Since its inception in 1905, Rotary has been a champion for peace. The 1914 Rotary Convention adopted a resolution that our organisation “lend its influence to the maintenance of peace among nations of the world.” Then, the 1921 convention incorporated into Rotary’s Constitution the goal to aid in the advancement of international peace and goodwill through fellowship in the Rotary ideal of service. In 1945, Rotary played a key role in forming the United Nations when almost 50 Rotarians served as delegates, advisers, or consultants at the UN charter conference in San Francisco.
Today, one of our six areas of focus is promoting peace. Every Rotary service project, whether funded with a district grant or a global grant, has an impact on peace. It could be a peace project, a water and sanitation project, a basic education and literacy project, an economic and community development project, or a project in one of our human health-related areas — maternal and child health or disease prevention and treatment. It really doesn’t matter. The ultimate outcome makes a positive contribution to our world by improving the quality of life for those affected, and that improvement is an element of peace.
Additionally, each year we select up to 100 professionals from around the world to be Rotary Peace Fellows who receive fellowships to study at one of our six peace centres, earning either a master’s degree or a professional development certiﬁcate in areas such as human rights, international politics, public health, and development. To date, 1,100-plus people have participated in the programme and we are beginning to see positive results.
As we look to the future, The Rotary Foundation Trustees are discussing how we can improve this programme as well as all of our peace efforts so that we can achieve the maximum possible positive impact. If you would like to help, you can contribute to the Rotary Peace Centers Major Gifts Initiative and help support the next generation of peacebuilders.
Ron D Burton
Foundation Trustee Chair