United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
To Partner with IIPT in Global Peace Parks Project
IIPT Founder and President Louis D’Amore had a fortuitous meeting with Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi during the recent 4th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue in Baku, Azerbaijan. Mr. Elong Mbassi is Secretary General, UCLG Africa.
UCLG is the united voice and world advocate of democratic local self-government with a global network of cities, local and regional governments representing 70% of the world population. UCLG goals include contributing to the achievement of the SDG’s, Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and New Urban Agenda for Sustainable Urban Development.
Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, enthusiastically agreed that UCLG will partner with IIPT in the IIPT Global Peace Parks Project which has a goal of 2,000 cities and towns dedicating or re-dedicating a park to peace on 21 September 2017, the UN International Day of Peace.
It was also agreed that a special plenary session on Africa will be organized at the UNWTO – IIPT Global Summit: Sustainable Tourism for Development and Peace being held in Montreal, Canada 17 – 21 September 2017 as Canada commemorates its 150th birthday and Montreal its 375th Birthday. The Montreal Summit is an official conference of the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
The Global Peace Parks Project builds on the success of IIPT’s 1992 “Peace Parks across Canada” Project commemorating Canada’s 125th birthday as a nation. IIPT conceived and implemented “Peace Parks across Canada” which resulted in 350 Peace Parks being dedicated by cities and towns from St. John’s, Newfoundland on the shores of the Atlantic, across five time zones to Victoria, British Colombia on the shores of the Pacific.
The Peace Parks were all dedicated on October 8, 1992 as a National Peace Keeping Monument was being unveiled in Ottawa and 5,000 Peacekeepers passing in review. Each park was dedicated with a ‘bosco sacro’ – a peace grove of 12 trees, symbolic of Canada’s 10 Provinces and 2 Territories, as a link to one another, and a symbol of hope for the future. Of the more than 25,000 Canada 125 Projects, Peace Parks across Canada was said to be the most significant.
IIPT International Peace Parks have since been dedicated as a legacy of each IIPT International Conferences and Global Summits. Notable IIPT International Peace Parks include Bethany Beyond the Jordan, site of Christ’s baptism as a legacy of the Amman Summit, 2000 and Victoria Falls, as a legacy of the IIPT 5th African Conference, 2013, subsequently re-dedicated as the featured event of the UNWTO General Assembly, co-hosted by Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Dr. Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary General and Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s first President, are shown planting the first of 6 olive trees brought from Bethany Beyond the Jordan by Amman Mayor, H.E. Akel Biltaji pictured on the right with King Makuni of the Leya People, on whose land Victoria Falls is located, and IIPT Founder and President, Louis D'Amore.
Persons interested in more information on the “IIPT Global Peace Parks Project” are invited to email email@example.com
UNWTO – IIPT Global Summit Announced at 4th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue Baku, Azerbaijan
IIPT President, Dr. Louis D’Amore was honored to speak at the recent 4th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue hosted by Azerbaijan in the beautiful city of Baku, 5 & 6 May. Dr. D’Amore spoke on a distinguished panel coordinated by Mr. Amr Abdel Ghaffar, Advisor to the Secretary General, UNWTO on Tourism and Peace, and moderated by Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, UN World Tourism Organization.
Dr. D’Amore used the occasion to announce the UNWTO-IIPT Global Summit: Sustainable Tourism for Development and Peace being held in Montreal, Canada 17 – 21 September. The Summit is an official Conference of the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, 18 & 19 September.
One of the questions asked of Dr. D’Amore was “Is Peace through Tourism working?”
D’Amore believes the answer can best be given from a 30 year perspective. It took two years in the mid 1980’s for him to convince leaders of the travel and tourism industry in Canada to support the idea of an International Conference on Tourism and Peace.
D’Amore had been a futurist to the tourism industry in Canada from the mid-1970’s til the founding of IIPT in 1986, the UN International Year of Peace. He also had been a keynote speaker at several national tourism industry conferences – and though well known and respected by leaders of the industry – when asked if they would support an International Conference on Tourism and Peace, the answers were: “What’s tourism got to do with peace?”- “Peace – that’s government’s job!” or “We should focus on things we have some control over.” This is the baseline for measuring progress regarding “Is it working.”
Another baseline is that in the mid-1980’s the major form of tourism was ‘mass tourism’ with the emphasis being filling airline seats and “putting heads on beds.” Indeed tourism segmentation was quite simple: business travel, Visiting Friends and Relatives, or Pleasure Travel.
Regarding the first baseline, Terrorism peaked in 1985 and ’86. Most of it aimed at the travel and tourism industry with airplane hijackings, hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship; attacks on Rome and Vienna Airports; bombing of airline offices –etc. The result was a decline in travel – particularly travel to Europe and the Middle East. The ‘lights went on’ and leaders of the tourism industry in Canada realized that without Peace – there is no tourism” – and the 1986 national conference of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) unanimously endorsed the organizing of an International Conference on Tourism and Peace.
From this first baseline, today we have major international conferences and forums throughout the world - such as the 4th World Forum on Intercultural dialogue featuring a prestigious panel such as outlined below with the theme: Harnessing the Transformative Power of Tourism in Building a Better Future; the UNWTO Sri Lanka Conference: Tourism a Catalyst for Development, Peace and Reconciliation and many others. As well, the report last year of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC): Tourism as a Driver of Peace; and a large and growing number of studies and literature on various aspects of ‘peace through tourism’ including the UNWTO published “International Handbook on Tourism and Peace.”
Regarding the second baseline – the IIPT First Global Conference: Tourism – A Vital Force for Peace, Vancouver 1988 was noteworthy for first introducing the concept of sustainable tourism. It also introduced a new paradigm for a “Higher Purpose of Tourism” - a paradigm that includes the role of tourism in:
• Promoting international understanding
• Collaboration among nations
• Protecting the environment and preserving biodiversity
• Enhancing cultures and valuing heritage
• Sustainable development
• Poverty Reduction, and
• Reconciliation and Healing Wounds of Conflict.
IIPT’s 18 international conferences and global summits since its founding in 1986 have showcased some 1500 ‘success stories’ and models of best practice in the areas outlined above. In contrast to the mass tourism that existed in the mid-1980’s we now have: ecotourism, geotourism, cultural tourism, community tourism, agrotourism, culinary tourism, volunteer tourism, philanthropic tourism, the Silk Road, African Diaspora Heritage Trail, the Slave Route, Path of Abraham and other forms of tourism that are contributing to global understanding and respect - together with more specific initiatives such as the “Peace Boat”, Rural Education and Development (READ); Global Sports Partners; Right to Play; Semester at Sea to name but a few.
Yes – it is working but much more needs to be done until we have freedom, tolerance, harmony, mutual understanding, respect, and sustainable development enjoyed by all members of the global family and peace with nature on our one common home, planet earth.
Panelists in addition Moderator, Dr. Taleb Rifai and Dr. Louis D’Amore included:
Hon. Abulfas Garayev, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Azerbaijan; Princess Dana Firas, President, Petra National Trust, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Mr. Arundhika Fernando, Deputy Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, Sri Lanka
Second row – Mr. Thok Sokhom, Director of Department International Cooperation and ASEAN Ministry of Tourism; Hon. Shaikah Mai Bint Mohammed Al-Khalifa, President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities and President, Arab Regional Center for World Heritage; Mr. Koen Verlaeckt, Secretary General, Flanders Department of Foreign Affairs.