ROTARY CLUB OF OKOTOKS

 

INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM

 

PROPOSAL

 

 

 

 

 

Prepared by Robert Stewart, PHF. , C.A. , C.M.C.

Member, Rotary Club of Okotoks (D5360)

August 11, 2004




Rotary, Peace, and “Me”

   

Introduction

“Peace is the most important cause – and you should do something!”

That was the message given by several prominent speakers at the 1996 Rotary International Annual Convention in Calgary , Canada .  The speakers included RI President Herb Brown, Nobel Peace Prize Recipients Oscar Arias and Betty Williams, among others.  This challenge is embodied in Rotary’s Fourth Object of Service: “The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.”

For a Rotarian to pick up this challenge, he or she needs to learn more about peace (i.e. the dynamics or science), and how he or she may fit in to the program.  Where to turn?

Unfortunately, Rotary International (Districts and Clubs) do not have a good peace resource library or people to help Rotarians.  We are lacking in direction and capacity to do our best in achieving the Fourth Object.  There is a Fellowship of Rotarian Peacebuilders in formation, but it has not yet received RI sanction for various reasons (which require follow up).

Fortunately, there is an excellent Rotary publication that has been “lost” over the years – it is "Seven Paths to Peace", available on the Internet in html at http://www.peace.ca/rotarysevenpathstopeace.htm  .  If you have not read it and have a sincere interest in peace, then I strongly recommend it to you.  It is as relevant today as when it was originally written, is pragmatic, and speaks in a straight forward language that business and professional people can understand.

Beyond this sole Rotary publication, a Rotarian would have to have the time and take the initiative to search the Internet (book and video libraries) to find pertinent information.  This is what I did.  As a result, I developed a web site to assist future Rotarians who would like to learn more and called it Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace at http://www.peace.ca .  I also gave considerable thought as to how Rotarians might best use their skills and resources in the service of world peace, which resulted in the following proposal, a Honolulu Declaration and further Rotary specific reading material at http://www.peace.ca/honoluludeclaration.htm .  My purpose in doing this was twofold: (i) to help other Rotarians learn in a relatively short period what has taken years for me to learn; and (ii) to help Rotarians build some direction and capacity to achieve the Fourth Object of Rotary.

 

How a Typical Rotarian can Fit in to the Peace Object of Rotary

This experience demonstrates that, at this stage in time, Rotary and the world generally is lacking in fundamental resources available for Peace Education.  If Rotarians are relatively “illiterate” in terms of peace, non-violence, conflict and violence, one can imagine that the general populace is even moreso.

Logically, if Rotary and Rotarians wish for “advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace”, then the best place to start is in providing fundamental resources available for Peace Education.  This is very consistent with, and promoted in, Rotary’s “Seven Paths to Peace”.  Examples of the types of Peace Education resources that Rotary and Rotarians can provide is listed in http://www.peace.ca/rotarypeaceeducation.htm .

Any Rotarians can make a significant contribution to peacebuilding by promoting and supporting Peace Education.  It starts with our own personal learning about peace, and there are no limits how far we can go to advance Peace Education.

The work that I have done is a testament to what is possible.  Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace web site at http://www.peace.ca has received over 940,000 visitors and 6.7 million hits since July 1999 (ref. http://www.peace.ca/visitorstats.htm ).  It is currently ranked as the Number 1 peace web site in Canada (ref. http://www.peace.ca/googleranks.htm ).  The positive feedback in our Guestbook and through emails tells us that we are doing something right, and much needed (ref. http://www.peace.ca/guestlog.htm ).  I am putting on a mini-workshop at the Rotary International Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park Assembly in September 2004, and I have been invited to do a tour of Brazilian Rotary Clubs to talk about peace in February 2005.  I also host the Annual Peace Education Conference in Canada at McMaster University (ref. http://www.peace.ca/CanadianAgenda2004.htm ) and several other provincial ones. The Rotary Club of Okotoks has recognized my contribution with a Peace Award (ref. http://www.peace.ca/rotaryokotoksaward.htm ).

  

Imagine the Possibilities

The Rotary Code of Policies (reprinted at the end Rotary’s "Seven Paths to Peace", available on the Internet in html at http://www.peace.ca/rotarysevenpathstopeace.htm ) Item 8.080.4 indicates that “Each Rotarian is expected to make an individual contribution to the achievement of the ideal inherent in the fourth Avenue of Service.” 

Can you imagine if 1.2 million Rotarians around the world helped to promote and support Peace Education, each in his or her own little way?

Can you imagine if our 1.2 million Rotarians partnered with 1.2 million Lions, and other organizations with a like-mind such as UNESCO, UNICEF, YM and YWCA, Red Cross, etc., etc., etc.?

Can you imagine if our Rotary Clubs supported Rotarians that wanted to help build peace through Peace Education?

Can you imagine if our Rotary Districts supported Rotarians and Clubs that wanted to help build peace through Peace Education?

This seems so simplistic that it is hard to believe that we have not taken a more active role.  This is not “rocket science’ – using the Rotary PolioPlus Program as an analogy: violence is a disease, we have the antidote = it is Peace Education.  We simply have to make the antidote available.  Future generations will recognize almost intuitively that Peace Education is a fundamental necessity in all our educations.

 

The Challenge  

“It is not that we do not know what to do, it is that we do not do it.”  The Carnegie Foundation for Peace

 

"The world is dangerous not because of those who do harm, but because of those who look at it without doing anything." - Albert Einstein

I joined Rotary because of the Rotary Polio Plus Program – I believed that any organization with a vision this large would be good to be a Member of.

Everything in Rotary says we should do our utmost to help advance peace in the world.  We are not achieving our potential yet.  We could make an incredible difference in the world if we aggressively promoted and supported Peace Education, in partnership with like-minded organizations.  I have referred to this as a Rotary Peace Plus Program.

I believe the benefits to Rotary, although secondary to peace in our communities and world, will also be significant.  I believe new Members will be enticed to join an organization with such a worthy goal.  I also believe that Members of Rotary will become better people with the resulting Peace Education that they themselves will gain.  Win-win-win.

The articles that follow are in more technical language explaining my thoughts on how a Rotary Peace Plus Initiative might look (and it is my intention to improve them with better wording as time permits).  Prior to reading it, so as not to be prejudiced by my thoughts, it is recommended that the reader first sit down and enumerate their own ideas and principles with respect to a Rotary Peace Vision and Initiative.  Our Rotary-wide discussions on peacebuilding will benefit accordingly.

My Proposal for the Consideration of the Rotary Club of Okotoks

I would like the Club’s help.  It is important that this initiative move forward, and I believe that the timing is right.  If the Rotary Club of Okotoks believes that this program has merit, I formally request its support.  That support can be relatively passive, or relatively active.

If the Club wishes to remain relatively passive, your support may be shown by any or all of the following:

1. a letter of support

2. allowing the use of the Club’s name as supporters, with prior approval

3. encouragement to Members to do something for peace

If the Club wishes to become more actively involved, your support may be shown by any or all of the following:

1. actively refining and selling the program at the District level

2. active involvement in conferencing (local, in Calgary , and/or in Canada )

3. volunteer support and/or as a Club sanctioned program

4. financial support

I am happy to do most of the work on this initiative, and to continue to fund it.  I would also be happy if others wished to actively join in.

A Rotary Peace Plus Program should be an “easy sell” within Rotary – it is supposed to be our organization’s Mission . 

I believe that the Rotary Club of Okotoks would find this program as an excellent way to meet its International Program goals, and an opportunity for the Club to gain International recognition as a leader in Peace Education.  We can become “experts” in the field of Rotary and Peace Education because of the current void (in fact, to an extent, I have done that).  Those with a larger vision may also see that this could also be an opportunity for the Town of Okotoks – there is no real centre of peace in Canada yet, and the work that I have been doing is pioneering.  There is a Peace Industry waiting to be cultivated.  Imagine the possibilities.

Respectfully submitted,

 

Robert Stewart, PHF. , C.A. , C.M.C. stewartr [at] peace.ca



Peace Plus Program/Initiative Strategy: A Rotary Peace Vision Proposal

By Robert Stewart, C.A. , C.M.C.

 

Preface

The development of the strategy for a Peace Plus Program/Initiative must be an open, inclusive, collaborative and ongoing evolving process.  I have taken the liberty of collecting my ideas here, so that I may help with the facilitation of its development.  My thoughts are not intended to pre-empt or prejudice any discussion – only to help (at least it helps me).  For a summary, this is lengthy, however peace is a complex issue (actually a convergence of many complex issues, each one a dilemma in its own right) – this is why it requires a substantial strategy.  [This summary is also available on the Internet at http://www.peace.ca/peaceplusprogram.htm ]

 

A Proposed Vision Statement

To significantly reduce the human costs of violence, in our communities, countries and in our world (and increase the human “profits”), through Peace Education. 

[Note – costs may be measured in terms of financial, human, social and other costs; profits may also.  Violence may be measured in terms of direct (eg. Physical abuse) and indirect (eg. Psychological abuse, systemic abuse, etc.) violence.]

 

Background - General

Recommended Reading

1. A Rotary Peace Vision at  http://www.peace.ca/rotarypeacevision.htm  

2. The Rotary International  publication "Seven Paths to Peace", available on the Internet in html at http://www.peace.ca/rotarysevenpathstopeace.htm  

3. The Honolulu Declaration and background material at

 http://www.peace.ca/honoluludeclaration.htm  

 

 

A Suggested Statement of Principles

In no particular order, I would suggest consideration of the following principles in founding a Rotary PeacePlus Program and the organization to support it: 

 

Conclusion

To Rotary Peacebuilders: We (you and I) are becoming the children of a peace culture.  It has taken us a long time and a personal journey of learning to get here.  Many are not here yet, but we can help.   Based on the good work done by UNESCO and the U.N., you and I can say, “I am one of the children that we are now “consciously” trying to form.”  ‘Trying to form’ in the sense of helping them, through Servant Leadership, to find their own truths about the Culture of War and Violence, and the Culture of Peace and Non-violence.  “Future generations … will recognize almost intuitively that peace is their right.” (Doug Roche)

It has been said that a people without a vision will perish.  A Rotary PeacePlus Vision will lift Rotarians and others to great heights (it is both a human and “market” opportunity).  In one sense, it should not be a difficult sell: Rotary’s fourth Object is to advance world understanding and peace, and the vast majority of world’s populace has positive feelings and wishes for peace. 

Peace starts at home, with us … with “me”.  Our first task is to help create an organization of peace promoters (i.e. Rotary International – 1.2 million strong).  We will be asked to help other peoples in other organizations and countries similarly, if we get our act together and develop a special expertise in the building of a Culture of Peace and Non-violence through Peace Education.  It is also important to point out that the UNESCO Culture of Peace Program has been threatened by “politics, and resource and support starvation” – it is vital that organizations like Rotary take a lead to keep this important Program alive and flourishing. 

“Our role…is to nourish the seeds of peace so that the blossom appears. When ‘we the peoples’ seize this responsibility, the human right to peace will be assured.” Doug Roche, The Human Right to Peace.

We must react, each of us to the best of our abilities.

 

Feedback, input, comments and Suggestions Welcome

  The development of the strategy for a Rotary PeacePlus Program must be an open, inclusive, collaborative and ongoing evolving process.  Alternate visions and analysis are invited.

Respectfully submitted,

 

Robert Stewart, PHF. , C.A. , C.M.C. stewartr [at] peace.ca


APPENDIX

Reference Material:

Books and articles that I have that exemplify the work of Peace Education (in no particular order):

UNESCO and a Culture of Peace: Promoting a Global Movement, book by UNESCO (ref. http://www.peace.ca/excertunesco.htm )

From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Peace and Conflict Issues, book by UNESCO

Summary of UNESCO Culture of Peace Program at http://www.peace.ca/unesco.htm and the David Adams article on the "values of a culture of peace" at http://cpnn-usa.org/learn/values.html

The UNESCO Culture of Peace website http://www.unesco.org/cpp/uk/ , http://www3.unesco.org/iycp/ (it is interesting to note that it is very difficult to find the Culture of Peace Program from UNESCO’s homepage at http://www.unesco.org – I would suggest this may be reflective of politics)

The Rotary International publication "Seven Paths to Peace", available on the Internet in html at http://www.peace.ca/rotarysevenpathstopeace.htm  

The Human Right To Peace, by Senator Douglas Roche (book)  (ref. http://www.peace.ca/rochebookreview.htm and http://www.peace.ca/humanrighttopeace.htm )

The conceptual material proposing a National Culture of Peace Program in Canada (ref. http://www.peace.ca/nationalcultureofpeaceprogram.htm ) by Robert Stewart, C.A. , C.M.C. 

A conceptual map of the Peace and Violence Issue, required for addressing the issues (ref. http://www.peace.ca/macropeace.htm ) by Robert Stewart, C.A. , C.M.C.  .

Peace Psychology - American Psychological Association (APA) Division 48 has sponsored development of the first college textbook on peace psychology (all proceeds are donated to the division).  "Peace, Conflict, and Violence: Peace Psychology for the 21st Century" edited by D. Christie, R. Wagner, and D. Winter (2001) is now available from Prentice Hall. The book is a 426 page paperback, very attractively packaged. If you teach at the college level, this may be the perfect text for your peace psychology or conflict and violence course. Knowing that an excellent text is available, some of you may now want to develop the first peace psychology course for your college. 5 Star Must Reading   Click on the link to Peace Psychology to read an excellent summary and ordering information.  http://www.peace.ca/peacepsychology.htm  ]