DUBAI: Traveling the world and exploring new cultures is an ambition of today’s youth, and the Japanese government has made doing it possible in 40 days.
The Ship for World Youth (SWY) Program, sponsored by Japan’s Cabinet Office, will let young leaders from all over the globe travel aboard a ship for six weeks to discuss common issues.
According to the SWY program’s website, a group of around 200 participants aged 18-30 from around the world will board the ship in Japan and spend their time building leadership and cultivating cultural awareness.
Members of the program will be divided into seven thematic groups, each consisting of one facilitator and 40 participants. Each course session helps candidates deepen their understanding of their home country as well as others represented on board the ship.
SWY will embark on its 32nd journey since 1989 and include applicants from Arab countries such as Bahrain and Egypt, along with Japan, Peru, France, Brazil, and the UK.
The ship will depart from Tokyo on Jan. 20, calling at Honolulu, Hawaii, and Ensenada, Mexico, arriving back in Tokyo on Feb. 24.
Budoor Kamel will participate as the national leader for the Bahrain delegation.
Kamel said she previously attended the program in 2011, but this year, she added, she would be responsible for the preparation and facilitation of course discussions.
“When I heard of the program in 2010, I knew it was something that I always dreamt of, to be in a multi-culture environment learning from others, sharing and giving back as a Bahraini citizen to the global community,” she said.
Other Arab countries have contributed to the program over the years. The UAE has taken part 14 times, sending 931 delegates, according to UAE national Hamad Al-Zaabi, a participant in 2010.
“I learned a lot in my time aboard. Rather than having to travel to 12 different countries over years, the ... program allows you to do it in just 40 days,” he said.
“They would update us on current affairs, then we would have in-depth discussions.”
At the end of each day, members would have “a national presentation, an hour-long talk about different countries.”
Extra-curricular activities are also available on the ship, as volunteers can offer to provide other candidates with new learning opportunities, he said.
“For example, the Arabs started an Arabic language course, while the Japanese members started a calligraphy course,” he explained.