Elizabeth, aged 15

From my point of view, my father is the personality I think of when it comes to Peace. This is because being an hotelier; he has to be capable of interacting with colleagues and guests who come from very diverse and completely different cultures in the world. Therefore my father is a big promoter of travel and the learning benefit it brings to people.

Although my father lives and works in Geneva, he has 25 to 30 hotels in which he has to interact with. Their locations range from western, central and eastern Europe; in addition he also works with businesses based in the Middle East, Africa and the Indian Ocean. Within each of these hotels, there are highly diverse collections of professional colleagues who serve very cosmopolitan clients from all over the world.

Sometimes I am so fortunate to be able to travel with him to some of these destinations. Watching him interact with the interesting and various groups of people is one of my favorite pass times and I wonder looking at him, what brings all these people to understand and respect each other and put aside nationalities?

I asked my father a question: after all the conflict, corruption and violence between many of the nationalities you work with, how can they all get along and respect each other for who they are? With a knowing smile he replies, travel.

My father passionately explained to me that through travel, experiencing and observing various cultures from different parts of the world will broaden an individual’s perspective and increase their awareness of what is actually taking place within a given country. Hearing through the media about a country is not the same as actually walking their roads and eating their food because the opinions may twist information that does not provide an accurate description of the situation within a country. One needs to step into the shoes of the native people and see the world from where they are standing.

Therefore, any pre judgment caused by news media and the opinions of others practically vanishes. My father believes travel is one of the major remedies for fear, ignorance and anger, the three main factors that lead to violence and conflict. Frankly thinking about it, I agree. Everyone within the hotel and travel community, whether they are guests or employees, learn to respect one another for who they are as human beings as opposed to their nationality.

People in general should start traveling more often and they should see and experience diverse cultures of the world, learn and discover something that maybe they had never seen or thought of before.

As people of all nationalities visit various countries; for example, a Frenchman visiting Germany, an American having a meeting with a Russian in Moscow, or a Palestinian having lunch with an Israeli in Tel Aviv; people gain a greater, broader understanding and appreciation for each other. As this knowledge grows, the urge and need for conflict diminishes.

My father, I look up to so much. He has accomplished a great deal and a lot of this is due to his traveling around the world, learning and gaining experiences, passing some of it down to me, which I hope will continue for many years to come. He has inspired me to continue discovering the truth through thoughtful travel experiences.

About UN News Geneva

Sharing entires to the United Nations Peace Essay competitions run by the Information Service in Geneva in 2011
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