February is Peace & Conflict Resolution Month

Peace - Who Needs It?

I think world opinion now is that we ALL do, every country in the world, every individual.  Without Peace we can’t tackle poverty effectively; without Peace girls, and boys, don’t receive the full education they deserve; without Peace doctors and nurses struggle to deliver quality care; without Peace an individual does not reach their full potential.

At last the UN and other major players on the world stage realize that without Peace and conflict resolution the Sustainable Development Goals cannot be fully achieved, SO, how do we create Peace?  By talking, negotiating, compromising – skills that we as individuals could use in our everyday lives when coping with the needs and demands of others.

Researchers tell us that the world is less violent than in the past (watch Steven Pinker on TED) but as wars finish we often see increased tensions between different communities.  Mediators and negotiators are called in to ease the tensions and allow people to talk in a safe environment.  These professionals hone their communication skills over many years – learning to talk compassionately rather than arguing aggressively; they develop the ability to really listen to what others say and to hear what they are feeling.    Whenever you read that Peace negotiations are taking place you can rely on the fact that a number of skilled personnel are working hard to bring about a Peace settlement that is acceptable to all, and as we know, that process sometimes can take many months, even many years.

So, Rotary is right to be promoting Peace at all levels of society; Rotary was ahead of its time in creating the Peace centres at a number of universities in different parts of the world; British Rotarians can be justifiably proud of the Peace Studies department at Bradford University, which was a founding member of the Rotary Peace Centres network in 2002 and has been supporting many international Peace scholars, sponsored by Rotary, with their studies ever since.

However difficult the concept of Peace is to put into words we are now more aware than ever of its immense power.  Every Rotarian can develop the skills to be a competent Peace Maker in whatever social setting he/she may find themselves – talk compassionately, really listen to what people say, observe the UN International Day of Peace and Non Conflict (September 21st),  support Peace scholars, and continue working for the many excellent projects Rotary supports – good luck!



Brenda Lowe
D1260 Peace Ambassador