By Past TRF Trustee Carolyn E. Jones, Chair of the Rotarian Action Group for Peace
It seems there are a whole bunch of Rotary members who aren’t content in merely being just members and want to make a greater impact. These members have decided to organize, specialize and focus their efforts on one specific area like water and sanitation, microcredit, or health. By the time they come up with a name, it is so long that they simply call themselves Rotarian Action Groups (RAGs). One day, I went online and stumbled across the Rotarian Action Group for Peace’s website and knew I wanted to join right away.
Peace RAG is a group of Rotarians, their family members, program participants, and alumni working together for the purpose of advancing peace throughout the world. The RAG formed in 2012 as a group focused on providing a network of resources to further the peace and conflict resolution work of Rotary members around the globe.
When it comes to matters of literacy, health, water or hunger, the needs and solutions easily come to mind: books, medicine, water wells, food, etc. When it comes to furthering peace and preventing conflict, most Rotarians can’t immediately think of a project to implement.
Peace RAG connects clubs and districts to peace projects looking for support, as well as provides education and information about the many ways we can support peace. Here are a few ways the RAG is assisting the Rotary family:
- Upon request, the RAG looks for funding for peace projects. Most recently, we helped secure a Global Grant for a project in District 4185, Mexico. The grant will finance a project that provides training for Rotarians, Rotaractors, youth and other local peace builders on the positive peace model and will offer practical instructions on how to build peace within their community. Working with local media outlets, the project aims to produce news that highlights positive and constructive opportunities for Mexico to grow more peaceful in the years ahead.
- The RAG identifies speakers for high profile Rotary events such as conventions, district conferences, club programs, and presidential peace initiatives.
- We live stream the breakfast meetings of the Rotary Club of New York at the United Nations each month to share ideas on peacebuilding and global understanding with Rotary members all over the world.
- The group encourages collaborations between Rotary Peace Fellows and clubs by helping clubs identify local Peace Fellows and alumni and facilitating introduction.
Creating a virtual network of peace
Rotarian Action Group for Peace’s signature piece of work is the Rotary Peace Map, a virtual platform connecting Peace RAG members with other Rotary affiliated groups, projects, educational institutions and peace organizations. You can easily navigate the map by entity, region, or area of specialization. It is an exciting resource and here is all you need to know about it:
- The worldwide map covers Rotary’s global network and the regional filter allows you to explore specific regions of interest;
- The map highlights areas of specializations, connecting you with groups that share your interest;
- You can easily find your Rotary club, organization, educational institute or peace project by using the search tool. You can even find my name way up in Alaska, USA!
As I write this, Peace RAG is collaborating with the 21st Century Peace Literacy Foundation to spread the message of peace via a unique Peace Hub Tour in western United States. This mobile space is facilitating conversations about peacebuilding through community visits and meeting with local Rotary clubs. The hub is a huge eye catcher, as you can see from the photos above, and many clubs have already contacted Jerry Leggett, the lead on this initiative, to schedule a visit. If you can’t connect with Jerry on the west coast tour, be sure to meet him and the hub at the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta.
There are so many avenues to peacebuilding – many that I had not even considered. Peace is possible! Learn more about Rotarian Action Group for Peace and let’s advance world peace together.