Rotarian Peacebuilders Create a “Peace Park” Project on Trouble Borders
Rotarian Action Group for Peace (RAGFP) members in Rotary District 3011 and District 3070 (India) have joined with other Rotarian Action Group for Peace members in Rotary District 3272 (Pakistan) to create a Peace Park, called The Indus Peace Park Project, within the disputed borders of Pakistan and India. The mission is to “create an international peace park on the border of India and Pakistan by August 2022. To promote lasting peace, goodwill, and collaboration between the peoples of Pakistan and India and to put a stop to unnecessary loss of life across the border.”
This Peace Park is supported by other voluntary members in Rotary districts worldwide, including 1130 (UK). Districts 5390, 5080 5370, and 5360 include Rotarians and RAGFP members in the USA and Canada. Rotarians in Africa of District 9212 also support this peace project. Rotarian Action Group for Peace is also a partner in this project.
The Indus Peace Park Project seeks to secure an area of 10 hectares (25 acres) of land (5 in Pakistan, 5 in India), on either side of the border. To be maintained by Rotarians, Rotaractors, and Interactors from both countries.
The Indus Peace Park Project was conceived in 2015 when a Rotary District 5080 Friendship Exchange group was unable, due to tensions between India and Pakistan, to attend a cricket match in Faisalabad, Pakistan. The group was also restricted from observing a Changing of the Guard ceremony on the India-Pakistan border at Wagah, on the Grand Trunk Road between Lahore and Amritsar.
The Friendship Exchange leader, RAGFP member Kees van der Pol, Rotary District 5080 Director on the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park Association (WGIPPA), suggested the creation of an international peace park on “no-man’s land” between India and Pakistan. It was jointly initiated by Rotary District 3070 (India) and Rotary District 3272 (Pakistan) and with support from the WGIPPA.
The WGIPPA brought about the world’s first peace park in 1932, straddling the Alberta, Canada and Montana, USA border. This landmark Peace Park is a model for international peace between nations.
Ensuing tensions concerning relations between India and Pakistan, precluded any significant progress being made on the Indus Peace Park proposal for nearly two years, but Rotarians attending the 2017 RI Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, helped bring the project back to life.
The border between India/Pakistan appears from space as an “S” shaped sea dotted with lights, dividing two great lands. This is the disputed border between India & Pakistan. Pakistan left/ India right. Photo Courtesy NASA.
Rotarian peacebuilders in India and Pakistan continued discussions along with Rotarians in other districts worldwide. Rotarian Action Group for Peace is a partner of this visionary Peace Park project and facilitated further planning at the RI Convention 2018 held in Toronto, Canada.
RAGFP leaders are signators of a global petition to show political leaders on both sides of the border there is overwhelming world enthusiasm for this Peace Park within the disputed borderlands. You can also sign the petition here and offer financial support.
Watch 2 Live-Stream Videos from RI Toronto 2018 about The Indus Peace Park Project
Rotarians Seek Solutions to Aging Conflicts
Rotarian peacebuilders in India and Pakistan seek innovative solutions to aging conflicts. In fact, most citizens in India and Pakistan were not even alive when the region was partitioned by the British Empire in 1947. The conflicts are inherited and the disputed border, is in reality, an imaginary construct of ghosts.
Natives of India and Pakistan find shared humanity when or wherever they meet in the fellowship of Rotary International (as demonstrated in the previous live-stream videos) recorded in the RAGFP House of Friendship Booth at the RI Convention 2018 in Toronto.
Rotarians are connected in a worldwide fellowship of 1.2 million humanitarians around the world and they know no boundaries between service above self. This Peace Park project demonstrates Rotarian peacebuilders are visionaries who witnessed 99.9% reductions in polio cases since Rotarians led the effort to end polio. Rotarians have now set their sights on peace. This Indus Peace Park Project proves Rotarian peacebuilders and RAGFP members offer innovative solutions to conflicts around the world.
Visit The Indus Peace Park Project and learn how your Rotary club or district can support this Peace Park and all of our RAGFP members in India and Pakistan who wage peace.