Peace Boat

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Peace Boat at Kochi, Kerala, India
Peace Boat in the Mediterranean

Peace Boat (ピースボート Pīsu Bōto?) is a global non-government organization headquartered in Japan established for the purpose of raising awareness and building connections internationally among groups that work for peace, human rights, environmental protection and sustainable development. "Peace Boat" may also refer to one of the ships embarking on a cruise under the Peace Boat organization. Since its founding in 1983, the Shinjuku, Tokyo based organization has launched 25 international voyages of passenger ships manned by international volunteers that travel particularly to areas that are experiencing or have experienced unrest.[1] These cruises, the main operation of the Peace Boat organization, are on average carried out at least twice a year. Peace Boat, described by the San Francisco Chronicle as a "floating university of sorts", offers educational opportunities aboard, with conferences related to global events.[2] They also provide humanitarian aid at their various stops and visit local organizations.[2]

Besides the international voyages, Peace Boat carries out a number of other projects seeking justice in various international realms such as a campaign for the abolition of land mines, a Galapagos reforestation project, and more. Peace Boat also acts as the Northeast Asia regional secretariat of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict.[3]

As an international NGO granted Special Consultative Status by the UN, it can submit reports and proposals based on the results of its activities.

History[edit]

Founding[edit]

In 1983, Kiyomi Tsujimoto, then a student of Waseda University, initiated Peace Boat in answer to Japanese history textbook controversies.[4] With the assistance of like-minded students, she organized the first voyage. Peace Boat has since visited more than 80 ports with over 10,000 participants.[1]

Past Peace Boat Cruises[edit]

Short Cruises in Asia[edit]

During the first six years after it was founded, Peace Boat ran one to two week long cruises to various Asian countries around Japan at the rate of one per year. Time on the boat was used to hold lectures and events with guest speakers invited from the countries to be visited. When at port, international exchange events were carried out with local NGOs and student groups. This became the foundational style for which the rest of the cruises would be based on.

Start of Circumnavigational Cruises[edit]

In 1990, the 10th Peace Boat cruise marked the beginning of the circumnavigational cruise series. During the cruise, the gulf war broke out and the ship encountered a US aircraft carrier in the red sea. After the success of first round-the-world cruise, Peace Boat continued them on a regular basis.

'Citizen's Diplomacy' trip to Kuril Islands[edit]

In 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union, set out to the Kuril Islands with the notion of a 'Citizen's Diplomacy' mission, stopping at Iturup, Kunashir, and Shikotan islands. There were homestays and tours. This was the first trip made to these islands without a visa by an NGO from Japan.

More cruises[edit]

Since 1999, the boat has averaged three or four cruises each year. The organization was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 2008.[5]

Other projects[edit]

Landmine Abolition Campaign[edit]

Since 1998, Peace Boat has continually run a project called P-MAC, or Peace Boat Mine Abolition Campaign, to support organizations carrying out landmine removal in such countries as Cambodia and Afghanistan. In the world there are approximately 8,000 landmines, and even now many continue to be injured or lose their life without a trace. Most of these victims are not combatants but normal civilians. As of 2009, through a number of campaigns, Peace Boat raised money to clear 886,472 sq meters of landmine inundated areas and open five elementary schools. Fund raising campaigns are ongoing.

Vietnam Defoliate Victim Support Campaign[edit]

From 2005 to 2008 Peace Boat raised approximately $13,000 in funds which were donated to Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange and subsequently used to cover a portion of construction costs for a facility for supporting victims. On the 2009 cruise, Peace Boat visited the facility with a group of Japanese atomic bomb victims, and held the first exchange program there.

Piracy incident[edit]

Sometime during the week between 3 and 9 May 2010, the boat came under attack by Somali pirates while off the coast of Yemen. The ship was attacked by grenades, but managed to avoid being boarded by adopting zig-zag manoeuvres and blasting the pirates with high-pressure water hoses. Reportedly the pirates were subsequently apprehended by NATO forces.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Peace Boat". Friends of the Earth. 
  2. ^ a b DeFao, Janine (2004-07-11). "Visualizing world peace: Young filmmakers off to Japan to start 6-week boat trip". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  3. ^ "GPPAC in Northeast Asia". Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  4. ^ Dixit, Kunda (1997). Dateline Earth Journalism as If the Planet Mattered. Inter Press Service. p. 136. 
  5. ^ Metropolis, "Q&A: Tatsuya Yoshioka, Founding Director of Peace Boat", #893, 6-19 May 2011, p. 5.
  6. ^ Cox, Martin (2010-05-10). "No Peace for PEACE BOAT". Maritime Matters. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 

External links[edit]