Posted by Peter Roaf on Mar 30, 2018
Since the Government of Colombia and the Marxist led Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, reached a peace agreement in 2016, after a war of 52 years that left 200,000 dead and 5 million displaced. The challenge since then has been the building of a lasting, sustainable peace. Rotary District 5040 is taking action to help build that peace by investing $20,000 to become a partner in a $100,000 Positive Peace Workshop for Colombian Youth. Rotary District 5040 clubs will join clubs throughout Colombia to sponsor the Positive Peace Workshop built on pilot workshops previously held in Uganda (2016) and Mexico (2017).
The Positive Peace Workshop has been developed by Rotary and the Institute for Economics and Peace, described as the world’s leading think tank dedicated to developing metrics to analyse peace and to quantify its economic value.
Rotary District 5040 Governor
Don Evans
PDG John Anderson
District Governor Don Evans says, “Colombia ranks 146 out of 163 countries in the 2017 Global Peace Index so there is a big opportunity for building sustainable peace in that country. Peace and conflict resolution is one of Rotary International’s six areas of focus and youth are identified as an important part of the peacebuilding strategy through learning. By strengthening young leaders’ knowledge and skills in building peace we will be expanding and enhancing their work in favor of more resilient and peaceful communities in Colombia.”
Rotary will help shape the Colombian peace process by leveraging its networks and engaging key stakeholders - especially young Colombian peacemakers - to identify ways build peace at the local level.
“The value of these workshops is that participants feel better equipped with knowledge and skills to apply in their work on peacebuilding. Those working at the centre of this cause in their country have formed or strengthened collaboration networks and have gone on to work on projects together. Some have taken their workshop experience back to their universities and communities of students and young professionals to provide training in taking action on peace and conflict resolution.”
Rotary District 5040’s decision to become a partner in this Peace Workshop is a direct spinoff of the international Rotary Presidential Peacebuilding Conference in Vancouver on February 10, 2018. Past District 5040 Governor John Anderson, who chaired the conference, said he was pleased that this action from the conference has been taken so soon afterwards. Many years a career teacher and school district superintendent, he said the strategy to focus on youth to achieve peace in Colombia, and the other two countries, was effective.
PDG John Anderson says, “We, in Rotary, are known as people who take action. So, to have this opportunity to take action with this workshop, so soon after the international peacebuilding conference we just held here in our District, in such an important cause, can be a source of pride for all our clubs. As a former school teacher and administrator, I fully support the focus on youth as a way to build lasting peace.”
The Institute for Economics and Peace, ranked in the top 15 most impactful think tanks in the world on the Global Go To Think Tank Index, is dedicated to developing metrics to analyse peace and quantify its economic value. The research is used by governments, academic institutions, think tanks, non-governmental organisations and by intergovernmental institutions such as the OECD, The Commonwealth Secretariat, the World Bank and the United Nations.