UN Tourism Session on Opening eyes and building contact

UN Tourism Session on Opening eyes and building contact: Tourism connecting people and its role in building intercultural dialogue

Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan
UN Tourism


Tourism, often highlighted for its role in economic development, also plays a significant role in fostering peace. On a global level, where nations are interconnected and interdependent, Tourism, an industry made by people and for people, emerges as a compelling and dynamic force to defy stereotypes and challenge prejudices.

According to UN Tourism data, international tourist arrivals worldwide has reached 1286 million in 2023, recovering 88% of pre-pandemic levels. This number is expected to witness a 2% growth above 2019 level in international tourist arrivals.

This sector can be perceived as the epitome of intercultural dialogue; it allows meeting the "other", learning about different cultures, hearing foreign languages, tasting exotic flavours, bonding with other human beings, and building tolerance. In essence, it is a mind-broadening educational and spiritual experience.

Guided by the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, particularly Article 1 focusing on tourism's contribution to mutual understanding and respect between peoples and societies, this UN Tourism special session aims to explore the role of tourism in broadening perspectives and fostering connections between tourists and local communities.


The session seeks to integrate both theoretical and practical dimensions of tourism's significant influence on peacebuilding through human interactions. Its objective is to shed light on the need to appreciate diversity, and a myriad of lifestyles, faiths, and cultures practiced by people across the globe, when we travel.

By stimulating discussions on the conditions under which sustainable tourism can contribute to enhancing mutual understanding and promoting peace in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (GCET).

The featured multisectoral examples will provide an overview of the concept of tourism as a catalyst for peace and showcase various good practices from Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Colombia, and Rwanda. With a specific focus on bottom-up initiatives led by private stakeholders, civil society, and international organizations, the interactive one-and-a-half-hour panel discussion will draw particular attention to how the featured examples were originally set up, the key enablers of their success, as well as the challenges and lessons learned.

UN Tourism
Zoritsa Urosevic
Zoritsa Urosevic
Executive Director, UN Tourism

With a tenure at the UN Tourism that began in 2006, Zoritsa Urosevic initially served as the Executive Secretary of the Business Council. Throughout her career, she has consistently demonstrated exceptional leadership and expertise in positioning tourism within the development cooperation, climate and trade agendas.

Since 2010, Zoritsa Urosevic has played a pivotal role in strengthening the institutional framework of UN Tourism. Her visionary approach and strategic initiatives have resulted in the inclusion of UN Tourism on the prestigious OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list. This recognition designates UN Tourism as a recipient organization for Official Development Assistance (ODA), amplifying its influence and unlocking resources in supporting sustainable development projects worldwide.

One of the most notable achievements is her instrumental role in shaping the UN Rio+20 outcome document titled "The Future We Want" which acknowledges UN Tourism's contributions within this influential document, paving the way to feature tourism in thtee SDGs, and cementing the organization's position as a global leader in sustainable tourism.

From 2015 onwards, Ms. Urosevic served as UN Tourism Special Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, showcasing her exceptional expertise and dedication to the field. She has consistently provided invaluable policy advice, shaping external relations, strategic partnerships, and innovative financing within the Secretariat. Urosevic's profound understanding of global dynamics through her seamless integration of the transformative 2030 Agenda and the UN Reform into UN Tourism's strategic initiatives, elevating the organization's impact and effectiveness for people, planet and prosperity. Her commitment to excellence has earned her a key position as a member of the United Nations Chief Executive Board's High-Level Committee, where she continues to contribute her visionary insights and invaluable guidance to shape the future of global international cooperation and development.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, she has played a pivotal role in providing tireless support to the Secretariat leadership. Her invaluable contributions encompass strategic policy advice and economic diplomacy aimed at facilitating the recovery and resilience of both nations and the tourism sector. Through her visionary approach she has successfully positioned tourism at the forefront of global cooperation efforts, revitalized multilateral approaches that are inclusive, interconnected, and highly efficient, thereby unlocking the full potential of the tourism while paving the way for a future characterized by sustainable growth, resilience, and prosperity.

From 1993 to 2004, Urosevic worked in the Seychelles, where she made significant contributions to the Ministries of Industry and Tourism and Transport. During this period, she held the positions of Economist and Director of International Cooperation, overseeing regional and global initiatives. Urosevic's remarkable achievements include her instrumental role for the establishment of the first-ever UN Tourism Programme for Africa. Her persuasive skills led to the approval of this ground-breaking initiative by UN Tourism Member States, ensuring its implementation and impact for a decade.

Overall, Urosevic's extensive background in economics, international trade and cooperation, and strategic leadership, coupled with her successful track record in driving positive change in the tourism sector, make her a highly accomplished and respected professional in her field.

Urosevic embarked on her career as the Export Director for Groupe SOGEXPORT, a prominent subsidiary of Banque Société Générale, based in Paris, France. Her tenure at this esteemed organization allowed her to showcase her exceptional business acumen and strategic prowess in the field of international trade.

Before taking on her role as Export Director, Urosevic pursued her academic journey in Psychology from the prestigious University Louis Pasteur. Building upon her foundational knowledge, she further honed her skills by completing a Master of Science in Business Management in Strasbourg.

Hailing from Belgrade, Urosevic possesses the unique distinction of being a dual citizen of France and the Seychelles, which has enriched her cultural perspective and global outlook. Her multicultural background has undoubtedly contributed to her ability to navigate diverse environments and foster fruitful collaborations on an international scale. Her linguistic repertoire includes French, English, German, Spanish, Serbian, and Seychellois - instrumental in facilitating effective communication and forging meaningful connections with individuals from various cultural backgrounds.

Urosevic's dedication and tireless efforts have undoubtedly propelled UN Tourism to new heights. Through her strategic foresight and unwavering commitment to sustainable development, she continues to shape the future of global tourism and contribute to a better world for all. Urosevic has been appointed as UN Tourism Executive Director in October 2021, being the first women holding such a high position in the Organization.

UN Tourism
Fuad Naghiyev
Fuad Naghiyev
Chairman of the State Tourism Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Fuad Humbat oghlu Naghiyev is the Chairman of the State Tourism Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Fuad Naghiyev was born on 22 July 1975 in Baku. In 1992–1997 he studied at the Faculty of Law of Baku State University. He continued his education as a graduate student of the Institute of Philosophy and Law of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences in 1997–2000. He studied at the Council of Europe's Human Rights and Practice Program at the University of Birmingham, England, from September to November 1998.

In 2004–2006 F. Naghiyev headed one of the business aviation services of Heydar Aliyev International Airport, in 2006–2009 he was the director of Pasha Inshaat LLC, and in 2007–2009 he was the general director of "Bakı Dəmir-Beton–8" OJSC.

In 2010–2014, he worked as a senior consultant in the legal sector of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan and was awarded the degree of "2nd degree civil servant". From 2014 to 2017, he worked as an assistant minister with the degree of "1st degree civil servant". From 6 February 2017 to 23 April 2018 he was the director of the National Tourism Promotion Bureau. According to the decree signed by President Ilham Aliyev on 20 April 2018, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the State Tourism Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan were established on the basis of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

According to the order of the President of Azerbaijan, Fuad Humbat oglu Naghiyev has been appointed the Chairman of the State Tourism Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Since April 2018 Mr. Naghiyev is the Chairman of the State Tourism Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan and since January 2022, is the President of the Azerbaijan Winter Sports Federation.


UN Tourism
Jafar Jafari
Jafar Jafari
Founding Editor, Annals of Tourism Research

Jafar Jafari is Founding Editor, Annals of Tourism Research; Chief Editor, Tourism Social Science Series; Co-editor, Bridging Tourism Theory and Practice; Co-editor, Encyclopedia of Tourism; Co-Founding Editor, Information Technology & Tourism; Co-Founder, TRINET; Founding President of International Academy for the Study of Tourism; and Tourism Intelligence Forum. A cultural anthropologist (PhD, University of Minnesota, USA), with BA (English, University of Isfahan, Iran) and BS and MS (hotel and tourism management, Cornell University, USA), he is the recipient of the 2005 UN Tourism Ulysses Prize, with Honorary Doctorates from Universitat de les Illes Balears (Spain), Universidade do Algarve (Portugal), and Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain), Lifetime Honorary Professorship of Bundelkhand University (India), Visiting Professor of the University of Isfahan (Iran), Sun Yat-sen University (China), Special Advisor to UN Tourism Secretary General, and Professor Emeritus of University of Wisconsin-Stout (USA).


UN Tourism
Rosette Chantal Rugamba
Rosette Chantal Rugamba
Founding and Managing Director of Songa Africa

Rosette Chantal Rugamba, is an accomplished business and thought process leader, with demonstratable experience and passion in promoting Africa's tourism and cultural heritage. Rosette is the Founder and Managing Director of Songa Africa and Amakoro Songa Lodge. She is an Aspen Global leadership Network Fellow, who has advised and led key global, public, and private entities in the leisure and hospitality industry. Firstly, as a special advisor to the Former Secretary General of the UN Tourism, Former member of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics and subsequently in other advisory roles on the boards such as the Global Tourism Board of Airbnb, Equity Bank, Trade Mark East Africa, African Parks Network, President of Tourism Women Chamber. Rosette is currently serving on the Board of Women in Environment and is an International Board Trustee of (WWF)World Wildlife Fund International.

Rosette's previous roles in the travel and tourism industry, spans over twenty-nine years, first with Euro Star in the United Kingdom, and then as Sales and Marketing Manager for British Airways – Uganda and Central Africa, before returning to her native Rwanda to spearhead the revitalization of the Tourism Industry. As the Director General of Rwanda Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN) and later as Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB)in charge of Tourism, Rosette helped to revamp tourism as a key economic driver for Rwanda in the post 1994 Tutsi Genocide period.

Rosette is passionate about mentoring young girls, and supporting local communities. She is also an ardent gardener. Rosette holds a Bachelor of Arts (Social Sciences) Degree, majoring in Political Science -International Law and International Relations. Rosette also studied Strategic Marketing in UK and is the author of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)'s Sustainable Tourism Strategic Framework-A Basis for Development of a Regional Tourism Strategy and Policy.

UN Tourism
Daniela Otero
Daniela Otero
Interim Chair of the
World Committee on Tourism Ethics

Daniela Otero, is an expert in designing innovative strategies to guide companies and organisations in their transformation and performance improvement. For the past 20 years, she has been dedicated to guiding companies and organisations in the design of new strategies incorporating ethical and sustainability principles and demonstrating that investing to improve environmental, social and governance factors builds more robust companies and organisations with greater potential and even improves economic results.

She was CEO of Skål International between 2016 and 2022, the world's largest network of tourism professionals with a global presence in 100 countries. She has been a member of the Board of the Affiliate Members of the UN Tourism, representing the private sector from 2019 to 2021.

She has been an active member of the Technical Committee of the Iberoamerican Network of Biosphere Sustainable Destinations for many years and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Responsible Tourism Institute. She currently serves as Interim Chair of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics.

UN Tourism
Miguel Carvajal
Miguel Carvajal
Co-founder & General Director, Get up and Go Colombia

Miguel Angel Carvajal Palacios is an engineer, social entrepreneur, and English teacher with over 10 years of experience in the non-profit sector.

Miguel Angel was born in Cauca, one of the regions most affected by the armed conflict in his country, Colombia. This reality led him to dedicate his life to building peace in his region, creating and providing opportunities for the communities most affected by the conflict through sustainable tourism, culture, and language education.

In 2016, he co-founded an NGO called Get Up and Go Colombia, which has positively impacted more than 25,000 people in the last 8 years. Additionally, Miguel wrote a book on how to teach English in an easy way, and through this, he has trained over 1,000 people in his community and rural areas.

Miguel Angel firmly believes that connecting people from around the world through tourism and intercultural dialogue is a great way to positively transform territories, communities, and individuals..

UN Tourism
Lucy Garner
Senior Expert, Youth and Talent Development, UN Tourism

Since 2019, Lucy is leading the Youth and Talent Development programme at UN Tourism through which the Organization aims to work with and for young people by providing them with a platform to empower youth towards their future as Tourism Leaders and that fosters youth-to-youth collaboration, learning, and increases the visibility of Youth's ideas and solutions to make the Tourism sector a more responsible, innovative and accessible tourism sector.

Lucy's experience comes from over 15 years implementing Human Capital development initiatives for the public and private sector through the programmes developed at UN Tourism Academy, executing arm of UN Tourism in the field of Tourism Education and training.

Her first steps in the Tourism sector, after studying a business management degree, were taken by occupying several Managerial roles in the hospitality business in the Principality of Andorra.

UN Tourism
Jasmin Ademović
Chairman, Sarajevo City Council

Jasmin Ademović belongs to the group of young leaders and politicians in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is currently completing the Interdisciplinary Doctoral - Program in Social Sciences, and before that he graduated from the Grenoble Ecole de Management 2015 – 2017. He also demonstrated his commitment to quality education and training when he completed a Master's Degree in International Business at Harvard Extension School in the period from 2015 to 2016, and just before that at Austin Peay State University in the period from 2010 to 2014 (Bachelor's Degree Business Administration and Management). He built up his many years of experience in managerial affairs as a Project Manager/Consultant of the Tennis Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Marketing Manager EYOF 2019 - European Youth Olympic Festival 2019 (EOC) and Club Manager/Tennis Coach APSU Tennis Academy Clarksville, United States of America (USA).

He has held the position of Chairman of the City Council since May 2021, and during his mandate, which is still ongoing, the City Council adopted a large number of very important acts, strategies and decisions, many of which relate to the rich cultural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its capital city of Sarajevo and its preservation. The promotion of multicultural Sarajevo as well as tourism experienced great progress for the duration of this mandate and positioned Sarajevo as one of the leaders in the region.

He can also boast of a large number of medals in his career, and among his greatest successes are: multiple state champion of Bosnia and Herzegovina in tennis Member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team in tennis, student - player (Student/athlete Tennis) scholarship recipient of Austin Peay State University 12/2003 – 12/2010 12/2003 – 12/2010, NCAA Division 1 Tennis Team Captain and MVP (Best Player), OVC Conference won April,2013 Clarksville Tennessee, 08/2010 – 06/2014.