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Peace Boat's International Student Program

Peace Boat's International Student Program

Since its foundation in 1983, Peace Boat has been active in the field of education for peace and sustainability through the organization of educational voyages, based on lectures, workshops, and study-exchange programs both onboard the ship and in ports of call. Its International Student (IS) programs in particular provide innovative approaches to peace and sustainability-related studies through intensive learning onboard and direct exposure to issues in various countries.

Peace Boat aims to increase access to peace education and conflict resolution training to young people from regions in military or political conflict through the IS program. A selected number of young people from opposing sides of conflicts are invited to participate in an advanced conflict analysis and peaceful conflict resolution training program, on a scholarship basis. As well as peace training, the international students help other participants onboard Peace Boat's educational voyages understand their lives and challenges, thus contributing greatly to the participants' overall understanding of the nature of conflict.

The aim of the IS program is for students to learn about peaceful conflict resolution and develop the knowledge, skills, experience, and motivation that will equip them with the means to work for peace when they return to their homes.

To date, there have been six IS programs, involving thirty-seven students from Palestine, Israel, Serbia, Croatia, Cyprus, India, Pakistan, Northern Ireland, Colombia, the United States, Korea, China, and Taiwan.


Contextually and Culturally Sensitive Programs and Practices

All of the successful cases in the following chapters have something in common-none of them used a "canned" program to accomplish their conflict resolution education or peace education goals. Is this merely a coincidence? No, it is not. It was a conscious and intentional move on their part to not use a lockstep program because it simply would not meet the needs of the children or the community.

While programs and pre-prepared curricula are valuable tools in a larger effort, they are not sufficient in and of themselves and may do harm if applied inflexibly. Most successful conflict resolution education and peace education efforts are the result of careful consideration of the underlying principles and philosophy the school or community is trying to achieve.

This requires the community leaders, parents, school administrators, teachers, staff, and other stakeholders to identify their goals and principles. Once stakeholders can agree to a core set of principles, they can develop an array of techniques and use them as needed and in concert in order to determine the approach that best maximizes the principle at that time. The experience of the India City Montessori School is an excellent example. Their establishment of a peace education curriculum and culture resulted in their ability to discourage violence in their broader community.