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A brief introduction to why Rotary can help bring Peace to a violent world :-
Rotary World Peace Fellows & Rotary Centres for International studies.
Many clubs finish their meetings with the toast 'Rotary and Peace the World over'
The members don't think twice about it but they should. It isn't an idle wish, but a vision that our organisation really can make happen.
In 1940 the world was at war.
Paul Harris, founder of Rotary quotes in The Rotarian magazine that February:
'Must the best genius of men be devoted to the science of war and none to the science of averting it?'
The Second World War began to clarify views within our organisation that we could and should strive to make our world a far more peaceful place.
After the war, The United Nations were formed. Around 100 Rotarians were deeply and fundamentally involved at senior levels in the formation of the most famous of all Organisations for Peace. Many people, even Rotarians, don't realise that Rotary has such an incredible history of ground breaking work in this field.
The Rotary Foundation is our charity. Its vision is-
"Enabling Rotarians to Advance World Understanding, Goodwill and Peace."
I'm sure you also know that it has three key elements to its mission:
Those of you up to date with current accepted theories on Global Security will know that these also happen to be (if you now add Global Warming), the key issues we need to address if we our World has any chance of remaining a peaceful one.
So the ultimate aim of our charity is the promotion of World Peace.
You can't get a more ambitious goal than that.
In 1996 rotary began to investigate an educational institution dedicated to Paul Harris a Rotary University. This dream was found to be unrealisable, but in 1999 an alternative was found and $5.3M over a six year trial invested in it.
This alternative was the Rotary Centres in Peace & Conflict Resolution 5 Universities around the world (over 100 applied for the honour) where mid career professionals in this specialism could study, supported by a Fellowship from RI.
These Centres are in the US, Sweden, Australia, Japan and the UK in Bradford specifically and we're proud that our Centre is the BEST in the world.
Each takes up to twelve Fellows each year. But why? The aim is to help individuals with experience, vision, drive and with values in line with Rotary itself to develop into 'change agents for peace' in the world. They are selected on a worldwide basis through a rigorous process by expert panels. It's a tough challenge to be selected for the 18 month mostly academic partly practical course.
Once graduated, in ten or twenty years these people will be in the prime of their careers in senior positions in global agencies. One may even be in a position to do the 'right thing at the right time' on a global stage and save the world from war and help bring peace. Even if that never happens there is no doubt that wherever their career takes them they will do good whether in a war zone, an inner city, with kids or with leaders, they will make a difference.
Over 800 have graduated. They come from incredibly varied backgrounds race, creed, country - and are working all over the world, wherever their skills are needed. These are wonderful, courageous people people we are proud to be associated with.
This is a superb programme and in global RI terms second ONLY to Polio plus.
The programme is currently supported from the World Fund so unlike ambassadorial scholars, no money comes from our district.
The current aim is to create an endowment to support the program in perpetuity.
So what can you do?
For more information, visit http://www.brad.ac.uk/social-sciences/peace-studies/rotary-peace-centre/
back Information for applicants and for Rotarians about the Rotary Peace Programme