November 11th, 1918 the guns fell silent, and poppies now grow in Flanders Fields where many died in World War One.
The peace was short-lived and, almost every year since, a part of the world has known war.
Out of war has come significant ways of working which brings peace to the world and to local communities.
The United Nations was formed in 1945 and amongst those who drew up the charter documents were 49 Rotarians.
The Mission Aviation Fellowship grew from RAF pilots who wanted to build, rather than destroy.
Rotary seeks to create a peaceful world in all its work, through education, provision of clean water, effective heathcare and the support of social enterprise to build sustainable communities.
Rotary’s passion for peace is also seen in programmes that bring young people together through the Youth Exchange programme and Vocational Service Exchange, through Global Scholarships, as well as the support and funding of 100 Peace Fellows around the world every year, ten of which study at Bradford University’s Department of Peace Studies.
In communities around the world, young people, teachers and Rotarians are coming together to learn how to resolve conflict in ‘peaceful ways’ with the support of The Peace Project, because if we all learn to resolve conflict in ‘peaceful ways’ our communities will become more peaceful – because we have created peace in ourselves.
This making a difference is a vital cog in the wheel of society and the cog labelled Rotary is one that is trusted.”
Perhaps one of the best-kept secrets of Rotary is what it gives to its members. The Rotary Vision statement reminds us all that while we do good in our communities and across the globe, Rotary is also good for us!
“Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.”
Research shows that volunteering works on so many levels, from improving our mental well-being, to expanding our network of friends.
Volunteering can also teach us new skills, help us develop as leaders and bring positive change to our community.
This coming together, this working as part of a team, this making a difference is a vital cog in the wheel of society and the cog labelled Rotary, is one that is trusted and valued because it delivers on its promise, works in open and transparent ways, and ensures that the recipient of the service delivered is treated with respect and dignity.
It is these intrinsic values which are the hallmark of Rotary. The values that we work to, the values which we share in our business lives and in the work we do to serve our communities.
In the Rotary calendar November is designated Foundation month when we champion the work of our own charity, The Rotary Foundation.
The mission of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.
It does that by transforming monetary gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world. During the past 100 years, the Foundation has spent $3 billion (£2.31 billion) on life-changing, sustainable projects.
Our Foundation, sitting alongside our values, make us one of the most trusted and most active membership organisations in the world and, through our friendships, we bring lasting change across the globe and in our own back yard.
If you are a Rotarian, thank you for all you do. If you aren’t and you want to change the world – begin by joining Rotary. and become the change you want to see!