By Dennis Wong Rotarian Action Group for Peace Co-Founder

The good news…we learned that one year after being an approved RI entity, your Rotary Action Group for Peace is on the Rotary radar. There are expectations that RAGFP will be a key contributor to addressing a major Rotary Area of Focus – Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution.

Rotary-UN Day brought many Rotarians from around the world together in a special setting, the United Nations in New York City. Many young people attended, especially students in the Rotary Youth Exchange program. The event theme was “Rotary and the United Nations Together Engaged to Change Lives.”

Your RAGFP team met with many people who share our passion for peace development and human rights. Many speeches including the key note speaker, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations, The Honorable Jan Eliasson, addressed the want and need for peace in terms of conflict prevention and conflict resolution. The Honorable Eliasson mentioned with pride and joy that he was a Rotary Youth Exchange student. He mentioned being in Syria and other hotspots around the world. He closed to say while the work is challenging and sometimes slow and difficult; and it is Rotarians from around the world and on the ground that are making a difference.

Amongst the people we talked to were: RIP Ron Burton, RIPE Gary Huang, RIVP Anne Armstrong, RID Gidi Peiper and RFD Mike McGovern, as well as Dean, RI Rep Network – Ed Futa, and RI Reps to the UN – Joseph Laureni, PDG and Helen Reisler, PDG. All expressed their interest in and support of Rotarian Action Group for Peace.

We attended an interesting breakout session on Peace and Conflict Resolution that focused on a new program for high school students titled RISE: Rotary International Syllabus for Envoys of Peace. Jeff Teitel of Deerfield Valley Rotary in Vermont, USA and Patricia Shafer, a Rotary Peace Fellow Alumna spoke of their work on RISE, now in development and being pilot tested around the world. RAGFP is in contact with Jeff and Patricia and will support RISE is ways to be determined as the program is developed.

With me at Rotary-UN Day were Al Jubitz, RAGFP Chair and co-founder, Gordon Crann, RAGFP Secretary, and Marilyn Axler, RAGFP Communications Committee.

The Rotarian Action Group for Peace is ending our first year on a high note and begining our second with high expectations. After listening and communicating with our constituents, the Rotarian Action Group for Peace looks to do our part in addressing the Rotary Area of Focus – Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution. RAGFP will key in areas such as: 1) Education to include the Rotary Peace Centers and Peace Fellows program, and conflict resolution programs such as RISE, and 2) Global Grants where there is a want and need for more peace-related projects by more clubs with participation by Rotary Peace Fellows.

We thank you all for being interested members of Rotarian Action Group for Peace.