In July 2013, Rotary International, the century old service organization added their peace initiative to the 4 Avenues of Service. What a profound statement. The presiding RI President, Sakuji Tanaka proclaimed “our business is peace”. An extremely powerful objective.
In his statement, Tanaka noted that peace is more than the absence of conflict – it brings freedom, security, and happiness. Going further, he noted that peace is the enemy of persecution and instability. We’ve made a study of Rotary’s efforts and it’s remarkable. Keep in mind there are 1.2 million Rotarians around the world representing 34,000 clubs. Peace efforts are as small and contained as a sponsored elementary peace day and as large as an international sponsor of Peace Fellows (600 to date who are world leaders).
One of the leading questions worldwide is what is the greatest impediment to peace? Is it generational misunderstandings, global politics, wars? According to Jessica Tuchman Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, bad governance tops the list. As noted by Mathews, a government that does not care about its own people feeds anger. Coupled this issue with hunger, disease, and fear fueled by lack of safety and the multi-dimensional components of hatred unfold.
Bravo, Rotary International for adopting this important avenue of service. All Rotarians are encouraged to:
- Educate their clubs about Peace Centers and member fellows.
- Enlist community partners involved in peace efforts such as the Red Cross or Doctors Without Boarders
- And finally – use their social media to share information on peace initiatives. Rotary International’s website is a rich resource for projects around the world.
About Rotary Peace Centers:
Each year, up to 100 Rotary Peace Fellows are chosen to participate in a master’s degree or certificate program at one of our partner universities. Fellows study subjects related to the root causes of conflict and explore innovative solutions that address real-world needs. We have peace centers around the globe at:
- Chulalongkorn University, Thailand (certificate program)
- Duke University at Chapel Hill, USA
- International Christian University, Japan
- University of Bedford, England
- University of Queensland, Australia
- Uppsala University, Sweden