Let’s usher in a peaceful world

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Fellow Rotarians,

Rotary International has a long history of peace building initiatives. From a pre-World War I resolution calling for maintenance of peace, establishing peace centers and now supporting the environment, Rotarians have the required resources and thought process to address the conflicts in our world because of violation of basic human rights. Rotary never believes in passive preaching of peace. Instead, we have championed the peace process by involving and inspiring people we serve. Rotary stands for sustainable peace for all.

However, in today’s world, over 70 million people are affected because of conflict and violence. Neither peacekeeping forces nor state and international institutions can reduce widely prevalent human rights violations. The Afghan crisis is an example.

Remember, nearly half of the affected population comprises children. We cannot accept the situation as it is. We have all the tools and resources with us. We have a proven track record of building peace and binding communities through our projects. In the past, Rotary had trained volunteers and imparted skills to people and societies. The time has come to re-emphasise the peace process and invest in peace.

Children make up one-third of the global population, with 1 in 6 children living in extreme poverty. Six million children under 5 die each year because of malnutrition and many more are abused, exploited and enslaved. This is the state of affairs even after united efforts by kind-hearted people and service-minded institutions around the globe.

So let’s refuse to accept conflict as a way of life. Let’s think, say and do peace. In order to preach and practise peace, we need to engage, educate and empower communities and people around us. Rotarians are champion peacemakers. Peace is possible when Rotarians plan and execute projects in disease prevention, giving access to clean water, saving mothers and children, supporting education, protecting environment and empowering societies economically and emotionally.

Rotary is nothing but humanity in action. Peacebuilding is an inbuilt ingredient of all our actions and deeds. However, in today’s challenging environment, we need to focus more and put peace efforts at the heart of all our activities. Each action must be reviewed and re-designed to include peace. Our ultimate goal should be a peaceful and conflictless society. We must work for more meaningful and impactful projects which can bring and create an environment for change and a conflict-free world. Our vision and mission must give hope for peace. Trust me, together, in the second century of service to mankind, we shall be more successful and impactful than before.

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Dr Mahesh Kotbagi
RI Director, 2021–23

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