By Ana Cutter Patel, Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University (2016)
On 27 June, Rotary Peace Fellows (RPFs) will convene for a 24-hour global cyber conference Envisioning the World After the Great Pause. The event will feature the perspectives of Rotary Peace Fellows and their colleagues that are leading the efforts to respond to the pandemic in their communities and within organizations. We will explore the question:
What are we learning in this extraordinary moment of human history that can inform the way we choose to live together in the future? How can positive peace inform how these systems are re-imagined and reconstructed?
Peacebuilding thought leaders John Paul Lederach, author of The Moral Imagination, and Irene Santiago, 2005 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee as one of 1000 outstanding women peacebuilders in the world, will offer their wisdom and inspiration at the conference. They will be joined by Rotary International and Rotary Peace Center leaders who champion the growing Rotary peace ecosystem including the Rotary Action Group for Peace, Rotary Peacebuilder clubs, The Rotary Positive Peace Academy, Peace Activator groups, Rotary Peace conferences, and organizational partners such as The Institute for Economics and Peace, Mediators Beyond Borders International, NewGen Peacebuilders, and Outward Bound Peacebuilding.
The conference is inspired by the work of members of The Rotary Peace Fellowship Alumni Association. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have organized a weekly interactive webinar series exploring challenges such as gender-based violence, environmental degradation, food insecurity, systemic racism, and xenophobia that extend beyond borders and are exacerbated by the global health crisis. The conference builds on these conversations to discuss whether the pandemic also presents an opportunity to reimagine and reconstruct a more peaceful world. Importantly, the conference and the webinars prioritize opportunities for Rotarians, Rotaractors, Rotary Peace Fellows, and other members of the Rotary community to act and build stronger, more resilient communities.
Recognizing that Rotary clubs may not meet in person for the foreseeable future, The Rotary Peace Fellowship Alumni Association also offers the chance for Rotary clubs to invite RPFs to meetings. The Rotary Peace Fellow database is a list of Rotary Peace Fellows and Rotary Positive Peace Activators who can provide interactive talks, webinars, lead virtual town hall discussions, and share their Rotary experience, as well as expert knowledge on COVID-19 response, positive peace, and other topics of importance to club members.
These activities have all been building towards the Rotary Peace Fellow Alumni Association Global Cyber Peace Conference: Envisioning the World after The Great Pause. The unique event and digital format allows the inclusion of global voices and local perspectives from the people and community leaders at the heart of conflict transformation and vital social movements. Our traditional governmental, educational, business and family systems have been disrupted. We invite you to join us and be a part of envisioning a world you choose to live in. Register here.