Existing contacts between the Natural Park Region and the Sultanate of Oman will be further developed. The initiator of the cooperation, Mr. Henning Schwarze, of the World Habitat Society (WHS), is confident that bilateral ties between Oman and Germany will be intensified. This can be highly beneficial for the partners in the Teutoburg Forest as well as the partners in the Arabian Peninsula. The WHS works in Oman since several years on diverse projects, such as, for example, the establishment of a GPS-adventure-park. This has already been realised as a pilot project in the Nature Park Teutoburg Forest. UNESCO lauded this project as an example of sustainable environmental education. This new initiative, to intensify the cooperation, was greeted in Ost-Westfalen-Lippe District, in the background of the United Nations Year of Rapprochement of Cultures.
Friedel Heuwinkel, Chairman of the Natural Park and Chief District Administrator is optimistic towards new connections with the Arab Region: “The Omanis are highly interested in our region, and they like our people and our landscapes. I do believe that diverse cooperations between the Sultanate and our region will develop. The establishment of a network of different kinds of cooperation will be a good platform for the beginning of long-term cooperations.“
The Omani Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism, His Excellency Mohammed Al Tobi, is also convinced: “We have already good and diverse contacts in the Natural Park region. These contacts are developing very well. This has begun by Omani student placements in the field of tourism and hospitality in partnership with WHS. We would be very happy if these beneficial contacts between our people will continuously develop and strengthen. I am pleased that we have jointly done these first important steps“.
Oman’s Ministry of Tourism, the District Lippe, the Nature Park, as well as the Lippe Tourismus & Marketing AG, Gulf Island Jewels Tours and WHS are network partners and they have now signed a joint Letter-Of-Agreement on “Tourism and education for sustainable development“. A students exchange program, transfer of science-based knowledge, and multiple activities on inter-cultural cooperation are the objectives of this network, with a special view to Germany and Oman. The project is endorsed by UNESCO and it is an official part of the UN Year of Rapprochement of Cultures.
Another important step into the same direction is an exhibition “Annäherung – Das Sultanat Oman“ with photographs of the Omani photographic artist Amur Al Toobi. The exhibition displays objects illustrating natural, cultural and human elements in the Arabian Peninsula. The exhibition is open until 6th of August at the premises of the Volksbank Schlangen and continuous on 9th of August in the County Hall.