Tribute to Ron O'Grady

Ron O'Grady passed away on 25th February, 2014, at the age of 83. As a New Zealander, he worked in various positions in the Christian churches of Asia and the ecumenical movement. Unlike hardly anyone else, he spoke and wrote about travel and encounters as an opportunity for intercultural learning and understanding and at the same time criticised the commodification of tourism as a new form of colonialism and injustice. His book "Third World Stopover" was made available in Germany by Georg Pfäfflin in the early 1980s as "Zwischenlandung Dritte Welt". It was followed by a series of books on the commercial sexual exploitation of children, published in the 1990s in German by ZEB-Fachstelle Ferntourismus under Martin Stäbler. Ron has influenced the commitment of the churches to a fair and responsible tourism in a decisive manner. The Campaign "End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism" and the child rights organisation ECPAT are intrinsically tied to his name. We cherish him as one of the long-term companions in the history of Tourism Watch. All those who had the privilege to know him will remember and appreciate him for this philanthropy, his openness, and his perseverant commitment to the cause. We mourn the loss of a friend and a voice of wisdom in the global ecumenical movement. Rest in peace, Ron.

Heinz  Fuchs, Christina  Kamp, Frans de Man, Mechtild Maurer, Theo Noten, Georg Pfäfflin, Christine Plüss, Dorothy Rozga, Armin Vielhaber and others.

I believe in good

even in a world that rewards evil

I believe in love

though people rape & destroy

I believe in truth

even as I listen to public lies

I believe in tomorrow

even when today is bleak & empty

I believe in beauty

even when it is hidden beneath ugliness

I believe in Jesus

even when he was being crucified

Ron O'Grady