An essential part of every Peace Boat voyage are the Guest Educators, invited to come on board to share their experience, expertise, and perspective with Peace Boat participants. These Guest Educators provide insight into the diverse social and environmental landscapes of each voyage, putting each port visit in context with the history and modern challenges facing the people living there. Through lectures and workshops, the 103rd Voyage Guest Educators navigated themes such as ocean health, indigenous identities, anti-nuclear activism, and more. Here are some of the highlights from the first half of the voyage.
Traveling with the ship from Yokohama to Bali, Dr. Farish Noor guided participants through the tumultuous history of Southeast Asia, from its empires to colonization. Based in Singapore, Dr. Noor is is an associate professor of international studies and history at Nanyang Technological University. As the ship sailed towards Indonesia, Dr. Noor gave talks about his own multi-cultural identity, China-Southeast Asia relations, and the so called “war on piracy” during the 17th and 18th centuries. Dr. Noor particularly challenged his listeners to see piracy in the context of the foreign oppression taking place at the time, asking them to consider “Who were the real pirates?”
Dr. Noor is also an expert on batik cloth, a wax-dyed fabric first produced in Java several hundreds of years ago and recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which can in fact be "read" like a historical text. He spoke about the significance of Batik in trading and in culture, as well as its links to gender equality - as 90% of Batik makers are women, its production also has a significant influence on women's income and financial empowerment.
Spanish culture met the ship halfway around the world as Peace Boat was joined by three flamenco performers: guitarist Chano Carrasco, dancer Ikeya Kanako, and singer Hiroshige Yuka. Flamenco is a folkloric form of song, music and dance that evolved in southern Spain over hundreds of years, drawing influence from cultures across Southern Europe and Northern Africa, and also recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. Mr. Carrasco, Ms. Ikeya, and Ms. Hiroshige continue to preserve and share this tradition by performing in both Spain and Japan. Peace Boat participants were treated to the unique opportunity of seeing these artists perform together in both large and intimate settings on board as the ship sailed from Kobe to Bali.
A major theme of the 103rd Voyage was “diversity”. To this end, many Peace Boat Guest Educators spoke about embracing diversity within one's society, and listening to those who have been marginalized. One such guest was freelance journalist Ishikawa Kiyoshi, who helped participants understand the importance of social inclusion as well as the struggles of hikikomori, or those in Japan who have withdrawn from society. Mr. Ishikawa organizes a volunteer group to reach out to and communicate with hikikomori in Japan. In addition to sharing this experience with participants, Mr. Ishikawa also worked with Peace Boat's Global School, a holistic and inclusive learning program Peace Boat has been organizing on select voyages since 2010. Participants of Global School work closely together with a counselor and Peace Boat staff member, giving them opportunities to grow and try new things within a safe space.
Many countries visited on the 103rd Voyage are threatened by the climate crisis, tourism, and mass fishing. Save Philippine Seas Executive Director Anna Oposa held workshops and lectures from Bali to Fremantle to teach participants about these challenges and what can be done to face them. While onboard, Anna spoke of the grave challenges being faced by our oceans, but particularly, of what each and every one of us can do to make a difference, including both actions we can make right away such as using non-disposable bottles and shopping bags, to contributing to policy work and campaigning. She also emphasized the vital importance of empowering youth to be leaders in conservation, and how we can all be "good SEA-tizens."
For more on the guest educators joining the 103rd Oceania Voyage, read our Guest Educator Guide.