De Pecol takes quest for peace on the road
Cassandra De Pecol is a young woman with a passion for traveling.
For at least the next two years, she will be experiencing adventures around the world.
Beginning July 1, the Washington resident's goal will be to visit 195 sovereign nations as an ambassador of the International Institute of Peace through Tourism.
By accomplishing her goal in two years' time, De Pecol, 25, would also set a Guinness world record.
Not only would she be the first woman to visit all 195 countries, she would have done it in one year and three months less than the present record set by Yili Liu of Ann Arbor, Mich., in 2010.
"I will be traveling as a global citizen," De Pecol said. "I have dual citizenship and will be using my Canadian passport to gain access to countries."
She plans to film a documentary titled "Expedition 196" to be used in high schools and universities as an educational tool for promoting world peace.
"I'm working with a production company, Cause Pictures, to make the documentary," De Pecol explained. "The documentary will come out with a tool kit to use as a curriculum that teaches how to speak publicly for world peace."
In February, De Pecol will speak at the IIPT World Symposium in Ekurhuleni, South Africa to launch her project and kick off fundraising.
"I was very pleased to support Cassie's trip," said Louis D'Amore, president and founder of IIPT. "We will be working with her to arrange for her to meet with ministers of tourism and mayors of the towns and cities in the countries she visits."
The International Institute of Peace through Tourism was founded in 1986 in Canada, fashioned after former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's Canadian Institute of Peace & Security.
The organization has chapters in 89 countries.D'Amore also has connections in Syria, Saudia Arabia and Sudan.
"The more people experience other countries and cultures, the more peace will spread" was D'Amore's message at the World Economic Forum in 2012.
De Pecol plans to meet with children and young adults during her trip to learn their views on world peace and how it could be accomplished.
She was a student of environmental and global studies during stints in college and then took that training to work in sustainable tourism.
Among other travels, she has visited Peru, Mexico, Turkey, Great Britain and Bolivia, working at luxury boutique hotels, training managers how to generate revenue through sustainable practices.
De Pecol may be best known for her role on the Discovery Channel reality show, "Naked and Afraid," in which she and others survived a 21-day challenge in the Panamanian wilderness.
The show aired in December 2013.
Her father is proud of his daughter's accomplishments and aspirations.
"We brought our kids up to think out of the box," said Mark De Pecol. "They were home schooled until seventh grade. Cassie's goal is to show girls they can do whatever their passion is. I think that's pretty noble."
For more information about De Pecol's journey or to become a sponsor, visit www.expedition196.com.
For more photos, visit www.newmilfordspectrum.com.