Since a peace agreement was reached in Colombia in 2016 after an internal war of 52 years, the challenge has been the building of a lasting, sustainable peace.
The Rotary clubs of Ladner and Tsawwassenand the 47 other clubs in Rotary District 5040 are 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 clubs in B.C. 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 analyze peace and to quantify its economic value.
“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,” says Rotary District 5040 governor Don Evans.
“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 District 5040’s decision to become a partner is a direct spinoff of the international Rotary Presidential Peacebuilding Conference in Vancouver in February. Past District 5040 governor John Anderson, of the Rotary Club of Tsawwassen, who chaired the conference, said he was pleased this action from the conference has been taken so soon afterwards.
A former teacher and school district superintendent, Anderson said the strategy to focus on youth to achieve peace in Colombia, and the other two countries, was effective.
“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,” said Anderson.