From January ,14 to March, 1, the Cabinet of Ministers of Japan held a program “Ship for World Youth Leaders”. Its main objective is development of intercultural communication skills and strengthening the spirit of international cooperation. Over the 28 years of the program, Russia was invited to participate for the 5th time. The Russian delegation consisted of 12 young leaders, one of whom was Aisylu Nabiullina, a student of Leo Tolstoy Institute of Philology and Intercultural Communication (KFU). In this interview, she told us how to get into the team of leaders of the world.
- Aisylu, how did you learn about the program "Ship for World Youth Leaders" and manage to get into the Russian delegation?
- Last summer, the1st Kazan OIC Youth Entrepreneurship Forum was held in Kazan. One of the participants from Bahrain told me about this wonderful program. Hamad advised me to participate if I have an opportunity. I got interested and made a research. Unfortunately, it was not fruitful, as the only thing I learned was that Russia was invited to participate only 4 times, and the last time was in 2012. Having learnt that Russia was invited to participate in 2016, I found the advertisement of the Russian delegation and submitted a long 11-page application in English. A month later, I got a call from the Japanese Embassy in Moscow and was appointed a 20-minute interview with the diplomats of the Embassy. At the end of August, I was really happy to be invited to this important event and looking forward to the forthcoming trip.
- I know that before the start of the program you had a long preparation. What did you do?
- In the autumn, all our team from different parts of Russia (St. Petersburg, Sochi, Novosibirsk, Mari El, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Vladivostok, Sakhalin) started thorough preparation. We had regular Skype sessions to discuss current issues, prepare to the national presentation of the country, etc. Moreover, I took Tatar dance classes in order to represent our country in front of the international audience. In early January, we had a training program in Moscow, where we finally met the majority of our team. In Moscow, we had scheduled visits to the Ministry of Education and Science and the Embassy of Japan, who supported our participation in this program.
- How did your trip begin?
- We arrived in Tokyo on January, 14. There was the official opening of the program, the first acquaintance with the participants from around the world. All participants visited prefectures of Japan. The Russian delegation went to the Yamanashi Prefecture. We lived there in very hospitable host families for three days. They showed us local sights and familiarized us with the Japanese culture. After the program in Yamanashi, we returned to Tokyo. From 19 to 27 January, we took part in the orientation program conducted by the National Youth Olympic Centre before sailing off. We participated in various institutional visits (United Nations University, Tokyo), training courses, met the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and the Crown Prince of Japan Naruhito.
- You spent a month at sea on board of the ship "Nippon Maru". What was the main part of the program?
- We had a busy program every day: training courses, workshops, clubs, national presentations of the participating countries, etc. The Russian delegation organized the national presentation, the Russian Folk Dance Club "Khorovod” (Circle Dance), Russian culture soiree, and other events. We learned a lot about the countries participating in the program, shared our experiences in the field of youth policy, business, education, civic engagement, etc.
The first destination of our ship was Singapore, where we spent a day. The first official visit was to Chennai, India. There a cultural program, institutional visits, receptions were organized for us. We visited Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development and the center of Indian culture and arts Kalakshetra, where we learnt a lot about traditional Indian dance, theater and crafts.
From 14 to 17, we visited Colombo, Sri Lanka. It all began with a ceremonial meeting with the President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena. The program of events included institutional visits and staying in a host family, which impressed me very deeply.
After Sri Lanka, we went back to Tokyo. On February 28, our wonderful program came to an end. It was incredibly difficult to say goodbye to all the participants, but we all believe in our further friendship and cooperation.
- What are you impressions of the trip?
- I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to participate in this program. During the 48 days of this intensive program, I got invaluable experience of intercultural communication and youth diplomacy, organizing and holding events aimed at creating a positive image of our country. Now we have established excellent international contacts which will be useful for socially important projects in the future.