Dear Rotary leaders,
Conflict and violence have displaced millions of people around the world over the years. We Rotarians should refuse to accept conflict as a way of life, as our community service projects strive to provide training that fosters understanding and provides communities with skills to resolve such conflicts.
Rotary promotes peace and reduces conflicts and tensions around the world not only through its service projects, but also peace fellowships. Both our members and scholars are constantly and continuously taking action to address the underlying causes of conflict, including poverty, inequality, ethnic tension, lack of access to education and unequal distribution of resources.
For me, peace is giving food to the hungry, limbs to the handicapped, sight to the blind, home to the homeless, water to the thirsty and opportunity to learn for the illiterate. Just imagine how much of all this we Rotarians did across the world as an unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic devastated the world. As countries locked down for long periods and economic activity was severely curtailed, people struggled with their livelihoods. Businesses were impacted and thousands and thousands lost their jobs. The disadvantaged sections of our communities, infected by this virus, struggled to get adequate treatment. Just look at the way Rotarians across the world came out, bravely and passionately, to feed the hungry and the homeless, and stood shoulder to shoulder with their governments and healthcare providers by providing masks, sanitisers and PPE kits in huge numbers, bolstering hospital equipment, setting up ventilators and doing all that it took to bring comfort to the sick and the hungry.
While on the one hand the Rotary Peace Centres programme creates peace scholars who work for conflict resolution and promote peace, in the Covid era, all of us became promotors of world peace through our passion to do good.
Let us all pledge to continue our efforts to bring succour to those who are suffering the aftermath of this pandemic, help our governments vaccinate our people and be a beacon of hope and peace during these difficult times.
RI Director, 2019-21