District 5400

 

Rotary International

 

International Conference on

World Peace and Conflict Resolution

 

 

 

 

Developed:  August 26, 2002

Conference Report

District 5400 Advisory Committee

Let me begin this report with my heartfelt thanks to all of the leaders within District 5400 who allowed me to attend this most worthwhile conference in Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia .  It was a decision that resulted in a personal experience that could never be equaled and for that I will be eternally grateful.  Thank you each and every one.

I would like to be able to transfer the knowledge, feelings, and benefits of this trip to everyone within District 5400.  This is not possible so I will do my best to share my thoughts, impressions, and the thoughts and words shared by others involved in the conference.  The following is my attempt to accomplish that formidable task:

Impressions

The conference, from the beginning to the end, was incredibly professional and effective in efforts to reach stated objectives – objectives that were extremely ambitious and worthwhile for the world, not just Rotary.  The stated conference objectives included but were not limited to:  

n         Assemble Rotarians from Asia and the Pacific Region and interested others to enhance communications and understanding among communities through examining issues of mutual concern.

n         Develop programs of support in the areas of health, food production, and education using resources, expertise, and opportunities to serve the people of the continent of Asia and beyond.

n         Expand ways Rotarians in Asia and the surrounding countries can work together on conflict resolution, using our Foundation, especially Rotary Centers in International Studies.

n         Identify and encourage project partnerships of benefit to Asia and world communities.

n         Foster programs which encourage multi-cultural communication, understanding, and goodwill.

n         Explore ways in which Rotary International can effectively aid those who have been negatively impacted by violence and displacement.  

  In his welcome message, International President and humanitarian Bhichai Rattakul stated:  

“This is a very important conference for you and your Rotary club and District.  I know that each of you will gain knowledge as you discuss the problems and the solutions in your area as we strive to better our world.  I am sure that you will be able to return to your individual districts and disseminate the knowledge that you have gained during this meeting.  I am also positive that you will leave this meeting with the understanding that each of you will care for your community and its people in this world as you strive for world understanding and peace.  Charoye (spouse) and I send our best wishes to each of you as we join together in making “Service Above Self” a lasting motto.” 

Conference Chair and District 5400 Friend, Raja Saboo, adds:

“……. The beautiful ambience of understanding, cooperation, exchange of ideas, and collective determination to Sow the Seeds of Love will reign during this three day gathering of Rotarians from nearly 25 countries, meeting together, speaking together, eating together and being together.  It is President Bhichai’s and my sincere hope that the deliberations here will be productive, result oriented, leading to enhancement of peace. . .”

Of course, I could not describe this experience any better than these two men.  I felt the acceptance, love, caring, competence, knowledge, and determination of everyone in attendance.  We collectively, enthusiastically, and logically followed a course of action set by an excellent Conference Committee, guided by a great leader, Raja Saboo, and led by a great man, Bhichai Rattakul.

I was privileged to be one of four Americans in attendance.  I assume that others will attend a meeting closer to home but this was the best conference agenda for the topic of world peace and conflict resolution.  The speakers that were asked to share thoughts were world leaders and extremely intelligent and experienced people willing to share their insights, skills, and knowledge.  It was the right Presidential Conference for District 5400 to choose in efforts to further many of the goals set by District Leadership.

In the end, 27 countries were represented, 1,382 people were in attendance.  It was the largest Presidential Conference in the history of Rotary.  Congratulations go to all of the planners and their leader, Bhichai Rattakul.

I was able to make lasting friendships with people that I might never have met.  I strongly believe I can use this experience to benefit District 5400 but, I know the experience has benefited me – as a Rotarian and a person!

Kuala Lumpur Declaration

We, the Rotarians gathered at Rotary International President Bhichai Rattakul’s first Presidential Conference on Peace and Development, hereby affirm and commit ourselves to:

ü         Actively promote the endeavors of Rotarians at all levels in the arena of Conflict Resolution;

 

ü         Expand the ways Rotarians in Asia and the Pacific Region and the World can work together on Conflict Resolution, using the existing programs of Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation, especially Rotary Centers for International Studies;

 

ü         Avail ourselves of our Rotary World Fellowship to enhance people-to-people diplomacy in the promotion of goodwill, world understanding, and peace;

 

ü         Increase the funds available for the support of Rotary Centers for International Studies and Rotary Peace Scholarships as well as Peace Research;

 

ü         Further the development of training and educational programs at the local level throughout Asia, the Pacific Region, and the world for conflict prevention and conflict resolution, including organizing conferences and training programs which foster goodwill and promote peace, involving relevant organizations, and

 

ü         Use Rotary resources and goodwill for development and the alleviation of injustice, poverty, hunger, sickness, and illiteracy.

 

Session Agenda

Opening Plenary Session       Past International President Rajendra Saboo, Presider

   Cultural Performance          Malaysian Dancers

   Keynote Address                  International President, Bhichai Rattakul

Welcome Reception               Fellowship

Fellowship Dinner                  Rotary International Director, John Thorne, Presider

Second Plenary Session         Rotary International Director, P.C. Thomas, Presider

   Conflict Resolution              Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Former Foreign Minister of Thailand , Presenter

   A Successful Conflict Resolution     H.E. Yengku Tan Sri Dato Dr. Rithauddeen, Former Defense Minister of Malaysia , Presenter

Third Plenary Session                        Doug-Kurn Lee, Treasurer, Rotary International, Presider

   Rotary Foundation                           Glen W. Kinross, Chair, Rotary Foundation, Presenter

   Center for International Studies      Keith Barnard-Jones, Director, Rotary International, Panel Moderator

Networking Luncheon

Roundtable Discussion Sessions

   Can the World Be a Friendly Neighborhood?         R.K. Ravindram, Moderator

   Opportunities for Volunteer Work?                         Jiichiro Frank Nakajima, Vice President, Audit and Operations Review Committee, Moderator

   Health and Population Concerns                            Antonio Ruffino, PDG,  Moderator

(These sessions were also conducted in Japanese, Korean, Mandarin,  and Thai.   Every session, including Plenary, dinner speakers, etc. was being translated through headsets into all four of these languages.)

Dinner and Cultural Evening             David Ho, Host Committee Chair, Presider

Fourth Plenary Session                                  Toshio Itabashi , RI Director, Presider

   Mediating Conflict Globally                        Martin Griffiths, Center for Human Dialogue, Geneva , Switzerland , Presenter

   Rotary 2020 – Keeping the Spirit Alive;      Fumio Tamamura, Trustee RI, Moderator

   Touching the People                                    Clem Renouf, Member, Council of Past Presidents, Keynote Speech

Discussion Roundtables                   

   Challenges in Combating Poverty               Iftekharul Alam, Member, Extension to Non-Rotary Countries Committee, Moderator

   What Can Rotarians Do to Aid                    Abdul Haiy Khan, National PolioPlus

   Victims of Violence and Displacement?      Chairman, Moderator

   Literacy/Concentrated Language                J. Neil Adamson, Member, Literacy Encounter(CLE)                                               Committee, Moderator

(Translation groups available for all sessions.)

Closing Plenary Session                    Rajendra K. Saboo, Past President, Presider

   Expression of Thanks                      Sajuka Tanaka, Vice President, Conference Committee

   Closing Remarks                              Glen W. Kinross, Chairman, Rotary Foundation Trustees, Presenter

   Closing Address and Celebration    President Bhichai Rattakul

Farewell Lunch

 

Session Highlights

The Conference began with a welcome by Raja Saboo, the Conference Chair.  Past President Saboo then called for the presentation of the Flags and representative National Anthems.  Before the conference was over on Sunday, 27 countries were represented, with 1,382 Rotarians and guests.  As mentioned above, four Americans were in attendance.

   Keynote Address Speaker               Bhichai Rattakul, International President

International President Bhichai Rattakul shared the following thoughts with the Conference attendees. He first asked all of us to think deeply about “what we can do as change agents in our troubled world.”  He reminded us of the past year, filled with mistrust, violence, and anger, leading to an alarming escalation of violence and painful events.  He said, “The road to war is a well paved highway and the way to peace is still a wilderness.  We must focus our Rotary efforts to chart the wilderness and pave the way to peace and a better, wiser world.  We must build peace, relieve suffering, and enhance conflict resolution in a variety of roles.  Rotary can be the organization, the vehicle to bring about the necessary change.”

“Rotary was born into a world defined by wars that bring suffering.  We must all work to provide future generations with effective, practical tools to ensure peace.  This could be the realization of a dream for all of us.”

“We need to search out people who will be Peace Scholars, Masters level graduates who can effect change in meaningful ways.  We need mediators throughout the world who can help conflicting parties to reach agreements.  We need people who can help us all see that we are each dependent on the other.  We need people willing to network to accomplish good, not be divisive and create war.  We need a world filled with friends and full of love.”

“We need commitment to peace that includes solving suffering.  No one who is hungry can come to the table to negotiate conflict.  No one who is ill can join the discussion.  We need to work on suffering this year in our own ways:  clubs setting goals that meet their areas’ needs, as well as the needs of others in the world.”

I want all clubs and members to focus on setting goals that affect real change, not dissipate the energy we have available to us.  I do not necessarily want new programs but the successful culmination of programs that you have today.  I will ask that we consider the following as we set our goals:

   ü         Examine the possibility of raising funds for completing Polio eradication throughout the world.  Even though we have only 128 reported cases left, we must rid our world of the causes of polio and ensure no new cases occur.  Bill Gates and his wife have pledged $25 million.  We need to raise $80 million and then the World Bank will lend us $125 million to complete the project.

  ü         Choose small and large projects that focus on helping to relieve suffering.  One example involved buying bicycles for children who had many miles to walk to school.  They would have had to walk for hours to arrive on time.  The bicycles provided an answer.  They are loaned and then returned for other children to use.

   ü         Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless;  Sow the Seeds of

                        Love!

Bhichai ended his presentation by reiterating his philosophy and his theme for his year of service.  He said, “Love Is Service!  Sowing the seeds of love is sowing the seeds of life – Serve until it hurts!”

All of us have read this man’s biography but seeing him, hearing him, and learning from him is an experience that is worth a great deal in helping us all remember what Rotary is meant to be, what a Rotarian is meant to be like.

   Conflict Resolution                        Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Former Foreign Minister of Thailand

Dr. Surin graduated from Harvard University with his PhD and served in the Thailand Parliament for 6 years and as the Minister of Foreign Affairs.  Dr. Surin is a great speaker and is extremely skilled and experienced at helping people solve conflict in an effective, efficient way.  His comments included the following:

“What the world needs now is love, sharing, understanding, and a commitment to world peace.  What you are doing now with Rotary is developing a plan to ensure that world peace happens.  Rotary is making the right decisions.  We need domestic and worldwide programs that can work to prevent conflict –much more effective than just helping manage destructive and open conflict.   In many, perhaps most, conflicts in the world, we could have prevented the start by just paying attention and relieving the suffering.  Cambodia , Afghanistan , Pakistan , India , etc.  We have failed to prevent the suffering and now we are paying the price.”

“Rotary International has risen to the challenges, moving from humanitarian mode to conflict resolution for global peace.  You will find no shortage of work!  The world will always need trained personnel, good at helping everyone resolve the conflicts created by our differences and nurtured by suffering.  This goal is too complicated even for the United Nations.  We need many and varied approaches because conflict is complex, with multitudes of layers.”

“Rotary needs to help generate public sentiment and then serve up skilled help.  The first is so important because we really need them to ask for help – the first step to actual peace.”

Dr. Surin made suggestions about what might be done through Rotary:

            ü  Place peace teams in agencies and institutions to help prevent and/or resolve conflict as it begins.

            ü  Increase peace scholars for participation in peace teams worldwide.

            ü  Fund peace research.

            ü  Be integral in a spiritual transformation that creates a global universal awareness that humanity is one unified group.  We cannot stand alone and we need to realize this as a fact of life.  Rotary, through its influence and strength, can help create this transformation.

            ü  Rotary can support or initiate preventive promotions.

Dr. Surin ended his discussion with these comments: “death, hunger, suffering, and anyone’s pain diminishes all of us; it chips away at our sense of well-being.  Rotary can make a great deal of difference.  Your actions will only be limited by your imaginations.  Sow the Seeds of Love.”

   A Successful Conflict Resolution  H.E. Yengku Tan Sri Dato Dr. Rithauddeen, Former Defense Minister of Malaysia , Presenter

Dr. Rithauddeen served as the Foreign Minister of Malaysia and was in office during a conflict that developed between Thailand and Malaysia .  He observed that the world has been and is fraught with conflict and desperately needs the help of effective organizations such as Rotary.  He states, “No one nation can solve global issues – it is not effective and it is not acceptable.”  Conflicts fall into many categories and those include:

            ü         Territorial disputes

            ü         Government control

            ü         Economic conflict over trade

            ü         Drug trafficking

            ü         Ethnic issues

            ü         Religion

            ü         Ideology

            ü         Among many others

Dr. Rithauddeen chose this forum to share a story about a country-to-country, bilateral issue between Malaysia and Thailand .  The story allowed everyone to see how a conflict can occur and grow and how it can finally be resolved with discussion and cooperation. 

In retrospect, the situation is so obviously solvable, but at the time, it seemed to be impossible to even begin an effective dialogue between the two countries’ leaders.  Dr. Rithauddeen shared the story and his observations of the situation, as follows:

The United Nations and the Geneva Convention both had rules about the issue at hand.  Neither was helpful at the time of discovery.  A very large oil field was discovered below the sea, half way between Malaysia and Thailand .  Claims were made by both countries alleging full ownership.  Neither would give in or even communicate cooperatively.  Both considered the other to have no claim.  For many years the discovery was left undeveloped because of the dispute.  No one benefited.  Everyone lost.  Both arguments could be supported by existing rules.

Finally, a meeting between the two sitting Prime Ministers resulted in a Memorandum of Agreement.  The memo of joint authority required both countries to share the proceeds from the development and both signed.  Both countries now believe that the communication and cooperation was effective and occurred when good people had help coming together in peace. 

This was offered as a working model, a peaceful resolution that can be copied by others.  Peace and conflict resolution can be a reality if those involved can ask for help, communicate, look at the higher good and see the whole picture.

Bhichai summarized Dr. Rithauddeen’s comments by saying that “brothers must drink from the same cup.”  He stated that both Dr. Surin and Dr. Rithauddeen observed “the necessity for prevention as well as cure.  He also stated that we must go further than even our motto for the year – we must Sow the Seeds of Responsibility.”

   Rotary Foundation and Its Role    Glen W. Kinross, Chair, Rotary Foundation, Presenter

Chairman Kinross presented the Foundation as the “Flagship of Rotary.”  He feels that the Foundation can and will support Rotary’s role in making the world a better place.  He said, “Rotary is changing to fit the changing world.  Rotary is focusing now on world peace and understanding through its educational programs and its humanitarian goals.  Education can combat ignorance and humanitarian programs will build a spirit of friendship and cooperation.” 

Matching grants will always help.  It has been said before that hungry, sick people do not come to the negotiation table.  Working with other clubs and individuals where the needs exist, we can make a difference by using matching grants.  Many have been turned away in the last year for lack of funds so we must work harder to ensure that these grants work to support world peace by alleviating suffering.  (Matching Grants must be submitted for approval by March 30 and all will be reviewed by May 15 of each year.)

Polio must be eradicated, as we have promised.  We need $80 million this year.

Education programs help those who can’t read or use numbers.  Information is the new currency and we must help everyone gain the ability to work with information – it is essential to be able to read!  There are currently 39 countries with no education requirement.

There has been famine in most of the countries within Africa .  One starving man was observed stirring dirt, wetting it and stirring it more.  When asked, he stated that he was going to eat it.  “It makes my stomach feel full.”

The troubles of the world have become just background chatter it is so seemingly normal.  Who will tune into the chatter?  Rotary!

Mr. Glen W. Kinross, Chair, Rotary Foundation, said,  “We have studied Rotary processes and have simplified them, making forms etc. easier to complete.  Matching funds are to be approved within 14 days of receipt, a new standard.  We will work to make Foundation workable for all.  You can make Foundation programs work toward world peace and understanding.”

Our next focus must be even stronger in the field of conflict resolution.  Today we have at least 30 ongoing armed conflicts, including; the Israelis and the Palestinians, India and Pakistan , Afghanistan and anti-terrorist interests, and many more.  Peace does not come naturally.  Selfishness and avarice win if we are not vigilant.  Ambition with ethics and self-restraint brings success.  Without them, it brings chaos.  We need to provide:

                        ü  Mediation skills

                        ü  Diplomacy

                        ü  Conflict resolution

                        ü  A solution for the suffering

                        ü  Development

One new program that will help in this major effort is the new Peace Scholarships.  This year sees the first class of 70 begin their studies all over the world.   An American woman who has worked in the Congo, a Canadian soldier, a Sri Lankan woman humanitarian, a Cuban lawyer, a Malaysian woman, and others.  This will make a difference in the world in 7 – 10 years and beyond.  The scholarship program cuts across political, professional, and racial boundaries to help.   It now involves eight universities and seven countries.

Rotary Peace and Conflict Resolution Centers will also allocate and raise funds for other programs of peace, some only in our imaginations today.  Rotarians will provide the hands-on work, the Foundation will help fund the efforts.

Mr. Kinross summarized by saying, “We Rotarians need to continue to pioneer or we will be lost in history.”

At the end of his comments, Rotarians throughout the room began to stand and pledge money to the Peace Scholar Funds.  Before the discussion was over, $580,000 ( U.S. ) was on the table, enough to fund eleven more scholarships!

Another problem we face is the depleting world resources.  As they diminish, we will have further conflict.  We, as Rotarians, need to build cooperation, compromise, compassion, and consideration into our immediate world and help others all over the world do the same, no matter on what level they exist.  If we use our hands, hearts, and heads, we can accomplish the goals.  The framework is the heart.  This is the reason why our motto this year is “Sow the Seeds of Love.”  Good intentions must equal better results.

There are two types of people in the world:  Those who make commitments and those who keep them.  If we want to, we can eradicate polio before 2005.  60% of the existing cases are in India .  We must accomplish this goal without shorting the Foundation giving that we also need for matching grants, etc.  Please think of giving 1.5 times as much as last year, with polio plus as one beneficiary.

Rotarians were the first to see the vision of polio eradication – a polio free world.  And, we must resolve to make it happen as we have pledged it will.

Love in action is service!  If you act, you serve, and if you act and serve, you love!  Mother Theresa 

Roundtable Discussion Sessions

   Can the World Be a Friendly Neighborhood?         R.K. Ravindram, Moderator

   Opportunities for Volunteer Work?                         Jiichiro Frank Nakajima, Vice President, Audit and Operations Review Committee, Moderator

   Health and Population Concerns                            Antonio Ruffino, PDG,  Moderator

Unfortunately, I was only able to attend the first session, Can the World Be a Friendly Neighborhood?  The sessions ran concurrently or I would have attended all of them.  All subjects seem so pertinent to our world and us.  I say us not only because of the events of this year, particularly September 11, but also events in other parts of the world.  All of us have felt the effect of the hate that can build in others when understanding and peace do not exist.  Activities that support these two essential elements, world understanding and peace, will benefit – directly benefit, each and all of us!

This session was an idea gathering session with five panel members sharing their thoughts to begin the session.  Without mentioning who said what, I will relate some of the comments made during the time allotted.

“President Clinton sent $77 million worth of cruise missiles and could not kill Osama Bin Laden.  He came back to destroy two buildings in America which cost the world 4000 lives, hundreds of injuries, $34 billion of collateral damage, 75,000 phones, etc. – the list goes on and on.  An economic war is prolonging the agony.”

“This and other clashes of culture, religions, and other beliefs are far too expensive for us to endure.  We must take action and Rotary is one of the vehicles that could make a difference.”

“Yes, we can have a friendly neighborhood, if everyone wants that peace.  Do they?  Obviously not.  People are not perfect, they are far from ideal.  They are selfish, some are intolerant, others greedy, but all are very complex.  Some insist on being superior which places others into inferior roles.  We can accomplish peace but only with vigilance and hard work.  We must care and we must get down and work.  Rotary can help!”

“War is always a ghastly blunder.  Even the winner loses.”  Paul Harris

“Never in this world has hatred ceased because of hatred.  Only love can help.  Peace must grow from the grassroots, our International President’s philosophy within Rotary.  We must have better hearts, finer souls, higher moral principals, and the willingness to get involved – work for peace and understanding.”

“If you plan for one year, you can grow rice.  If you plan for 20 years, you can grow trees.

If you plan for life, you can grow men.  We must teach values, ideals, and foster the idea that we must Sow the Seeds of Love.”

“We can help most by promoting dialogue.  When none exists, hard line thinking prevails, there exists too little power to solve problems, hunger is rampant, poverty is a reality in too many lives.  These cause conflict and we are back where we started.  We must promote dialogue; talk things out, plan and work cooperatively!”

“To have true peace, we must have peace within ourselves.  Then, we as an organization and as individuals must make a plan, set goals that can work.  Then, we must pursue them with determination and a positive attitude.  We have the talent, the commitment, the dedication, the skills, the strength.  We can do this -- together.”

“We must examine carefully what gets in our way as we attempt to solve this problem.  War/conflict begin in men’s minds.  We must instead love our neighbors, prosper our neighbors – first.  People cannot and will not communicate when they are hungry, thirsty, or sick.  If one has everything and another has little, envy and hate will build and conflicts will grow and turn to war.  We can convince others of these truths, teach our children to love and not hate, help everyone eat every day, focus on giving the world jobs and the ability to make a living.”

“Everyone does not and will not want peace.  If most of us always do, we can solve this problem more easily.”

Panel members took notes as the discussion continued.  They will be providing ideas to Rotary International’s leaders for further consideration.  A plan will undoubtedly result.  I believe that Rotary could support a grassroots movement to make a plan that will extend beyond the Peace Scholar approach and include direct action from Rotary volunteers,  I would envision Rotarians traveling throughout the world in their volunteer work and helping to implement such a plan.  This plan would be very closely tied to all Rotary programs, especially Matching Grants partnerships.  This coordination would be based on the realization that hungry, thirsty, ill people cannot worry about peace.  The plan would also include:

            ü  Educating children and adults about peace, values, involvement, etc.

ü  Training children and adults to use the skills of communication and dialogue to build understanding and acceptance.

            ü  Political approaches to world leaders to encourage cooperation and sharing, not envy and hate.

            ü         Teaching mediation skills and conflict resolution processes.

            ü  Advising local conflicting leaders about how to solve problems so that everyone wins rather than escalating conflict to violence and war.

            ü  Teaching processes that could help manage projects, solve problems, make plans, and help communities develop their resources.

ü  Among many more.

Our plan to build future leaders through our Peace Scholarships is an example of long term planning that will undoubtedly support future peace.  There is also an untapped resource among current and retiring Rotarians that could help accomplish the above mentioned plan.  It could help with current and specific issues and also, in conjunction with the Peace Scholars, support future peace.  Instead of solving the problems of conflicting parties and leaving until the next conflict grows, we can teach basic skills so that the parties can do it themselves. In this way, we can help build lasting peace into the future.

   Mediating Conflict Globally          Martin Griffiths, Center for Human Dialogue, Geneva , Switzerland , Presenter

Mr. Griffiths is the Director of the Center in Geneva , Switzerland , and also an active mediator throughout the world.  His comments were specific and helpful.  In his introduction, Mr. Griffiths described his work as occurring in the shadows, not in the open.  He always maintains confidentiality.  This prevents all of us from hearing when his group leaves to help.  This requirement is necessary to maintain the trust of the conflicting parties that ask for the Centers’ aid.  The group is often called in when conflict has led to armed resistance and war; people are being hurt and killed.  The Center folks act as mediators, bringing everyone together or supporting shuttle diplomacy efforts. 

He further states that almost always, the parties involved believe that their views are the right ones.  There is no trust that might lead to negotiation without the aid of others.  But, someone has had the courage to ask and the Center provides that help.  When your marriage is in trouble, you call a counselor.  When you feel ill, you call your physician.  If you are having a conflict that might lead to death and injury, you call a mediator.

It is Mr. Griffiths’opinion that we must invest in mediation as a remedy; there is an enormous need worldwide.  What does it involve?  The following were offered as answers to the question:

            1.         Low profile        Mediators stay out of the light and allow the conflicting parties to be the focal point.  This includes situations where the mediator has actually witnessed killings or other egregious situations.  This can lead to criticism but is essential for the positive end result.

            2.         Open Honesty    A mediator must be balanced between the parties, not seen as favoring or agreeing with either side.  The mediator will be asked to share ideas with each party and must maintain confidentiality for both parties.  This will allow the trust that is required for the process to work.

            3.         Gain Trust         Mediators are entrusted with the internal thinking of all parties.  You almost become like a family member.  This must be achieved while maintaining the neutrality that is required.  Sympathies may develop and you must handle these.  If you feel that you have lost the objectivity necessary, you must excuse yourself and leave.

            4.         Well Informed   The mediator must remain well informed about the conflict situation and actually become a gatherer of intelligence.  The negotiator does not analyze the data, just remains informed enough to understand and follow parameters.

            5.         Creativity           The mediator can and will provide possible solutions but must allow the parties to be the final decision makers.  It is interesting to note that when the parties take over the role of decision maker or they generate ideas for solution, it is a sign of success.

            6.         Withdrawal       Mediators need to know when to withdraw from the role.  These circumstances might include situations that lead to a loss of neutrality and/or when the dialogue is not helping.

The strain of being a mediator is great.  This is an art but requires clear, logical thought as well.

Mr. Griffiths feels that Rotary is a pre-eminent force of peace.  The network that is Rotary is truly unparalleled.  Rotary represents peace and understanding and can be a great help in the world.  He made recommendations about roles Rotary could take.  They include:

            ü  Be leaders and role models in influencing a civil society

            ü  Build an accountable justice

            ü  Ensure that the private sector remains free from bad influences.

            ü  Build a tolerance for differences without violence

            ü  Encourage leaders to make compromises.

Rotary’s network and the organization’s inherent values can build toward global tolerance.  We can persuade leaders, and accomplish many other goals of importance.  We can build confidence by our programs’ successes:  inoculating the world’s children against polio, feeding the starving, clothing the naked, and so much more.          Go forth and do good!  One-on-one will always be a determiner.  We are doing that everyday.  Keep up our work!       

  Rotary 2020 – Keeping the Spirit Alive;   Fumio Tamamura, Trustee RI, Moderator

   Touching the People                                  Clem Renouf, Member, Council of Past Presidents, Keynote Speech

One major and formidable force that can move us all toward freedom from egregious events resulting from conflict is Rotary.  Together we can make a difference.  Some focal points that can help include:                

1.                  Develop a plan – Take purposive action.

2.                  Use effective problem solving processes.

3.                  Develop and use sound decision making processes

4.                  Involve Rotarians and clubs, as well as districts; grassroots approaches work best.

5.                  Ensure timely responses to requests, interventions, etc.

6.                  Build, maintain, and value diversity.

7.                  Ensure effective communication and the presence of effective communication skills in everyone involved.

8.                  Be accepting of others while insisting on effective conflict resolution.

9.                  Ensure effective outcomes.

10.              Be willing to measure success and report same to others.

This process itself can serve as a role model for others.  Solving the conflicts of others does not complete the cycle.  We must always leave behind people who have learned how to manage the next disagreement, solve the next conflict.  Prevention of the next event would be the final positive outcome.

President Bhichai Rattakul summarized comments made during this Plenary Session and shared the following thoughts.

“Humanity is at the core of Rotary.  We Sow the Seeds of Friendship for the betterment of humanity.  You and I do that everyday, as Rotarians.  We need each other, the weak and the strong, the rich and the poor, the religious and the not-so-religious, the young and the old, men and women. 

“The further back you look, the further forward you can see.  We have moved with the times in Rotary.  We now look at world peace as a possible goal for our members.  We have established programs that will help and more are being planned. 

“There is an incredible potential for membership growth, particularly in Asia and the Pacific.  We have increased our humanitarian programs.  We have increased Foundation giving.  We have formed partnerships with governments.  We have gained corporate support.

“Mahat Maghandi said, ‘We must become the change we wish to see in the world.’  I believe Rotary has done this and will continue to move and change.  We must have vision and courage.  We have all of the rest required.

“When we plant trees we will never sit under, we are serving.”  We can and will enhance the strength of Rotary.  I have been asked to enhance Rotary’s strength.  Not because I am strong.  Not because Rotary is weak.  But, because Rotary must be stronger than ever in these complex times 

“The answer?  Sow the Seeds of Love.  Kill hatred and terrorism.  There is no solution if hate continues.  We have the will and we have the resources to prevent crises, manage conflict.  Let us continue.”

   Roundtable Discussion Sessions

   Challenges in Combating Poverty               Iftekharul Alam, Member, Extension to Non-Rotary Countries Committee, Moderator

   What Can Rotarians Do to Aid                    Abdul Haiy Khan, National PolioPlus

   Victims of Violence and Displacement?      Chairman, Moderator

   Literacy/Concentrated Language                J. Neil Adamson, Member, Literacy Encounter(CLE)                                               Committee, Moderator

Unfortunately, once again I was able to attend only one of the sessions, Challenges in Combating Poverty.

Mr. Alam asked all of the six panel members to share thoughts and then opened the floor for questions and discussion.  The following will serve as a sample of those comments.

“We must first define poverty because it is so relative. In this case, I will define it as the inability to reach an acceptable living standard, involving access to health care, education, employment, food, etc.  One fifth of the entire world population lives in poverty.  This is and will become even more of a formidable issue.  It is caused by many things, such as civil strife, general discrimination, ill defined property rights, family size, conditions in the area, discrimination against the poor.”

“1.5 billion people suffer from poverty conditions.  Poverty brings drugs, crime, and other elements that undermine societal values.  This occurs out of desperation and results in societal disasters.  Pakistan has great poverty.  Poverty has always been a reality.  Now it is so obvious to the world.  What can we do?

   ü         We can remember to attempt to ensure that everyone around us has a meal before we have a meal.  Change values in ourselves and in others.

   ü         Create awareness of the duty to society to alleviate suffering.

   ü         Create jobs – mostly create jobs.”

(One program discussed in the session was designed to ensure that people in the target area earn at least one dollar (American) per person per day. This was presented as a secondary definition of poverty.)

Poverty needs immediate attention.  People who are hungry, thirsty, or sick will not come to the negotiation table but they might be desperate enough to cause conflict, even war.

   ü         Sow the Seeds of Love.  Love your fellow human beings and you will not eat unless they can eat!

   ü         Do rapid appraisals of actual needs.

            ü         Take advantage of Rotary programs such as matching grants.

            ü         Develop vocational centers to develop job capabilities.

            ü         Be creative:  Calcutta began a program to do computer training for children and set up a business selling tricycles.

In summary, there are 800 million hungry people in the world, 650 million women die in childbirth, 300,000 children die before the age of one!   Mr. Alam stated that “poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere!”

Conference Accomplishments

As we began the conference, Bhichai Rattakul announced the intention of accomplishing real objectives – to have a tangible result.  As the conference began to close, he announced the results.  The conference records show that the following was achieved:

n         The grant of RM 500,000 by the Government of Malaysia to the PolioPlus Fund through the Foundation of Rotary Clubs of Malaysia.

n         Pledges for 11 Kuala Lumpur Presidential Conference Peace Scholarships with a contribution of US $548,000, which will be in addition to the regular number of Scholarships.

n         The signing of Sister Clubs Agreements by 6 pairs of Rotary Clubs.

n         The signing of Project Partnerships involving 26 Rotary International Districts during the Project Fair of the Conference.

n         The coming together of the Indian-Pakistan Rotary Leaders to initiate, encourage, enhance, and take definite action to build bridges of friendship between the Rotarians and people of the two countries.

The last achievement was accomplished during an evening meeting held during the Conference.  The agreement included the following commitments:

            ü         Exchanging Two GSE teams from each country this coming Rotary year.

            ü  Planning and holding a conference between Rotarians from each country.

            ü  Appointing a committee made up of Rotarians from each country.

            ü  Among others.

Attendees were asked to make the following commitment:

We hereby re-dedicate ourselves to accomplishing our specific target mentioned above in accordance with the Ideals of Rotary, dated this 11th day of August, 2002, at Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia .        

Bhichai Rattakul shared parting thoughts and Conference perceptions with attendees.  He noted that this was the largest Presidential Conference ever held thanks to all of us.  There were 27 countries represented by 1,382 people.  And, the people made this memorable 

Malaysia Rotarians were exemplary.  Not only did they help make the conference seamless, they held themselves back from meals because there was not enough room for everyone to be seated!  Service Above Self reigned once again!

We are a part of the same human family and Rotary exemplifies the best in that family.  We do so much!  What we do is so important to everyone in the world.

We reached the rainbow and the unreachable star. 

                        ü         The turnout here was magnificent.

                        ü         The outcome was exemplary.

                        ü         The outcome was tangible and measurable!

                        ü         We leave with a new sense of purpose to play a more active role in the prevention of conflict.

Why should we Sow the Seeds of Love?  My belief is that we must have a sense of mission and infuse a sense of purpose into our Rotary lives.  We must be enthusiastic and sincere and above all love one another.

“Go forth and Sow the Seeds of Love.  Sow them gently but mightily!

District 5400 Benefits

When the District 5400 Advisory Committee made the decision to sponsor my trip to Malaysia , I felt particularly privileged.  That was before the Conference.  I now realize how really fortunate I was to be given this experience. I feel more competent to serve within the District because Conference attendance helped me gain the following:

ü  Incredible motivation through experiencing the purposive, result oriented approach to Rotary world leadership shown during the Conference.

ü  A thorough understanding of what our Motto “Sow the Seeds of Love” means to our International Leader, Bhichai Rattakul and what it can mean to us as a District.

ü  A more solid view of what I can do with my expertise in conflict resolution as a world volunteer during retirement.

ü  A realization of the power of Rotary as a whole and more specifically Rotary membership at the grassroots.

ü  Friendships that will make my life more fulfilling and happy but also help me achieve Rotary goals throughout the years.

ü  An awareness that Rotary can be a vehicle for accomplishing so much good for the world and it can be done through service which is love in action.  

Since I am a member and an Assistant District Governor in District 5400, I think the above personal gains will support District success.  I also think that there are measurable benefits for the District that will come from my attendance at this conference.  These include:

   ü  The District has gained first hand knowledge about 2002-2003 goals, strengths, and planned changes.  Many of these are shared in this document and I will share any others upon request.

   ü  The District can examine the newest Rotary focus, world peace and conflict resolution, and make informed decisions about possible direct and indirect involvement in this arena.

   ü  Acquaintances at this conference include our International President Bhichai Rattkul, Past President Raja Saboo, International Directors, and members and leaders from 27 countries.  And, I see every acquaintance in Rotary as a possible support for our District work.  I can see future GSE exchanges, Sister City pairings, scholarship exchanges, matching grant program partnerships, and networking possibilities.

   ü  The report above hopefully will raise awareness about Rotary subjects that are important to us.  I will also speak at clubs about the information gained and the experience as a whole.

   ü  An article in the November Rotary Magazine will feature thoughts from your ADG, Rusty Broughton, concerning an active Rotary role in mediation, conflict resolution, and world peace.

Memorabilia

I returned to the District with such extraordinary information and some materials that might be of interest to other Rotarians.  The most important might be the Presidential Conference of Peace and Development Commemorative Supplement.  This soft-bound book contains readings from leaders in the world who have focused on helping us achieve peace. 

Other materials include daily highlights from the sessions, menus from the elegant international meals served, pictures taken of Past President Raja Saboo’s birthday celebration, pictures of the two tallest buildings in the world, among other things.  See attached pictures taken at the conference, as follows: 

   1.      Dr. Surin, Past Minister of Foreign Affairs, Thailand , Bhichai Rattakul, and Rusty

   2.      Bhichai, Surendra Rajindar, and Rusty

Please also note the E-mail sent by Raja Saboo sending a thank you to District 5400 for a color photo book on Idaho .

Summary

I was immediately taken with this year with this years’ International President’s Theme, “Sow the Seeds of Love.”  I now know the full extent of the meaning of that theme and am even more convinced that the core of the statement represents everything Rotary is and can be.  This conference was the one this year that most focused on the concepts represented by the theme:  world understanding, peace and conflict resolution.  And I was given the right to attend on behalf of District 5400.  For that I thank you, the District leadership, all its clubs, and all of the members.  Thank you!

 

-----Original Message-----
From: rksaboo [mailto: rksaboo@kcen.kddl.com ]
Sent:
Tuesday, August 27, 2002 5:14 AM
To: rustyb@idynamic.com
Subject:

 Dear Rtn. Rusty,

 It was a pleasure having  you at the Kuala Lumpur Presidential Conference  and to get to know you personally. 

You had to travel a long way to attend this Conference and surely you brought with you Rotary fellowship and knowledge on peace resolutions to benefit the  participants with a one-to-one interaction.  You truly contributed to the internationality and richness of the meet. 

I want to thank you for the beautiful book on Idaho you presented to me.  It brings back my happy memories of your lovely State and I hope I will again have some opportunity to enjoy its scenic beauty and the friendship of the wonderful people that inhabit it. 

You had talked about the involvement of Rotarians in the peace efforts and I think it was a very interesting and pertinent point.  I mentioned to you that it could mean the start of a new fellowship of Rotarians interested in peace programmes.  Believe it or not, returning from Kula Lumpur Conference I found on my e-mail a proposal being developed by a group of Rotarians to create exactly this kind of fellowship.  When I have more details I shall send the same to you.

I thank you for your kind disposition and wish you the best in your peace efforts.

Best personal regards,

Yours sincerely: Raja Saboo