The Rotary Minute is a quick one-minute story that features the work and impact of Rotary in our community and world!
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Today, over 70 million people worldwide are displaced as a result of conflict, violence, persecution, and human rights violations. Half of them are children.

The first of the seven areas of focus for Rotary is Peace and conflict prevention/resolution. As Rotarians we refuse to accept conflict as a way of life. Rotary provides training to help foster communities with the skills to resolve conflicts.

Our Rotary Peace Centers have trained over 1,300 peace fellows to become effective catalysts for peace through careers in government, education, and international organizations. Our members have negotiated humanitarian ceasefires in areas of conflict to allow polio vaccinators to reach children who are at risk. 

Peace has been one of Rotary’s top goals almost since the day Paul Harris founded it in 1905. In 1914, the Rotary convention adopted a resolution proposed by the Rotary Club of Hamilton, Ontario, that the International Association of Rotary Clubs “lend its influence to the maintenance of peace among the nations of the world.” 

In 1921, with memories of World War I fresh in their minds, delegates to the Rotary International Convention in Edinburgh, Scotland, incorporated into Rotary’s constitution the goal ”to aid in the advancement of international peace and goodwill through a fellowship of all nations united in the Rotary ideal of service.”

In 1940, The Rotarian magazine published a commentary that came out of the RI Convention in Havana, Cuba. Long before there was a United Nations, before “human rights” was a term most people even understood, the Rotarians meeting in Havana adopted a resolution calling for “freedom, justice, truth, the sanctity of the pledged word, and respect for human rights.” It was a major milestone in Rotary history. 

After World War II, Rotary played a pivotal part in forming UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which eventually became the United Nations. Nearly 50 Rotarians served as delegates, advisers, or consultants at the UN charter conference in San Francisco in 1945, and five Rotarians subsequently served as president of the UN General Assembly.

When the newly chartered United Nations wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, it used the resolution from the Rotary Havana convention as its framework. Today, Rotary holds the highest consultative status offered to a nongovernmental organization by the UN. In other words, we hold a seat at the UN.

Rotary continues to lead in pursuing peace through its Peace Scholar programs of educating individuals and funding broad-based projects for Peace and Conflict Resolution and Prevention around the world.

And that is today’s Rotary Minute.