Let's celebrate our Rotary Foundation
Luis Vicente Giay
Dear Rotary family,
November is Rotary Foundation Month, a time when Rotarians worldwide
celebrate their Foundation's achievements of the past 90 years. They
pay tribute to the Foundation and offer their personal
contributions. It's a time of happiness and joy.
If the Foundation must be measured by the success of its programs,
the programs themselves are the best measure of its success. For
example, 10 years ago, in 1996-97, Rotary International and The
Rotary Foundation made a significant decision to help the world
become a safer place. As the world became more globally connected,
we saw more violence, more tribal conflicts, more difficulties in
finding a shared vision of world peace. What could we do about it?
The purpose of our programs has always been world understanding and
peace, but we wanted to do something with a more practical, tangible
effect. Thus began the Rotary Centers for International Studies in
peace and conflict resolution.
Five years ago, on 11 September 2001, I was in New York City and
witnessed the attacks on the World Trade Center towers. Like the
rest of the world, I was appalled that anyone would do such a
terrible thing. It convinced me of how necessary the Rotary Centers
program was going to be. A few weeks later, the first class of
Rotary World Peace Fellows was chosen.
Since then, we have graduated more than 230 Rotary World Peace
Fellows. Thanks to their course of study, these individuals
understand the complexity of deep-seated conflicts. They bring
comprehensive analytical skills to bear on the most difficult
problems. As you read this message, Rotary Centers alumni are in the
field around the world working to prevent and resolve conflicts at
the community, national, and international levels. These members of
the inaugural 2002-04 class are just a few examples:
Bautista Logioco (Duke University, USA) is a specialist with the
Department of Crisis Prevention and Special Missions, Secretariat
for Political Affairs, at the Organization of American States in
Washington, D.C. He has been to Central America many times, where he
has helped negotiate border disputes and overseen free elections. He
specializes in matters related to Colombia.
Francesca Del Mese (University of Queensland, Australia) is a legal
officer with the Office of the Prosecutor at the United Nations
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The
Hague. She possesses extensive experience in war crime tribunals,
due in part to the international internships she completed during
Jan Nemecek (Universidad del Salvador, Argentina) is an assistant to
a Czech member of the European Parliament, working with the EU's
Environment and Public Health and Employment and Social Affairs
The success of these and many other fellows has led the Trustees to
convene the first Rotary World Peace Symposium, which will focus on
the Rotary Centers for International Studies program. The symposium
will be held 14-16 June 2007 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, just
before the RI Convention. It will be a rare and exciting opportunity
for you to meet many of our Rotary World Peace Fellows and alumni.
The Rotary World Peace Symposium will focus on their
accomplishments, their plans, and their strategies for making the
world a safer, more peaceful place.
This is Rotary's vision. Through this program, we are creating a
cadre of people trained in the practical skills of negotiating
peaceful resolutions. This is an entirely new idea, and Rotary is
leading the way.
I hope you will join me in Salt Lake City for the Rotary World Peace
Symposium. I assure you it will be an enlightening experience for
everyone as we show Rotarians and the world how deeply committed
Rotary World Peace Fellows are to Rotary's goal of world
understanding and peace. We look forward to seeing you to celebrate
our Rotary Foundation at one of the most important events of the
Salt Lake City convention.
Luis Vicente Giay
Trustee Chair, The Rotary Foundation, 2006-07