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Improved Awareness of Religious, Cultural and Human Dimensions in Support of Sustainable Development (September 2012 – August 2013)

Financed by Anna Lindh Foundation

The Project aims at promoting ecotourism as an area of convergence between the Euro-Mediterranean countries and people, which is identified and developed to certain extend by the partners and which assists better mutual understanding regarding the cultural dimensions of religious issues between and within predominantly Christian and Muslim societies, parallel to sustainable economic development. It is implemented in partnership with Küre Mountains Ecotourism Association (KED), Turkey and PAN Parks Foundation (PPF), Netherlands.

Specific objectives:
connect different organizations in an intercultural dialogue, encouraging exchange and participation in economic development;
develop the capacities of young people and women in doing business with partners from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds;
fostering cross-cultural teaching about religious issues in training for ecotourism services providers;
create powerful tools (training program, methodology and materials, electronic handbook) for promotion of knowledge on A) intercultural and inter-religious dialogue and B) Muslim diversity in Europe;
generate multiplying effects in countries from the Euro-Mediterranean region by creating spaces for exchange and interaction, acting as communication channel from the grassroots level to the decision makers.

Project activities:
Research and description of cultural traditions of the local communities around Kure Mountains (Turkey) and Rila and Central Balkan (Bulgaria) national parks as a base for sustainable tourism services development;
Development of training program and materials, and a Tourist Entrepreneurs Handbook with basic knowledge about the Christian and Muslim religions, beliefs, cultures, and values;
Organization of trainings for target groups in Bulgaria (preview presentation1, presentation2 and presentation3 from trainings);
Exchange visit for experts from Bulgaria to Turkey;
Study Tour for representatives of local communities from the region of Kure NP (Turkey) to Bulgaria;
Dissemination of Handbook (download in pdf here) and other outputs of the Project in Bulgaria, Turkey and all other countries with national parks in the PAN Parks’ network as well as in the SIETAR Europa network;
Media campaign in the PAN Parks and SIETAR Europa countries.