Special Report
Peace Studies Students from Tübingen University Join the Ship from Greece to Portugal, Oct 1, 2017
Some of the students trying on a Japanese garment called yukata
A group of 13 master's students of Peace Studies and International Politics from Tübingen University in Germany joined the 95th Global Voyage from Greece to Portugal, boarding from the Greek port of Piraeus. Along the way they visited the island of Crete and the countries of Montenegro, Croatia, Italy, and Spain where they met activists and learned about the difficult reality of peace building on the ground, including in areas that have faced conflict and crisis. Onboard, they offered workshops and lectures opened to voyage participants, and themselves attended lectures by guest educators and engaged in cross-cultural exchange and other activities within the multicultural environment offered by Peace Boat.

Discussing Germany's history during the panel discussion
One of the lectures presented by the students on the ship was entitled "We Won't Forget, We Won't Let Anyone Forget: Dealing with the Past in GermanyA Success Story?" where they explored how a country which committed wartime atrocities can deal with its own past, taking the case of their own country and the atrocities committed during and leading up to the Second World War. They introduced a list of criteria to determine whether or not a country is taking responsibility for its own transgressions. The people, they said, have a right to know, a right to justice, and a right to reparations; in addition, there must be a guarantee of non-recurrence on the part of the country. In a panel discussion, the students debated the extent to which Germany has fulfilled these conditions over the years and today.

The old town of Dubrovnik from above
The programme, in its seventh year, is organized jointly by the Berghof Foundation and the Institute for Political Science of the University of Tübingen, and before joining the voyage the students attend a preparatory module at the university. During the module, the students plan their own study tour for the ports which the ship will visit, and also study and prepare for the presentations they will give onboard. As it is a peace studies program, most of the organizations and activists that they chose to have exchange with in ports deal with or have dealt with conflict in some way. On this year's programme, the students chose to visit many women's organizations, including one in Dubrovnik, which allowed them learn about the difficulties faced by women during the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Tomić explaining how women recreated their traditional clothing while at DEA
The ship docked at Dubrovnik on 18 September, and the students visited DEA, a women's organization founded in 1991 at a time when the city was flooded with refugees fleeing violence. The city itself was then besieged, despite its status as a World Heritage Site, and it was in these difficult circumstances that the organization began. The students met with Romana Tomić, a longtime member of DEA, who showed them around their facilities and explained the history and current activities of the organization. One of the early projects of the organization was sorting through clothes and fabric that were donated to refugees, and using the fabric to make more useful clothes and other needed items during the war. Overtime, it evolved into a general support network for women who faced continued hardships as a result of the war.

Handmade goods on display in the DEA shop
The students were also given a tour of the DEA shop, a social enterprise that gives local women a chance to sell their handmade goods as souvenirs. It's an example of the many ways the organization supports entrepreneurship among women in the area; Tomić explained that employment can be hard to find for women in the area, especially as they get older, so self-employment is often the best option. Also towards the goals of encouraging entrepreneurship and developing employable skills, they offer classes on embroidering, weaving, and making clothes, as well as classes on foreign language and computer skills. The students had also visited two women's organizations at the previous port of Montenegro, and through the exchange at DEA were able to gain insights into how the two countries, both formerly part of Yugoslavia, had dealt with similar problems in different ways.