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IIPT Celebrates ‘Diplomats for Peace’ in Delhi

This past month, the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) organized its inaugural ‘Diplomats for Peace’ event recognizing and celebrating the critical role of Diplomats in nurturing peace and harmony throughout the world.

The first-ever event was presented by VFS Global, the world’s leading visa facilitation agency and TravelBiz Monitor, India’s premier Travel and Tourism industry publication. Participating with IIPT India was the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

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.

Christened as ‘Diplomats for Peace,’ the first ever event brought together more than 40 Ambassadors and diplomatic personnel representing 95 nations together at the ITC Maurya hotel in New Delhi, India. The mistress of ceremony for the event was Shivani Vazir Pasrich.

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 traveler is potentially an Ambassador for Peace. Since its inception, IIPT has organized seminars, workshops, international conferences and global summits in regions throughout the world bringing together Heads of State, Nobel Laureates, Royalty, Heads of UN agencies, leaders of the travel and tourism industry and other sectors.

Peter Brun Head of Communications VFS Global & Ajay Prakash felicitate Norway (Left); Carl Dantas member IIPT India Board & Madan Bahl MD TravelBiz Monitor felicitate Colombia (Right)

Founded on the premise that the essence of diplomacy is the nurturing of harmony, peaceful relations and cooperative initiatives with the aim of mutual benefit, the IIPT India Advisory Board recognized 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.

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 organizations 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.

Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog in his keynote 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.

Sheldon Santwan member IIPT India Board & Hans Dannenberg Castellano Dean of the Diplomatic Corps felicitate Greece (Left); Zubin Karkaria CEO VFS Global & Ajay Prakash President IIPT India felicitate the Kingdom of Bhutan (Right)

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; ChitranganeeWagiswara, 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; and 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.

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