The Fairhaven project

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Northeast Maritime Institute in Fairhaven, Mass., is partnering with the U.S. Department of State in a project aimed at building bonds of friendship between youths whose homes and communities have been torn apart as a result of political conflict and war. The project will focus on a small group of Palestinian and Israeli students. They will be brought together in southeastern New England for three weeks of sail training aboard Fritha, a 74-foot Murray Peterson-designed brigantine. The six students will learn the basics of coastal navigation and seamanship and be challenged through a variety of team-building exercises designed to build long-term friendships and a spirit of reliance on each other as a community. They will also study marine ecology as a means of teaching the future leaders of these countries that there are alternatives to violence. The hope is to have these same six students return to Fairhaven and Fritha in 2009 and serve as mentors for the incoming group.

Approximately 77 students, ages 16 to 18, are expected to be served by the program over the next few years. Students are selected for the program by the U.S. Department of State and American Embassy Cultural Affairs staff. The State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs will be supporting the scientific content of the program’s marine and environmental components. Northeast Maritime Institute will be handling the navigation and seamanship parts of the program.

Northeast Maritime Institute offers a wide range of U.S. Coast Guard and Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Administration-approved and STCW-compliant courses and a variety of professional development and licensing upgrades. NMI has plans to build a 65-meter barquentine to accommodate future students.

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By Ocean Navigator