LFP Rotary members attend Rotary Global Peace Forum

Monday, February 11, 2013

Corrected 02-11-2013 9:39pm

Six members of the Lake Forest Park  Rotary Club: Marj Ando, Carol Dahl, Robin Martin, Sally Renn,  Ed and Kathy Sterner, have returned from Honolulu after attending the third Rotary Global Peace Forum of 2012-2013. 

By Marj Ando

This forum of three days, engaged and inspired Rotarians, community leaders, and youth groups with workshops and activities that focused on protecting and conserving our shared environmental resources and ways we can encourage young adults to take a global perspective and become catalysts for peace. The theme for this forum was titled:  "The Green Path to Peace."  

Our keynote speaker was Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Laureate and Member of Parliament of the Union of Burma. She has received more than 120 awards and honors internationally, the latest being the Hawai'i Peace Award, on Saturday, January 26, 2013, presented by RI President Sakuji Tanaka.  Her speech was most enlightening and inspirational. See her YouTube presentation and complete Saturday night forum program.

Representatives of Rotary's New Generations programs of Interact (ages 12 - 18) and Rotaract (ages 18 - 30) service clubs; Youth Exchange students;  alumni of Rotary Youth Leadership Academy and Ambassadorial Scholars, as well as young Rotarian leaders were in attendance along with Peace Fellows alumni from the six Rotary Centers for International Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution.

The Peace Centers are located in six countries: Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok; Duke and UNC at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, US; International Christian University of Tokyo, Japan; University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK; University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia;  and Uppsala Universitet, Uppsala, Sweden.

As Rotary International President, Sakuji Tanaka,  2012-13 says, "The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace is one of the cornerstones of the Rotary movement. With Rotary's active presence in more than 200 countries, our organization has established itself as a world leader in fostering  "Peace Through Service".  We must look forward and recognize that the future of Rotary and the prospects for world peace rest with today's youth. We must engage young people in a meaningful way, and empower them to carry Rotary's peace-building efforts into the future.

Two other Rotary Global Peace Forums; one in Berlin, Germany, in December 2012, with the theme of "Peace Without Borders" examined the role of democracy in building peace to promote opportunities for all people to engage with one another in International understanding and to become workers and custodians of peace in every corner of the world. The third forum will be held in Hiroshima, Japan, in May. Its theme is Peace Begins With You, exploring ways in which each of us has the power to promote peace in our daily lives and in our communities.  

As Indira Gandhi said, "With a closed fist, we cannot exchange a handshake."  Our goal is to build peace in the minds of men and women as the UNESCO declaration states.

February is Rotary World Understanding and Peace Month. “Imagine a World Beyond War, Built by Rotarians”.  During this month, clubs are urged to present programs and activities emphasizing international understanding, friendship and goodwill as essential for world peace.  On 23 February, World Understanding and Peace is observed on the anniversary of the first Rotary Club meeting held in 1905, in Chicago, lllinois.


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