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Monday, 18 December, 2017, 13 : 56 PM [IST]

IIPT celebrates power of Diplomacy & Tourism in fostering global peace at ‘Diplomats for Peace’ in Delhi

Awardees of Diplomats for Peace & Messengers of Peace categories pose with the IIPT President, Ajay Prakash and members of its India Advisory Board and Vinay Malhotra, COO – Middle East & South Asia, VFS Global

The International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT), a global not-for-profit body which works with the vision of making travel & tourism ‘world’s first global peace industry’ and dedicated to facilitating tourism initiatives which contribute to international understanding and cooperation, organised a one-of-its-kind event in Delhi 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 50 Ambassadors and a total of 95 representatives from the Diplomatic corps in Delhi to a unique evening at the open Nandiya Gardens of ITC Maurya New Delhi.

Zubin Karkaria CEO, VFS Global Group

Postulating that the essence of diplomacy is 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 the envoys of over 75 countries were felicitated as ‘Messengers of Peace’’ at the function.

Carl Dantas (L), Member International Advisory Board of IIPT India with Madan Bahal (R), Managing Director, TravelBiz Monitor, giving away the Messenger of Peace award

The gala event was organised with the participation of the UNWTO and was presented by VFS Global, a leading global visa facilitation agency. TravelBiz Monitor, India’s premier travel & tourism industry publication, was the Event and Media Partner for Diplomats for Peace.

Kiran Yadav (L), Vice President, IIPT India and Vinay Malhotra (R) giving away the Messenger of Peace award

Introducing IIPT and its vision and mission to the diplomats and mission heads, Ajay Prakash, President, IIPT India said that Dr. Louis D’Amore, the Founder President of IIPT set up the organisation in 1986 with the vision of making travel & 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 1,000 Peace Parks across the world, 450 of them have already been set up, before November 11, 2018, which is the centenary of the end of World War I.

Sheldon Santwan (L), Editor & COO, TravelBiz Monitor and H.E. Hans Dannenberg (R), Head of Diplomatic Corps giving away the Messenger of Peace award

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 as true Messenger of Peace through this event,” he said.

Ambassador Feedback

H.E. Chutintorn Gongsakdi, Ambassador of Thailand to India
When people travel they get to know and understand the different cultures and it helps build mutual understanding. Mutual understanding at the people to people level becomes the strong basis for peace. Tourism in that sense is a good tool to promote understanding between the people and hence promote peace. We Diplomats have the priority of keeping the government to government relationships cordial and smooth, but I feel people to people relationships are equally important.

H.E. Frank Hans Dannenberg Castellanos, Ambassador of Dominican Republic to India
I feel that tourism not only bring peace but also helps in eliminating poverty thereby bringing development and stability. As a former Deputy Minister for Tourism, I have seen it that happening in my country. Areas which were underdeveloped few years ago now have beautiful resorts and international airports. Diplomats have a role that has changed since the end of cold war. Now our role is to promote investments, trade, and people to people relationships. Airlines like Emirates and companies like VFS have made travel easy in the new world. With this event, we diplomats have become true promoters of tourism in India.


Ajay Prakash and Peter Brun (R), Chief Communications Officer – Communications, CSR, Marketing & Branding, VFS Global giving away the Messenger of Peace award

Speaking about VFS’s partnership with IIPT ‘Diplomats for Peace’, Zubin Karkaria, CEO, VFS Global, said that travel & 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 ‘Diplomats for Peace’ event,” he said


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, 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 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 95 countries were felicitated as ‘Messengers of Peace’ at the ceremony, 15 of them were also decorated with the ‘Diplomats for Peace’ award. Those Ambassadors and High Commissioners who received 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, Alexander Ziegler, Ambassador of France, Dr. Martin Ney, German Ambassador, Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India, Melba Pria, Ambassador of Mexico, Ernest Rwamucyo, High Commissioner for Rwanda, Jose Ramon Baranano Fernandez, Ambassador of Spain in India, Chitranganee Wagiswara, High Commssioner of Sri Lanka, Dr. Andreas Baum, Ambassador of Switzerland, Dr. Abdul Rahman Albanna, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 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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