Posted by Susan Weaver on Nov 09, 2018
 

Renewing Our Peacebuilder Club Status

District 5240 has made a commitment to be a Rotary Peacebuilder District, that is committed to wage peace whenever and wherever possible - in our respective local communities and all around the world. 

To promote this peace initiative, the District has established the Peacebuilder Club program designed to enhance Rotary’s mission of advancing world understanding, goodwill and peace though our programs and projects which align with the six areas of focus of The Rotary Foundation, and in particular with the focus area of Peace, Conflict Prevention and Conflict Resolution.

 
When the Rotary E-Club of One World was chartered, we assumed as our focus the Fourth Object of Rotary: The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.  So fittingly, our club was one of the first to become a Peacebuilder Club in the program's inaugural year, however designation as a Peacebuilder Club is not for good and for ever.  It is only awarded for one year and each club must qualify on an annual basis in order to keep its designation.
 

Why Become a Peacebuilder Club?

Rotarians have always been peace builders after a fashion but, with the campaign to eradicate polio nearly in sight, the mission of promoting peace in the world has risen to the forefront.  Rotary's first major commitment to this mission began with the establishment of Rotary Peace Centers and Rotary sponsorship of the Peace Fellowship program offering studies in conflict resolution at six universities around the world.  There are more than 1,000 Rotary Peace Fellows now working in diverse places around the world.

The concept of Peacebuilder Clubs is to have Rotarians explicitly incorporate the mission of peace into our club’s community-based programs, as well as into global grants projects.  

For many  peace is an ideal but often big and amorphous concept.  Figuring out how to wrap one’s mind around it is confusing until one stops to think, what is peace? Is it only an absence of war?  What are the various ways in which war can be defined?  When we begin to ponder the myriad types of conflict and their root causes, we can whittle down the scale of the problems that engender antagonisms that lead to conflict and we can find places where we can make a difference, where we can diminish the root causes:

  • Hopelessness because of social or economic barriers, 
  • Disenfranchisement caused by injustice and inequality,
  • Insecurity caused by violence within communities or between states,
  • Desperation due to shortages of food and clean water, shelter.

For each of these, strategies can be devised to mitigate, and hopefully alleviate, the conflict-promoting condition from the ground up.  As Rotarians we can work with individuals and with groups to effectively chip away at what, at first glance, seem to be intractable problems.  

Peacebuilder clubs use peace education and peace principles to guide club service and develop their projects - projects that improve educational opportunities in communities, projects that cultivate economic development, projects that improve communication between opposing factions, projects that ensure clean water, projects that provide food and shelter after devastating natural disasters.

Five Easy Steps to Peacebuilder Club Status

Our club - any club in D5240 - can establish or renew its status as a Peacebuilder Club for RY 2018-2019 in five easy steps: 

  1. Establish a Peace Committee and select a Peace Chair, then list the Peace Chair on the list of officers and chairs on the D5240 website.
  2. Engage the club in at least one Peace Education Program: Here are some topic suggestions to get our thinking started: The Peace Project - youth peace advocacy, Peace Literacy, Non-Violent Communication, Rotarian Action Group for Peace, Rotary Peace Academy. This is easy, something we generally do in our club as a matter of course.
  3. Support a Peace Project in your local community. Even though we are scattered around the globe, this is still something that we can accomplish.  The District suggests projects like: holding a 4-Way Test Essay contest, sponsoring a “Peace" video contest with cash prize for high school students or youth groups, support projects or facilities that address youth violence, do a project that increases public awareness of Rotary’s peacebuilding activities. Projects undertaken can happen wherever a member of ours resides. Our community is vast.
  4. Support a Peace Project in an international community. District suggestions are: Participate in a District or Global Grant that contributes to peace, submit a candidate for a Rotary Peace Fellowship, and/or work on recruitment efforts for the District.  The Peace Chair will work with the International Service Director on this.
  5. Report completion of these requirements to D5240.  The Peace Chair fills out the reporting form available here, then emails it to peacebuilderclub@district5240.org.  

With all the members in our club who are working diligently to increase the amount of peace in the world, this should be as easy as can be, simply a matter of ticking off the boxes.  So please volunteer to join the committee by contacting President Amina.

Visiting D5240 Rotarians, please consider having your club become a Peacebuilder Club, too.  Rotarians visiting from other districts, if yours doesn't already have such a program, please suggest starting one.  

 

Peace starts with each of us. Be responsible for your piece of peace.

 

(If you cannot see the video below on your device, click here).

 

If you have questions about the Peacebuilder Club program, the District website has a wealth of information.  

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