On October 29, 2019, 13 students from Tuebingen University’s Master’s in Peace Research and International Relations programme joined Peace Boat’s 102nd Global Voyage. This was the eighth time for Tuebingen University students to join a Peace Boat voyage, as part of the the cooperation between Germany’s Tuebingen University, Peace Boat and the Berghof Foundation’s Peace Education Programme since 2005. Prior to boarding, the students’ programme began in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where they participated in two exclusive tours explaining local conflict and providing unique insight into the country’s history.
On November 1, the students gave their first onboard presentation to Peace Boat participants, entitled “Dealing with the Past,” which examined the aftermath of World War II in Germany and the ways in which time can affect our perception of historical events. Presented theatrically in the guise of one of Tuebingen University’s political science classes, the session highlighted the achievements and challenges in German’s historical dealing with the Nazi past, as well as existing risks for new conflicts. Speaking on stage, student Max Kranich stressed the importance of discussing post-war reconciliation: “We think that remembering the past is a crucial part of modern German society,” he said, “and the educational system.” The session ended in discussion with Peace Boat participants and was followed by an open Q&A session on November 3.
Peace Boat participant Alina Kuzmich was grateful for the opportunity to discuss revisiting problematic national histories. “I was surprised to learn how much history is taught in Germany. I’m from Russia but currently studying abroad in Japan, so it was really interesting to hear about such different approaches to post-war reconciliation.” Tuebingen student Anna Langer recognized the importance of neutral space for such conversations. “It’s been so important to have a safe place to speak,” she said, referring to Peace Boat’s unique venue. “Even just a short time on board has had a real influence on us. We felt free to exchange opinions and ideas and better understand cultural differences.”
This neutral space is one of many characteristics that makes Peace Boat well suited to dialogue. Tuebingen University students took advantage of their time in this inclusive onboard environment to discuss the refugee and migrant crises, examining the process of migration and the many challenges which refugees face—even after having reached their destination.
Whilst onboard, Tuebingen University students also had the opportunity to attend many lectures and study sessions. Peace Boat's Global University programme, in which some participating students receive university credits applicable to their home institutions, hosted several events together with the group, thus enabling rich intercultural exchange and providing a unique insight into the culture and history of both Japan and Germany. Reflecting on her time on Peace Boat, Tuebingen student Janna Articus said, “We’ve been given profound insight into the global promotion of peace. It’s been a huge privilege to have visited Peace Boat.”
Article: Annica Curtis, photographs: Yuruki Shiho