Promoting peace between countries

By Kristin Brown, Rotary Service Connections Manager

Past District Governor Anton (Toni) Polsterer is passionate about peace. His district includes Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) and part of Austria, and he’s seen firsthand the role that Inter-Country Committees (ICCs) can play in promoting peace between countries, or between different ethnic groups within the same country. He’s also seen what the Rotary Foundation can do through grants for large-scale, sustainable projects.

So last year, at a conference on “Building Peace with Rotary” at UNESCO, Polsterer issued a challenge: he would contribute USD 10,000 to the Rotary Foundation for an international project in Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution. The USD 10,000 cash contribution will receive a 50% match by the World Fund, making his gift worth USD 15,000. A number of worthy proposals were submitted and Polsterer announced two projects will split the gift once the grants are finalized and approved by The Rotary Foundation.

One project plans to bring a Vocational Training Team and hold a five day International Training Institute for women peace builders from different countries. Polsterer hopes to see new ICCs emerge in the region as a result of this peace building project. The other brings together children from different ethnic groups and uses music therapy and the process of composing, scripting, designing and performing an original work to heal conflict-induced psycho social wounds and bridge differences among cultural and religious groups.

If you are attending the Rotary International Convention in Korea, participate in the Inter-Country Committees and the $10K Peace Project Challenge breakout session on Tuesday, 31 May from 13:00 – 14:30 to learn more.

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