Hooray! Hostelling International has received an Ambassador for Peace Award for our work encouraging young people to travel in order to break down cultural barriers and promote peace.
We’re a non-profit organisation, with about 3,500 hostels within 85 countries, and we received the accolade from the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism on the Platinum Stage at the World Travel Market in London on Tuesday 5 November.
Our President Edith Arnoult-Brill, who collected the award from IIPT Founder and President, Louis D’Amore, said HI’s mission was to help young people learn about other cultures through travelling: “In contemporary societies, we need to improve the awareness of the younger generation that it is the respect and the understanding of cultural diversity, and the differences between people around the world that leads to a sustainable culture of peace.”
Based in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, we runs initiatives all over the world to promote peace – from innovative social media campaigns to grassroot volunteer programmes.
- This year HI organised the biggest ever blogging contest. The Big Blog Exchange saw more than 1,170 entries from 72 countries and 16 finalists swapping lives and blogs. Blogger Audur, from Iceland went to Israel, and wrote: “Israel surprised me… It reminded me that you can enjoy the company of people you don’t agree with and how much you can learn from listening to their reasons and thoughts.”
- More than 350 volunteers have taken part in a volunteer scheme in Bolivia over the past six years. Young people from Europe, the USA and Canada have supported rural villages in many ways – from construction of buildings to running music workshops.
- Each year, young people from Egypt, France, Germany, Lebanon, Tunisia and the United States gather for HI’s IOU Respect international exchange programme. Through a series of engaging, fun, and challenging workshops, the two-week project bridges cultural divides and increases understanding and respect in its participants.
- In the USA, HI ran Sleep For Peace – a project where HI donated $1 for every stay on International Peace Day to a fund to help underprivileged young people experience the joy of travelling and meeting new people.
- Every year the South Korea volunteer progamme sees 10 international and 10 Korean volunteers learning about Seoul and about each other’s culture to promote global understanding over four weeks.
- HI Korea hosted the 38th World Youth Rally also, welcoming young people, aged 16 to 30, from China, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Egypt and Tunisia. The 231 participants shared ideas on the theme ‘Clean Earth. Global Culture’.
Our hostels range from a converted plane in Stockholm to a Gothic castle in Germany, an Amazonian rainforest retreat and a Brazilian hostel with its own DJ pumping music into bedrooms. Check them all out now and say HI to the real hostelling experience.