For those in the Tokyo community who don’t know her, know of her or haven’t attended one of her celebrated Parties For Peace DJ soirees, Peace Boat International Coordinator and activist Emilie McGlone is motivated and charismatic, a deadly combination when it comes to getting what she wants. Luckily her wish list is not laden with the many luxuries lining Ginza boutiques but rather consists of the altruistic desire to help people. That and party. Party positively, of course. It’s a long story, but an interesting one, and she tells it better than I.
HESO Magazine: What exactly is Parties 4 Peace?
Emilie Mclone: It’s a non-profit event production group that creates parties to promote peace through music and dance. We do this by bringing people together from all nations, cultures and backgrounds, in the hopes of creating greater international understanding and peace. We work with DJs who volunteer their time and talent by playing P4P events for free, the venues of which are also donated. All profits from the events are donated towards peace promoting NGOs and support projects such as AIDS education in Ghana, environmental awareness in Cambodia, community building in El Salvador and various other peace projects happening around the world today.
HM: How did it start?
EM: I started out as a volunteer Spanish teacher with Peace Boat in 2004. Just after I finished a bike ride from Hokkaido to Okinawa, I got in contact with Peace Boat saying that I was interested in organizing a program in Chile, but I got recruited to go on board for three months, and we went to Patagonia and stopped in Chile which really inspired me to want to do more with Peace Boat in South America. After that trip I became a staff member but went back to Chile in the interim and worked with an environmental NGO called CODEFF (National Committee For The Defense of Flora & Fauna) working with people on environmental protection and education, as well as being heavily involved in the Patagonia project, which would make Patagonia a Unesco World Heritage Site and prevent it from being developed by multi-national corporations that would completely destroy the entire ecosystem. I became involved with CODEFF on after meeting two members on Peace Boat and becoming more aware of what’s going on.
HM: How did Peace Boat get started?
EM: Peace Boat’s first voyage- Yokohama – Ogasawara – Iwo Jima – Guam – Saipan – Tokyo- was organized in 1983 by a group of Japanese university students 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 exchange. There was no mention about the aggression which originated in Japan toward Korea, China, the Philippines, etc. They didn’t understand why, for example, people in China felt hatred toward them and couldn’t grasp the reasoning behind the animosity between Japanese and Koreans. The idea is based upon one-to-one connection and conversation between people as well as trying to understand the culture and the history of each individual country. Each year after that they got more and more people to go with them on their trips and chip in money to rent the boat, all the while expanding the idea to include inviting university professors to give lectures on the boat in order to prepare for each intended port of call. From 1983-1990 they did voyages throughout Asia, making their first voyage to Korea in 1989. From 1990 they went on their first international voyage, which thinking about it now, how expensive it is, I have no idea how they pulled it off. I think Peace Boat was one of the first cruise ships to really go all the way around the world. We are still the one of the only ships to go on global trips four times a year. All this has resulted in writing our own versions of history textbooks, including the Asia Common HIstory textbook – Peace Boat has been deeply involved in the creation of a common history textbook, written in consultation with civil society from Japan, China and Korea.
HM: An NGO version of history.
EM: Yes. Peace Boat is not just about traveling, but about learning while traveling, seeing with your own eyes and meeting people face to face. Hearing about these issues which we are not normally faced with in our daily lives, but that are happening all the time around us without us being aware of them nor our own involvement, i.e. what we buy and where we invest our money. There are so many different ways to learn and explore and find out, so many possible projects, it’s really endless, the possibilities of Peace Boat.
HM: What do you do for Peace Boat?
EM: I work for the NGO side of Peace Boat and I’m in charge of making different exchange programs and study courses passengers can choose to participate in in each of the ports we visit. Now I’m working on a website in an effort to tie everything -Peace Boat, CODEFF, the Patagonia project- together, I’m fundraising through Parties For Peace to bring six students on board the next trip – two from Chile, two from Uruguay and two from Argentina, along with a coordinator from Chile and Colombia- who would give lectures and workshops on issues in their home countries, as well as brainstorming how better to protect the common South American environment through greater cooperation in activism and art.
HM: Sounds great. How exactly is Parties For Peace fundraising?
EM: Parties For Peace was created specifically for the purpose of raising money for all these projects. The main fundraising for the Patagonica project is the two-day snowboarding weekend we’ve done for five years called the Alpine Tech Fest up in Minakami in Gunma near Takaragawa Onsen. The onsen is a series of mixed outdoor hot springs in a river with foot bridges and…oh, it’s so nice. Actually we’re putting on our last event before DJ Ryo Tsutsui and I “Fly” to Chile for the Patagonica tour in February, hence the name. We’ve decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from FLY to the disaster relief project to help victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti as well as to protect nature in Chile, so everyone should come out to Favela in Aoyama on Friday!
FLY: Friday, January 29th.
A Peace Boat, Parties For Peace & London Calling Collaboration!
Featuring Tech-House / Minimal / Deep-Tech
DOOR: 3000yen / 2500 with flyer
TIME: 22:00 ~ 5:00 am
PLACE: FAVELA in Aoyama