Building peace in Northern Ireland

Enda Young, right, with the West Belfast delegation and 2012-13 RI President Sakuji Tanaka at the peace conference in Londonderry-Derry.

Enda Young, right, with members of the Belfast West Rotary Club and 2012-13 RI President Sakuji Tanaka, second from left, during the peace conference in Derry-Londonderry.

By Enda Young, a Rotary Peace Fellow and member of the E-Club of District 1100

On stage, the women shared their stories — the suffering and pain of losing loved ones or being caught up in the conflict in Northern Ireland.

As I watched, I couldn’t help notice that most of the audience was in tears. The Theatre of Witness performance was a highlight of the three-day Rotary peace conference in Derry-Londonderry in May, Continue reading

Interactor inspired by Vancouver peace forum

Interactors and Rotarians discuss bullying and gang violence during the peace forum.

Interactors and Rotarians discuss bullying and gang violence during the peace forum.

By Anushka Kurian, a member of the Interact Club of Hugh Boyd Secondary School in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

As an Interactor, I gained a deeper respect for Rotarians and a renewed admiration for their dedication to service last Saturday, 23 February, when I had the privilege of attending a peace forum in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, sponsored by districts 5040 and 5050.

It was an empowering experience to be in a room filled with such positive vibes from both Rotarians and Interactors. Continue reading

Promoting Peace Through Service in Vancouver

Chris Offer addresses the peace forum in Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada.

Chris Offer addresses the peace forum in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

By Chris Offer, past governor of District 5040 and a member of the Rotary Club of Ladner

On 23 February, I had the pleasure of chairing a Rotary Peace Forum in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. This forum and other ones, a response to RI President Sukuji Tanaka’s challenge for districts to hold their own peace forums, allow Rotarians to discuss and debate regional peace issues. Local forums permit Rotarians who cannot attend one of the three Rotary Global Peace Forums to explore new opportunities and bring life to our theme, Peace Through Service. Continue reading

A peace fellow’s experience at the Peace Forum in Honolulu

Rotary Peace Fellow Marios Antoniou at the forum in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Rotary Peace Fellow Marios Antoniou, right, at the forum in Honolulu, Hawaii.

By Marios Antoniou, a 2008-10 Rotary Peace Fellow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

It was an honor, and a pleasure, to be invited to address the attendees of the Rotary Global Peace Forum in Honolulu. These people travelled from across the world to the Hawaiian Islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to share their thoughts and actions for peace, in the spirit of Aloha.

Three days went by fast, perhaps too fast! Continue reading

Hawaii peace forum builds bonds

Rotaractors Andrea Tirone, left, and Jennifer Petrichenko, right, with RI President-elect Ron Burton at the Rotary Global Peace Forum in Hawaii.

Rotaractors Andrea Tirone, left, and Jennifer Petrichenko, right, with RI President-elect Ron Burton at the Rotary Global Peace Forum in Hawaii.

Editor’s note: Rotaractors Andrea Tirone and Jennifer Petrichenko were among more than 1,800 participants in the Rotary Global Peace Forum in Honolulu, Hawaii, 25-27 January. The forum held a special focus on getting youth involved in the peace process. We asked Tirone and Petrichenko to share what inspired them about the event.

Tirone: Having been involved with Rotary as a Rotaractor and Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar, I have had many opportunities to see how peace is built through club and district projects, events, and initiatives around the world. I’ve also had many opportunities to attend conventions, and sometimes ask myself “will I benefit from attending yet another?” Continue reading

Interact postcard contest winner inspired by Hawaii peace forum

Interactor Haley Lavergne, left, meets with Sylvia Whitlock, the first female president of a Rotary Club in 1987.

Interactor Haley Lavergne, right, meets with Sylvia Whitlock, who in 1987 became the first female president of a Rotary club.

By Haley Lavergne, a member of the Interact Club of West Feliciana High School in St. Francisville, Louisiana, USA.

I was delighted to attend the Rotary Global Peace Forum in Honolulu, Hawaii, 25-27 January, with my mother as the winner of the grand prize in the Interact Peace Through Service Postcard Contest. The most powerful moment for me was to hear Aung San Suu Kyi speak about the power of individual kindness and compassion.

Personally, at times I feel overwhelmed how much need and suffering is in the world. Continue reading

Everyone has a role in peace

Kai Nestman, right, with RI President Sakuji Tanaka, center, and other Rotaractors at the Rotary Global Peace Forum in Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo courtesy of Kai Nestman

Kai Nestman, left, with RI President Sakuji Tanaka, center, and other Rotaractors at the Rotary Global Peace Forum in Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo courtesy of Kai Nestman

By Kai Nestman, a member of the Rotaract Club of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

This past weekend I was fortunate to participate in a Rotary Global Peace Forum in Honolulu, Hawaii. The forum placed a heightened emphasis on young people as catalysts for peace. Workshops brought together participants from around the world to discuss and engage in peace education, technology, intercultural understanding, peace through humanitarianism, and world peace through personal health, among many others. Young people offer us the greatest opportunity to move towards world peace. Continue reading

My Rotary Moment from the peace forum

Peace Fellow Anne Riechert speaks during a panel at the peace forum in Berlin.

Peace Fellow Anne Riechert (left) speaks during a panel at the peace forum in Berlin.

By Anne Riechert, a 2010-12 Rotary Peace Fellow, International Christian University

Saturday morning, Paul Knyff shared his favorite Rotary moment with the more than 1,800 Rotarians attending the first Rotary Global Peace Forum in Berlin. Having been involved with Rotary Youth Exchange, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) and the Rotary Peace Centers program for more than a decade, I asked myself what my favorite Rotary moment had been. It felt a little like picking a favorite child. I would like to share with you, however, my favorite moment from the forum. Continue reading

Personal reflections from the Berlin peace forum

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By Susanne Büttner, online editor of the German Rotary Magazine and a member of Rotaract in English and German

Over the past years, I have been fortunate to attend many Rotary International events in various countries. At each, I have enjoyed the hospitality and friendliness of the hosts, so I was excited when I heard that RI President Sakuji Tanaka chose to hold the first of three Rotary Global Peace Forums in my home country. I would have an opportunity to return some of the hospitality I have received. Continue reading