For most, half term was mundane. But for three year 12 students: Yassin Kamara, Nahid Ahmed, and myself, we embarked on a 12 hour journey to the wonderful land of Japan.
The purpose of this trip was to attend the Parliamentary Debate World Conference and Competition in Saitama, but by the end of the week, it ended up being much more than that.
The competition was between the countries Japan, Israel, The USA, France, Hungary, Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia, Nigeria and the UK, forming 17 teams and was hosted by our fellow friends, Debate Mate.
During the course of the 4 days of debating, all teams developed a friendship. There was a mixed debate created at the beginning of the week that was formed from members of different countries, which really helped us to integrate and learn about each other’s cultures and backgrounds; something Mrs Nakadai aimed for when she established this competition.
After her husband died, Mrs Nakadai created the WakuPro Foundation that funded this event. She aimed for young people to be the ones to advocate for world peace, hence the theme of the debates being about world peace. An example was in the semi-finals between us and New Zealand. The motion was “This House Believes that Democracy is the Only Way to Bring about Peace” and we were proposition. Some of the points that were raised was about how democracy is part of every aspect of peace, and that when people are given power, they’re given peace.
But the debates were not the only activity on the agenda. After the debates we took a trip to Honshu to visit Mount Fuji, which was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity!
We then visited Niigata and spent the day skiing which was amazing! The views was so beautiful and I managed to find a new sport that I love which was an added bonus.
And our last stop on the trip was Tokyo. To be able to visit Tokyo was an experience I will never forget. It was so interesting to being in a city that had so much to offer, be it historical monuments, quirky shops or amazing fashion.
Overall, the trip was an eye-opener. Although we did well in the debates and came second, that didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. All of us became so close and it showed that barriers such as distance, don’t matter. Being in a room with people from all around the world showed me that anyone can come together, regardless of race, gender, class, age… anything. These social factors do not matter. What does matter is the importance of friendship and the importance of sharing ideas and expanding knowledge beyond our own prejudices.
So to conclude this article, my week in Japan made me hopeful and optimistic. Not just for world peace, but hopeful that people will collaborate regardless of their background, because I know that that’s what happened in Japan.
Written by: Amanda Daud
Edited by: Nicola Tomlin