2020: A Year United for Peace
December 22, 2020
Dear Peacebuilders, 

This holiday season is unusual compared to others in the past. We are ending a year that revolved around a universal challenge that we all had to face together, regardless of who or where we are. 

2020 has been a challenging year for people around the world. Although it is a time of difficulty, with reflection, we can learn much from these challenges. Many people around the world suffer each year due to wars, conflict, tribalism, division, disease, and poverty. This year, COVID-19 did not discriminate based on if we were in regions of war or peace. We all had to shift our attention and focus our energy to address this problem together. 

When we reflect on the challenges of 2020, such as COVID 19, social injustice, discrimination, violent conflicts, environmental disasters, and political tensions, we realize there is a common theme underlying all these phenomenons: separation, isolation, and fear. We experienced this year how much we lose when we are not united and together. When we are not united by our common priorities for education, health, development, and peace, we are focused primarily on survival rather than thriving with opportunity and prosperity. 

It is vital to also remember the accomplishments we achieved when we came together during this unprecedented year. We are ending this year on a high note of discovering and producing the COVID-19 vaccine that was a result of all the tireless hard work and expertise of our heroic healthcare workers, scientists, and researchers. 

Science is one of humanity’s common frameworks and is key to its civility. When we embrace science, we are enlightened and make the best decisions based on facts, logic and defined methodologies. As we reflect on the discovery of the COVID-19 vaccine and this scientific gift to humanity during the holiday season, let’s reflect on the power of utilizing scientific frameworks to lead peace in our world. 

Science was behind Rotary’s biggest and most recognizable achievements. We are so close to eradicating polio. This year the African continent officially became Polio free after four years of no reported cases. This is a major stepping stone for our world as we have helped 90 percent of the global population become Polio free. This effort was led by Rotarians who utilized scientific approaches to public health. They gathered tremendous support from partners, foundations, global organizations and governments. Their scientific approach harnessed inspiring momentum towards the benefit of humanity. 

Polio eradication and the vaccination of COVID-19 are important reminders that scientific approaches to problems act as unifiers for humanity. Science is also about imagination and innovation. The world we live in today is possible due to powerful ideas that stood the test of time and produced results benefiting all of humanity. We can imagine the peaceful world of tomorrow led by scientific approaches. As a global community of peacebuilders, we can create opportunities for scientific approaches to peace. We are positioned to think across sectors and collaborate across disciplines. 

This idea is within our reach. This year, I worked with a group of Artificial Intelligence thinkers, researchers, engineers, and computer scientists to help clarify the impact of COVID-19 policies on vulnerable populations. Our research predicted the current impacts of COVID-19 policies and their effect on vulnerable populations in advance. When we anticipate the future, we can be prepared for the obstacles. We can challenge policies, change course when necessary, and create accountability to reduce corruption. We can also create innovative solutions for fostering peace. We need to continue using our scientific imaginations and own the future we envision. We have the potential to spark new ideas to make the impossible possible and not settle with only our capabilities of the present. 

In the next six months and during 2021, our world will be striving to reset and recover from COVID-19. The vaccine was achieved in such a short time due to collaboration, imagination, innovation, scientific approaches and unity. Peacebuilding happens at all levels, but we should realize that working with scientists in many fields is a vital element to peacebuilding. We need to become more intentional about utilizing scientific resources towards peaceful goals.  

We have many gifts this holiday season. Among them are the gift of our families and loved ones, the gift of unified communities, and the gift of scientific progress and imagination towards a better future. As 2020 concludes, we are thankful for these gifts and their demonstrated importance towards building world peace. 

Wage Peace, 

Reem Ghunaim 

Executive Director 

2020: A Year United for Peace
Despite the hardships we faced this year, Rotarians have taken action for Peace. This year, we realized the power of working together as a global, united community when facing the COVID-19 pandemic. With this unity, we can take action for so much more. As we remember 2020, let’s continue to collaborate as global citizens to work together to make the world a more peaceful place. With a united cause for PEACE, together we can change the world.

As we remember this year, RAGFP would like to send a giant, special "thank you" to all who have taken action for peace in a year of peace obstacles. First of all, we would like to send our warmest and most sincere appreciation and awe to all of the healthcare workers, medical staff, and hospital staff for working tirelessly on the front lines of this healthcare crisis. Thank you to all the scientists, researchers, and academic institutions for finding several successful vaccines to cure the world of this pandemic. Finally, thank you to all the essential workers, teachers, volunteers, caregivers, and peacebuilders who quickly adapted to the health restrictions and created solutions for our communities to continue to operate for the greater good. It is this unity to help our families, friends, neighbors, and strangers to stay healthy during these difficult times that give us hope and inspiration that Peace is Possible.

In this newsletter, we are highlighting some of this year's many examples of positive peace action led by Rotarians and RAGFP members from around the world. As the year nears close, read on to remember and reflect on Rotary's unity for peace action season by season.

Peace requires our united participation. Continue the momentum for peace this holiday season and into the New Year by gifting a RAGFP membership to a loved one or fellow peacebuilder. Support and grow the united network of Peacebuilders today for a more peaceful tomorrow. 
Give the Gift of Peace with a RAGFP Membership
A Year in Review
A summary of the Peace Action led by Rotary Peacebuilders in 2020
Winter 2020

Rotary Establishes New Peace Center

Rotary and Makerere University are now offering a postgraduate certificate program to peace and development leaders who are from or who have worked in Africa to address the underlying challenges to peace in the region. The program will incorporate the Positive Peace framework as well as apply concepts grounded in mediation and negotiation, African philosophy, and indigenous mechanisms for conflict resolution. 

Rotary World Peace Conference 

The Rotary World Peace Conference in Ontario, California was an inspiring two days for Peace. This conference was organized by RAGFP member Rudy Westervelt and assisted by RAGFP Board Director Babara Gaughen-Muller along with several other Rotarians. RAGFP Executive Director, Reem Ghunaim, presented at two breakout sessions during the conference. The first session discussed the role of the RAGFP in Peacebuilding in Rotary. The second session was hosted by Mediators Beyond Borders where Reem shared her story as a Rotary Peace Fellow from Palestine. Learn more about the RAGFP's activities at the Ontario World Peace Conference by reading our January Newsletter

Rotary Launches appeal following Australian Bushfires
After a severe drought and record high temperatures, unprecedented fires swept across the Australian landscape. The fires scorched over 46 million acres, destroying more than 5,900 buildings, and leaving 3 billion animals either displaced or killed. Rotary Australia World Community Service and the Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland Recovery Trust launched appeals to raise funds supporting bushfire recovery. The Rotary Club of Melbourne collected and distributed emergency medical shipments containing N95 Respirator masks to help first responders and the displaced not breathe in heavy metals and smoke caused by the fires.  

Take a closer look at Rotarian led peace action by rereading the RAGFP's Winter newsletters: 
January 2020     February 2020     March 2020
Spring 2020

Rotary Responds to COVID-19
By mid-March of 2020, much of the world was under the first round of societal shutdowns in an attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. At this time, there was not much known about the disease, how it spread, or how to care for those who were sick. Rotarians were on the frontlines supporting healthcare workers and assisting those most at risk for the disease. By May of 2020, more than $3.4 million in Rotary Disaster Response Grants had been put into action to assist those on the frontlines battling COVID-19.  Rotary launched a COVID-19 Livestream Telethon which received over $525,000 during its May 2nd event. The telethon was led by Past RI President, Barry Rassin along with several other Rotary leaders. 

There are hundreds of examples of Rotary Clubs taking action against the COVID-19 Pandemic. Learn more about how Rotarians took immediate action in our April Newsletter

RAGFP Launches Together For Peace

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, RAGFP (as well as many other Rotary groups),  had to cancel their plans to participate in the Rotary International Conference in Honolulu, the Middle East Peace Education Trip, and their physical participation at Geneva Peace Week. The RAGFP quickly shifted to all online peace programming, including the start of the Together for Peace webinar series.

RAGFP Executive Director and Rotary Peace Fellow, Reem Ghunaim, created this educational series to connect and inform peacebuilders from all over the world on the various pathways to peace. Each guest covered a peace topic of their expertise, such as environmentalism, human trafficking, racial justice, education, and women's economic empowerment. Reem interviewed peacebuilders from all professional sectors: Rotarians, Peace Fellows, entrepreneurs, academics, non-profit leaders, and even Nobel Peace Prize nominees. Each episode featured new insight on difficult peace obstacles that inspire all of us to take action for peace, right from the comfort of our own living rooms.

Together for Peace is one of the RAGFP's most popular content from Rotarians and Peacebuilders globally. Over the first two seasons, the episodes have collectively gained over 30,000 views and 25,000 minutes viewed on Facebook from more
than 45 nations around the world. The series has raised over 100 calls to action between the 26 episodes serving projects in over 30 countries. Together for Peace offers a weekly newsletter on global events during COVID-19 in a collaboration with the Institute for Economics and Peace called Future Trends, made available to RAGFP members and webinar attendees. 

Watch all of your favorite episodes from Season 1 and Season 2 for free on our website. Don't just take our word for it. Read the Together for Peace fan articles written by Rotarians David Newman and J. Dean Craig. 

Chat with the Chair
RAGFP Board Chair, Alison Sutherland, wanted to connect with Rotarians during this period of social isolation. To bring Rotarians together and continue the conversation for peacebuilding, Alison started the weekly Zoom meeting, Chat with the Chair. These meetings invited Rotarians from over 10 countries and 20 Peacebuilder Clubs to collaborate on new ideas for peacebuilding.  Learn more about the Turkish Global Cyber Peace Conference below and the Shaping Peace Together Through Arts project to learn more about some of the incredible peace initiatives that have resulted from Chat with the Chair.  Join a weekly Chat with the Chair meeting starting Monday, January 11, 2021. 

Mondays @ 10:00 pm GMT - Youth Voice (Focus on Rotaract/Interactors)
Tuesdays @ 10:00 pm GMT - Peace Through the Arts
Wednesdays @ 10:00 pm GMT - Peacebuilder Clubs and Peacebuilders
Thursdays @ 5:00 pm GMT  -  Turkey Peacebuilders (open to all)
Fridays @ 2:00 pm GMT  -  Hong Kong Peacebuilders (open to all) 

Start the New Year for Peace by joining a Chat with the Chair
Zoom ID: 533 632 6427
Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/5336326427

Peacebuilder Club creates "Infinite Walk of Peace"
As part of its Centennial celebration, the Rotary Club of Boulder, Colorado established the Infinite Walk of Peace. They partnered with the City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department to enhance the city's International Peace Garden. The Infinite Walk of Peace promotes "a culture of peace and environmental sustainability, cultivates personal emotional awareness, and builds bridges across communities."

Five Peace Poles placed throughout its path provide the names of Boulder's ten sister cities. The lamp posts along the walk have QR codes with documents that describe "What Peace Is" and how to be a peacebuilder.  "This will be a walk in nature that will bring peace to those experiencing the surrounding elements -- the symbols, the peace messages, and nature and raise consciousness about the need for peacebuilding." Learn more about this project on the RAGFP's Peace Project page. 

Learn more about RAGFP's Peacebuilder Club program

Environmental Sustainability is Brought to Focus
On June 25, 2020, Rotary International announced, with unanimous support from the Rotary Foundation Trustees and Rotary International Board of Directors, that it will be adding a seventh area of focus: supporting the environment. Thanks to our friends from the Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group for spearheading the conversation and leading environmental action in Rotary. 

Take a closer look at Rotarian led peace action by rereading the RAGFP's Spring newsletters: 
March 2020     April 2020     May 2020   
Summer 2020

Summer 2020
Rotary International Virtual Convention

Rotary Connects the World was the perfect theme for this year's Rotary International Convention in Honolulu.  Although thousands of Rotarians were unable to join one another in Hawai'i, more Rotarians than ever before were able to join this year's virtual convention with a simple click of a button.

The RAGFP created a virtual booth in the House of Friendship full of updated materials, videos, and virtual meet-and-greets for Rotarians. RAGFP staff and Board members were present in the virtual booth meetings via zoom to talk to members directly about RAGFP programming, membership, and peace projects. Two of our virtual booth meetings focused on the topic of incarceration in the United States, a topic that was selected by members of the virtual booth. The virtual booth meetings allowed for both RAGFP members and prospective members to discuss means where Rotarians can take action to fill the gaps to prevent youth from going to prison, as well as provide the necessary support to inmates who will return to society. Learn more about the conversation in our July Newsletter.

Rotary Peace Fellowship Global Cyber Peace Conference
The Rotary Peace Fellowship Alumni Association conducted its first-ever Global Cyber Peace Conference in response to the necessary peace action during the COVID-19 global lockdowns. Sponsored by the RAGFP, the goal of the conference was for Rotarians, Peace Fellows, and peacebuilders to create strategies for Positive Peace after COVID-19. The conference held over 50 panel sessions, featured more than 400 experts, and held breakout sessions facilitated by over 140 volunteers. Watch the Global Learning and Closing Session featuring the RAGFP on Facebook.

RAGFP and Rotary stand for Racial Justice

The death of George Floyd sparked peaceful marches and protests around the world standing for racial equality and justice reform. In response, Rotary put out a statement and Rotarians created a Facebook group called "Rotarians against Racism" to continue the conversation of making Rotary a community that celebrates diversity in all forms. 

The RAGFP's Together for Peace series dedicated their first season finale episodes to the topic of Racial Justice with Tyrone Poole and Carolyn Jones. Tyrone is a social entrepreneur and founder of OneApp, a website that fights homelessness by matching people to eligible housing. Carolyn was the first female and woman of color to be a Trustee for the Rotary Foundation. In addition to telling her incredible journey as a woman of color and her service for peace, Carolyn shared a statement on racism and unity exclusive to the RAGFP. You can find Tyrone and Carolyn's episode, as well as Carolyn's statement all on the RAGFP's website. To learn more about ways your club can take action against racism, read our July newsletter

Stand up against Racism with former RAGFP Board Chair, former Trustee of the Rotary Foundation, and lifelong Peacebuilder, Carolyn Jones. 

Rotaract World Peace Conference
Rotaract for Peace, District 1150, and the RAGFP collaborated on the first Rotaract for World Peace Conference in August 2020. Led by RAGFP Board Member, Chehab Elewar, and RAGFP Board Chair, Alison Sutherland, this conference was created for Rotaractors to promote peace projects and ideas for vulnerable communities around the globe. The RAGFP held presentations for Rotaractors on how to utilize tools provided by the RAGFP to apply for the Global Grant process. To celebrate the conference, the RAGFP promoted a special $5 membership for Rotaractors. Rotarians from Turkey, Serbia, the United States, and Hong Kong sponsored over 80 new Rotaractors to become members of the RAGFP. Learn more about Rotaract for Peace

Rotarians Raise $50,000 for Peace
RAGFP members, Rotarians, and Peacebuilders from all over the world helped the RAGFP raise $50,000 to support the RAGFP mission. These funds were matched by the Jubitz Family Foundation, totaling$100,000 raised to the RAGFP between November 2019 to August 2020. A giant, warm thank you to all who gave and continue to support the RAGFP. Our peace initiatives, education, and projects would not be possible without the generosity of our global network of peacebuilders. 

Africa Declared Free of Wild Poliovirus
The World Health Organization officially declared Africa to be free of the wild poliovirus on August 25th, 2020. Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative have been working tirelessly to end polio around the world. In 1996, 75,000 children in Africa were left paralyzed by polio. In that same year, spearheaded by Nelson Mandela and supported by Rotary, the Kick Polio Out of Africa initiative was launched. Using football matches and endorsements by celebrities, the campaign raised awareness of polio and helped more than 30 African nations hold their first National Immunization Days. Learn more about how Rotary eradicated the Poliovirus in Africa in our September Newsletter. 

Take a closer look at Rotarian led peace action by rereading the RAGFP's Summer newsletters: 
July 2020     September 2020
Fall 2020

International Day of Peace
The RAGFP held a full day of virtual events designed to continue the momentum for peacebuilding, even during social isolation. Alison Sutherland, RAGFP Board Chair, was a part of District 3450 and 6690 Shaping Peace Together Virtual Forum with RI Director Peter Kyle as the main keynote speaker. At the same time, RAGFP Executive Director, Reem Ghunaim, was a speaker for D3281's (Bangladesh) virtual seminar, Rotary's Focus in Promoting Global Peace

The RAGFP hosted a virtual training called Synergies of Peacebuilding and Nonviolent Action, presented by Rotary Peace Fellow, Katherine Hughes-Fraitekh. This training was created to teach Rotarians methods that combine traditional peacebuilding with nonviolent action to move our communities forward. Lastly, the RAGFP co-organized the webinar Shaping Peace Together: A Story of Love and Servant Leadership with World Without Hate. This webinar was an intimate conversation hosted by Reem Ghunaim with Rais and Jess Bhuiyan on their story and mission to create a world beyond hate. If you are interested in presenting a RAGFP Peacebuilding workshop with your Club or District, email the RAGFP at [email protected].

Rotary Peace Projects Incubator  
RAGFP has collaborated with Rotarians in Geneva and the Rotary Peace Fellow Alumni Association to create the first-ever Rotarian Peace Projects Incubator (RPPI). The goal of the RPPI was to create 20 distinct peace projects led by Peace Fellows and created through the collaborative support of Rotarians, Rotaractors, and community leaders.  The projects must correspond to an urgent community need, connect to at least one Rotary Area of Focus, create a partnership with another organization, and have measurable outcomes for evaluation. 

RAGFP Executive Director and former and
former Peace Fellow, Reem Ghunaim, lead a project underneath the
Economic Development and Peace theme along with female Peace Fellows Ximena Murillo, Sandara Fong, Mateja Rot, and Teresa Zorrilla Palomar. For the first RPPI, these Peace Fellows lead projects in Palestine, Kenya, Bolivia, and Mexico.. Learn more about the RPPI and their projects in our September Newsletter and on the RPPI website.  

Activate Positive Peace Workshop
In preparation for the RPPI, the RAGFP Executive Director, Reem Ghunaim, led the Activate Positive Peace workshop based on the workbook she created and presented in Geneva Peace Week 2019. This workshop was created to elevate the positive peace strategies of the 20+ Peace Projects set to be established by the RPPI. Peace Fellows, Rotarians, and Rotaractors alike learned about the Eight Pillars of Positive Peace through real-life examples of Rotary projects. With the assistance of eight volunteer Peace Fellow facilitators, attendees took part in collaborative discussions around one of the positive peace pillars. Learn more about the workshop and our Activate Positive Peace workbook in our September Newsletter and by watching the video below. If you would like to have this workshop presented at your next peace event, email the RAGFP at [email protected]

Watch the RAGFP's virtual workshop, Activate Positive Peace, to learn about the 8 Pillars of Positive Peace through real-life examples of Rotarian peace action. If you would like to present this workshop to your Rotary Club, District, or future Peace event, email the RAGFP at 
[email protected]

Geneva Peace Week 2020
For the second year in a row, the Rotary Action Group for Peace was invited to participate in Geneva Peace Week's international peace platform. This video highlights how the Together for Peace webinar series brings Rotarians and Peacebuilders together from around the world to learn about new perspectives, strategies, and insights on peace. During a global pandemic, the peace inequality gap has never been more apparent. Communities facing the greatest obstacles to peace are also the most vulnerable to disease and economic collapse during this pandemic. Watch the RAGFP's Geneva Peace Week presentation below to learn how the Together for Peace webinar series has shaped new conversations on peace action with Rotarians and peacebuilders around the globe. Learn more about Geneva Peace Week in our November Newsletter.

Watch the RAGFP's Geneva Peace Week 2020 presentation, a part of the "How to Build Peace" Digital Series on YouTube. 

RAGFP Chapters
In November, the RAGFP piloted the new RAGFP Chapter program to help expand our global outreach and network of peacebuilders. We are so pleased to welcome RAGFP Germany, RAGFP Serbia, and RAGFP Hong Kong chapters to the Rotary Family. The International RAGFP office will continue to develop this program and will provide a further announcement in 2021. Stay tuned!

Learn more about RAGFP chapters and their recent activities in the article written for Rotary Great Britain & Ireland magazine by RAGFP Board Chair, Alison Sutherland. 

Legacy of Peace Award
The RAGFP proudly presented the first Legacy of Peace Award to honor the wonderful peace work of RAGFP co-founder, Al Jubitz. This award is bestowed on Rotarians and peacebuilders who have demonstrated through their exemplary leadership an enduring and impactful commitment to the enhancement of world peace. The virtual ceremony was attended by 85 peacebuilders.
Thank you to RAGFP board members, Barbara Gaughen-Muller and Ashish Sarkar for their leadership. Thank you to RAGFP's Staff and our new Development Officer, Wendy Mitchell, for making this event a success. Special thank you to RAGFP members, Cynda Arsenault 
and Ruth Shelly for their support.  Learn more about Al's contributions to peace by listening to his latest keynote speech from the Turkish Cyber Peace Conference.  If you missed the virtual celebration, you can watch the recording on the RAGFP's website

Turkey Cyber Global Peace Conference. 
The RAGFP was honored to be a co-organizer with District 2430 and Rotary Clubs in Istanbul to produce the Turkish Global Cyber Peace Conference. The RAGFP actors presented three keynote speeches, participated in three panels, and led one collaborative workshop during the inspiring weekend-long online event. RAGFP ED and Positive Peace Activator, Reem Ghunaim, designed the workshop, Activate Positive Peace on Social Media, for Rotaractors to use social media as a tool for peace influence.  Special thank you to Turkish RAGFP Members Mufit Ulke, Arzu Alpagut, and Murat Sevinc for their exceptional leadership and support. 
You can watch the recording of this workshop at the
conference site, as well as recordings of all the wonderful sessions. Watch Alison Sutherland's speech entitled Life is Full of Surprises at this link and Reem's keynote speech, Embrace your Superpower, by watching the video below. 

Watch Reem's inspirational keynote speech, Embrace your Superpower, a presentation full of heartfelt personal stories of life in Palestine and the United States.
Take a closer look at Rotarian led peace action by rereading the RAGFP's Fall newsletters: 
September 2020     November 2020
Make PEACE a 2021 New Year's Resolution
Support Peace in 2021 by becoming a RAGFP member and applying to become a RAGFP Peacebuilder Club. 
Make Peace a 2021 New Years resolution for you, your Rotary Club, and your Rotary District.  With so many ways to get involved with the RAGFP network, there are few reasons not to cross "Peacebuilding" off your list of 2021 goals! 
Become a Member of the RAGFP
Formed in 2012, the Rotarian Action Group for Peace is dedicated to bringing Rotarians, Rotaractors, and Peacebuilders together with the common goal of advancing peace around the world. 

The RAGFP has thousands of Peacebuilders from around the world. Members obtain exclusive Peace resources, access to  Peacebuilding events and workshops, and of course, support our global mission for peace on Earth. Become a member of the RAGFP today to join thousands of Rotarians Peacebuilders who are making lasting change for peace at the local and international level.

If you're already a RAGFP member, give the gift of peace this holiday season by purchasing a membership for your friends, loved ones. and Rotary colleagues. Peace requires our global participation. We must unite together to make Peace a global reality. Don't wait
— Join the RAGFP today!
WAGE PEACE: Join the RAGFP today!

There are now over 230 RAGFP Peacebuilder Clubs around the world who are engaged in peace projects and initiatives that connect Rotarians with their local communities. Each month, our Peacebuilder Clubs Map swells with new Rotary clubs who become active in Rotarian peacebuilding at the grassroots level.

Peacebuilder Clubs are RAGFP's call to action. Visit our Peacebuilder Clubs Map and find connections with Rotarian peacebuilders near you. Peacebuilder clubs gather regularly and focus on peace, discuss peace action, and educate their community about Rotarian principles of peacebuilding. Learn more about the RAGFP Peacebuilder Club Program by clicking the button below. 
Become a Peacebuilder Club!
RAGFP, Rotary, and Peace Event Calendar
January 24th
International Day of Education (UN)

February 7-11th
International Assembly, Orlando, Florida USA

February 20th
World Day of Social Justice (UN)

February 23rd
Rotary's Anniversary 

March 8th 
International Women's Day (UN)

March 8-14th
World Rotaract Week
2020: A Year United for Peace
Join and donate to Rotary Action Group for Peace to help us engage, empower and educate Rotarian peacebuilders around the world. Thank you for your support!
Happy International Day of Peace
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