Ahoy Rotarians!

February is Rotary Peace & Conflict Prevention and Resolution Month. The next time you look at a map of the world, consider how Rotarians are taking action in so many countries every hour of every day to foster peace. As Rotarians we know that this year’s theme of “Rotary Connects the World” is key to achieving peace. We know that peace can best be achieved when people are given opportunities to connect and interact with each other one-on-one with a conscious desire to work together toward common goals with lasting positive impact.

Last year The Rotary Foundation – our Foundation as it is Rotarians’ donations that make this all possible – funded over $3.5 million in grants for global projects within this Rotary area of focus.

As Rotarians we can also be proud that since 2002 Rotary has created and supported five Peace Centers from which Peace Fellows graduate with a masters or certificate in peace building to become catalysts for peace around the world. While peace may seem like an abstract concept to some, Rotary’s funding 130 fellowships at these Peace Centers provide a rigorous study of peacebuilding basics, and the relationship between peace and economic development and social change.

Very exciting is Rotary’s newest and sixth Peace Center located in Kampala, Uganda announced this year – the first Peace Center on the African continent. Rotary’s plan is that this new Peace Center will allow students to do field studies in areas struggling with the aftermath of conflicts in such places as South Sudan and Rwanda.

Rotary is also on the forefront of the concept of positive peace and has partnered with the Institute for Economics and Peace to address the root causes of conflict and create conditions that foster peace. Whereas negative peace looks at the consequences of a lack of peace, “positive peace” considers how a society’s attitudes, institutions and infrastructure correlate to peaceful societies and supports communities to move in that direction. We are fortunate that a recent Peace Conference focusing on positive peace was held in Southern California allowing some of our District 5150 Rotarians to learn more about this significant approach to peace.

Perhaps Rotary’s long history of promoting peace is most evident in its pivotal role in the chartering of the United Nations, the 75th Anniversary of its founding which we celebrate this year. We will hear more about this extraordinary relationship during our District Conference – CruiseCon – on May 5 to 9 so come aboard to be inspired. Go to rotary5150.org for information about booking your cabin and registering.

Finally, in closing I am very pleased to announce the roll-out of our new Youth Protection Certification . . . NOW ALL ON-LINE . . . which must be completed before you participate in any Rotary youth activities but not later than July 31st. Go to rotary5150.org and look for the tab Youth Protection Certification.

Wishing you all a peaceful February!

Sue Rokaw
Rotary Club of SF Fisherman’s Wharf
District Governor 2019-2020
Rotary District 5150