice issues has been the driving force of her career, during which she has worked for numerous non-governmental organizations, including the Refugee Council in London, Asia-Japan Women's Resource Center in Tokyo, and Polaris Project Japan (now Lighthouse Japan) in Tokyo, an organization which combats human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children. In the summer of 2015, Nancy spent two weeks at the Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development (CORD), an NGO which facilitates sustainable development in Northern India. There she spent much of her time in the field documenting the NGO's activities, including local women's micro-financing groups and programmes to support female farmers. Most recently, Nancy worked for four years in the executive office of the United Nations University, a think-tank to the United Nations which is headquartered in Tokyo.

"I am thrilled to participate as the Web Reporter on Peace Boat's 93rd Global Voyage. I believe that Peace Boat's voyages act as an important model for the world, by demonstrating that friendship and cooperation can transcend the territorial borders and perceived differences which all too often create distance between us." Through the media of photography, film and narrative pieces, Nancy hopes to highlight some of the key social, environmental and political challenges presently facing communities across the planet. "I look forward to sharing this exciting journey with all those on board and in the ports of call!"