Ixtapa-Zihuantanejo became the first city in Mexico and the world to launch the Amigo de la Paz Peace and Sustainable Tourism Program. The Amigo de la Paz Tourism Program is designed to recognize cities, companies, and civic organizations that support ecology, a sustainable environment, quality education, enhancement of cultural heritage, and other UN Sustainable Development goals. Hotels, restaurants, schools and businesses have signed up to participate in this groundbreaking campaign to spread peace through tourism highlighting the message Que La Paz Prevalezca en La Tierra – May Peace Prevail On Earth.
Patricia Ann Talley who is developer and international director of the program activated dozens of communities in the area to raise awareness of global peace, harmony and compassion. Friends and supporters from around the U.S. flew to Mexico to witness the launch of this inspiring program
The weeklong Amigos de la Paz Art, Culture, Peace and Tourism Festival, started with festivities in the town of Zihuantanejo on 16 February around a monumental Peace Pole which was crafted by local artisans and unveiled in 2010. The opening festival program was attended by local scout groups, international guests, cowboys from the area on horseback, community leaders and representatives from the local indigenous nations who blessed the event with ceremonial offerings and prayers. Honorary local speakers included, Patricia Ann Talley, developer of the Peace Tourism Program, Gabriella Pasqual, Art & Culture of Zihuantanejo, Wendy Carbajal Sotelo of the Zihuantanejo Peace Community among other local and state officials .
After the scouts presented a spirited World Peace Flag Ceremony around the Peace Pole, they led us in a Peace March through the city of Zihuantanejo to the municipal basketball court where a large group of local supporters waited to witness the Amigos de la Paz Sustainable Peace Tourism Award Ceremony. Awards were handed to individuals and organizations in several categories serving the community.
The 17th of February started with Yoga for Peace on the Beach led by Master Charles Kim of the Peace School in Chicago followed by several Peace Pole dedications. The first Peace Poles was sponsored by Mexico’s National Trust Fund for Tourism Development (FONATUR) in the center of Ixtapa’s commercial district. The unveiling was witnessed by youth and community leaders alike. After the World Peace Flag Ceremony took place around the artistically crafted Peace Pole, handprints of all the youth who were present were imprinted upon the cement at the base of the Peace Pole. The second Peace Pole was then dedicated at Villas Paraiso Ixtapa becoming the first restaurant to plant an Amigos de La Paz Peace Pole.
A Peace and Tourism Conference took place late in the afternoon at Las Brisas Hotel to address a group of hotel executives who were keen to learn about the exciting possibilities of promoting peace tourism in their city. Speakers included Fumi Johns Stewart, executive director of May Peace Prevail On Earth International, Deborah Moldow, United Nations representative for MPPOE Int retired, Dr. Talia Weltman from the Department of Ethnic Studies, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. Patricia Ann Talley, who developed the Amigo de la Paz program spoke about business strategies and explained the 3 criteria of joining the Amigo de la Paz movement which are:
1) Plant a Peace Pole
2) Celebrate the International Day of Peace
3) Empower Youth
After the Conference at Las Brisas Hotel, another Amigo de la Paz Peace Pole was dedicated in the main lobby becoming the first Peace Pole planted at a hotel in honor of the program.
On the 18th, the final Peace Pole was planted during a morning assembly of students at the Instituto Lizardi which became the first Amigo de la Paz school to plant a Peace Pole on campus. The students were so proud of their creatively hand crafted and colorful Peace Pole.
As a finale to the remarkable activities, the group was invited to commune and celebrate with students of the Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, a university dedicated to teaching Tourism. The students entertained us with traditional songs, dance, much joy and laughter.
The Amigo de la Paz program was launched with tremendous enthusiasm with much passion and momentum to spread the initiative to other cities throughout Mexico and from there out to the world with an important and timely message of peace, May Peace Prevail On Earth.
May Peace Prevail In Mexico
May Peace Prevail On Earth