By Rotarian Action Group for Peace, January 25, 2019
Rotarian Action Group for Peace (RAGFP) launched our Peacebuilder Clubs Program at the RI Convention 2018 in Toronto, Canada. Rotary Peacebuilder Clubs were pioneered eight years ago by former RAGFP Board Member and Past District Governor 5100 Mike Caruso as a way of building support for the six Rotary Peace Centers around the world. RAGFP supported this effort and District 5100 registered about 21 Peacebuilder Clubs in Oregon and Washington. Last year, our RAGFP Leadership Team determined to champion this program in Rotary clubs worldwide as an essential call to action for Rotarian peacebuilders.
Many Rotarians were excited to hear about this program and “pinned the map for peace” in our Toronto 2018 House of Friendship Booth. They pledged to leave the RI convention and promote peace in their local Rotary club when they returned home. In our August 2018 newsletter, RAGFP Peacebuilder Clubs Expand the Path to Peace, we shared how Rotarians wrote the outline for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1943. Learn Rotary’s Role in the UN. Rotary Founder Paul Harris even advocated for the United Nations as a “road to peace” in early interviews.
“It is true that the way to war is a well-paved highway and that the way to peace is still a wilderness. But, have the United Nations undertaken the impossible? I maintain they have not. My forty-one years of promoting understanding and goodwill in the ranks of Rotary give me the courage to insist that the plan of the United Nations is not an idle dream; that it is practical, and that given half a chance, it will succeed,” Paul Harris declared in a 1945 interview.
Rotarians are always on the leading edge of improving our world. Our August 2018 newsletter proposed a vision of how Rotary Peacebuilder Clubs can create infrastructures for peacebuilding in local communities, just as the United Nations offers an international framework for peace among nations. We issued a call to action for our RAGFP members to form Peacebuilder Clubs and the response was outstanding. Nearly half of the audience for this newsletter formed a Peacebuilder Club in their local Rotarian fellowship.
RAGFP Peacebuilder Clubs formed in Africa, Australia, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and throughout the United States. There are now Peacebuilder Clubs in Uganda, Egypt and two Peacebuilder Clubs in Serbia. Rotarians understand how the fellowship of Rotary International is a force for good, and positive change, in our world.
Rotary clubs around the world are now identifying themselves as “Peacebuilder Clubs.” The movement toward Rotary’s Peace Area of Focus is monumental. RAGFP supports Peacebuilder Clubs by promoting them on our various platforms, and providing them with peacebuilding resources. We share stories about their peace projects and initiatives in our newsletters and pinpoint their locations & contact information on our Peacebuilder Clubs Map because Rotarians are connected where ever they meet in the world. Peacebuilder Clubs are “Peacebuilders Beyond Boundaries.”
We’ve shared how a RAGFP Peacebuilder Club in Germany is assisting many of the over 10 million refugees in their country to adapt to German democracy and adjust in local neighborhoods. Read the Story.
The stories of how RAGFP Peacebuilder Clubs offer the leading edge of peace action in our world are inspiring. The energy Rotarians are currently devoting to peace combined with how entire Rotary clubs are now identifying as “Peacebuilder Clubs” makes this, Peace News.
All Rotarians are peacebuilders because they are members of one of our world’s greatest humanitarian organizations. As said by Immediate Past President of Rotary International, Ian Riseley, Rotary’s Peace Area of Focus encompasses all of the humanitarian activities of Rotary International, because peacebuilding is the cornerstone of “service above self” in our communities and world.
The flyer (right) published by our lastest RAGFP Peacebuilder Club, the Rotary Club of Kona Sunrise of Kailua Kona, Hawaii, proves fresh energy and focus by Rotarians upon peacebuilding. (Click on the image right to open the full flyer.) Rotarians in the 21st century are identifying themselves as “peacebuilders.”
RAGFP will publish our 2nd annual Top 5 Membership Countries newsletter on January 31, 2019. (Read last year’s Top 5). We highlight RAGFP members in our top 5 membership countries and celebrate their peacebuilding efforts because RAGFP members are Rotarians who are world leaders in peace, and they join RAGFP to be connected in a global network of peacebuilders.
Yet these terms, “peacebuilder,” “peacebuilding,” even the Rotary Focus Area of “Peace,” is still a fuzzy concept in many of the 35,000 Rotary clubs around the world. RAGFP Peacebuilder Clubs are now established and offer great clarity for Rotarian peace action globally, and specifically, they can assist your Rotary club in establishing infrastructures for peace and conflict resolution- locally.
RAGFP Peacebuilder Clubs are a Rotarian movement creating energy and momentum for positive peace around the world.