Pilgrims flocking to Uganda Martyrs’ Trail Launched as
Legacy of IIPT 4th African Conference
Record crowds are expected in Uganda for the 50th anniversary of the canonization of 32 Christian martyrs who were burned to death on June 3, 1886 at Namugongo for their refusal to renounce Christianity. The Uganda Martyrs’ Trail commemorates the events from November 1885 to January 1887 during which 45 Christians – Catholics and Anglicans – were martyred.
Many pilgrims are walking from across Eastern Africa towards the Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo, located on the outskirts of the capital Kampala while Christians from around the world are flying into Uganda to commemorate the canonization and to be part of a very special service which is organized on June 3, each year - a national holiday in Uganda and a major event on the global Catholic calendar.
Christianity was received with much excitement in Uganda with the arrival of Christian missionaries in the 1880’s, but becoming a Christian required a commitment to break away from traditional lifestyles and adjusting to new moral and religious standards.
Given these conflicting values, King Mwanga Kabaka Mwanga II was determined to rid his Kingdom of Buganda of the new Christianity and its followers. He ordered the converts to choose between their new faith, and complete obedience to his orders. Those unwilling to renounce their faith would be subject to death. Courageously, the young Christians chose their faith and the King ordered them killed.
Rather than deter the growth of Christianity, the martyrdom of these early believers sparked its growth. Christianity is now the dominant faith in Buganda and Uganda as a whole. The 32 known Catholic martyrs were canonized as Saints by Pope Paul VI on October 18, 1964. This was a first for modern Africa and a source of pride throughout the continent.
Pope Paul VI became the first reigning Pope to visit Sub-Saharan Africa when he visited Uganda in July 1969, a visit which included a pilgrimage to the site of the martyrdom at Namugongo. While there, he dedicated a site for the building of a shrine church in honor of the martyrs which was subsequently dedicated in 1975 as a Basilica. Archbishop Robert Runcie of Canterbury, and head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, also came on pilgrimage in January 1984, and Pope John Paul II in turn honored the martyrs with his own pilgrimage in February 1993. June 3rd of every year is commemorated as Uganda Martyrs Day in Uganda – a national holiday.
The Uganda Martyr’s Trail is a legacy of the 4th IIPT African Conference held in Kampala, Uganda, May 2007. In launching the Uganda Martyrs Trail, then Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Hon. Serapio Rukundo stated: “The Trail will serve to create a greater international awareness of Uganda’s first Christians who sacrificed their lives rather than renounce their faith – and will attract pilgrims from regions throughout the world seeking a spiritual experience.”
The Uganda Martyrs’ Trail winds its way through the various sites where the Uganda Martyrs were killed or tortured in the 1880s including the Namirembe Cathedral, where Bishop James Hannington's remains were buried; Rubaga Cathedral, where archives on the lives of 22 Catholic martyrs are kept; Old Kampala, where St Mathias Mulumba was killed; and Namugongo, where martyrs were burned alive.
An IIPT International Peace Park was also dedicated at Namugongo with the planting of Peace Trees as part of the Trail launching ceremony. IIPT Founder and President Louis D’Amore said on the occasion of the dedication “IIPT is immensely honored to be part of this dedication ceremony. In walking this sacred ground, one comes to an appreciation that we are all sons and daughters of the One Creator – and for this reason, Namugongo offers unique possibilities as an International Peace and Reconciliation Center – where spiritual pilgrims can find peace within themselves – and parties in conflict can find peace and reconciliation with one another.”
For more information on the 4th IIPT African Conference, please see:
Uganda will be hosting the 39th Annual World Congress of the Africa Travel Association (ATA) from November 11-16, 2014. For more information, please see: http://www.africatravelassociation.org/
A Persian Journey:
Special IIPT Tour to Iran
Donald King, IIPT Ambassador at Large, and his wife Lynne will be escorting a special “Persian Journey”, a tour of Iran October 14-23. The tour will be offered as a “World Peace Tour” under the auspices of the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT). An optional extension to Istanbul October 23-25 is also available.
The key cities on the itinerary are Shiraz, Isfahan, Kashan and Tehran. The itinerary will afford a special emphasis to the spiritual sites of Iran, as we examine sites related to Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The Kings have conducted several tours to Iran in recent years. “Our tour will be a people-to-people initiative. Iran itself is one of the most fascinating destinations in the world; it is a place that is rich in history and culture. And, invariably, we have found the people of Iran to be gracious and hospitable to Western visitors,” Donald said.
IIPT Founder and President, Louis D’Amore added: “I am grateful for having experienced the warm hospitality, friendliness and welcoming spirit of the Iranian people – and their immensely rich cultural heritage. The timing of the tour this October could not be better as we have a historic opportunity to help build bridges of understanding across our respective cultures.” More information is available at this site: http://www.crossbridgetours.com/tours/iran/a-persian-journey/ Or call Donald at 855.344.4343
Sudan Tourism Promotion Project Organizes Volunteer Peace Tour to Jebel Adair
The Sudan Tourism Promotion Project is organizing a Volunteer Peace Tour to the village of Seidra, the biggest village in the Aldair Mountains about 600 kilometers southwest of Khartoum, in an area that is a nature reserve of about 314.450 square Km. The tour will begin on 21 June and continue for seven days with 10 volunteers that includes a medical doctor and assistant, four rural development specialists and an analyst.
The Sudan Tourism Promotion Project (STPP) is an ambitious and pioneering national project that aims to develop the tourism sector in Sudan and to foster the economic, social and cultural empowerment of the Sudanese people.
The Project has been developed by Net 249 Advertising Co. by utilizing digital technology for an eye-catching promotional mix for the global marketing of Sudan tourism as well as raising awareness among Sudanese citizens regarding the economic, social and cultural benefits of tourism. A memorandum of understanding has been signed with the Ministry of Tourism, Antiquities and Wildlife of Sudan that recognizes the huge untapped potentials of tourism attractions in Sudan that offer possibilities for a key role in the global tourism industry and prospects for tourism to become an important pillar of Sudan’s economy.
Since its start up two years ago, more than sixty specialists have been working on this project from various disciplines including tourism, information technology, design, marketing, translation, history, archeology and art production. Elements of the project include web design and marketing, three dimensional displays of archaeological sites, billboards, brochures and advertising publications, promotion of authentic art and handicrafts from various tribes of Sudan, and an animated series.
Each of more than 50 archeological sites and tourism assets will have its own website. The intent is to have institutions and companies to sponsor the archaeological sites and tourist attraction areas, each one to be fully sponsored by a company or institution. In return, the sponsor will be provided excellent advertising opportunities with its logo on all components of the project.
STPP successfully exhibited at the Sudan International Tourism Fair, Khartoum in both 2013 and 2014 as well as the World Tourism Fair, Madrid, January 2014. In each of the fairs, STPP impressed all visitors, individuals and organizations with its vision and emphasis on issues such as peace and peaceful coexistence through peace tours and poverty alleviation efforts.
More information is available at: http://www.sudantourism.net/
Iran has mostly been absent in the global literature of disability. To fill this gap Negin Hosseini-Goodrich, Journalist, Writer, PhD student at Purdue University and Disability Activist has created a Facebook page THISability for Peace: https://www.facebook.com/thisabilityforpeace
Negin’s goal is to connect persons with disabilities in different countries and promote peace and friendship among different cultures and countries through her THISability concept emphasizing the abilities rather than disabilities of all persons and in doing so, “to become a better person for ourselves and for each other, to make the world a better place to live and to love.”
Negin believes, “Concentrating on our common features is vital for achieving global peace. Only our commonalities are able to shorten our distances, eliminate our misunderstandings, bring our hearts closer, and finally dismantle our feuds and wars. Her hope is that THISability will enhance mutual understanding and peaceful relations between the citizens of our global village. “All we need to do is become familiar with our individual and social commonalities and differences. Knowledge creates better understanding and a huge potential is laid within our thoughts, hearts and souls to be united globally.”
Negin is an Iranian-American who worked as a journalist for the oldest and biggest newspaper in her country, Iran, for more than 15 years before coming to the United States in 2010. She has no disability, neither does any of her immediate family; however, disability has been her concern ever since her youth. Both her academic and professional life has been committed to disability-related issue and she also worked many years for and with disability organizations in Tehran as a volunteer, as well as with Iran National Paralympic Committee.
As a journalist and writer, Negin attended three Paralympic games: Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, and London 2012, resulting in the publication of 2 books in Farsi on Paralympics: “Disability and Media” – the topic of her PhD dissertation in Iran – and “An Introduction to Disability Studies; a Sociological Approach” to be published soon as the first academic Persian book in the field of “disability studies”.
On her Facebook page you will meet Zahra Rastegar Panah, an Iranian artist who started painting in 1995 as the result of a disability; Mohsen Hosseini-Taha, an Iranian writer, poet and journalist with disability who recently published his second book: “The Verses of Rapture” in Farsi (Persian language); and the men and women national Sit Volleyball teams who recently competed in the Volleyball-Sitting World Championship and Asian Para Games held in Mashhad, Iran (April 2014).
IIPT Announces Abraham Shepherd as
“Ambassador at Large”
IIPT is proud to announce the naming of Abraham Shepherd as an “IIPT Ambassador at Large”. Abraham is the Founder and Executive Director of Canadian Global Response (CGR), a Canadian registered charity for disaster relief, community development, and alleviation of poverty. Canadian Global Response envisions the global community demonstrating love in action in times of crisis.
“And we believe in the strength of partnerships,” he added. “In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, CGR partnered with another relief organization to help provide nearly 12,000 meals for victims in New York. Likewise we are continuing to partner with other organizations in long-term efforts to help re-build basic housing for the recent victims of the typhoon in the Philippines. And now we are developing initiatives to assist the refugees from Syria who have fled the war in their homeland.”
“I am pleased to be named ‘Ambassador at Large’ for the International Institute for Peace through Tourism,” Abraham said. “I have great respect for the organization and we at Canadian Global Response share many of the same goals as we seek to address some of the greatest human needs in our world. I look forward to working with Lou D’Amore and all others involved with IIPT. I believe this will be a valuable partnership.”
IIPT Founder and President, Louis D’Amore said “We are proud to announce Abraham Shepherd as an IIPT Ambassador at Large. The work of the Canadian Global Response is most noteworthy and will strengthen IIPT’s initiatives as we continue working towards a “Culture of Peace” in this our 25th Anniversary Year.”
CGR initiatives include: educational aid and school supplies for children; entrepreneurial start up opportunities by providing a cow, chickens, fish stall, and sewing machines to single parents; shelter and food aid for disaster relief; and sources of clean water.
More information about Canadian Global Response can be found on their
The International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) is a not for profit organization dedicated to fostering travel and tourism initiatives that contribute to international understanding and cooperation, an improved quality of environment, the preservation of heritage, and poverty reduction; and through these initiatives, helping to bring about a peaceful and sustainable world. It is founded on a vision of the world’s largest industry, travel and tourism – becoming the world’s first global peace industry; and the belief that every traveler is potentially an “Ambassador for Peace.”