Skip to Latin America Leadership Program Full Site Menu Skip to main content
Lorena Gomez with the Dalai Lama

May 10, 2021

Eco-tourism and Storytelling: Enhancing Cross-cultural Understanding and Nature Protection

Lorena Gómez, GCL 2019 alumna from Colombia and founder of IN-Spire, met Dalai Lama at his temple in Dharamshala (India) right before the pandemic started. In recognition of her work as an ecotourism leader enhancing cross-cultural dialogue and reconciliation with nature through travel and storytelling, Lorena was invited by the United States Institute of Peace to meet the Tibetan Nobel Peace Prize. The exchange brought together the 24 most effective youth peace-builders from the most conflicted areas of the world (Venezuela, Syria, South Sudan, and Afghanistan among others) to strengthen their personal and community resilience.

Moved by Dalai Lama’s teachings on how inner peace creates the conditions for outer peace, Lorena is using multiple formats to convey what to her is a game-changing message for Colombia and the Western world:

I reaffirmed the importance of holding on to my inner discernment, remembering that ‘nothing exists as it appears. Whether it’s Latin Americans, Americans or anyone else, we must all understand that all lives are worth the same. We should embrace our differences as reasons to learn from each other. Affirming ‘you and I are the same human being’, His Holiness invited us to be a Dalai Lama in each of our countries.
This year, Lorena teamed up with Ph.D. candidate Alanis Bello and University Colegio Mayor de Cundinamarca in the thought-provoking design of the Virtual Diploma “Managing Community Projects that Strengthen Sustainable Peace”. Aimed at building bridges between the classroom, field realities, and ancient wisdom; decolonizing collaborations with local communities; introducing social entrepreneurship (Lorena’s takeouts from her GCL experience), and redefining peace beyond ceasefire and political agreements, this pilot project will officially take place between October-December 2021.

We wish Lorena the best! We trust this first step will inspire new generations in Colombia and the region to become masters of ourselves and of peace.

Diploma Link/Contact:
Link IN-Spire:
Link to my article in USIP’s blog: