Peace Requires Global Collaboration
November 13, 2020
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Dear Peacebuilders, 

The World Food Programme was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this year for its efforts in combating hunger, advancing international solidarity, and promoting multilateral cooperation. The WFP has been recognized as a driving force in preventing the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict. Through their work, the WFP has improved the conditions necessary for peace in areas affected by conflict.

November is recognized as Rotary Foundation month and it is an opportunity for us to celebrate Rotary’s mission to enable the Rotary community to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty. The WFP recognizes that hunger can be used as a weapon of war. As Rotarians, we too should recognize that sickness, poverty, and ignorance can be used as weapons of war and conflict. Peace cannot be advanced without combating the challenges of accessing basic human needs.

The Rotary Club of Nevada City, California, USA and the Rotary Club of Astana, Kazakhstan through the Open World Program collaborated to train a delegation of young Kazakhstani professionals on American entrepreneurship. The goal was to help Kazakhstani professionals create their own entrepreneurial solutions for peace in their communities. Not only did this project produce new economic opportunities for peace in Kazakhstan, but it led to fostering lasting friendship and mutual understanding between Americans and Kazakhstanis. Emin, one of the delegates, improved the business model of his crafts company by utilizing the tools from his training in the US to lead a workforce of people with disabilities. This new business model allowed his business to be sustainable and more profitable while empowering the local disabled community with new opportunities.  Emin credits his business improvement from visiting a California non-profit company with disabled employees and from a lecture on growing a small business. This project is an example of Rotarians advancing positive peace.

Positive peace is not the absence of war, but it takes on the role of everything that makes peace sustainable. It is defined as the attitudes, institutions and structures which create and sustain peaceful societies. Peaceful societies are built upon eight pillars: well-functioning government, sound business environment, free flow of information, low levels of corruption, equitable distribution of resources, high level of human capital, good relations with neighbors and acceptance of the rights of others. If these pillars are weak, a society can easily collapse into conflict and violence.  

Equal access to positive peace is crucial for world peace. It is not only a local responsibility, but also a coordinated effort that requires our intentional focus on peace at the global level. It is easy to be caught up by local events and priorities, but as peacebuilders we must not lose sight of those who distressed the most. Although there are no wars in Europe, Europe had to deal with the refugee crisis caused by the war on Syria. Although the US was in a peaceful state prior to September 11, 2001, much of that peace was shattered by planes navigated by radicals cultivated by the lack of access to positive peace. Peace is not isolated by borders and it requires our international collaboration and solidarity.

There is a peace inequality gap. This term refers to the most peaceful societies continuing to grow more peaceful and resilient to conflict shocks, while less peaceful societies continue to experience greater violence and are less resilient to conflict.  When we invest in positive peace projects in conflict zones, we help build on the resilience of people experiencing violence. Therefore, we capitalize on the resilience of the world and advance global peace, goodwill and understanding.


Rotary has the potential to diminish the peace inequality gap when more Rotary peace projects take place in conflict zones (regions lacking access to sufficient positive peace).

In 2018 only 4% of Rotary Foundation Grants were awarded to peace projects. How can we invest in more impactful peaceful projects beyond the 4% threshold? Rotarians may be hesitant to invest in peace projects because the obstacles to peace are hard to identify and the solutions to peace are hard to conceptualize. The answer lies before our eyes. The Rotary Foundation mission urges us to eradicate poverty, disease, and ignorance to advance goodwill, understanding, and peace. The most direct way to produce a large impact for peace is for Rotarians to produce more peace projects in conflict zones. These zones often lack access to health, education, and they experience scarcity of resources. In these areas, the conditions are ripe for the escalation of violence. When Rotarians are intentional in providing peace projects for these vulnerable communities, they help establish attitudes, systems, and structures for lasting peace.

 How can we invest in more impactful peace projects beyond the 4% threshold?
  1. Locate and pursue service opportunities for health, education, and economic development in conflict zones. 
  2. Increase empathy, understanding and awareness for your Rotary club about the needs of people living in conflict zones.
  3. Support a Rotary Peace Fellow from a conflict zone to lead a peace project in their community.
  4. Make it a goal to start at least one global peace project in your club for this Rotary year.
  5. Collaborate with other Rotary clubs, and especially those in conflict zones. Consider joining the RAGFP Peacebuilder Clubs program.  
Rotary supports local and global projects and this should be celebrated. In addition, to fulfill the Rotary Foundation’s mission, advancing positive peace should be at the core of its endeavors. For that, we must make positive peace accessible and reach out to all who are underserved.  We can only fulfill the Rotary Foundation’s mission when we invest in projects like the training of young Kazakhstani entrepreneurs and focusing on addressing human needs in conflict zones similar to the mission of the World Food Programme.
Wage Peace,
Reem Ghunaim
Executive Director
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
Peace Requires Global Collaboration
November starts the season of giving and celebrates the Rotary Foundation. The Rotary Foundation transforms Rotary gifts into service projects that change lives all over the world. Their mission is to "enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty."

During the 2018 fiscal year, the Rotary Foundation awarded nearly $87 million in funding over 1,300 grants. Only 4% of all projects sponsored by the Rotary Foundation that year went toward projects pertaining to the Peace and Conflict resolution Area of Focus.

In this month's newsletter, we are focusing on building collaborative efforts to support the mission of the Rotary Foundation and forward positive peace. Our newsletter will be partitioned into 4 sections:
  1. Rotary and the United Nations
  2. Alleviate Poverty
  3. Improve Health
  4. Support Education
We will start by sharing the collaborative legacy of peace between Rotary and the United Nations. After establishing the importance of collaboration, we will discuss how Peacebuilders, Rotarians, RAGFP members, and Peacebuilder Clubs have been supporting the main efforts of the Rotary Foundation to Alleviate Poverty, Improve Health, and Support Education around the world. 

To continue to support peace efforts in Rotary, we invite you to become a member of the RAGFP and join the global network of Peacebuilders.
WAGE PEACE: Join the RAGFP today!
Rotary and the United Nations
How this partnership continues to take global action for Peace 
A Shared Vision

Rotary International and the United Nations have always worked together for their shared vision of Peace on Earth. 

A Shared Vision for Peace
Rotary and the United Nations share a historic common bond of world peace. Paul Harris founded Rotary International in 1905 as an organization dedicated to local community service. There were roughly 5,000 Rotary Clubs on six continents by 1939 when our entire planet plunged into an unimaginable world war. Rotary clubs in Austria, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, and several island nations were disbanded at the outset of this global catastrophe.

The end of World War II in 1948 offered an opportunity for Rotarians to help establish a fellowship international organization with global aspects for peace among all nations. Rotarians went to work to establish the United Nations.

This was no easy task. Many nations affected by WWII sought simply to rebuild and retreat inward with focus only upon their own domestic concerns. The League of Nations, after all, floundered with little support at the end of World War I in 1918. Paul Harris witnessed both early 20th Century world wars and led Rotary in providing the vital support of Rotarians to establish the United Nations in 1945.

Rotarians share a remarkable bond of peace with the United Nations. The implications of Rotary’s role in establishing the United Nations were essential. As Paul Harris envisioned, nations now meet in a collective world organization where countries openly discuss their grievances with one another. The UN is a forum of international peace and works with Rotary International in far-reaching efforts to save millions of lives around the world. The original alliance led to the historic Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and now today feeds millions of children, emboldens hope, and has reduced cases of polio by 99.9% on planet earth.

Geneva Peace Week 2020:
Rotarians and Peacebuilders virtually coming together at the United Nations for Peace

Geneva Peace Week (GPW) is a leading annual forum in the international peacebuilding calendar. This year's theme was "Rebuilding trust after disruption: Pathways to reset international cooperation." Typically held at the Palais des Nations, the European Headquarters of the United Nations, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, GPW was held completely online. Peacebuilders, Global Leaders, Rotarians, and Peace Professionals, participated in online "live" sessions as well as engaged with the new GPW "Digital Series." Participants and attendees of GPW took action on this year's theme and focused to continue to build trust and international cooperation while facing a global pandemic.

For the second year in a row, the Rotary Action Group for Peace was invited to participate in GPW's international peace platform. Last year RAGFP Executive Director, Reem Ghuniam, led a workshop around Activating Positive Peace workbook. The workshop impacted 80 global peacebuilders including UN representatives, non-profit leaders, and business professionals on the concepts behind the 8 Pillars of Positive Peace.

This year, the RAGFP presented a Digital Product called Together for Peace: From Virtual Compassion, to Reality in Action. 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. Together for Peace was created in the midst of the COVID-19 quarantine to unite peacebuilders to listen, learn, and collaborate on how we as a global community can take action to close the peace inequality gap during a 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. 
Watch the RAGFP's Geneva Peace Week 2020 presentation, a part of the "How to Build Peace" Digital Series on YouTube. 
Alleviate Poverty
Learn how Rotarians and Rotary partners are collaborating to help alleviate poverty by taking action on food insecurity around the world. 
Learning from the World Food Programme
Many congratulations to the World Food Programme in earning 2020’s Nobel Peace Prize, "for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict." As many families know, food brings us together, and oftentimes keeps the peace. For some places, however, food shortage is a point of conflict as well as a consequence of conflict. 

Food has a cyclical role in the peace process. Many conflict zones are affected by food shortages, which further endangers families trapped there. At the same, for places that have shortages of food or other resources, conflict is soon to follow. As food access affects peace, and peace affects food access, addressing one of these issues may require addressing both at the same time. 

WFP recognizes how peace and food are intertwined. This is why WFP interventions aren’t just dropping bags of grain in the community and hoping for the best. Instead, they also work with the community to determine the cause of the food shortages and address those causes at the root. In the Sahel, for example, climate change wreaked havoc on this region, a strip of land bordering the southern Sahara. The resulting water shortages depleted both farmland and grazing land. Many communities lost livestock and crops, and what survived was oftentimes pillaged by people driven by the threat of starvation. In order to secure access to food and build better relationships between these communities, WFP launched a program that had communities working together to amend their soil to make it fertile again. Ultimately, this WFP initiative worked. They restored much of their land to share for both grazing and farming, and grew closer to their neighbors.

Food brings people together all year round. The holiday season, food banks are usually well-stocked with donations. Consider donating to local and international food drives to celebrate birthdays, special occasions, and any time during the year.  As we continue celebrating WFP’s efforts to provide food security for the world, collaborate with local and international organizations to bring awareness to conditions of poverty and be apart of the peaceful solutions to eliminate poverty forever. 

June: A Woman You Can Bank On
Meet Sensei June Kaililani Ryushin Tanoue, a fully empowered Zen priestKumu Hula (master hula teacher), and Food Bank leader. June has been committed to serving vulnerable communities for over 33 years, focusing her efforts on fighting hunger all over the United States and Africa. 

June's first job was at the Oregon Food Bank in Portland, Oregon. She was hired to develop the system for the Oregon Food Bank to distribute food to those in need as efficiently as possible. Eventually, she was able to send out 6 million pounds of food to over 200 local nonprofit organizations all around Oregon each month.  

Learn more about June's experience on how peace intersects with food, mindfulness, and hula dancing by enjoying her conversation with Reem on Together for Peace below. 
Together for Peace, Featuring June Kaililani Ryushin Tanoue
Learn more about June's experience on how peace intersects with food, mindfulness, and hula dancing by enjoying her conversation with Reem on Together for Peace. 
RAGFP Peacebuilder Club fights Food Insecurity

According to Feeding America, New Mexico has the second-highest rate of child food insecurity and has the fifth-highest rates of overall food insecurity in the United States. Laura Gonzales, the President of the Rotary Club of Los Alamos, could not stand by knowing that thousands of her New Mexican neighbors were left hungry. Laura decided to take action and design her presidential project around combating food insecurity in her home state. “Food insecurity is a critical issue in New Mexico all the time. The needs now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic are staggering. Rotary is a service organization and we are proactively addressing this problem.”

The Rotary Club of Los Alamos, a RAGFP Peacebuilder Club, teamed up with Meals of Hope and Crossroads Bible Church to feed thousands of people in Northern New Mexico. The Peacebuilders packaged over 40,000 meals on Saturday, September 12th and donated them to the Food Depot in Sante Fe for distribution to LA Cares, the Los Alamos Food Bank, and other Northern New Mexico charitable food outlets. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn, the number of families facing food insecurity dramatically increased. The Food Depot normally provides over 500,000 pounds of food each month to a network of non-profit relief partners in the state. Between March and June of this year, the Food Depot provided over 3,300,000 meals― about 1.5 times more than average. 

To address this problem, the Rotary Club of Los Alamos applied and received a generous grant from Rotary District 5520 and Rotary International to sponsor a peace and health project to provide 40,000 meals to families in need in Northern New Mexico. Rotarians, alongside Boy Scouts from Troop 22, members from the PMI Otowi Bridge Chapter, and Police Officers from the Los Alamos Police Department and the New Mexico State Police packed bags of ready-to-prepare meals of beans and rice. Each bag contained enough food for 6 servings along with cooking instructions and seasoning packets. Volunteers followed COVID-19 and health protocols established by Meals of Hope, wearing hairnets, disposable gloves, and masks while maintaining social distance.

If your Club is interested in hosting a Meals of Hope event, please contact Club President, Laura Gonzales at [email protected] or Meals of Hope co-leader, Alison Pannell at [email protected].  


Take action and join the RAGFP's Peacebuilder Club Network.

Become a RAGFP Peacebuilder Club
Improve Health
Access to healthcare is a human right and a direct path to building peace in the world's most vulnerable communities. Rotarians are waging peace by improving health and preventing disease through collaborative efforts with local nonprofits, medical professionals, and healthcare organizations.

Kids and COVID 
RAGFP Peacebuider Club, the Rotary Club of Winchester, worked with two local food banks to provide early childhood support to families adversely impacted by COVID. Rotarians bought “kid-oriented” items, e.g. diapers, formula, baby food, etc., and delivered them to food banks to help alleviate critical shortages of these items. This child-centered project, “Kids and COVID: Rotarians Providing Food and Supplies to Maintain Child Health During the Pandemic," attempts to alleviate some of the food and hygiene needs of disadvantaged infants and children in the city of Winchester and the neighboring county of Frederick. Rotarians purchased, transported, and delivered specific “child-friendly” foods and baby food, formula, diapers, and wipes to two well-established community food pantries for distribution to needy families.

Saving Lives through Blood Drives
Rotary Members in France teamed up with the Rotary Action Group for Blood Donation (RAGBD) to form Mon Sang Pour Les Autres (My Blood for Others) to help treat different illnesses and diseases that require blood transfusions. In 1998, their goal was to gather donations from 1000 blood donors in a single day. This goal was exceeded by 300 people, making it the largest blood drive in France at the time. The project grew significantly to reach a record of over 3,500 donors in four days, the largest blood drive in Europe. 

Today, 130 cities mobilize each year with thousands of Rotarians, Rotaractors, and volunteers to welcome over 30,000 blood donors. Since 1998, over 420,000 donations of blood have been received through the My Blood for Others project campaign. In addition to these incredible blood drive events, RAGBD also provides technical expertise in developing areas of the world. Blood transfusions are necessary for about 1 in 7 hospital patients, including accident victims, cancer therapy, malaria, thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, maternal trauma, among many other health needs.

Not only does this initiative collect a lifesaving resource, but also it elevates the portfolio of health into wider communities. RAGBD focuses on bringing youth into the center of these projects to encourage their participation in peace and health which is literally changing their lives and the lives of others.  


Support Education
Education is key to building peace. Learn more about how Peacebuilder Club, Rotary Club of Mid-Bay, used special Conflict Resolution training to empower youth from all over the world to wage peace. 

Conflict Resolution without Blame
In 1994, Rotarian Kathy Suerken from the Rotary Club of Mid-Bay taught World Cultures and Critical Thinking classes to 12-14 year old students using a powerful problem-solving tool based on the Theory of Constraints (TOC). This tool was so effective in resolving and preventing conflicts that it became the focus of her Rotary-sponsored after-school international club. These youth were searching for ways to let out their frustration and stress in coping with family problems, school expectations, and sometimes bullying situations, all while growing up into adults. 

The TOC tools enable children of all ages, demographics, and cultures to sort through their internal conflicts in such a way that they are significantly better able to resolve those external ones.  Sometimes when children just express—even in pictures—the needs of the other side of a conflict, it is enough to take away the anger and blame. The TOC tool named cloud is a conflict resolution diagram that uses a series of graphic organizers, words, and discussions to help identify the wants, actions, or choices that are in conflict from all parties concerned. When people do not feel blamed for a problem, they are more likely to be less defensive and more honest and forthright about the situation. In doing so, they are able to find win-win solutions that support both peace of mind and peaceful relationships. Becky Barr, who later transitioned to high school and joined interact, wrote when 14, “The TOC tool, the cloud, makes you realize it is not the people who are the problem, it is the situation.”

The Mid-Bay Rotary Club used the TOC tools to create start the Pathways to Peace Program to train Rotarians and educators to teach these powerful peacebuilding workshops to youth around the world. Starting in East Los Angeles, the Pathways to Peace spread to Rotary Clubs and schools in the Philippines, Mexico, Bulgaria, Panama, and most recently, Somalia. Sharmarke Yusef, a Somali Peace Fellow, uses the TOC tools from the Pathways to Peace program with youth to empower them to wage peace. 

"My life’s work is focused to support Somalia’s peacebuilding efforts and to provide trainings and capacity building to youth and adults to influence and change their mindsets. The Pathways to Peace Training provided insights, techniques, and strategies to address conflicts and to change perception and mindset with young adults—even those who are not literate."
To bring these powerful education tools of peace and harmony to you and your community, please contact Kathy Suerken at [email protected]. You can view Kathy’s presentation on Mid-Bay’s Conflict Resolution Without Blame: Pathways to Peace Project at the October 2020 TOC for Education International Virtual Conference at

Take action and join the RAGFP's Peacebuilder Club Network.

Become a RAGFP Peacebuilder Club
Invest in Peace and Leave a Legacy
Keep the momentum for peace by investing in the RAGFP's programs and joining our global network of peacebuilders. 

The Rotary Action Group for Peace proudly presents the first Legacy of Peace Award. 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.

We are excited to honor our inaugural recipient, Albin “Al” Jubitz, Jr. As co-founder of the Rotary Action Group for Peace, Al has dedicated his life to fostering peace. It is only fitting that we show our appreciation with a donation to support the wonderful work he founded.

Date: Saturday, December 5, 2020 

When: 2:00 pm PST

Where: Zoom

RSVP: Please send Wendy Mitchell, RAGFP Development Officer, an email letting her know you would like to RSVP to the virtual ceremony.

We hope you will join us for this joyous occasion. Wendy Mitchell will be happy to speak with you about a donation honoring Al and to provide you with more information about the Legacy of Peace ceremony.

Please contact Wendy at [email protected]

Learn More about the Legacy of Peace Award
Take Action for Peace and Become a Member

Peace requires global participation and collaboration. Take action by joining these many peace events.

To stay informed on the latest RAGFP peace news, become a member of the RAGFP today! If you are already a member, please invite others to join you in building the RAGFP's global network of Peacebuilders. 
Become a Member of the RAGFP
November 2-8
World Interact Week

November 20th
World Children's Day (UN)

November 25th
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (UN)

November 26th
Thanksgiving (United States)

November 29th 
International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (UN)  
December 5th
RAGFP's Legacy of Peace Award Celebration (See more information at the bottom)

December 10th
Human Rights Day (UN)

December 20th
International Human Solidarity Day (UN)

January 15-16
Presidential Conference - Rotaract Brasil

January 22-24
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Happy International Day of Peace
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