Rotary Peace Centers build a better future

Rhett Sangster

Rhett Sangster

Chris Offer, Rotary Club of Ladner, Canada

I recently visited the spring conference at Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center, one of six worldwide. As a supporter of the Rotary peace centers program, I had an opportunity to see firsthand how our support is being used.

Rhett Sangster, a Saskatchewan nominated for the program from my Rotary district in Ottawa, was one of twelve graduating peace fellows delivering a presentation that day. His unique and innovative explanation of the ongoing treaty negotiations with Canada’s Aboriginal peoples, known as First Nations, changed my ideas and perceptions about the process.

Sangster recently returned to Saskatchewan to work with the First Nations Treaty Commission after building an impressive resume with the Canadian Government working on external affairs in Turkey, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. During his talk, he assigned each of us in the audience different roles in visualizing the negotiations from a different person’s perspective. By looking at the land claims of the First Nations from a new stance, I realized there are many different paths to a just resolution of this complex issue.

Without fail, I have been impressed by the candidates selected to attend the peace centers.

Other talks included reducing trauma among social service workers in Bangkok, building trust in Palestine, promoting health issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and supporting democracy in Brazil. I was impressed and charmed by the new Rotary Peace Fellows. It was a marvellous opportunity to meet them personally and appreciate the investment Rotary has made in this program.

I have been part of my district’s selection committee that nominates Peace Center applicants. Without fail, I have been impressed by the candidates selected to attend the peace centers. Two years ago, my wife, Penny, and I decided we should do more personally to ensure the continued success of the program. We established an endowment fund with The Rotary Foundation to support the Rotary Peace Centers.

I am pleased with the dividend our endowment is paying. The Rotary Peace Centers are a sound investment, and I am convinced our future is in good hands.

Source: Rotary Voices

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