By Ellina Kushnir, Service and Engagement Manager at Rotary International
Peace is a cornerstone of Rotary’s mission. By carrying out service projects, becoming peace advocates, and supporting peace fellowships and scholarships, we promote peace and take action to address the underlying causes of conflict within our communities. We recognize that conflict often results from inequitable access to resources due to social challenges like poverty, discrimination, and ethnic tension that hinder pathways to peace. At Rotary, we work together with partners to improve access to healthcare, clean water, education and skills development, employment opportunities, and more.
At our core, we understand that organizations and communities which embrace diversity and different perspectives are stronger and more resilient. Much of what we do at Rotary aims to embrace our diversity to build stronger communities, better equipped to solve today’s pressing issues. We come together to build connections, goodwill, and understanding with our peers across the Rotary world. We approach the concept of peace with cohesion, inclusivity, and a broad scope that finds more ways for people to get involved. And as a global organization, diversity is one of our longstanding core values and greatest strengths.
The United Nations has designated today, 21 September, as the International Day of Peace. This year’s theme, “End racism. Build peace.”, calls for each of us to foster an environment where everyone feels safe, valued, and respected. And this is true for Rotary, where we strive to create a global community where everyone who interacts with us feels welcomed. We invite you to join the efforts of the United Nations and 2022-23 RI President Jennifer Jones’ call to Imagine Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). We can each do our part to ensure Rotary is a welcoming and inclusive community by:
- Learning more about DEI in Rotary, including understanding definitions and how to celebrate and respect our differences.
- Determining why DEI matters to our club and community and how using DEI principles can help our club grow and become stronger.
- Raising awareness of DEI, including creating a DEI committee in your club that reflects the demographics of your community.
- Taking action on DEI in our club and community.
Learn more and take action by reading the DEI presidential brochure.
And as you think about your and your club’s involvement in inclusion and peacebuilding, consider the multitude of opportunities Rotary offers to better understand your neighbors near and far, and to partner across languages, customs, and geographies to make positive change. Review the new Rotary Builds Peace Brochure for resources and inspiration to:
- Support Rotary Peace Fellowships, which are offered at seven premier universities around the world
- Apply for a Rotary Foundation grant to support a project advancing peacebuilding and preventing violent conflict.
- Support Global Grant Scholars and graduate-level students in fields related to peacebuilding and preventing violent conflict.
- Learn more about building stronger social systems through Rotary’s work in Positive Peace.
- Complete the Rotary Positive Peace Academy, a free online course on the positive peace framework.
- Plan service projects in partnership with Rotary’s partners, including Rotary Action Groups and service partners Mediators Beyond Borders International and Peace Corps, specializing in the peacebuilding space.
- Join an Intercountry Committee, Rotary Fellowship, or participate in a Rotary Friendship Exchange to meet, build fellowship, and collaborate on projects with international members from the Rotary community.
- Support your district’s Rotary Youth Exchange program to empower the next generation of leaders through immersive, life-changing international exchanges.
- Become a Peacebuilding District through a gift to The Rotary Foundation’s Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention area of focus.