A Multilateral University Consortium to Strengthen Tourism Education,
Research & Industry Outreach:
University of Florida, USA
Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey
Armenian State University of Economics, Armenia
Tourism has been espoused by tourism academics, the United Nations (UN) and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as an influential ambassador to champion cultural understanding, respect, goodwill and peace among different cultures and nations. In fact, the ultimate endorsement was offered by Mahatma Gandhi who described travel as 'the language of peace.'
The prospect of promoting cultural understanding, mutual respect and peace via travel and tourism is an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen cross-border relations in regions such as the Caucasus, particularly between Turkey and Armenia whose relations have been strained by a number of historical and political issues.
Tourism projects and partnerships between Turkey and Armenia can facilitate the normalization of relations between the two nations. This tourism project, funded by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, aims at collaboration between tourism academia and practitioners in both countries along with a U.S. institutional partner to research, educate, build and strengthen capacity within the context of sustainable regional tourism development. To that end, a Multilateral University Consortium to Strengthen Tourism Education, Research and Industry Outreach was formulated and branded as the American, Turkish, and Armenian Fellows (ATA Fellows). ATA Fellows are energized with Eleanor Roosevelt's philosophy:
"It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it.
And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it."