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Culture of Peace though Tourism in Kosovo
an article by Liliana Sofia Romao Mota

The reconstruction process from a post-conflict phase should be considered in a comprehensive and holistic prospective. It should consider new ways of exploring the tangible and intangible cultural heritage and the promotion of sustainable tourism development practices. An interesting unique experience for this was set up by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo during the last year. It takes into consideration ethnic communities and marginalized groups, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, gender and equality and cultural heritage protection. The project creats a new multi-ethnic archaeological youth camp in Ulpiana, the extensive and ancient roman and byzantine archaeological site in Kosovo and one of the most important Roman settlements within the Balkan peninsula (see www.osce.o rg/kosovo/82202.

click on photo to enlarge

The project brought together istitutions like OSCE mission, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the archeological Institute in Pristina, the Museum of Kosovo and local and regional youth association from South-Eastern European and many places in Kosovo to meet and join a two-weeks camp programme and visiting the most important cultural heritages sites in Peje, Prizren and Novo Brdo. It supports the youth camp on inter-community dialogue, post-conflict management and cultural heritage protection. It also supports the national policies development on these issues, and monitors their activies for their compliance with the Declaration of the Human Rights, particularlly the 27th article "Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits".

For Kosovars, in my personal view, these kind of experiences are very worthwhile, considerin that they are still "rebuilding their roots" from the isolation and tough moments that they passed though during the wars. The seminars that take place in Ulpiana help people to undestand their own historical common ground which at first impression is not that evident. In Kosovo there exist eight ethnic groups. Albanians are the majority and about 20-25% are minorities like Kosovars-Turkish, Kosovars-Serbs, Askali, Roma, Montenegrins, Bosnians, Croats and Egyptians. Thoughout this peaceful exercise all the groups get to know each other's impressions and stereotypes. They share their positive and negative experiences that they face living in a society that just came out of war and where certain minorities do not have national recognition. I personally found it very interesting to see that this youth generation is willing to struggle for their rights and to find a compromisse on all these issues with deep roots, by doing an exercise of finding out similarities instead of differences.


Question(s) related to this article:

How can tourism promote a culture of peace?,

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Why tourism?

Can tourism be seen as an instrument to achieve complicity between people’s minds?

“There is nothing better that connects two people’s mind than a good conversation” The above quote could be used to describe the effect which tourism has on people. Like a great conversation, tourism could be said to play a vital role amongst people all over the world. It fosters communication in all its senses, intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.  

In today’s world it is evident that there is a shortage of moral or ethical values amongst people across the different nations in this world, resulting in a globalised world lacking these morals and ethical values. Ignorance, the failure to consider the needs of others, and selfishness are a few of the ways which hinder us from embracing diversity and a common human perspective, which  would result informal empathy, internal moral compassion, tolerance of differences, historical consciousness and interpretation. The above mentioned features are intrinsic, inherent and can be found in the practice of tourism.

Tourism has been emphasized as one of the most effective instruments which continue to tackle to tackle social and economical poverty, as well as encourage the culture of peace practice amongst people. In looking at the UN architecture, one is able to see the growing implications which the tourism sector has on the world and world policies. . ...more.

This report was posted on August 12, 2013.