CHENNAI: Over 240 youth from 10 countries will have the chance to experience first-hand the culture and heritage of Namma Chennai and the rest of Tamil Nadu, as Japanese ship Nippon Maru docked at Chennai Port.
The 120 youth from Japan and 120 from Australia, Bahrain, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and UAE are part of the ‘Ship of World’ youth programme, which was flagged off on January 14 in Japan. Hideki Vemura, the administrator of the programme, said that it is his first and the ship’s fifth visit to Chennai.
The purpose of the programme is to broaden the global view of Japanese youth to promote mutual understanding and friendship between Japanese and foreign youth, as well as to cultivate the spirit of international cooperation. It was started as the Japanese Youth Goodwill Cruise programme to commemorate the centennial of Meiji Restoration, the return of imperial rule to Japan.
But due to expansion of international role of Japan, the programme was upgraded to ‘Ship for World Youth’ programme in 1988. “Initially, it was a two-and-a-half month programme but due to fund-constraints, it is now a three-week programme,” said Vemura. He says this time, they will have something new in the programme. “We will be staying for the first time at the house of locals in Sri Lanka,” said Vemura.
There has been a lot of interest among delegates to savour the culture of Tamil Nadu. For Hamad Alwadin, a UAE national, this is his first time in India and he is looking forward to learn from the rich culture of South India. Carmin Correa Lopez from Chile too is curious to know about the city.
The delegates visited Kalakshetra on February 10 (Wednesday) to catch a glimpse of arts and culture. Similarly, 50 youngsters visited the Centre for Innovation, IIT (Madras), Centre for Disaster Management and Mitigation, Institute of Remote Sensing, Anna University, MoP Vaishnav College for Women and The Banyan to observe initiatives on youth entrepreneurship, disaster reduction, education and community development.