British sail trainers nominated for Nobel Prize

Sailing may offer more than a bit of harmless pleasure; it can bring together nations of people who might otherwise find ways to disagree. That is according to the nomination report of a Norwegian Parliament member who is seeking to recognize the U.K.-based Sail Training International (STI) for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Svein Roald Hansen, a member of the Norwegian Parliament for Fredrikstad, highlighted Sail Training International’s growing global activities and international races for young people on sail training ships, saying, “The vision they share, exemplified by the traditions and achievements of their international events and other activities, demonstrate such a strong coherence with the ethos of the Peace Prize,” including understanding and friendship.

The non-profit STI coordinates national sail training organizations and hosts port activities around the world “to help young people benefit from the sail training experience, regardless of their ethnic, religious or social background.” STI also manages ship races that often include 70 to 100 sailing ships from some 20 different countries crewed by an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people from 30 countries. Ships compete for the “Friendship Trophy.” Recent winners have included ships from Russia and Oman. “Those involved in Sail Training International today have been the main architects of the international sail training activity over recent decades,” Hansen said in a statement. “I am proud to propose the organization for the Nobel Peace Prize.”

Hansen cited STI’s efforts during the 1970s and 1980s to bridge East-West relations, recent successes at multicultural and multiethnic events, and STI’s “growing influence” around the world. For its part, STI turned the focus on the effort of its dedicated participants. “This is a great tribute to all those volunteers in our national sail training organizations around the world, as well as those who have worked more directly as volunteers and staff in Sail Training International and the International Sail Training Association before it,” said Nigel Rowe, President and Chairman of Sail Training International, in a statement. “We are all extremely proud to have been nominated.”

By Ocean Navigator