The OPRI team met with Peace Boat Founder and Director, Yoshioka Tatsuya

From the Ship

OPRI Young Ocean Leaders sail onboard Peace Boat

Oct 10, 2023

For two weeks in September, 2023, Peace Boat hosted a group of young leaders affiliated with the Ocean Policy Research Institute (OPRI) of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation onboard the MV Pacific World. Through this partnership, 7 youth hailing from Austria, Fiji, France, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines, and Trinidad and Tobago participated in an educational program on board and in ports to deepen their understanding and share their own knowledge of the ocean and related issues, with a particular focus on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), ecosystem restoration, community- and nature-based solutions and the Blue Economy.  The programme also contributed to promotion and action for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which runs from 2021 through 2030.

The programme commenced on land in Guatemala and proceeded on to the ports of Panama (including passage through the Panama Canal), Jamaica, and Miami, before concluding in New York City. In each of the ports, the youth engaged in experiential activities such as kayaking through mangrove forests, visiting coral restoration sites, and participating in beach clean ups, to see and learn about the current marine situation and issues for themselves.

Many of these port experiences included partnering with local organizations such as the Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) in Guatemala, so that the young leaders could meet with counterparts  who shared local knowledge and issues. The youth also visited the Embera indigenous community in Panama, and learned about traditional knowledge, as well as the ways in which this community utilizes ecotourism to sustain their community in times of climate change.  

Onboard the MV Pacific World, the youth had an opportunity to meet and interact with many of the passengers and Guest Educators to further dialogue about ocean related issues.  Highlights included meeting with Guest Educator Takeuchi Takayasu, where the youth discussed plastic pollution and ways to upcycle waste to make higher value products, as well as exchange with Japanese young adults participating in a peace education programme onboard Peace Boat, to discuss their respective countries, their passion for the ocean, and the need to protect it.  The youth also had opportunities for cultural exchange participating in events such as Japanese tea ceremony with voyage participants who wanted to share a taste of Japanese culture with them.

The programme culminated with several opportunities for the youth leaders to introduce ocean issues to the broader participants onboard, as well as share about their travels and learnings with local partner organisations and Blue Economy innovators who attended the on board “Blue Innovation Reception and Partnership Expo for the SDGs” in Miami, and United Nations experts and other dignitaries who joined the “Partnerships for SDGs Celebration” New York City.  The young ocean leaders returned to their home countries filled with experiences and connections, ready to share their deepened knowledge and advocate and work on solutions to address issues related to the ocean.

This report was authored by Yuri Kimura, who accompanied the group as coordinator.