It’s often said that Rotary International has a 100-plus year history of advocating for peace, and today, Peace & Conflict Prevention / Resolution is one of seven official Areas of Focus. In 2021-22, in collaboration with other districts throughout Rotary Zones 33 & 34, our district is building on this legacy by offering education, training and project mentoring for high school students, teachers and service club members. This is the largest local peacebuilding initiative in RI history.
Why youth-focused peace education, training and project mentoring? Why an ambitious effort from Zones 33 & 34? A wide body of research indicates that learning and experiences through which young people can put peacebuilding into practice are essential to building a sustainable culture of peace. Zones 33 & 34 offer a compelling geography, spanning nine states in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern US; Washington, DC; the Caribbean; and parts of South America. The largest number of peace-focused organizations and Rotary Peace Fellows are located in the area. The UNC/Duke University Rotary Peace Center is in North Carolina.
The largest and fastest growing demographic in the world is young people ages 14 to 24. Patricia Shafer, who is also Senior Fellow for Peace Education at the Alliance for Peacebuilding, says, “There was a time when the combination of the words ‘need for peace’ and ‘young people’ were assumed to be most relevant outside the US. That’s changed. The emergence of inspirational young voices, intersection of polarization and COVID-19 impacts, and new reports about the essential value of civic education and engagement in the US have accelerated energy for engaging young community peacebuilders.”
Join us on the "Peace Train" - www.youthpeaceaction.org
The YPA journey is just beginning, but it builds on Rotary’s deep roots and storied history of advocating for peace by uniting individuals and organizations across a large and diverse geography united by a common belief in the power of community and promise of young people.