My lovely women of the future,
Our voice must be heard and resonate in the heart of the world!
In a world of permanent change, we women are the engine that transforms and shapes it. From us, humanity is born and with us humanity is formed. We have the privilege of conceiving, protecting, nurturing and giving birth to a being that, as well as being ours, is an independent entity, master of its own existence. In addition to conceiving a human being, it is up to us women, for nine months, to create the conditions for our child to develop, be formed and prepared to live without us. In us, but for them.
Then it is up to us to educate our children throughout their lives. And educating is simultaneously the most difficult, most challenging and most important task in the world. There is no instruction manual for being a mother, because it would be a work in constant change, added to, revised and never finished, just like life is. Because teaching how to live is a constant challenge, dynamic and never mastered. To be so sure of anything is a fallacy. It is in constant doubt, in the permanent exploration of the world that we find paths, but never ends.
Can we be the best mothers in the world? Hardly, no matter how hard we try. We can be, most of the time, the best mothers we can be, at that moment, in that situation of life.
Being a mother and being a teacher and being a researcher are not such distinct roles in life.
As teachers it is also up to us to create the conditions for their students to develop, to shape and to prepare them to live without us. But, just like children, they take a bit of us and we keep a bit of them. It is also up to us to educate students far beyond the classroom. And educating, students or children, remains simultaneously the most difficult, most challenging and most important task in the world. And here too there is no instruction manual for being a teacher, because every knowledge we share is a changing, added, revised and never finished knowledge, just like life is. Because it is not up to us just to teach, but to educate which is much, much more than teaching. Just as our ultimate goal will never be to teach, but to promote student learning. What is the point of teaching well if they learn badly?
Because to teach and to learn is a constant, dynamic and never mastered challenge. So is research. Because it is also a mistake to be certain in research.
Because it is in the constant doubt, in the permanent exploration of the world that we find paths, lights, hypotheses, but never certainties.
Because it is in research that we realise the value of humility. The researcher must be humble, since without humility he will not be aware of everything that may contradict his supposed certitudes and, without this attention, he cannot evolve, he cannot continue to doubt.
Will we manage to be the best researchers in the world? Just like being the best mothers in the world we can hardly be the best researchers in the world, no matter how hard we try. We manage, most of the time, to be the best researchers we can be, at that moment, in that circumstance of life.
We manage, at best, to provoke experiences, to provide happy moments or moments that create memories and touch the innermost part of the other person, making them grow, develop, become masters of themselves, of their experience and of their world.
And teaching and investigating Tourism can be even more challenging. Because teaching Tourism is sharing knowledge, developing skills and helping to create a portfolio of values and attitudes that contribute to training highly qualified professionals precisely to plan, create and implement happy moments tailored to each one. Teaching Tourism is teaching how to provide others with the moments of relaxation or excitement they need to compensate for the stressful moments of everyday life. Teaching Tourism is teaching to create memories, to create experiences of personal, social and cultural enrichment. Because Tourism today has evolved to become an industry that is the biggest (or only) source of income for many countries across the world. Tourism can be an important source of wealth, whether through local or foreign investment. Teaching tourism is also teaching how to promote employment, as the tourism sector is responsible for 1 in 10 jobs worldwide and providing 1 in 5 of all new jobs created. Teaching Tourism is providing security to many countries without great infrastructure and few or no profitable exports. What would the Maldives, the Seychelles, Cape Verde or Cambodia be without tourism? Teaching Tourism is contributing to providing economic incentives to preserve, maintain and regenerate the environment, both in urban and rural environments, protecting and preserving local wildlife, and even monuments or historic structures. But teaching tourism is also promoting international connections that can bring more business and cultural collaborations in the long term and promote intercultural awareness, both for locals and tourists, building bridges of understanding between cultures.
Teaching Tourism can be the most effective way to develop cultural harmony and tolerance towards other people. When traveling, tourists discover foreign traditions, learn about the values of different nations, communicate and exchange experiences. Visiting another culture is having the opportunity to be exposed to unknown traditions and perspectives and to gain a broader, more informed and kinder view of both the people and places you encounter and humanity and the world as a whole. Teaching Tourism is helping to replace prejudices and stereotypes with tolerance, empathy and knowledge. Teaching Tourism is making the world more tolerant, fairer, more responsible and richer.
Teaching Tourism is contributing to a more sustainable world, to a better world.
We have to thank the pioneering women who broke through inhospitable fields and, even in the face of the disbelief of academia and society, have become an unavoidable milestone in tourism research. They are our, your inspiration. They are proof that talent associated with resilience and hard work can make a difference. And what a difference! Thank you to all the women who made it, to all the women who are making it and especially to you, the women who will make it in the future. You are the heirs of a fabulous legacy. Honour it, increase it and multiply it.
Diana Da Silva Dias
Universidade Lusófona, Portugal