My Rotary club, Hiroshima Southeast, has actively promoted peace for its entire 60-year existence. We built a house for orphans who lost their families during the atomic bombings in 1945 and in 1982, became a sister club with Rotary Club of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USA. Our two clubs continue to exchange friendship and organize joint service projects.

The park is between Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

This year marks two occasions: the 75th anniversary since the bombs were dropped and our club’s 60th anniversary. To commemorate both, our club planned to plant two tree saplings – second-generation descendants of a tree that survived the atomic bomb – in a park in Koge-machi in Fukuoka, Japan. We chose that park because it is at the exact mid-point between Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The mayor and town council accepted and supported our project.

On the International Day of Peace, 21 September 2019, we held an inauguration event with more than 400 attendees, including community residents and local school children, the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, members of three Rotary clubs (Hiroshima Southeast, Nagasaki South, and Buzen), and members of a local Interact Club. We planted the one sapling each at two locations that we named “Hiroshima Hill” and “Nagasaki Hill.” After the event, we continued the ceremony inside a community hall, where the mayors made proclamations of peace and declared that the trees would stand as a silent witness for peace.

Members of the Fukuoka Prefectural Seiho High School Interact Club and members of Koge Junior High School Student Council plant one of the two trees.

I talked about my own experience as an atomic bomb survivor. I talked about giving meaning to the deaths of those who perished from the bombs and the need for an open peace movement transcending Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A youth theater group performed an original drama about the grave reality of atomic bombs.

We hope that many peace activities will be held in Koge-machi. By collaborating with other Rotary clubs, we hope this place will become a hub where children and young people from all over the world can grow in their understanding of peace and be a witness for peace, just like the seedlings of the trees we planted in the park.

Adapted with permission. Read the original post in Japanese

Ispent three days in Ontario, California, USA, in January with a group of passionate peacebuilders learning to be Rotary Positive Peace Activators.
 
The goal of the three-day training was to develop a worldwide network of peacebuilders to support Rotarians and Rotaractors in fostering Positive Peace in their communities. By 2024, Rotary will train 150 new Positive Peace Activators in six global regions, prepared to educate, coach, and accompany Rotarians in at least 1,000 presentations and/or workshops, and act as consultants on projects locally and globally.
 
The training is the next step in a growing list of Rotary peace initiatives that I believe are pushing Rotary to a tipping point. Our peace programs will begin rapidly expanding and will change Rotary forever as we go from being advocates for peace to something grander: active and effective peacebuilders.
 
In 2017, Rotary and the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) formed a strategic partnership. This alliance builds on IEP’s research into Positive Peace – the attitudes, institutions, and structures that shape peaceful societies – as well as Rotary’s grassroots work in communities globally.
 
In addition to our partnership with IEP, Rotary’s Peace Centers are expanding, Rotary Peace Fellows are taking on diverse roles, there is an online peace academy, and clubs and districts are increasing their reach with a variety of peace projects. Major positive peace projects occurred in 2019 in Mexico and Colombia.
 
The 25 activators who participated in the training with me were Rotarians, peace fellows, Rotaractors, and Rotary Global Scholars. We were trained on the IEP positive peace model and on facilitating meetings. We focused on skills that will enable us to lead education programs with Rotary-affiliated groups.
 
Rotary seeks to create the conditions for Positive Peace by funding and implementing thousands of local and international peace projects. The Rotary Positive Peace Activators will take a lead as advisors to assist clubs and districts.
 
This is our peace tipping point.
  • Support Rotary’s work in building peace through your generous gift (select the Endowment-Rotary Peace Centers from the donate menu)
  • Read more about Rotary’s partnership with IEP
  • Learn about the Rotary Positive Peace Academy
  • Contact Summer Lewis for more information on the Rotary Positive Peace Activators

 

By Chris Offer, Rotary Club of Ladner, Delta, British Columbia, Canada, and chair of the Peace Major Gifts Initiative

Three years ago, the nephew of one of my best friends was born with a congenital condition that required one hand to be amputated. As a result, he had trouble keeping his balance and when it came to taking his first steps, he fell repeatedly. He was unable to lift himself up with just one hand and would just cry until someone could help him get up.
 
Watching him inspired me to help. I gathered several of my best friends who, like myself, had knowledge in robotics. Never would I have imagined that I would end up making prostheses, with the little knowledge I had on the subject. But as we began researching, we developed a prototype for our first model prosthetic limb. It was incredible seeing our efforts come together into a hand-crafted prosthesis made out of wood and springs, with sensors carrying signals from the brain to the artificial limb.
 
The potential impact slowly began to dawn on us, as we realized we could help not only one person, but perhaps hundreds or thousands. In Mexico, there are more than 27,500 amputations a year and only 2,500 prosthetic limbs are produced annually. This means that less than 10 percent of the population has access to one. The problem is not a lack of production, but the high cost.
 
Experimenting with different kinds of technology, we looked for a bio-compatible material that would let us get away from having to use titanium, a very expensive material typically used in prostheses. We began working with ABS plastic, an opaque thermoplastic and amorphous polymer that can be used with 3D printing. By using thermoplastic polymers, we reduced the cost by more than 90 percent and also adapted our model to be a good fit for children. Our processes let children choose a robotic prosthetic limb with interchangeable superhero designs. To make our effort more sustainable, we began to look for strategic and commercial partners.
 
We teamed up with our university’s robotics team to present our project during a FIRST Robotics competition in New Orleans and received the Engineering Inspiration Award, which celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school and community. The project was also nominated for a 2019 Rotaract Outstanding Project Awards
 
We continue to work with different organizations, including Rotary, who have offered us support since the beginning through our host club, to expand our project and help more people.
 
By Rafael Vazquez Barragan, Rotaract Club of Monterrey Cumbres, Nuevo León, Mexico

At the Rotary Peace Symposium and Peace Fellow Conference in June in Germany, 80 Rotary Peace Fellows had the opportunity to come together and share our work, insights and ideas for building peace. We also discussed how to work together more closely as a network of 1300+ peacebuilders, alumni of the Rotary Peace Fellowship program, from over 100 countries. We were convinced that there was a need to gather as a group of talented individuals: professionals with expert knowledge and vast experience, passionate about building a more peaceful world.

We emerged from the Hamburg gathering with an action plan to form a Rotary Fellowship for Rotary Peace Fellows, officially approved by the RI Board in October.  The Rotary Peace Fellow Alumni Association aims to unite Rotary Peace Fellow alumni, increase networking opportunities among Fellows, and facilitate collaboration with clubs and districts to expand the promotion of peace around the world. We envision a united Rotary Peace Fellow community, working together to expand peacebuilding and sustain peace in the world.

Many Peace Fellows already support each other, and many also already work with Rotarians on peacebuilding projects. One-third of alumni recently reported that they’ve collaborated with a Rotary or Rotaract club on a project, and 86% said that they are in frequent contact with the other fellows in their graduating class. Through our new organization, we can make sure that every Peace Fellow has the opportunity to work with Rotary networks and partners as they build peace in their personal and professional lives.

The Rotary Peace Fellowship Alumni Association is planning several networking events, and our members have already begun working with Rotarians around the world to plan district events aimed at generating peacebuilding projects. This is just the start of a brilliant path! Working together through a Global Board of Directors and Regional Coordinators, our new Fellowship starts to be an integral part of the Rotary family. Come say hello at our RPFAA booth at the 2020 Peace Conference in Ontario, California!

Provisional RPFAA Board Members Erin Thomas and Magdalena Zuritarecently joined Rotary clubs in Oregon, USA and Argentina and are already very active with planning peace programs in their clubs and districts. The entire board is very committed to finding bridging opportunities between Peace Fellows and Rotarians wherever they exist.

Are you also passionate about peacebuilding? Write to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will keep you updated as we expand our activities. We aim to have board elections, a website and regular newsletters sometime in 2020.

Let’s work together on promoting of peace around the globe through the RPFAA!

 

By Erin Thomas, Magdalena Zurita, Wes Hedden, Yung Nietschke and ElsaMarie D’Silva,

Rotary Peace Fellows and Provisional Board of Directors for the Rotary Peace Fellowship Alumni Association

Bring your project ideas to life with guidance from a Rotary Action Group:

Get support for your initiatives from these partners, too:
 

  • The Institute for Economics and Peace, an independent think tank, helps Rotarians, Rotaractors, and Rotary alumni address the causes of conflict and create conditions that foster peace. Use IEP’s Rotary Peace Academy — a free, online learning platform that includes interactive lessons and tools — to learn how to apply new peacebuilding methods and mobilize communities to address underlying causes of conflict. Learn more and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get involved
  • Mediators Beyond Borders International works with clubs, districts, and Rotary alumni to build a more stable future by improving a community’s capacity to heal from conflict, reconcile differences, and prevent the escalation of issues. MBBI trains Rotarians, Rotaractors, and alumni to be peace facilitators and project leaders who can assist clubs with community assessments and peace projects and connect them with peacebuilding resources. Learn more (PDF) and contact MBBI to get involved.
  • Peace Corps provides opportunities for Rotary and Rotaract clubs to work alongside U.S. Peace Corps volunteers, training in humanitarian development to empower communities and connect them to resources that can brighten their future. By working together on water and sanitation, economic and community development, or basic education and literacy projects, Rotarians, Rotaractors, and Peace Corps volunteers lay the foundation for peace, stability, and prosperity. Read the Rotary-Peace Corps partnership fact sheet and inspirational stories of Rotary members who have been affected by the partnership.

Join the conversation in a peace-related discussion group and post your club’s completed project on Rotary Showcase.