A GROUP of young Bahrainis are preparing to sail halfway across the world to discuss key global issues.
They will embark on the month-long Ship for World Youth (SWY) programme in two weeks, where they will live with youths from Japan and other countries.
They will also study and discuss international issues and participate in activities that involve multicultural and multinational exchanges.
The scheme is being operated by the Cabinet Office of Japan. It was initiated by the government of Japan in 1988 with more than 90 youths from Bahrain having participated till date.
It is designed to provide the youths of Japan and the world with opportunities to broaden their global view and deepen mutual understanding and friendship.
This year's participants include Central Bank of Bahrain retail Islamic banks superintendent Hamsa Johar, Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait resolutions unit head Nada Tarradah, aviation instructor Osama Albeloushi, General Organisation for Youth and Sports event co-ordinator Hamad Abdulla, Works Ministry architect Noor Alwan, Ernst and Young auditor Ahmed Alkhayyat, Economic Development Bank junior officer Mariam Shaheen, Education Ministry administrator and Polytechnic University student Mariam Zaman, Telecommunications Regularity Authority cyber safety specialist Mariam Al Mannai and Polytechnic student Talal Al Ansari.
They will attend a pre-departure reception with their families tomorrow from 6pm at the Youth Innovation Centre in Umm Al Hassam.
They will depart on their voyage on January 22 on board Fuji Maru Ship with three port calls across Japan, before returning on February 22. "The aim of the Ship for World Youth programme is to promote friendship among youths from Japan and other countries and deepen their understanding of the participating nations," said Ms Johar, the national leader of the group.
"Furthermore, it would broaden global views of Japanese youth and strengthen their spirit of international co-operation. It will help in cultivating youth who are capable of exercising their leadership skills in various fields in the globalising society.
"All the expenses are paid for by the Japanese government."
The programme will also focus on educating the participants about cross cultural understanding, international relations, education, environment, media and information, added Ms Johar.
"Each participating youth will be placed in one of five courses outlined," she said.
"Each course will have around 35 to 40 youths from different countries.
"We will be attending seminars and classes.
"On board the ship, delegates will be expected to talk on the issues facing their countries and put forth recommendations for improvement.
"Based on the courses we are assigned to, we will be visiting some institutions, that is, schools, environmental-friendly organisations, the UN university in Tokyo.
"We are going to participate in some humanitarian relief activities as well."
Each youngster will be placed with a Japanese family for the first three days upon arrival in the capital, said Ms Johar.
"The whole duration spent on the ship is going to be filled with activities including National Presentations by each country, seminars, calligraphy, Arabic and Japanese lessons, tea ceremonies and even a Glee club," she explained. "We are going to visit three different prefectures in Japan."
Ms Tarradah and Mr Albeloushi will be assistant national leaders for the programme.
Participating countries include Japan, Chile, Costa Rica, Fiji, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Turkey, UAE and Bahrain.