Diversity and inclusion is a concept best learned by experience, not research. On March 20th, 2017 I was fortunate enough to deepen my understanding of cross-cultural understanding with a group of fascinating students from Kyiv, Ukraine. Coincidentally, the visit to The European Collegium was to speak about just that. The importance of meeting, interacting, and exchanging with others is more relevant than ever. National boarders should be crossed, not armed. The word foreign should be celebrated, not feared. Curiosity is a natural beauty, not sin.
Through speaking and learning from a class of teenagers from Ukraine, I realized that cross-cultural is not a two way street, but an open sea. We do not travel down a road with a single intention in sight ahead. Our bearings lead us in many directions and learning is a constant process along the way. The Ship for World Youth Program fosters this international journey for all participants, and expands its reach to friends and family all over the world.
A very special SWY alumnus once said that life on board is just an appetizer. The real feast begins when we disembark the ship and join the global family for dinner. I didn’t know what they meant at the time, but I do now. This experience was enriching beyond anything imaginable while sailing the South Pacific on Nippon Maru. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to educate the leaders of tomorrow about a fantastic program called SWY.
Thank you to SWYAA Ukraine for their generous hospitality. To the greater SWYAA family, I cannot wait to meet you all in the future. After all, it’s all aboat the journey.