February, designated as the month for World Understanding and Peace, was an occasion for us to recall the first Rotary meeting held on February 23, 1905. We commemorate it as the World Understanding and Peace Day. This is a big opportunity for every club to plan and promote Rotary’s continued quest for goodwill, peace and understanding amongst the people of the world.
The Rotary Peace Centres are a definite step towards this. Each year, Rotary selects up to 100 professionals from around the world to receive fellowships to study at one of our peace centres. Through academic training, practice, and global networking opportunities, the Rotary Peace Centres develop leaders who become catalysts for peace, conflict prevention and resolution. In just over a decade, the Rotary Peace Centres have trained more than 1,000 Fellows for careers in peace building. Many of them are serving as leaders at international organisations or have started their own Foundations.
Our Trustee Chair Kalyanda had said in 2011–12, “One size does not fit all”. So the modus operandi to celebrate will depend on what needs we have to address in our country, as each country will have different needs. This is the time to pause and introspect on whether we are fulfilling our community’s needs so that we can enjoy peace and world understanding. To be honest, chaos and terrorism are on the rise as needs are not adequately addressed.
Let us look at the needs of Zones 4, 5 and 6A, which comprise India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Myanmar. Our Prime Minister has awakened the giant through his clarion call for Literacy and WinS. We all have wholeheartedly agreed to join the movement. Gandhiji has said; “Mass illiteracy is India’s sin and shame and must be liquidated.” PRID Shekhar Mehta and Trustee Sushil Gupta are steering our two flagship projects — Rotary India Literacy Mission and WinS — with great zeal and enthusiasm. These are definite steps which can help bring peace.
Friends, I hope the Literacy Summit at Chennai will recharge you all to strive more for a Literate India. Rotary is doing good in the world and certainly making a difference!
Director, Rotary International