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Re-dedication of IIPT Peace Park Featured Opening Day of UNWTO General Assembly (Zambia)
an article by Lou D'Amore, IIPT Newsletter (abridged)

Re-dedication of the IIPT International Peace Park at Victoria Falls was the featured event on Opening Day of the UNWTO General Assembly with Dr. Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary General giving the main address at the Ceremony. Other speakers included: Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, the first President of Zambia; King Mukuni of the Leya People on whose land Victoria Falls is located; H.E. Akel Biltaji, representing H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan; and IIPT Founder and President, Louis D’Amore. . .

Dr. Kenneth Kaunda and Dr. Taleb Rifai planting Olive tree from Jordan

click on photo to enlarge

[Editor's note: IIPT is the International Institute of Peace through Tourism and UNWTO is the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Victoria Falls is located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.]

King Mukuni assured all participants in the peace park re-dedication that the Victoria Falls world heritage site is being well looked after by his people for the good of all the world. Dr. Kaunda commended IIPT for organizing the event saying “This is an extremely important occasion and we are happy again to be on your land King Mukuni.”

Dr. Taleb Rifai, main speaker at the event, said tourism is the most fascinating human activity of the 21st century. “We become better people when we travel; we become more tolerant, more understanding, and respect one another as human beings for what we are. This is the essence of what tourism is all about.” Dr. Rifai said the re- dedication of the park as an international peace park is a reminder of the underlying message of friendship. “There is nothing more important than living in peace and harmony with one another.”

H.E. Akel Biltaji opened the ceremony with a prayer reminding us that we are all sons and daughters of the one Creator, and therefore brothers and sisters on this precious planet which we share as our common home.

H.E. Biltaji brought with him six olive trees to be planted in the Peace Park as a symbol of Jordan’s love and peace that his country represents. The olive trees were from a nursery adjacent to Bethany Beyond the Jordan, site of Christ’s baptism and also a UNESCO world heritage site. Bethany Beyond the Jordan is also the site of an IIPT International Peace Park dedicated on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the first year of the new millennium as a legacy of IIPT’s first global summit in Amman.

In closing the ceremony, IIPT Founder and President, Louis D’Amore said that IIPT was most honored by the presence of the esteemed dignitaries at the event, thanked Dr. Taleb Rifai for UNWTO’s continuing support. He stated that as this Peace Park was being re-dedicated, some 30 towns and villages in South Africa, Jamaica, the Caribbean and India were also dedicating Peace Parks as they committed themselves to being IIPT/Skal Towns of Peace [see CPNN June 11 this year]. D’Amore prayed that the “Roots of these peace trees planted here today will spread to the North, South, East and West bringing peace to all of Africa and throughout the world.”


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 September 4, 2013.