Rotary’s peace initiatives at a tipping point

Positive Peace activity

Rotarians, Rotary Peace Fellows, Rotaractors, and Rotary Scholars participate in a Positive Peace workshop.

By Chris Offer, Rotary Club of Ladner, Delta, British Columbia, Canada, and chair of the Peace Major Gifts Initiative

I spent three days in Ontario, California, USA, in January with a group of passionate peacebuilders learning to be Rotary Positive Peace Activators.

The goal of the three-day training was to develop a worldwide network of peacebuilders to support Rotarians and Rotaractors in fostering Positive Peace in their communities. By 2024, Rotary will train 150 new Positive Peace Activators in six global regions, prepared to educate, coach, and accompany Rotarians in at least 1,000 presentations and/or workshops, and act as consultants on projects locally and globally.

The training is the next step in a growing list of Rotary peace initiatives that I believe are pushing Rotary to a tipping point. Our peace programs will begin rapidly expanding and will change Rotary forever as we go from being advocates for peace to something grander: active and effective peacebuilders.

In 2017, Rotary and the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) formed a strategic partnership. This alliance builds on IEP’s research into Positive Peace – the attitudes, institutions, and structures that shape peaceful societies – as well as Rotary’s grassroots work in communities globally.

In addition to our partnership with IEP, Rotary’s Peace Centers are expanding, Rotary Peace Fellows are taking on diverse roles, there is an online peace academy, and clubs and districts are increasing their reach with a variety of peace projects. Major positive peace projects occurred in 2019 in Mexico and Colombia.

The 25 activators who participated in the training with me were Rotarians, peace fellows, Rotaractors, and Rotary Global Scholars. We were trained on the IEP positive peace model and on facilitating meetings. We focused on skills that will enable us to lead education programs with Rotary-affiliated groups.

Rotary seeks to create the conditions for Positive Peace by funding and implementing thousands of local and international peace projects. The Rotary Positive Peace Activators will take a lead as advisors to assist clubs and districts.

This is our peace tipping point.

14 thoughts on “Rotary’s peace initiatives at a tipping point

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  5. I am very interested in the Peace Program for Rotarians. I am in the process of recruiting applicants for the Rotary Peace Fellowship Program. More importantly, I would like to introduce the Peace Initiatives to my Rotary Club for the incoming fiscal year of 2020-2021 with a Speaker.

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    • Thanks for your energy and enthusiasm, Eulalie. Please email me at Summer.Lewis@Rotary.org and I am happy to provide you with some resources for connecting with speakers. The Rotary Peace Fellowship Alumni Association has set up a database of speakers for online meetings during COVID19; I’m not able to share it here, but can via email.

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  6. Pingback: Encouraging Peace – Rotary E-Club Serving Humanity

    • Please contact me (link above, at bottom of blog post) and I’m happy to share more information with you directly about getting involved in the Activator Program.

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  7. As much as I like what you are trying to achieve and I think any beginning is a good beginning, I still think the process is still scattered. For example, why was not Rotary Action Group for Peace nor Rotary Peace Corps group not participating. I am also still not clear where we are going with this group. What is the Vision and. mission statement of this group. In 2018, I attended the Rotary Peacebuilding Summit in Toronto before the Rotary Convention. It was good but it was a Festival and after the summit no reports were issued where we go after the summit. In order to promote Greater Peace as a major new Rotary Project, I think we need a cohesive plan. Perhaps IEC can spearhead the whole concept working together with Rotary Peace Centers around the world with reports of where we want to be heading as a Rotary Project.

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    • There are indeed various peace initiatives within Rotary, Yasuyori. This is the beauty of Rotarians commitment to peace – and enthusiasm for creating programs to work towards this. The Activator Program is an official initiative of the Rotary-Institute for Economics & Peace Partnership, within the Rotary Peace and Conflict Prevention and Resolution Area of Focus. The Positive Peace Activator Program has the goal of developing an international network of peacebuilders to support Rotarians in building Positive Peace in their communities. Specifically, the Program will train 150 Positive Peace in 6 regions between 2019 – 2022, equipped to educate, train, and accompany Rotarians in at least 1000 educational actions (presentations and/or workshops) or projects globally by 2024. The Program hosted a USA and Canada training in California in January 2020 and now has 26 Activators in that cohort. A Latin American training will take place with 30 Activators in Mexico City, Mexico in March of 2020. Regional trainings will take place in Africa and the Asia-Pacific during Rotary year 2020 – 2021; and in Europe and Middle East and North Africa during Rotary year 2021 – 2022.

      The Rotary Peace Centers Program has been involved and kept in the loop. And the USA & Canada Positive Peace Activator Cohort includes Rotarians like Chris Offer (the author of this blog), Rotary Peace Fellows, Rotaractors; representatives of various peace organizations that are working with Rotary (such as New Gen Peacebuilders and Mediators Beyond Borders); and the Executive Director of the Rotarian Action Group for Peace, Reem Ghunaim. (She is incorporating Positive Peace into RAGFP’s work – please see her blog post: https://rotaryserviceblog.org/2020/02/20/pioneers-of-peace-are-people-of-action/?fbclid=IwAR0-YfZTMaUgU1JENUvX2UEAMRf1PxA-DWE1mhaZLoFbtqq-iVm7QRst9pE).

      I’m happy to share more detailed information with you and think about how we can achieve greater impact and reach, as you mention – please send me an email at the link above (at the end of the blog).

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  8. Excellent!
    In Brazil, we have some alumni that are already working as Positive Peace Activators. And we have others with interest. So, I have a question. Is South America one of the six defined Regions?

    Chico Schlabitz from Brasília, Federal District, Brazil

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    • Thanks for your support, Chico. There are a number of Rotary Peace Fellows from Brazil who have been selected to be trained in the Latin America Activator Cohort – coming up in late March in Mexico City, Mexico. These individuals will be prepared to return to Brazil and offer Positive Peace trainings to interested Rotarians, Peace Fellows, and whomever else is keen to learn. Currently, the Latin America Cohort encompasses all countries from Mexico to the tip of Argentina (North, Central, and South America). We were only able to offer the Latin America Training in Spanish, but the Brazilian Activators attending speak Spanish and have agreed to return to Brazil and offer trainings in Portuguese.

      I am happy to connect you with the officially trained Brazilian Activators – please contact me directly at the email the author shares at the end of the blog (for Summer Lewis).

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