Essay: How travel promotes peace

he winner of the 11th annual Conde Nast Traveler Essay contest was announced at the Caribbean Tourism Conference in St. Thomas. Karice Redhead from Trinidad & Tobago won a $2,000 scholarship for her essay on the theme, "How traveling to your country can help build a bridge to peace." The contest drew entries from students from more than 30 Caribbean nations. Here is her essay, abridged:

Trinidad & Tobago are twin islands in the Caribbean. These two little islands appear as just two dots on the map of the world. Nevertheless, they can demonstrate to the world how people love one another and live in peace and harmony.

We are a cosmopolitan country. The most dominant races are the Indians and Africans, but we also have some Chinese, Syrians, Portuguese, Whites and even some Caribs and Arawaks.

It is amazing to see how all these different races with different cultures combine together to live as one nation.

There are a lot of mixed marriages, particularly between the Indians and Africans. To a lesser extent there are intermarriages among the other races.

By the next century, it is expected that the majority of our people will be classified as "mixed race." This is a big lesson on loving one another and living in peace with one another.

People who travel to my country could also experience how we show respect and appreciation for the cultures of the different races. There are varied cultural festivals, such as the Hindu festival of Divali, the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Fitr and the Christian festival of Christmas.

Trinidadians and Tobagonians participate in the different celebrations even though they are of different cultures. We are proud to celebrate with them because we respect their right to practice their culture.

We do not live in a country where there is war, nor do we know what it is to experience internal fighting. This does not happen here. We must be doing something right.

Naturally, we have our share of negatives ... but compared to other countries ... our country is still a good place to live or visit. Visitors who come to our shores can feel our warmth, friendliness and hospitality. We are quick to share a joke and laugh and we love to share our sun, sea and sand with those who have and those who have not.

When visitors return to their homes, they are bound to say that Trinidad is, indeed, a paradise. The message that goes out with these visitors across the world is that we could do it, and others could do it, too. The way we live with our fellow men is our example and our contribution to building a "Bridge to Peace."

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