Battir, Palestine – to be declared IIPT/Skål Village of Peace
STOWE, Vermont, USA – The village of Battir, on the West Bank hills near Bethlehem, is a land of olive groves, grape vines, fig trees and seven natural springs that feed ancient agricultural terrace
STOWE, Vermont, USA – The village of Battir, on the West Bank hills near Bethlehem, is a land of olive groves, grape vines, fig trees and seven natural springs that feed ancient agricultural terraces of rich soil planted with green beans, zucchini and eggplant. It is nestled in a series of farmed valleys with hand-made stone terraces dotted with historic Roman ruins. Farming is done by traditional farming methods passed down for centuries.
IIPT Founder and President, Louis D’Amore announced today that the Town of Battir – “Palestine’s Paradise Valley” the “Tuscany of the Middle East” – will be declared an IIPT/ Skål Village of Peace.
The daily conflict that plagues the West Bank and Gaza seems far from this agricultural paradise. In a land burdened by war and heartbreak – Battir represents an “Oasis of Peace and Tranquility” – recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site as the result of a campaign spearheaded by both Palestinian and Israeli environmental organizations.
The Village of Battir proudly maintains a zero illiteracy rate thanks to a town elder (who pioneered for the first girls’ school to be built in 1951) while preserving their rich cultural heritage and welcoming spirit in the midst of their idyllic landscape.
Mr. Akram Bader, Mayor of Battir said “We are honored to be declared as an IIPT/Skål Village of Peace, and I look forward to participating in the IIPT World Symposium in South Africa on Sustainable and Peaceful Communities and Nations to spread our message of peace to other villages and towns throughout the world – particularly in areas of conflict.”
The International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) and Skål International, the world’s largest membership organization of travel and tourism professionals with 17,000 members in 400 Chapters in 87 countries have come together in launching the IIPT/Skål Cities, Towns and Villages of Peace initiative.
Each IIPT/Skål City, Town and Village of Peace is committed to actively promoting values of tolerance, non-violence, gender equality, human rights, youth empowerment, environmental awareness, and sustainable social and economic development. Collaboration between and among IIPT/Skål Cities, Towns and Villages of Peace is encouraged as well as information sharing regarding their respective peace programs and projects.
A special initiative, “IIPT/Skål Cities, Towns and Villages of Peace Across South Africa has been launched leading up to the IIPT World Symposium: Cultivating Sustainable and Peaceful Communities through Tourism, Culture and Sport being held at Emperors Palace, Ekurhuleni, South Africa – 16 to 19 February, 2015. A goal of 50 Peace Cities, Towns and Villages has been set symbolic of the 50th anniversary year of the African Union.
Cities, Towns and Villages in South Africa – or other regions of the world – interested in committing themselves to peace are invited to contact Louis D’Amore, email: [email protected] for more details.
The IIPT World Symposium will honor the legacies of the world’s three Champions of Peace and Non-Violent Resistance: Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. with the aim of affirming their legacies by building bridges of tourism, friendship and peace in regions throughout the world.
The Symposium, endorsed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, will also commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the African Union, 20 years of South African Democracy and 50th Anniversary of Civil Rights Legislation in the US.
For more information on the Symposium, please refer to the IIPT December newsletter: http://www.iipt.org/newsletter/2014/december.html – and Symposium website to register: http://www.iiptsymposium.com/
IIPT is dedicated to fostering and facilitating tourism initiatives that contribute to international understanding and cooperation, an improved quality of environment, the preservation of heritage, poverty reduction, and the resolution of conflict – and through these initiatives, help bring about a more peaceful and sustainable world. IIPT is dedicated to mobilizing travel and tourism, the world’s largest industry, as the world’s first “Global Peace Industry,” an industry that promotes and supports the belief that “Every traveler is potentially an Ambassador for Peace.”