How Rotarians Wage Peace
by James Thomas, Promoting Peace District Co-Ordinator
Rotarians have long been active in efforts to encourage and promote peace. The fourth ‘Object of Rotary’ is to advance” international understanding, goodwill and peace”. In 1942, prior to the creation the United Nations, Rotarians from 21 nations organized a conference to delve lop ideas for advancing education, science, and culture across nations. This meeting was the foundation of what is now UNESCO. Rotarians were involved in the creation of the United Nations at the founding meeting in 1945 and continue to serve in an advisory capacity to the UN.
More recently, Rotary developed Peace Fellowships in concert with nine universities world-wide and more than 1,000 graduates are now in the field working on peace. Three examples of their efforts are:
Path Heang who worked as a child in rice fields of a Khmer Rouge camp and attended the peace program at the University of Queensland in 2002-2004 is now a Chief of Field Offices for the UN in Cambodia working in some of Cambodia’s poorest areas on issues affecting children and women.
Maria Effendi attended the University of Bradford in 2006-2008 and co-founded the Department of Peace and Conflict Management at National Defence University in Islamabad Pakistan. She teaches peace building in the Master program.
Timothy Kariuki (Chula, January 2009) is in South Sudan serving as state adviser for conflict mitigation and stabilization initiative.
These Fellowships for Masters Degrees and Certificates are available to eligible candidates in our District. If your club knows of a potential candidate, please identify them to your Assistant Governor and we can follow up with them.
Individual Rotarians can take an active role in promoting peace by speaking out on those things that divide us and joining efforts locally that promote peace such as conflict resolution training for youth. Rotarians can also join the Rotary Action Group for Peace ( This Rotary Action Group provides resources for projects in conflict resolution, mediation techniques and much more. Important projects are identified that may inspire you and need help such as prevention of youth violence in the upcoming February’s elections in Uganda. Youth are often both the instigators and target of violence in the aftermath of elections and this project works to prevent violence.
When you ask your self – What can I do about peace? The answer is get involved. Join the Rotary Action Group for Peace, be active in promoting peace related programs in your community, sponsor a Peace Fellow, and speak out for peace, goodwill, and international understanding.