RI Presidential Peace Building Conference

 Conference Centre, Ricoh Arena, Coventry: Disease Prevention and Treatment, 24th February, 2018

Thought it might be good to put a few lines together following my visit to the Peacebuilding Conference.


This is the 3rd of six conferences taking place all over the world to explore connections/relationships with Peace and the six areas of focus – if we understand them we can do a better job and work done in one area helps another.

This was the first Peace Conference in England.   14 Countries were represented from all over the world.  Attended by over 400 Rotarians and 125 young people sponsored by local Rotary Clubs.

Coventry is a Historic City of sanctuary and has welcomed more refugees from Syria than any other City in the World. Coventry is bidding for City of Culture  2021.

Coventry is the City of Peace and it was good to visit the Cathedral before heading home.      

I felt that this unique event was a very thought provoking conference where Rotary was acknowledged for what it does but where Rotarians went home realizing what they have to do if we want peace in the world and realizing it all begins with us as individuals.


  • Todays enemies are tomorrows friends
  • Healing the wounds of history
  • Living with difference and celebrating diversity
  • It’s easy to make peace with like-minded individuals but not too easy to make peace neither in a diverse situation nor with your enemies
  • Some dreams are not fulfilled because of failure of defeat
  • We are so afraid of failure we forget about our dreams. Any setback could be a prelude to a bigger victory.

Don’t ever question investing in young people studying peace and conflict: can we in D1180 invest in a scholar?   Invest in educating young people

 Be at peace with yourself

The Conference was informative and thought provoking. All speakers were passionate about peace and conflict resolution. They were all interesting and spoke well from the stage.  I feel that the conference has helped Rotarians to better understand how our work can build peace, and encourage us to put that understanding into action with thoughtful, carefully planned projects that meet the immediate
needs of our communities, whilst building goodwill and peace for all.

Keynote Speakers:  Nobel peace Laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi – Shirin became the first female judge in Iranian history in 1969 when she was 32 years old and went to receive a Doctorate in law from Tehran University in 1971.   When the Islamic clerics grabbed power in 1079 and it became no longer legal for women to serve as judges, she was focused on her family and working to get her job back and acquired her lawyer’s licence in 1992.

Dr. Ebadi prioritized cases that involved the unfair treatment of women and children and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her efforts for democracy, peace and women’s rights in the Middle East.   Sine 2009 she has lived in exile in the United Kingdom because of death threats from the Iranian government but continues to work for human rights around the world.


From Iran,  Dr. Ebadi has been involved with promoting women’s rights, fighting against and continuing to combat unfair treatment of women and children in the Middle East (for which she was once imprisoned) and ensuring the need for peace and democracy for all is given priority.   A real role model for our Peace Scholars.

Dr. Ranieri Geuerra – Assistant Director General for Special Initiatives. A physician from Italy who has more than 30 years of public health experience.   Since 2014 has served as Director General for preventative health and chief medical officer of the Italian Ministry of Health.  Professor Joe Vakladez – Chair of International Public Health Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Harriett Baldwin MP, Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Minister of State for International Development

Professor Mike Hardy:  Lets find a way to make young people at ease with themselves. Lets build peaceful, resilient neighborhoods. Break stereotypes, deny clichés and give a voice to the voiceless.

Lonnie Hackett:  Rotary Scholar – travelled to Zambia – realized problem with illnesses, infections and poor sanitation.   Ongoing work improving children’s access to healthcare.

Magnus Riley:  Peace project speaker – spoke about the impacts on “lad culture” on young people in modern Britain and the conflict which arises from it.   He is an advanced peace Advocate.

Jean Best:  Creator of the Peace Project – something D1180 wants to get involved with. We are awaiting mutual dates to get the first training session in one of our Schools.

Caroline Millman – Chairman of the Peace jam UK

Reverend Cannon Dr. Sarah Hills, Canon for Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral

Mark Krawxzynski:  Acting Chair of Hoc for RI Convention for Warsaw President of RC Warszawa Cith, Warsaw

Jessica Tissell:  Rotary Peace Fellow 2017/18 – working towards a Master in Middle East Politics and security at the University of Bradford.

Natalia Gutierrez: Rotary Pace Fellow 2017/18 – after completing her Master’s Degree in Conflict, security and development as a Rotary Fellow she aspires to become an expert in security public policies and development especially for rural areas affected by armed conflict.

The Bill Huntley Endowment for Rotary Peace Fellowships

Several peace fellows in attendance – plus Katherine Keator who will be speaking at District Council D1180 on 6th March, 2018

I felt the venue was excellent – easily accessible from the Motorway.   I did not stay at the Hilton but close by.

Lets hope all Rotarians can aim to take on projects and support others who help towards making our World a more peaceful place to be.

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