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International Institute for Peace Through Tourism Croatia marks 2nd anniversary

International Institute for Peace Through Tourism Croatia marks 2nd anniversary ( ZAGRED – This month, IIPT Croatia marks its 2nd anniversary. Highlights of the past IIPT Croatia year included Cycling for Peace.

Here, we look back over the past two years which started with the official announcement of the Croatian chapter to be formed in November 2012 with its inaugural session followed by a reception.

At this very special occasion, IIPT President and Founder Louis D’Amore joined in via video link from Vermont, USA, while Sneshka Richter, IIPT Director for Events and Development and Founder of IIPT Croatia, called upon not only representatives of institutions and organizations of importance to the IIPT within the tourism industry, but also individuals from different walks of life, with a clear message that it does not matter in which field we operate; it is important that we can join forces towards common positive goals.

With their arrival support IIPT-and came to express Professor Velimir Srica, Milo Srsen of the Croatian Tourist Board, Blanka Belosevic from the Ministry of Tourism, Ludwig Bauer – a leading Croatian Writer, Editor and Translator, President of the Book Boat - Boat of Culture - former IIPT Ambassador for Cultural Tourism and Peace - Igor Gerencer, Vlatka Pokos – Singer, Presenter and TV personality, Stephan Lupino – internationally acclaimed Photographer, Sculptor and Painter, Professor and Curator of the Zagreb Diocese Museum Tomica Plukavec and many others. Dubravka Saric, now former Director of FE Lindjo, joined in via official greeting message on behalf of the first organization as IIPT Ambassador of Peace in the world.

On this occasion, Professor Velimir Srica and Vlatka Pokos were appointed Honorary Members, while the whole event was held at, and supported by, the VIP Club of Gradska Kavana and Manager Zdenko Posavec.

The IIPT had arrived in Croatia in early 2011 and the work of Sneshka Richter was soon recognized having gained very quickly support and recognition by the President of Croatia, Ivo Josipovic.

Work towards a future IIPT conference in Croatia, as discussed and supported by IIPT President Louis D’Amore and Dr. Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary General, has led to the development of a strong network and wider recognition of IIPT ideas in Croatia and more recently, in the region.

Early February 2012 brought us to forming our first important alliance in Croatia, when IIPT and FE Lindjo signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Dubrovnik. A friendship and positive cooperation between the IIPT and FE Lindjo was conceived at the 1st UNWTO International Conference on Tourism and the Media, held mid-September 2011 in Zagreb, Croatia, when the then Director of FE Lindjo Dubravka Saric and Sneshka Richter, attending the conference with Louis D’Amore, first met. As a result, FE Lindjo became the first organization named IIPT Ambassador of Peace.

Summer 2012 brought us to another partnership and co-operation with the Book Boat – Boat of Culture. Following initial contact from Igor Gerencer, President of The Book Boat, introducing the Book Boat project to Sneshka Richter, a Memorandum of Understanding soon followed. It was signed late August 2012 in Krk by himself and Sneshka Richter on behalf of the IIPT, in the presence of members of the media and representatives of regional tourism, renowned Croatian and Slovenian writers and authors, guests of the Book Boat.

On this occasion, The Book Boat was named IIPT Ambassador for Cultural Tourism and Peace, which is a title it held until late 2013.

IIPT President Louis D’Amore joined via video link, while Sneshka Richter also remained on board as guest for the first week of the tour, which proved to be a fruitful time, since the Book Boat developed its activity for 2013 influenced at this time by a small pilot educational workshop arranged between Sneshka Richter and a Sibenik kindergarten with the theme – Your Vision of the Book Boat: made from recycled materials – created by the children and displayed on the Sibenik promenade by the Boat, as well as suggestions to promote recycling, sustainability and environmental protection. The press conference was sponsored by MasterCard and PZ Gospoja from Vrbnik.

2013 brought us to another active summer: Founder of IIPT Croatia joined the Book Boat to promote our partnership and support their project, but this was also the summer of our 1st Cycling for Peace project “25 Cities for 25 Years of IIPT”, undertaken by friend of IIPT Croatia, Professor Tomica Plukavec, Secretary of the Department of Culture of the Zagreb Diocese and Diocesan Museum Curator, in honor of 25th Anniversary of the 1st IIPT global conference.

He travelled 1650 km starting in Zagreb. A greeting by Rudolf Rubcic in Rakovica for a refreshment break prior to continuing his journey was most welcome. He continued south to reach Zadar then travel via Ancona and Venice, completing his journey at Sv. Filip i Jakov, in time for the departure of the Book Boat, which was about to start its journey promoting love of reading and cultural exchange, handing over the dedicated IIPT anniversary flag to the President and Founder of IIPT Croatia, Sneshka Richter. As announced by Igor Gerencer earlier in the year, the Book Boat was to travel this year under the flag of Peace. We fulfilled that promise.

Professor Plukavec commented on his journey: “Cycling is my passion and supporting a good cause has made it even more worthwhile. This year was a trial run and there was a really positive response along the journey. I am sure we will do even better next year.” And so he did!

Numerous words of support had arrived from Croatia and abroad, alighting his way for the tour of 2014.
In the meantime, we have gained valuable support by Photographer Damir Kovacic, who has donated his beautiful images to our new website which we are developing with the generous help of a talented British web designer who wishes to remain anonymous.

At the end of this year, we have parted ways with the Book Boat, our former Ambassador of Cultural Tourism and Peace. We are very pleased that the objectives of the IIPT have impacted positively on the Book Boat’s program considering their environmental theme in 2013 and we wish them all the best in the future.

2014 saw the continuation of cycling activity. In May, Professor Plukavec has represented the IIPT and IIPT Croatia in the international cycling event “Marija Zvijezda” leading one of seven groups cycling the route from Croatia to Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina where the Prayer for Peace was held by all taking part.

IIPT Croatia supported this event for its special message of peaceful coexistence between different nations and religions in the region and highlighting the peace message of Pope John Paul II, as this event was dedicated to his honor, while organized by Drina Cavar, President of the not for profit organization Kristov Stol.

The highlight of the year was again delivered by our cycling hero, Professor Plukavec, who undertook an even more ambitious project this year: cycling 1893 km starting in Zagreb and travelling via Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Italy to finish in Croatia again, at the city of Zadar, in support of this year’s IIPT theme: “No More War!” marking the centenary of WWI.

In Sarajevo, he was welcomed by Advisor to the Mayor, Professor Dr. Sahrudin Sarajcic on behalf of the City and the Mayor.

Local friends of the IIPT kept him company before continuing his journey. Thank you, Sarajevo!

We offer special thanks to Miss Nina Marjanovic from Mostar, who provided logistical assistance on part of his journey through Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In Dubrovnik, Tomica received an especially warm welcome and gifts from our friends at FE Lindjo led by their new Director Josipa Pavlovic – Tabak, as well as President of Skal Club Dubrovnik, Mirjana Kovacevic and Hrvoje Ljubimir, Owner of agency Adria Congress. Tomica had the opportunity to attend a beautiful performance by members of FE Lindjo at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and was welcomed by Restaurant Mimosa for a relaxing dinner.

Special thanks to all our IIPT friends in Dubrovnik, especially to Hrvoje Ljubimir, who helped with all the arrangements.

The journey continued through Montenegro to reach the ferry from Bar to Bari in Italy, and it looked a little bit like this:

Once in Italy, Professor Plukavec turned south to visit Cisternino, honoring the President and Founder of IIPT, Louis D’Amore, whose family roots lie in Cisternino. Here, he met with the Mayor of Cisternino and Louis’ cousin Michele. They did communicate via interpreter, but as Tomica reported, it all went very well.

After departing Cisternino, Professor Plukavec travelled North bound visiting a number of towns and cities including Padova and San Giovanni Rotonda, prior to reaching Ancona to take a restful journey to Zadar in Croatia where he completed his journey and took a deserved rest before continuing home to Zagreb.

For his outstanding performance and dedication to the cause of IIPT and IIPT Croatia, Professor Tomislav Plukavec has been appointed Ambassador of IIPT Croatia.

Special thanks also go to Professor Velimir Srica for his continuing support and advice, as well as all others who have made it possible for IIPT Croatia to exist.

IIPT Croatia is continuing to work on the Cycling for Peace program, as well as a new educational programme in terms of grass root education for children concerning environmental protection and understanding of foreign cultures, while working on development of positive connections with other organizations in and outside Croatia to support propagation of the idea of Peace.

We hope to see a further development in 2015 in terms of poverty reduction and sustainable development in under-developed regions of Croatia, especially supporting children, while promoting Croatian offerings of cultural heritage and natural beauty to the world of tourism, sustainably. We also very much look forward to continuously developing our cooperation with our Ambassador for Peace, FE Lindjo, and taking it to a new level, as well as forming new alliances and opening up IIPT Croatia for new international projects.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sneshka Richter, President and Founder, IIPT Hrvatska, Direktor, Events and Development, IIPT, +44 7554 756 062,

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