We all know how easy it is to let inspiration slip away after leaving an energizing conference, right? I decided I didn’t want to let that happen after the District 5020 Conference last May.
It was my first Rotary conference, only 8 months after joining the Poulsbo-NK Rotary Club, and I was inspired by everyone and everything that weekend. What caught me off guard, though, was how Lorelei Higgins’ talk on Positive Peace flipped a switch deep inside me. It ignited a spark, and I knew I didn’t want to leave that in Victoria.
So, when I got home, I researched Positive Peace, the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) and their partnership with Rotary International, the 8 Pillars of Positive Peace, the Global Peace Index, Rotary’s Peace Academy, and anything else I could get my eyes on. Here’s the basic 411:
As a research organization, the IEP defines ‘negative peace’ and the absence of direct violence; the lack of what we don’t want. They define ‘positive peace’ as the attitudes, institutions, and structures that provide the optimum environment for human potential to flourish and sustain peace.
This is an important distinction. Claiming that a community or nation is peaceful because there’s no direct or active violence is like saying you’re healthy because you have no diagnosed disease. Health is much more than that, and so is peace.
The IEP has also identified the Pillars of Peace – eight foundational factors that work together to build positive peace in the world, including well-functioning government, free flow of information, good relations with neighbors, and a sound business environment.
My research also uncovered that the Rotary Foundation funds 140 scholarships annually for leaders to study at one of seven Peace Centers around the world. These Peace Fellows take their passion for peace back to their organizations, communities, and countries.
Learning about all this work to build positive peace across the globe has really inspired me. It’s also brought two big questions to the surface: Where do I fit into all this? What can I do to be part of this vital global movement? It also brought up my ‘this is so big, and I’m just one person’ thought process.
Then Caleb Summerfelt’s theme of Can One Person Make a Difference came to mind, and my question changed to: What can I do right now, right where I am, and with what I have, to help build Positive Peace? Drawing on my professional experience as a leadership coach and trainer, I decided to do what I love: learn it, then share it. So, I created a short presentation titled Rotarians and Positive Peace that I’m happy to share with any club that’s interested in learning more, too.
Rotary Peace Week is coming up February 19-23, and I need to do something – no matter how small it feels. I want to spread the spark that ignited within me in Victoria and see where it takes us all.
Laurie Cameron, firstname.lastname@example.org, 303-740-0352
RI/IEP Partnership: https://www.rotary.org/en/institute-economics-and-peace
RI Positive Peace Academy free training: https://www.positivepeace.academy/rotary