Peace and Conflict Resolution Month
February is Peace and Conflict Resolution month in the Rotary world.
It seems as though from the dawn of time there has been war and conflict.  Brother against brother - Cain and Abel.  Family against family -  Capulets and Montagues; Hatfields and McCoys.  Nation against nation.  The Hundred Year War; civil war here; civil war there.
One of Rotary’s Areas of Focus is the Avenue of Peace and Resolution Conflict.  Peace relates to each avenue of Rotary’s seven Areas of Focus.  Let’s explore that.  The other six Areas of Focus are:
  • Water, Sanitation & Hygiene
  • Fighting Disease
  • Women & Children
  • Environment
  • Education
  • Growing Local Economies
Advancing each of these Areas of Focus increases the opportunities for peace.  The correlative is also true: peace creates better opportunities to improve each of the other areas.  This is the dynamic nature that peace presents.
Rotary Peace Fellows is one way Rotary works to bring about lasting change in our communities and the world.  Peace building is a cornerstone of Rotary’s mission as a humanitarian service organization.  Peace is not an abstract concept, but a dynamic expression of human development.
Each year Rotary funds up to 130 Peace Fellows for leaders from around the world to study at one of Rotary’s peace centers.  
Since 2002, Rotary has provided tuition, room and board to over 1,300 Peace Fellows in more than 115 countries.  The purpose of the peace centers is to train leaders to return to their countries to serve in government, nongovernment organizations (NGO), military, law enforcement and world organizations like the United Nations and the World Bank.  We, in District 5340, have funded and supported many peace scholars over the years. 
One of the popular programs in our District is the Model United Nations which comes under the Pathways to Peace Avenue of Service and Youth Services.
This amazing program is bringing together 55 high school teams - not just from District 5340, but from high schools in countries outside the United States.  It truly is an international program.  
Youth advisors from Rotary clubs are preparing these teams to engage in diplomacy and peace building similar to how the United Nations operates.  The training and preparation has been conducted by Zoom and Google Classroom.  The Model UN will be held on March 27th and 28th by Zoom.
This year’s Model UN program presents two timely resolutions that will be debated and caucused for the two-day session: 1) A Covid-19 Global Response and Action Program; and, 2) An Action Program Dealing with Sea Level Rise Caused by Global Warming.  These two issues couldn’t be more relevant to our time.
I can’t thank enough Pauline Lim-Endresen of the Downtown Breakfast club and her committee for their hard work and dedication to this most worthwhile program.  I have no doubt that it will be hugely successful.
During the month of February, each club should make an effort to devote one club meeting or part of a club meeting to discuss on the theme of peace and Rotary.  The San Diego Coastal club is devoting each meeting in February (3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th) to peace with outstanding speakers each week.  The meetings begin at 6 pm.
All of us are invited to attend each meeting.  Here is the line up of outstanding speakers:
February 3rd - Aziz Abu Sarah is a Palestinian peace activist, journalist, social entrepreneur and author.  Aziz watched his brother die after injuries sustained in an Israeli jail following an arrest for throwing stones.  Aziz found a way to turn his grief and anger into positive change for a peaceful tomorrow.
February 10th - Dania Zanaid is from Hands of Peace/Raising Youth Voices.  HOP is a non-profit organization that empowers teens to become agents of change in their community by teaching conflict resolution and leadership skills.  Raising Youth Voices was created to bring the experience of dialogue and leadership development to more San Diego youth.
February 17th - Karen Henken is a professor at the Joan B Kroc Institute of Peace and Justice.  Karen teaches several courses on the cutting  edge of social innovation.  These include new solutions (products, services, models, markets, processes etc.) that simultaneously meets a social need and leads to new or improved capabilities and relationships that makes better use of assets and resources.
February 24th  - is a club social where we will learn how to fold an origami peace crane.  We will also learn the story behind the folding of 1,000 origami cranes for peace. All we need is a square piece of paper or several pieces of any size paper. 
We can register in advance for these meetings:
Clubs can also have a program or discussion centering on human trafficking as this important issue comes under the Pathways to Peace Avenue of Service.  Contact me if you would like a speaker to come to your club in February or any time to educate us on what we can do to help eradicate this evil.
Another subject regarding peace and conflict resolution is Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI).  A program or discussion on DEI would also be appropriate for February or any other month.
As a global network that strives to build a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change, Rotary values diversity and celebrates the contributions of people of all backgrounds, regardless of their age, ethnicity, race, color, abilities, religion, socioeconomic status, culture, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
This is more than a statement or desire by us in Rotary to achieve a better more peaceful world.  It is the embodiment of all we stand for.
If we want to bring about peace in the world, perhaps we can start with ourselves.