Looking Back: The beginning of international educational programmes onboard Peace Boat
The 24th voyage – Peace Boat’s 5th around-the world voyage - was marked by many first-time activities, among which the most influential for the future was the very first organized group of international students joining Peace Boat.
On October 8, 1998 an article was published in the Guardian newspaper introducing Peace Boat and calling for applicants to join the upcoming UK departure. The British students who eventually joined the voyage became known as the Guardians, due to the placement of this first advert. Rachel Armstrong and Daniel Vincent, later Peace Boat staff for many years, were among the first 10 UK students who joined the 24th voyage after successfully answering this advertisement; Rachel continues to play a key leadership role in the organisation today.
The “Guardians” onboard the 24th voyage
The Guardians organized educational and exchange activities as well as (loud!) music and cultural events. Rachel and Daniel organized primarily English classes, the origin of today's GET language programmes, which have taken place on every voyage since then.
Daniel Vincent: "Peace Boat remains one of the defining experiences of my life, and to have been involved at such an exciting time in its development is something I will cherish forever.”
The Guardians programme was also the start of the International Students programme, which today gathers young peace activists from conflict areas, university students and environmental and community activists from all over the world.
The 24th Voyage was also the first on the newly contracted "Olvia", a Ukrainian vessel. This ship became one of the most memorable for many Peace Boat staff, where there no limits to creativity or working passion. Thank you to the Olvia crew, and participants and staff who joined voyages onboard the Olvia!
The itinerary of the 24th voyage was very unique, as it both started and ended in the UK, departing from Liverpool on October 20, 1998, and returning to Southampton on January 12, 1999.
A hand drawn map of the itinerary of the 24th voyage, courtesy of Rachel Armstrong
Some of the activities scheduled in the ports of call
This voyage hosted the first Asian preparatory meeting for the Hague Appeal for Peace, which was held in 1999 with more than 10,000 participants as the largest peace conference, and in which Peace Boat took an active role. As a result of this engagement, Peace Boat established a sister office in New York in 2006, as part of long-lasting cooperation with Cora and Peter Weiss, founder of the Hague Appeal for Peace.
The 24th Voyage also marked the first visit to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Peace Boat was the first international passenger ship to visit Dubrovnik after the war, right on New Year’s Eve between 1998-1999. The visit was extensively covered by the roatian media as a first sign of the peaceful time and economic recovery after the terrible war in the Balkans in the 1990. Since then, Peace Boat has continued to visit Dubrovnik regularly, as one of the most beloved ports of our voyages, and has well-established cooperation with both the City and local NGOs.
The 24th voyage was the 15th birthday of Peace Boat! In 2023 in three years, Peace Boat will celebrate its 40th birthday - still much younger than the Rolling Stones!
Some of the brochures from Peace Boat’s 24th Global Voyage