Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The recently held IIPT World Symposium: Cultivating Sustainable and Peaceful Communities and Nations through Tourism, Culture and Sport honored the legacies of the world’s three great champions of Peace and Non-Violent Resistance: Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Symposium was held at Emperors Palace, Ekurhuleni, South Africa under the patronage of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and also commemorated the 50th Anniversary of African Union, 20 years of South African Democracy, and 50th Anniversary of Civil Rights Legislation in the United States.
IIPT was most honored to have with us during the Symposium Ms. Naomi King, widow of Rev. A. D. King, the only brother of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and co-founder of the A. D. King Foundation that she established in honor of her husband who stood solidly with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights movement and supported his belief in equality and non-violence. The Foundation’s motto strikes at the very heart of the Symposium theme: "A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" and “building a beloved community is a glorious task that must be done.”
Also with us during the Symposium was Ms, Nandi Mandela, Director of Mediclinic International; Co-Director at Linda Masinga & Associates; and granddaughter Nelson Mandela. Ms. King and Ms. Mandela each addressed the Symposium sharing their insights and perspectives on the theme of the Symposium. Ms. Anita Mendiratta, Master of Ceremony throughout the Symposium, subsequently facilitated interactive conversations with both Ms. King and Ms. Mandela giving delegates a further appreciation of the important contributions Ms. King and Ms. Mandela themselves have made as activists for peace and justice.
The presence and participation of Ms. Naomi King and Ms. Nandi Mandela provided for a most informative and inspiring plenary session and gave substance to the Symposium aim of honoring the legacies of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Following the presentations and conversations with Ms. Naomi King and Ms. Nandi Mandela, IIPT Founder and President, Dr. Louis D’Amore and IIPT Board Chairman Mr. Timothy Marshall presented the IIPT Plaque to each of them and to Deputy High Commissioner Mr. Armstrong Changsan representing the Gandhi family. The IIPT plaque incorporates the IIPT Credo of the Peaceful Traveler on the right half and the “Portrait of the Global Family” by world renown artist Padre Johnson on the left half of the plaque, representing IIPT’s theme of One Earth One Family.
Members of the Symposium Organizing Team with Ms. Nandi Mandela and Ms. Naomi King – left to right: Dr. Babs Onabanjo, Co-Founder, A. D. King Foundation; Mr. Timothy Marshall, Chairman, IIPT Board of Directors; Dr. Patrick Kalifungwa, Livingstone International University of Tourism Excellence and Business Management (LIUTEBM), IIPT Advisory Board member and Co-Moderator, Educators Forum; Dr. Louis D’Amore, IIPT Founder and President; Ms. Bernadette Nickol, IIPT Symposium Coordinator, South Africa and Kunjal Charadva, IIPT Program Coordinator.
Symposium Opening Ceremony Features Keynote Addresses by Dr. Taleb Rifai and Mr. David Scowsill
The IIPT World Symposium began with a Welcome Reception, hosted by the City of Johannesburg that was held at Randlords, the exclusive lounge floating high above the “City of Gold” with magical 360 degree views across the Johannesburg cityscape and beyond. Ms. Anita Mendiratta was Master of Ceremony and Hon. Derek Hanekom Minister of Tourism, South Africa, highlighted the evening with an inspiring talk that included stories from his own personal life during which he was imprisoned for three years at Robben Island for his activist role as a member of the African National Congress opposing apartheid and subsequently exiled to Zimbabwe. His wife, Dr. Trish Hanekom also served four years in prison for her anti-apartheid involvement.
The Reception also featured a talk by Pumla Ntsele, Deputy Director, Johannesburg Convention Bureau, our host for the evening.
The Opening Ceremony followed the next morning with the charismatic and talented Anita Mendiratta again acting as Master of Ceremony and featuring a video-taped welcoming message from Symposium Patron Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu during which he recalled, “Twenty-five years ago South Africa’s ‘Berlin Wall’ fell. Nelson Mandela was released from prison, pro-democracy organisations were unbanned, and exiles and refugees began to return home. Our international friends, who contributed so handsomely to shaming and isolating the apartheid state – peacefully, through highlighting the evil of prejudice, and imposing economic, cultural and sporting boycotts – welcomed us with open arms back into the world we share….
“Tourism, culture and sport bring people together and foster tolerance and harmony on earth. We are made for each other, for goodness, for peace and for love. We treasure each other because we are sisters and brothers of one family, the human family, God’s family. Welcome to South Africa. God bless you!”
The Symposium also received a letter from the Vatican Secretary of State with a message from His Holiness Pope Francis addressed to IIPT President Dr. Louis D’Amore. The letter in part read, “His Holiness is pleased to note that the theme of the Symposium rightly draws attention to the immense potential of these sectors to foster mutual understanding, cultural enrichment and integral development within our human family…
“the networks of cooperation which your organizations work to build are a great resource for good, and are capable of offering unprecedented opportunities for the material, cultural and spiritual advancement of peoples….the Holy Father trusts that your work will always be guided by a high sense of responsibility for the advancement of the poor, the elimination of corruption, exploitation and injustice, and the protection of the natural environment.”
With these sentiments, and with appreciation of your efforts to contribute positively to the unity, solidarity, and peace of our global family, His Holiness invokes God’s abundant blessings upon you and all present at the Symposium.”
Keynote Addresses by Dr. Taleb Rifai and Mr. David Scowsill
The Opening Ceremony then featured the Symposium keynote addresses by Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Mr. David Scowsill, President and CEO, World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
Dr. Rifai reminded us that the Symposium finds a fitting home here in Mandela´s birthplace of South Africa, whose transformation towards peace and dialogue has been an inspiring chapter to all of us; and he recalled the words of Mahatma Gandhi, who said, “Travel is the language of peace.” He went on to say that the fundamental experience of tourism – of visiting new places and meeting new people – is a transformative force that breaks down cultural barriers and builds bridges between people - communities - and nations.
Dr. Rifai commended South Africa for placing tourism among the six priority sectors to drive its economic growth;for understanding the value of tourism as a tool for creating a more inclusive society; and addressing the triple challenges of persistent poverty, nemployment and inequality.
He highlighted three ways in which tourism can effectively be a tool to build a more sustainable and peaceful future: Tourism builds respect and mutual understanding and in this sense travel is our passport to global citizenship. Secondly, Tourism uplifts communities and improves livelihoods and third - Tourism leads to reconciliation. Dr. Rifai concluded that more than just being tourists or travelers, we are all called today to be global citizens and Ambassadors of peace.
Mr. David Scowsill stated that Travel & Tourism now accounts for 9% of the world’s GDP; 1 in 11 of the world’s jobs; is an industry which is growing, 3% a year in Europe, 5% in Asia and 5% in Africa; and is an industry which provides opportunities in places where other economic activities are limited. Beyond economics, it is the unparalleled power of Travel & Tourism to bring people together, to open minds and share experiences which makes it a driver of peace connecting people and facilitating direct interaction between cultures.
David went on to give specific examples demonstrating the IIPT ‘Higher Purpose of Tourism’ paradigm related to environmental protection; empowering and educating communities; training and skills development; and the many ways tourism can mobilise its infrastructure and global linkages to bring help when people most need it as it did In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, when many airlines used their cargo freighters to fly to Cebu in the Philippines to help with relief efforts.
David emphasized that the sector still has much work to do; that leaders in our industry need to stand up and be counted; to harness the might of Travel & Tourism to influence governments towards a more equitable and peaceful future; and in increasing the role of tourism as a driver of peace, security and understanding. Travel & Tourism broadens not just the mind, but fosters cultural understanding, mends fences and breaks down negative perceptions. In many countries, that is as real and as significant as the jobs which our businesses create and sustain.
IIPT Founder and President thanked both Dr. Taleb Rifai and Mr. David Scowsill for their informative and inspiring keynote addresses; Ms. Anita Mendiratta for her role as Master of Ceremony; Title Sponsor Coca-Cola; Host Partners: South Africa Tourism, the municipalities of Ekurhuleni, Gauteng Province, South African Airways and Emperors Palace; Symposium Partners: UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), World travel and Tourism Council (WTTC); Skal International; Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA); International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP); Africa Travel Association (ATA) and Jamaica Resource Center (JBRC); and members of the Organizing Team – and officially declared the Symposium open.
Other keynote speakers during the Symposium included: Dr. Geraldine Reymenants, General Representative of the Government of Flanders to South Africa; Hon. Alain St. Ange, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Seychelles; H.E. Vincent Karega, High Commissioner of Rwanda to South Africa; Mr. Salih Cene, President and Mr. Nigel Pilkington, First Vice-President, Skal International; Prof. Geoffrey Lipman, President, International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP); Mr. Paul Bewsher, Program Manager, Peace Park Foundation,Mr. Welcome Msomi, Chairman, MsomiFranco Intelligent Solutions and Mr.Ajay Prakash,President IIPT Chapter India.
IIPT World Symposium Features Leading Practitioners from 34 Countries
Leading practitioners from 34 countries shared their experiences, knowledge and insights with one another and enthusiastic and spirited delegates in a series of interactive and action oriented sessions at the IIPT World Symposium: Cultivating Sustainable and Peaceful Communities and Nations through Tourism, Culture and Sports.
Practitioners took part in Concurrent Sessions related to:
Practitioners participating in the Symposium included:
For additional international practitioners featured as speakers in the Symposium, please refer to the IIPT January Newsletter: http://www.iipt.org/newsletter/2015/january.html- third article
IIPT Proud to have Coca-Cola South Africa as Title Sponsor of World Symposium
IIPT was most proud to have Coca-Cola South Africa as title sponsor of its World Symposium: Cultivating Sustainable and Peaceful Communities and Nations through Tourism, Culture and Sport. Coca-Cola, South Africa’s favorite brand, is known as the company doing the most for community upliftment in South Africa and therefore the perfect Title Sponsor for the IIPT World Symposium.
IIPT Founder and President, Dr. Louis D’Amore stated, “IIPT would like to express its sincere appreciation to Ms. Therese Gearhart, President, Coca-Cola South Africa for its generous support as Title Sponsor of the Symposium and all that Coca-Cola South Africa does to promote mutual understanding and community upliftment through its programs in Southern Africa – and as well for agreeing to bring back my all-time favorite television commercial to start the luncheon program – may we all work together to teach the world to “sing in perfect harmony.”
The special Coca-Cola Luncheon on opening day of the Symposium featured Coca Cola South Africa senior executive and global thinker, Ms. Cath Coetzer who opened her presentation with the playing of Coca-Cola’s popular tv commercial from 1971 recorded on a hill top in Italy with young people from countries throughout the world singing “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.”
Ms Coetzer’s inspiring address was followed by presentation of the IIPT Scholarship Award to the University team of Inter-disciplinary students writing the best paper on the theme of the Symposium: PhD candidates Kennedy Obombo Magio and Carlos Alberto Rios Galvan Universidad de Occidente, México; Geoffrey Riungu Koome, Clemson University, USA; and Joseph Muiruri Njoroge,University of Hamburg, Germany.
IIPT plaques with the IIPT Credo of the Peaceful Traveler and artist Padre Johnson’s “portrait of the global family” were presented to:
* IIPT/Skal Village of Peace – Battir, Palestine, a UNESCO world heritage site in the midst of a conflict zone in Palestine, Mr. Akram Bader, Mayor of Battir, Palestine;
* City of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, where Mahatma Gandhi was forcefully removed from a train 120 years ago – the incident that resulted in the world-wide Non-Violence Movement, His Worship, the Mayor of Msunduzi Municipality, Cllr C. J. Ndlela;
* Skal International Limburg, organizers of “DrielandenPunt Peace Project Vaals”, including the “Tri-Country” area of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands in the Border Region of Maastricht –Heuvelland, Mr. Peter Helleman, President – presented to Mr. Mathieu Hoeberigs representing Skal International Limburg;
* And as well to the Metropolitan Municipality of Ekurhuleni, Host City of the Symposium; Johannesburg, Host Partner; and Tshwane (Pretoria), each recognized as an IIPT/Skal Municipality of Peace and together being an IIPT/Skal Metropolis of Peace.
Finally, the Coca-Cola luncheon featured the launch of the World Record Setting Journey by Cassandra (Cassie) De Pecol who will set out in July traveling as an IIPT Ambassador for Peace to all 196 sovereign nations in less than three years as she promotes a “Culture of Peace through Tourism.”
Host Partners of the Symposium included: South Africa Tourism, the Metropolitan Municipalities of Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg, Gauteng Province, South African Airways and Emperors Palace.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which has supported IIPT International events since the First IIPT Global Conference, Vancouver 1988, was again a partner in the Symposium. Other partners included: the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Africa Travel Association (ATA), Skal International; International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) and the Jamaica Business Resource Center (JBRC).
This was IIPT’s seventeenth international event and seventh global summit since its founding in 1986, the UN International Year of Peace. IIPT is most grateful for the enthusiasm and support provided by its Title Sponsor Coca-Cola, Host Partners and Symposium Partners.
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, cooperation among nations, an improved quality of environment, cultural enhancement and the preservation of heritage, poverty reduction, reconciliation and healing wounds of conflicts; 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.”