By Dennis Wong, Co-founder Rotarian Action Group for Peace

The time is right.  The passion and actions for peace are more evident than ever.

The Lisbon Convention theme “Harbor of Peace” greatly inspired us to look at the 2013-14 Rotary year with fresh and innovative approaches to the Rotary mission to advance world understanding, fellowship and peace, and Rotary’s first area of focus: peace and conflict prevention/resolution.

We were enthusiastic to see so many signs of peace. Along with polio, the focus on peace dominated the convention program from the House of Friendship to breakout sessions to the plenaries. At the closing session, RI President Sakuji Tanaka recognized one Rotary Club’s unique and effective way of promoting peace. The Club reached out to popular German band Marco und die Elfenbande to write and record The Rotary Peace Song to teach young people about the importance of peace and how Rotary is working to achieve it.  Once again we found Rotarians turning ideas for peace into actions.

In Lisbon, we had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of members of the Rotary community and gathered a huge cache of ideas about how the Rotarian Action Group for Peace can offer the greatest value and benefit to those Rotary and Rotaract members who share a passion for peace.  We wanted to knowif our purpose, commitment and actions align with what Rotarians want and need.

After five days of meeting and talking in Lisbon, we doubled our membership, a sign that Rotarians believe the Rotarian Action Group for Peace can play a key role fulfilling our Rotary mission to advance world understanding, fellowship and peace.  In the months since RI recognized our organization, we have signed on more than 1,000 members representing allcontinents, including — Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Romania, Taiwan, Tanzania, the UK, the United States  — to name just a few.

In short, we found our answer, and it was YES, the Rotarian Action Group for Peace serves a purpose that is relevant and timely. We are a growing global network and a place where Rotarians and Rotaractors can turn their passion for peace into action. The Rotarian Action Group for Peace will provide a place for promoting member peace programs and projects such as peace forums, conflict prevention exchanges, conflict resolution classes, student projects and contests and planting peace poles.

How you can help us achieve our mission:

Fill out your member profile so we can get to know you better

Enter your personal, club or District peace projects on our website

Search for peace project ideas on our website

Let us know how we can best serve you by sending us a note at [email protected]. The Rotarian Action Group for Peace can also provide assistance in matching resources in a club’s planning, developing and implementing of peace projects.

In Lisbon we learned that Rotary’s impact on peace will be greater because of the connections being formed between groups such as Rotary staff, the Rotarian Action Group for PeaceInterCountry CommitteesAdvanced RYLAPlus EuropeRotary’s Cadre of Technical Advisers and Rotary Peace Fellow Alumni. In upcoming newsletters we will feature each of these groups and highlight how we can best work together.

We believe that it is our Rotary DNA for members of Rotary and Rotaract to be leaders for peace. We invite members of Rotary and Rotaract clubs to visit our website and Facebook page, and consider joining our peace team … the Rotarian Action Group for Peace … as engaged Rotarians who will change lives through peacebuilding.