On June 26th, 2019, I had the opportunity on behalf of the Utah Valley University Rotaract to attend the Positive Peace Building conference held by Utah’s Positive Peace Action Group. Attending this conference were representatives from 18 different Utah Rotary clubs ranging from Cache County’s Logan Rotary Club to the Rotary Club of St. George. Many of these clubs were able to attend in person, others were able to join the conversation via video conference capabilities. The purpose of the meeting was to raise awareness of the Positive Peace movement as well as gain additional support among the many Rotary clubs from Utah.
Jose Velasco, Midvale Rotaract Club Adviser speaks before the participants of the meeting
Positive peace, an action group existing within the rotary organization, is designed to help bring lasting peace to countries all over the world. Within Rotary International there are a variety of different action groups, all designed to help focus on certain areas that help to support people across the globe. As Rotary International has pushed to be able to aid people in all walks of life, they have strived to teach a system of peace that will be one created from the ground up, supported by the people of the individual countries that these efforts are being led in.
Positive peace is a special definition of the word peace that helps to give a more significant meaning. Positive peace stands in contrast to negative peace. Negative peace is simply the existence of peace due to lack of conflict. The peace comes and goes with no system to support it. However, positive peace is the active decision making of everyday members of society to chose to live in harmony with those around them. Positive peace seeks to grow and attain a level of consistency within a community, society, and eventually hold firm across the world.
Kyle Warren during the meeting
A variety of Utah Rotary Clubs have given endless hours in pursuit of positive peace. Many of these efforts have been to help the people of the South American nation of Columbia. Working with local Rotary clubs from Columbia, the positive peace movement has focused on educating Columbian Youth on the effects of positive peace as well as their role in the pursuit of Global peace. The efforts to teach positive peace have not been conducted merely by members of the Utah Rotary. Instead, it is the Columbian Rotary leaders that have led the charge in their own country to help their youth come to a better understanding of how to lead their nation into a time of peace. Brayden Fairbourn, President of the Midvale Rotaract, spoke extensively on the history of violence within Columbia and how the efforts of the Positive Peace Action Group have played out in the nation thus far.
Peace is a significant subject on the minds of Governments and world leaders from countries all over the world. This can be seen in the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable development goals that have been agreed upon in recent years as critical areas of focus for members of the United Nations. Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, UVU Rotaract adviser spoke on this briefly towards the end of the meeting.
During the conversation about peace, emphasis was placed on educating the rotary clubs on this positive peace movement so that they could also become involved and grow this important effort. Clubs were encouraged to have their members go to www.Rotarypositivepeace.org and complete the one-hour Positive Peace Academy training. In doing this, local Rotary clubs will be able to contribute to the Positive Peace Building in Utah and help to support this important global endeavor.
Event participants agreed to hold a report meeting during March 2020 to feature the initiatives and projects that the Utah Rotary Clubs created.
Kyle Warren, President, UVU Rotaract