Juan Carlos Uribe studied Sustainability Sciences at the University of Tokyo and during his student years embarked on a life-changing adventure with Peace Boat. Juan eventually transformed this experience into a great career kick start as he now works for Peace Boat as International Coordinator and in this series of articles he will share with us more information about Peace Boat, their yearly trips around the world and how he landed the career of his dreams.
Kick starting my career in the NGO sector
Having lived in Japan for 6 years, submerged myself in a totally different culture, mastering the language and having participated and gained experience in different civil society organizations in the
country, joining Peace Boat as a volunteer interpreter for their summer 2010 Global Voyage for Peace was not a hard choice to make.
Traveling is in itself a great way to learn. You get to see different landscapes, explore different cultures, meet all sorts of people, and expand your perspectives, knowledge and pool of ideas. Having finished my undergraduate degree and not completely convinced with the contents and methodology of the master program in sustainability I joined, I decided to take the opportunity to jump onboard and explore the world together with hundreds of other Peace Boat participants. My task was to act as a bridge between the international guests onboard, local people in the ports we stopped at and the majority of Japanese speaking participants.
About Peace boat
Peace Boat started coordinating these voyages 30 years ago, as a creative response to government censorship regarding Japan’s past military aggression in the Asia-Pacific. They chartered a ship to
visit neighboring countries with the aim of learning first-hand about the war from those who experienced it and initiating people-to-people exchanges.
Today, Peace Boat works as a Japan-based international non-governmental and non-profit organization to promote peace, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment. It charters a big passenger ship and organizes 3-4 voyages around the world each year, creating a neutral, mobile space which enables people to engage in dialogue and mutual cooperation across borders.
My journey in a nut-shell
During the 3 months onboard I was able to meet environmental activist and entrepreneur Yu Tanaka, Middle East expert and international affairs scholar Kazuo Takahashi, global politics professor and anti-nuclear activist Achin Vanaik, children education expert Fukatsu Takako, photo-journalist James Rodriguez, young musicians from Venezuelan Simon Bolivar Music Foundation (FESNOJIV), among many other guest educators and international students group sharing their knowledge and passion with the community onboard.
In the ports where we stopped, I joined an exchange program with Vietnamese youth, a home-stay program at a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan, a program on sustainable design in Finland, as well as a study program on community media in Venezuela, among many other exchange and sightseeing programs organized by Peace Boat and its partner organizations in each country.
In this series of articles I will write about my personal experience during this voyage.
First I will focus on the Middle East segment of the voyage, including my first visit to an Arabic country, Egypt, and the home-stay program in Jordan with Palestinian refugees.
The second article will focus more on environmental issues and sustainable development, through my participation as an interpreter in the Global University program on board, and the visit to Scandinavian countries.
The last article will narrate my reflections while sailing towards and visiting my own home country, Venezuela.
Throughout the articles I hope to shed some light in the experiential learning provided by this experience, as well as the many options available out there to engage in positive action around the world while earning new connections, knowledge and skill, that can provide a great platform to start a career or enterprise in the NGO or social business sector.