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Promoting Peace | togetherTalks

“Peacebuilding is in our DNA” says Peter Kyle

“Peacebuilding is in our DNA” says Peter Kyle

Speaking to the hosts of Rotary’s highly successful togetherTalks, Rotary International Director Peter Kyle talked on the topic of Peacebuilding. Excitingly, Nicki Scott and Luke Addison, chatted to Peter who was speaking from DC Washington.

togetherTalks is the fortnightly series of conversation events, connecting people from across the globe to a range of leading speakers from the worlds of business, volunteering, the charity sector and more.

During the 40 minute show, the audience can submit questions at the registration stage for the hosts to answer. Peter’s talk covered how Rotary was instrumental in creating the United Nations and its strong partnership with the UN today. He was awarded the Global Alumni Service Award and the Service above Self award, also a Citation for Meritorious Service.

Peter talked about his journey representing Rotary at the UN and other institutional organisations. He gave insights into his work with Rotary’s Peace initiatives and detailed Rotary’s historical role as a peacebuilding organisation.

He came to the US from New Zealand in 1973 to follow post graduate studies in law at the University of Virginia and was a Rotary Ambassadorial Peace Scholar.

Following a career in private legal practice in New Zealand, he returned to the US in 1992 as a senior International Attorney with the World Bank, retiring in 2009.

But in 1976 Peter had been inducted into Rotary and has had an amazing experience to date. He has served in many capacities including alumni, Rotary Peace Fellow, and chaired both the Alumni Relations and Rotary Peace Centre Committees. He is currently the RI Director for 2020 to 2022 in Zones 33 and 34.

Peter is passionate about peace and the role we can play to further it. He said togetherTalks was an amazing opportunity to speak about it. “Rotary began in 1905 and by 1918 there were 416 clubs. By 1935 there were 4,000 worldwide who all had a focus, and still do, on peacebuilding and it’s in our DNA” he said.

Peter said we need to carry out peacebuilding in our communities where conflict often starts. “We are a community based organisation and we have a responsibility to help overcome local partisan conflicts.”

“Peace is a broad spectrum”, he said, “but peacebuilding has a universal understanding. We helped set up the United Nations to develop initiatives, workshops, symposiums to develop peace.”

We are a community based organisation and we have a responsibility to help overcome local partisan conflicts.”

Peter explained that Rotary has 1400 peace fellows who are the best educators to help humanitarian work bring peace worldwide.

“Rotary has many peace initiatives but people often see peace as an absence of war. It is much more than that” argues Peter.

With 1.2 million Rotarians in clubs in 200 countries now, he feels that development goals such as those set by Rotary associating with the Millennium team can grow peace, and find solutions to conflict. “We have the resources to respond”, he said.

Peter went on to outline the Peace Centre Programme run by Rotary. He explained that Peace scholarships, Masters level degrees, are offered to 100 students each time in 10 two-year courses in Universities around the globe, including one in Bradford.

We helped set up the United Nations to develop initiatives, workshops, symposiums to develop peace.”

This was set up in 2002 and annually welcomes new applications for these very competitive places.

“I have great faith in our youth and Rotaractors who are keen to make a difference and help peacebuild. Initiatives like PeaceJam prove this.”

And because of Covid-19 and the lockdowns he feels we have greater connectivity in a virtual environment which links the world. “We have internationality, the future is bright” he concluded.