Achieving peace in our world, whether we’re talking about the global community or even our own “inner circle,” can feel like a daunting challenge at best and, at times, simply impossible. As often happens with endeavors that feel too big to tackle, we shake our heads and simply wish things could be better. In particular, we who are not policymakers may feel there is not much we can do when it comes to peacebuilding.
In reality, though, there is plenty that we can do to promote peace, whether it’s as individuals or by joining together with like-minded people! I have to admit, though, I haven’t always felt that way.
I have been a Rotarian for 28 years. I remember a few years ago when a Rotary Peace Conference was happening here in California and I wondered to myself, “What can I…or even WE…do when it comes to peace?”
Well, as I always say, what you see depends on where you sit. Today, as someone that’s more on-fire than ever for the mission of Rotary, and as I “sit” on the peace initiative team for my employer (Bakersfield College)…well, I see things very differently!
Peacebuilding is at the heart of everything Rotary stands for, and “Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution” is one of Rotary International’s seven Areas of Focus. Through our service, Rotary is dedicated to causes that improve lives and communities around the world, including those in our own backyard. Whether we’re painting a mural, planting trees, or feeding our neighbors, improving lives advances peace.
And now, I am blessed to work for a community college. What a perfect environment for bringing together diverse groups to explore new ways to do things. To have those difficult conversations, and to create change that can, indeed, build peace. I’m tempted to say that the subject is more important than ever, but truth is there has never been a time in history when “peacebuilding” was NOT important.
But still, there is no better time than now for you and me to do our part.
Our college president, Dr. Sonya Christian, initiated an online Peace Seminar Series earlier this year to create a forum for interested parties near and far to weigh in on the topic of peacebuilding. The next seminar happens on June 22 at 4 p.m. PT via Zoom. The free event will focus on what YOU and I and “WE” can do to build peace, in our daily actions and by joining with others.
You’re invited to join in the conversation! You can register for the event by visiting https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/event/bc-and-rotary-building-peace-in-kern-county.