December 24, 2018, By Rotarian Action Group For Peace
Happy Holidays from Rotarian Action Group For Peace. We wish you a joyful time with friends and family. This holiday season offers an opportunity for us to acknowledge Rotarians around the world who strive to bring peace through service to their communities during this time of the year.
As we reflect on 2018, we recognize that Rotarian Action Group For Peace (RAGFP) will remember 2018 as a year of Rotarian peace action that created a wave of peacebuilding momentum. It also provided opportunities for peace that will flourish and inspire in the upcoming seasons and years.
Rotary International sponsored six Presidential Peace Conferences in 2018, each linking Rotary’s Areas of Focus with peacebuilding. RAGFP launched our Peacebuilder Clubs initiative and the number of Rotary Peacebuilder Clubs around the world grew exponentially in only six months. RAGFP peace projects and diplomacy brought communities together who had been locked in conflict for generations. Our members and leaders became world-renowned for their peacebuilding knowledge and commitment to positive peace.
During 2018 we packed so much valuable peacebuilding resources, information and tools to educate, engage and empower Rotarians to wage peace in 2018. We are pleased to reflect upon what we accomplished for peace in 2018, together, in our RAGFP “year in review” of Rotarian peace action.
Top 5 RAGFP Peacebuilders
Did you know Rotarian Action Group for Peace (RAGFP) now has members in 74 countries around the world? In January 2018, we celebrated the RAGFP Top 5 membership countries and highlighted how our members are making a difference for peace in communities worldwide. Rotarian peacebuilders are the Rotarian Action Group for Peace.
We began 2018 by honoring these RAGFP members, along with Rotary clubs and districts who live in our top 5 membership countries who are vital to sustaining a peacebuilding ecosystem.
Rotary Peace Fellow ElsaMarie D’Silva is a RAGFP member and Rotary Peace Fellow from India, who founded SafeCity. Her program to keep women and children safe from harm garnished world-wide attention, and she was even featured in an article by The Rotarian magazine.
RAGFP member Rehmah Kasule was a student of Peace, Conflict and Development, at the Bradford University Rotary Peace Center (United Kingdom) when we profiled her in January 2018. She received the Islamic Development Bank’s Prize for women’s contribution to development (one of our world’s most prestigious awards for women peacebuilders) in Spring 2018.
In the USA, we featured Rotary District 5100 and former RAGFP Board Member Mike Caruso, the Past District 5100 Governor who pioneered Rotary Peacebuilder Clubs. He now serves on our RAGFP Peacebuilder Club Committee.
These represent only a few examples of Rotarian peacebuilders featured in our January 2018 RAGFP newsletter. Rotarian peacebuilders join RAGFP to become part of a global network of peacebuilding. All RAGFP members, Rotary clubs and districts, featured in our Top 5 Membership Countries newsletter are great Rotarians who contribute to peacebuilding in our world and we supported their peacebuilding efforts throughout 2018 on multiple RAGFP platforms.
Will your country be in our Top 5 membership countries next year? Look for our 2nd annual Top 5 Membership newsletter to be published in January 2019. Read More
Peace Action from East to West
Rotarian Action Group For Peace traveled across the globe to wage peace and support Rotarian peacebuilding in 2018. Our representatives crossed international borders, distributed Rotary peacebuilding resources, presented peace discussions and lectures, and met with peace dignitaries to prevent wars.
In February 2018, RAGFP led events that advanced peacebuilding and inspired peace action across a broad spectrum of Rotary International, and in specific areas affected by conflict.
RAGFP was a partner for the RI Presidential Peace Conference on Environmental Sustainability and Peace in Vancouver, BC, Canada, held February 9th – 11th, 2018. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau opened the conference with a welcome to Rotarians. This RAGFP partnered event was the kickoff of six RI Presidential Peacebuilding Conferences in 2018.
The conference featured dynamic presentations on sustainable peacebuilding, breakout sessions, and a keynote address by RI Immediate Past President Ian Riseley. Read our original report about the RI Presidential Peacebuilding Conference on Environmental Sustainability and Peace.
RAGFP Executive Director Reem Ghunaim conducted a peace tour in her home country of Palestine, sharing her experiences as a peacebuilder and Rotary Peace Fellow. Our original article documenting Reem’s travels and her message of Rotary peacebuilding was republished internationally in Rotary Service in Action. Read More
Supporting Rotary Peace Fellows and Projects
In Spring 2018, we demonstrated how Rotary Peace Fellows and Rotary Peace Projects are making a global impact for peace. Our Rotary Peace Fellows Make a Difference newsletter featured five specific examples of Peace Fellows who currently lead international peace organizations, and how your membership and support of RAGFP benefits our peace affiliates.
We provided important information about Rotary Peace Centers and offered the context of how RAGFP supports these dedicated peace professionals as they graduate from Rotary Peace Centers to serve international peacebuilding in many top peace organizations around the world. Read More.
RAGFP’s Impactful Peace Projects
Your investments in RAGFP allow us to engage and empower Rotarians in peace projects. In Rotary Peace Projects Make a Global Impact, we showed how RAGFP is promoting peace action “on the ground” by investing, designing, and implementing peace projects that create sustainable infrastructures for peace in our world.
Spring RAGFP peace initiatives were recognized by Rotary International and were republished in Rotary Service in Action on International Day of Peace 2018. The Rotary Service in Action blog featured peace projects such as the Cyprus Peace Education Initiative and the 2018 Colombia Symposium that brought together communities and nations divided by decades of conflict. These projects reveal how your membership and financial support of RAGFP filters into grassroots peace action and conflict resolution in areas of the world where people are longing for peace. Read More
Paving a Path to Peace
Summer 2018 was an eventful time for RAGFP. We registered nearly 100 new RAGFP members at our RI Convention 2018 House of Friendship Booth in Toronto, Canada. Hundreds more Rotarians “pinned the map” for peace on our booth’s world peace map. This was a powerful experience for many Rotarians who committed to return from the 2018 RI convention and promote peacebuilding in their local Rotary club.
Our July 2018 post-convention newsletter, Be the Inspiration for Peace, set forth a bold vision for peace in the 2018-2019 Rotary year and we went right to work to make this vision a reality. Read More
RAGFP Peacebuilder Clubs
In August, RAGFP offered a historical blueprint of how Rotary Peacebuilder Clubs create a grassroots infrastructure for peace. RAGFP Expands the Road to Peace demonstrates Rotarians helped write the charter for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and how Rotary was essential in the founding of the United Nations.
We issued a challenge and offered step-by-step instructions to help Rotary clubs form Peacebuilder Clubs as a method of creating local structures for peacebuilding within their own communities, just as the United Nations offers an international framework for global peace.
The results were outstanding; Rotarians responded and new RAGFP Peacebuilder Clubs were formed around the world in direct response to our initiative and communications. Read More
After the launch of our initiative, we reported in our September Peace Day 2018 newsletter that the number of RAGFP Peacebuilder Clubs had doubled from 21 original clubs to 42 clubs around the world, including new clubs in Uganda, Serbia, and Egypt. There are now, currently, 84 registered RAGFP Peacebuilder Clubs who are engaged in peace projects worldwide. We doubled peace action in less than 3 months.
Peace Day 2018 was also a time to celebrate many great Rotary events centered around peace, including the Peace Days Festival in Winnipeg, Canada, led by RAGFP Board Member David Newman. Our Rotary Peace Day 2018 Calendar spotlighted many Rotarian Peace Day events held around the world. Read More
Educating Positive Peace in Rotary
RAGFP offers peace education and resources designed to provide Rotarian peacebuilders with the “know how” to wage peace anywhere in our world. We expanded the peace education resources on our website in 2018 with new educational books, the Rotary Peace Academy, education about RI governance, and we added a RAGFP Speaker’s Bureau.
Fall 2018 was a busy time for our RAGFP Leadership Team, as RAGFP Executive Director Reem Ghunaim presented Rotary positive peace at Rotary clubs throughout the Northwest and in Rotary District 5520. She spoke to students at St. John’s College in Sante Fe, New Mexico, and represented RAGFP at the Joan B. Kroc Institute of Peace and Justice in San Diego, and the Institute for Economics and Peace Positive Peace Conference held at Stanford University.
RAGFP Current Chair Garbis Der-Yeghian was honored this December by the Armenian community in La Verne, California, for his “unmatched efforts in promoting peace between Armenia and Turkey and his pivotal role in the April 2018 Velvet Revolution in Armenia.” Garbis played a pivotal role in averting a civil war in his home country of Armenia.
RAGFP Founder Al Jubitz also received a Global Business & Interfaith Peace Award in 2018. These events demonstrate that RAGFP is an action-driven group of Rotarians working together to advance world peace.
Our October 2018 newsletter, Rotarians Unify for Peace, further exemplified how Rotarians drive peace action by providing specific examples of how our RAGFP Peacebuilder Clubs and Rotarians foster peaceful political dialogue, inspire positive social conduct and lead economic and community development.
We featured RAGFP Peacebuilder Club, the Rotary Club of Bornheim, and published Rotary district and global grants they designed to foster peace and democracy within Germany by providing peace education to many of the 10.6 million refugees now living within their borders. Further, we provided stories on how Rotarians wage peace through inclusive social dialogue and economic empowerment.
In November, RAGFP celebrated giving in Rotary as a framework for peacebuilding. We provided examples of how Rotarians Give Peace to inspire and lead peace action. We aimed at educating Rotarians about how their gifts, big and small, make a difference for peace by improving lives worldwide. These stories offered practical peacebuilding examples for RAGFP members around the world. Read More
Our “year in review” demonstrates how RAGFP supports Rotarian peacebuilders worldwide. Our mission to engage, educate and empower Rotarian peacebuilders is only possible by RAGFP members and your generous support.
Thanks to you, RAGFP engaged and educated over 200,000 people in 2018 through our various media platforms and personal appearances. You helped us empower 84 Peacebuilder Clubs around the world who are now creating infrastructures of peace in their local communities. As we reflect on this year’s accomplishments, we invite you to Imagine how much more we can do to wage peace, together.