The world says yes to diplomacy for Syria, and the Rotarian Action Group for Peace asks its members to be part of this effort.

Responding to a reporter’s question about what Syria could do to avert a US strike, US Secretary of State John Kerry responded that the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons capacity would resolve the problem. In reply, Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister offered the promise, “If the establishment of international control over chemical weapons in the country will prevent attacks, then we will immediately begin work with Damascus. And we call on the Syrian leadership to not only agree to setting the chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also to their subsequent destruction.”  President Assad, Ban Ki Moon and President Obama have all welcomed the proposal.

The Rotarian Action Group for Peace calls upon its members to use all means of reaching decision makers to support this course of diplomacy. Rotarian Action Group for Peace members who have personal access to decision makers within their own countries and across borders are urged to use those channels to support this proposal. Others are asked to call and email their legislators and heads of state to support this proposal. Rotarians who are in positions of power themselves are urged to give diplomacy in Syria a chance.

The Rotarian Action Group for Peace also encourages Rotarians to:

  • Speak out in their communities and engage in cross-border conversations with Rotarians from other countries.
  • Embrace this initiative with kindness, respect and optimism.

We are mindful that our Rotarian colleagues in Jordan, Israel, Lebanon and Turkey are making space for refugees in their countries. We can support them with this initiative.

We are mindful that there are many nonviolent activists in Syria, many of whom are women, who are working daily, to build weapons free zones, peace communities and restore the bonds of friendship between the various ethnic and religious communities there. We can support them with this initiative.

We are mindful of the potential for unarmed civilian peacekeepers working in many parts of the world who could, with momentum from this peace initiative, support those activists on a nonpartisan basis.  We can support the practice of nonviolent and nonpartisan efforts for peace.

Please join the Rotarian Action Group for Peace by:

  • Posting this call to action to your social media sites
  • Forwarding this to your friends around the world, and urging their action and involvement
  • Sending this to your local newspapers
  • Using these ideas to formulate your personal email to legislators and heads of state

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This editorial was submitted on September 9, 2013 by Rotarian Action Group for Peace Member Dr. Ann Frisch, and endorsed by the Rotarian Action Group for Peace Leadership Team. She is a Professor Emerita of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and a Nonviolent Peaceforce Senior Adviser and returned peacekeeper. The views expressed here do not represent these organizations, but are submitted as a Rotarian. Her Rotary Club is in St. Paul, MN, USA District 5960. You can contact Ann via email at [email protected].