On December 9, 2016, a bright, crisp winter day, Peace Boat set sail from Yokohama on its 93rd Global Voyage. As the departure ceremony unfolded on the ship's top decks, cries of joy from participants lingered in the air, while technicoloured ribbons cascaded down to the port where hundreds of people gathered to send off their loved ones on this exciting adventure of a lifetime.
The 93rd Global Voyage will follow a southern hemisphere route, visiting a total of 18 ports and 14 countries in 104 days. After passing through the Indian Ocean to southern Africa and continuing to South America, Peace Boat will sail through waters near Antarctica for the first time in seven years. It will then cross the Pacific Ocean, calling in Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Tahiti and Samoa before returning to Yokohama on March 22, 2017.
Ms. Nakata Noriko, the coordinator of Peace Boat's Global University Programme, warmly greeted participants and onlookers. For the first time in its 33-year history, Peace Boat will welcome as many as 60 Chinese participants aboard for the voyage from Shanghai onwards.
To celebrate the diversity of its participants - totaling more than 900 people aged between six and 92 - and the communities they will engage with around the world, the theme for the 93rd Global Voyage is "International Exchange for Peace".
Journalist Mr. Mo Bang Fu, one of Peace Boatfs many guest educators taking part in the voyage, echoed this sentiment in his ceremony speech: "At this moment, two key words come to my mind: travel and peace. There will be no travel without peace, and travel helps to build the foundations of peace. In this sense, Peace Boat is the perfect embodiment of these two valuable gifts."
While Peace Boat travels through the Global South, more than 25 guest educators from all corners of the world will join the voyage to share their knowledge on an eclectic range of topics including non-violent activism, indigenous music, and arts, conflict transformation, sustainable development and environmental conservation, among many more.
In addition to learning about such issues, participants will have the opportunity to brush up their English and Spanish skills through the onboard Global English and Espanol Traning (GET) language programme, which helps to foster cross-cultural communication.