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International Institute for Peace through Tourism | India

IIPT felicitates the Diplomatic Corps

IIPT celebrates ‘Diplomats for Peace’ event in Delhi

On Thursday 07 Dec 2017, International Institute for Peace through Tourism, (IIPT), a global not-for-profit body which works with the vision of making travel and tourism the world’s first ‘Global Peace Industry’ organised a one-of-its-kind event to celebrate and recognise the role of Diplomats in fostering peace and harmony in the world. 

The event, christened as ‘Diplomats for Peace’ brought together more than 40 Ambassadors and diplomatic personnel representing 95 nationalities together at the ITC Maurya hotel in New Delhi.

The gala event was organized by IIPT India with the participation of the UNWTO and was presented by VFS Global, leading visa facilitation agency of the world, and TravelBiz Monitor, India’s premier Travel and Tourism industry publication.

Postulating that the essence of diplomacy is the prevention of conflict and the preservation of peace and harmony among countries of the world, the IIPT  India Advisory Board recognised 15 countries for their exceptional work as ‘Diplomats for Peace’ 2017 while additionally, the envoys of over 90 countries were felicitated as  ‘Messengers of Peace’’  at the function. 

Introducing IIPT and its vision to the diplomats and mission heads, Ajay Prakash, President, IIPT India read out a short message from Dr. Louis D’Amore, IIPT’s Founder President who, he said, set up the organization in 1986 with the vision of making Travel and Tourism the world’s first Global Peace Industry, and the belief that every tourist is a potential Ambassador of Peace.  Since its inception, IIPT had conducted number of seminars, events and summits globally and regionally which have brought together Heads of States, Nobel Laureates, Kings, heads of UN agencies and business leaders.  He said that IIPT is currently on a mission to set up a minimum of 1,000 Peace Parks across the world by November 11, 2018, which marks the centenary of the end of World War I.

Explaining the objective and the rationale of the ‘Diplomats for Peace’ event, Prakash said, “IIPT is dedicated to fostering and facilitating tourism initiatives which contribute to international understanding and cooperation. Our mission is to encourage, acknowledge and celebrate individuals and organisations who work to make the world a better place and who we can hold up as role models for the younger generation.The essence of diplomacy is the preservation of peace and harmony and we wanted to honour and salute the key role Diplomats play, balancing national interests with global human values, and felicitate each one of you present here as a true Messenger of Peace.”

Dr Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of UNWTO sent a personal video message to the organisers and diplomats which was played at the start of the event. Dr Rifai said that the decision to celebrate 2017 as the Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the UN is testimony to the importance the agency bestows to tourism as an industry which can contribute to build a better world.  He reiterated the UNWTO’s support to IIPT and  urged the Diplomatic community to use travel and tourism as a transformative power to build bridges among people and cultures to create an atmosphere of understanding, peace and stability in the world.

Speaking about VFS Global’s partnership with the IIPT ‘Diplomats for Peace’ event, Zubin Karkaria, CEO, VFS Global said that travel and tourism has a strong role to play in spreading the message of peace and understanding as well as building bridges amongst people and cultures.  “VFS Global being an agency which handles visa management services plays a pivotal role as a catalyst in supporting outbound travel over the past 16 years.  Therefore supporting the cause of peace through tourism is close to our hearts, and hence this partnership with IIPT for the Diplomats for Peace event,” he said.

Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog in his keynote video message said that  Aviation and Tourism are two industries which play a crucial role not only  in terms of creating large number of jobs but are also major drivers of peace in this world.  Travel and Tourism is an antidote to terrorism and violence, he said.  Travel creates friendship across boundaries and therefore barriers to travel need to be reduced, he added. 

While diplomats from over 90 countries were felicitated as ‘Messengers of Peace’ at the ceremony, 15 of them were also decorated with the title ‘Diplomats for Peace.’ The countries whose Ambassadors and High Commissioners were awarded the Diplomats for Peace citations included Maj. Gen. Versop Mangyel - Ambassador of Bhutan to India, Pichkhun Panham - Ambassador of Cambodia ,  Nadir Patel – High Commissioner for Canada in India, Monica Lanzetta Mutis - Ambassador of Colombia in India, Alexander Ziegler - Ambassador of France in India, Dr. Martin Ney - German Ambassador to India , Kenji Hiramatsu - Ambassador of Japan to India, Melba Pria - Ambassador of Mexico in India, Ernest Rwamucyo - High Commissioner for Rwanda in India, Jose Ramon Baranano Fernandez - Ambassador of Spain in India, Chitranganee Wagiswara - High Commssioner of Sri Lanka in India, Dr. Andreas Baum - Ambassador of Switzerland in India, Dr. Abdul Rahman Albanna – Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to India, Sir Dominic Asquith – High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to India.  A special award was bestowed on India as the land of Ahimsa, Acceptance and Assimilation.

IIPT plans to make the Diplomats for Peace an annual event in the social calendar of the Diplomatic Corps.