We held the EGAKU Program for the Ship for World Youth, one of the International Youth Exchange Programs operated by the Cabinet Office of the Japanese Government.  

The Ship for World Youth is an initiative which has been running for over 24 years, gathering youth from 13 countries around the world, including Japan to live together on a ship, deepening their friendship and learning from one another through the exploration of various topics. 

We were invited to run EGAKU as part of the “Leadership Development” course, one of the 7 courses offered in the program.  Participants were young leaders aged 18- 30 from 13 countries including The Kingdom of Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, the Arab Republic of Egypt, India, New Zealand, Peru, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Venezuela, Bolivia and Japan.  

Would there be differences in the artworks and approach to painting depending on nationality?  What kind of dialogues would emerge? Our team were curious to see how the participants would engage with EGAKU.  Once the workshop kicked off, each of the young people reflected on the meaning of leadership, earnestly immersing themselves in the process.  Their attitude, the struggles and excitement, and the communication that occurred were the same as what we’ve witnessed in our experience with Japanese participants.  It made us realize that this is an experience which truly transcends race and nationality.  

Through EGAKU, we hope that participants were able to feel that they were painting their dreams and the future, and recognize the most important thing for a leader is the ability to “lead the self.”  We also hope it gave participants the opportunity to find their voice by clarifying their personal values.   Further, despite the differences in culture and language, we hope they experienced the power of non-verbal communication, how it can make us more open, allow us to connect more intuitively, and recognized the importance of making the best use of language in communication.  After the workshop, the 270 participants of the Ship for World Youth Program - including those who joined the EGAKU Program - set sail on a 35 day journey aboard a ship, where they would have the chance to learn many things from one another.  We hope that this next generation of young leaders will create a bright future.  

Theme:  Leadership in myself
Program details: EGAKU Program, Discussion
Participants: 43 participants - young leaders representing 13 countries
Venue: National Olympics Memorial Youth Center, Tokyo, Japan
Host institution: Ship for World Youth - sponsored by the Cabinet Office of the Japanese Government
Partner: ELAB
Instructor: Kunihiko Yazawa
Facilitator: Kimi Hasebe
Staff: Mizuki Kikawa, Megumi Iwasaki, Yoshino Kuwahara
Photography/video: Naoki Yamada