UNWTO Secretary General endorses Hostelling International USA’s Sleep for Peace

United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary General Taleb Rafai has released a video endorsing Sleep for Peace, an annual celebration of the peace-building benefits of travel hosted by Hostelling International USA. Sleep for Peace is held the week of September 21 to coincide with the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, and this year HI USA hostels around the country will host a variety of events and activities aimed at creating a more peaceful world through travel.

In the video, Rafai talks about tourism as the world’s first global peace industry, and how travel can help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2017. “My dear friends, every traveler holds the potential to build peace in this light, and to celebrate the International Day of Peace…. The UNWTO is supporting, very strongly, the Sleep for Peace initiative, which Hostelling International has promoted since 2013,” Rafai said during his message.

Each year, more than 50 HI USA hostels host thousands of travelers from all over the world, bringing them together in conversation and friendship and facilitating new perspectives on global issues and world cultures. During Sleep for Peace week, hostel activities highlight this year-round mission that’s critically important in the current global climate.

Examples of 2017 Sleep for Peace events include:

HI New York City: One of the many activities during the week is a facilitated dialogue with visitors from North and South Korea, who will teach visitors how to make bibimbap and discuss its cultural relevance.

HI San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf: The hostel will be hosting an interactive art event where guests are invited to participate in making peace flags and screen documentary film “Before the Flood”, featuring UN Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio.

HI Boston: Non-profit organizations around Boston will gather at the hostel for a Peace Panel discussion moderated by President and CEO of World Boston.

HI Point Reyes: The coastside hostel will be hosting Yoga for Peace on the beach and a Solace Meditative Music hour, where participants will share in chants, hymns, and songs from various spiritual traditions.

“HI USA is proud to have this program, which not only highlights the work we strive to do on a daily basis, but also fits in with the UNWTO’s goals to build a better future for people around the world,” said HI USA CEO Russ Hedge.

“Our hostels have always aimed to spark conversations among diverse travelers and help build friendships across borders, and we are excited to help this message reach a global audience.”

In addition to the special programming, HI USA hostels will also be shining blue lights in honor of the international color of peace.