Batavia, NY- Paula Savage, a Batavia resident and a 1976 graduate of Genesee Community College’s Tourism and Hospitality program, recently returned from Mexico where she participated in the dedication of another International Peace Garden. Located at the Vallarta Botanical Garden in the Pacific coastal town of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, this newest International Peace Garden was nominated because of its substantial contributions to the United Nations including peaceful settlement of disputes, the struggle against apartheid, promotion of disarmament and efforts to halt the global problem of climate change. Puerto Vallarta is known as a leader in respecting diversity of cultures and human rights.
“It was a unanimous decision to select the Vallarta Botanical Garden to convey the message of world peace believing the Botanical Garden of Vallarta is a place of calm, comfort and healing of body, mind and spirit,” Savage, International Peace Garden Foundation founder and president said.
Inclusion and unification was the message of the day on February 16, 2017. During the dedication ceremonies, several representatives from the interfaith community addressed the audience with wide praise for the mission of the International Peace Garden Foundation. The new International Peace Garden adorns the slope that rises towards the entrance of the recently constructed chapel of multiple doctrines. The chapel is a replica of the well-known Franciscan mission in San Juan Capistrano. The plants, together with Mexican wildflowers, represent the Mediterranean region of the Holy Land, a geographical region that gave birth to some of the most prolific religions in the world.
“The intention is to cultivate them harmoniously,” Bob Price, curator of the Vallarta Botanical Garden said. “To create a sanctuary for prayer and meditation without disturbance.”
The International Peace Garden Foundation is a charitable organization established to advance global friendship through the creation of worldwide Peace Gardens. Savage initiated the first Peace Garden in 1990 while representing the Canadian capital of Ottawa in the Tourism and Hospitality industry. Back then, she orchestrated the gift of 4,000 tulip bulbs from Canada to the United States, and worked with the National Park Service in Washington, D.C. to create the first International Peace Garden, which honors the International Boundary as the longest undefended border in the world.
Since 1990, Peace Gardens now span five continents in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. Residents and visitors to Genesee County have enjoyed the Batavia International Peace Garden since it opened in 2011, celebrating 200 years of friendship with Canada. The Batavia Peace Garden flies the flags of all the recipient countries and is registered as an Honorary International Peace Garden. There are numerous Honorary International Peace Gardens across New York State including one at Genesee Community College’s Batavia Campus. There are two in the Rochester area (Charlotte Genesee Light House and Granger Homestead & Carriage Museum), and seven in the Greater Niagara region (Olmsted Front Park, Buffalo Botanical Gardens, Buffalo History Museum, Hull House, Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village, Niagara Falls Public Library and Historic Lewiston Courtyard). The overall Bicentennial Peace Garden Trail spans 400 miles and can be reviewed at www.peacegardentrail.com. Savage continues to serve as president of the IPGF. For further information go to http://ipgf.org/.
Savage’s long-running affiliation with GCC dates back to the College’s early years, when she was among the first students to enroll in the Tourism and Hospitality program. She has continued her relationship with her alma mater by serving on the Advisory Committee for Tourism and Hospitality. She also serves on the selection committee for the Alumni Hall of Fame, and was among the first graduates to be inducted into the Hall in 2007.
“We are so proud of our Tourism and Hospitality program and alumni, but Paula has long been an great inspiration to all of us,” Amy Slusser, professor of the Tourism and Hospitality Management.
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For photos from the 2017 International Peace Garden dedication ceremony, go to: