French, American Rotarians celebrate peace as New Orleans turns 300

Peace seminar New Orleans

Rotary members from France and the US held a peace seminar at Loyola University in New Orleans for the city’s 300th anniversary

By Jean-Marie Poinsard, president of the France-USA Inter-Country Committee

In October, Rotary members from the city of Orléans, France, spent a week visiting Rotary clubs in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, reinforcing the bonds of friendship and peace between our two countries. The idea for the trip actually began a few years earlier during the Atlanta Convention in 2016. Continue reading

Painting the way to peace

Park mural in Cuidad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico

Members of the Rotaract Club of Juárez Integra in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, by one of the 10 murals they painted in public spaces.

By Yesenia Uribe, Rotaract Club of Juárez Integra, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

I have always been concerned about the situation in my city. Ciudad Juarez is sadly known for a high crime rate and violence related to drug trafficking which creates an atmosphere of insecurity.

I wanted to learn more about how I could implement peace in my community, so I applied to participate in a workshop called A Stronger Mexico: Pillars of Positive Peace organized by the Institute for Economics and Peace. I learned that peace starts in small communities and that we cannot think about global peace if we do not work on it from the roots. Continue reading

The right to a better life

The commemoration of the mass murder of 72 migrants

LA 72 held this commemoration of the mass murder of 72 migrants by the Los Zetas drug cartel in San Fernando, Mexico, in 2010. Photo courtesy Giorgio Algeri

By Giorgio Algeri, 2010-11 Rotary Peace Fellow, University of Queensland, Australia 

On a late evening in August, a family of eight migrant persons from Honduras arrived at the refugee shelter where I was serving as a short-term volunteer in Tabasco, Mexico, near the border with Guatemala. The family of three adults and five children, most below the age of 10, had fled their country for security reasons and were renting a tiny room in Tabasco awaiting asylum. The son of the landlord came home drunk and threatened the family with a machete, forcing them to leave all their belongings behind. Continue reading

Firefighter exchange builds bonds

Firefighter exchange

Firefighters from Argentina and Florida, USA, share techniques during an exchange sponsored by Rotarians in both countries.

By Celia Giay, past RI vice president and a member of the Rotary Club of Arrecifes, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The idea for our firefighter exchange was born when my club received a visit from local volunteer firefighters. Club members listened attentively as our guests explained their dream of continuing to learn better ways to protect their community, and on that very night we set a goal to organize an international exchange to make that possible. Continue reading

How to spread positive peace

Planning the 2019 Positive Peace Workshop in Mexico.

Laurie Smolenski, right, joins Rotary members, Rotary staff, and Rotary partners in planning the 2019 Positive Peace Workshop in Mexico.

By Laurie Smolenski

When I learned about the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a think tank dedicated to using empirical research to better understand the drivers of peace, as a Rotary Peace Fellow in 2016, I was fascinated. The idea that peace – which often lives in a lofty realm of aspiration and emotions – could be articulated in concrete metrics, underpinned by data, and visualized through heat maps and charts was new and profoundly impactful to me. Continue reading

Everyone’s safer when a fight is avoided

Rotary Peace Fellow and Vancouver police training instructor Bryan Nykon demonstrates some low-risk judo moves that can avoid escalating violence.

By Chris Offer, Chair, The Rotary Foundation’s Peace Major Gifts Initiative Committee, and a member of the Rotary Club of Ladner, Delta, British Columbia, Canada

I had the opportunity recently to visit the Police Tactical Training Center in Vancouver, British Columbia, a state-of-the-art facility complete with firing range, simulation rooms, gymnasium, and classrooms. My guide was Rotary Peace Fellow Bryan Nykon, who graduated in 2010 from the Rotary Peace Center at Bradford University. After graduation, he joined the Vancouver Police and worked as a patrol constable before his transfer as an instructor in the training center. Continue reading

How do you measure peace?

Eduardo da Costa

By Eduardo da Costa, Rotary Peace Fellow and Peace Ambassador for the Institute for Economics and Peace 

The question of how to measure development and human well-being has attracted the attention of economists, policy-makers, researchers, and other social scientists for decades. For example, the Human Development Index  produced by the United Nations seeks to measures a country’s achievements in three specific areas: living standards, health, and education.

But what about peace? How do we measure peace?

Continue reading

Retreating to advance peace

Participants in the Peace Fellows Retreat represented nine nationalities who had worked in more than 100 countries.

By Mayer Ngomesia, 2006-07 Rotary Peace Fellow, Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

After a two-hour drive from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu along a winding road, 10 Rotary Peace Fellows and I from around the world gathered in the village of Nagarkot, nestled in the Kathmandu Valley at the foothills of the Himalayas for the third Rotary Peace Fellow Leadership Retreat. It was a rare opportunity to step back and reflect on the difficult realities and high-stress environment of our peace work, and to ponder, why the work we do matters. Continue reading

My journey to Hiroshima: reflections on memory

Rotary Peace Fellows from International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan, visit the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.

By Lorena Rodriguez, 2017-19 Rotary Peace Fellow, International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan

Last March, I visited Hiroshima with other Rotary Peace Fellows from International Christian University, hearing stories from survivors of the atomic bomb. Thanks to the Rotary Club of Hiroshima, we also saw the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Hiroshima is full of stories told and illustrated in various ways: in the images, monuments, poems, and human and nonhuman survivors. All these stories made me reflect in different ways about my commitment to memory and peace. Continue reading

Assisting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Eric Lee and his wife hand out supplies to refugee children in Bangladesh.

By Eric Lee, a member of the Rotary Club of Cheat Lake, West Virginia, USA

Service above self was the underpinning theme of our aid project for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh this year. The project was a colorful example of how Rotary works around the globe in the service of others. Clubs from the United States and Bangladesh delivered dry goods to Rohingya refugees in the Bahlukali camp along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in February. Continue reading