Past President Roger Schamp was our Club’s representative to the Rotary International Peace Conference in Ontario, California, Feb 15-16. There were peace conference tracks with 104 breakout sessions and 150 inspirational speakers on peace-related subjects such as in homes, schools, communities, organizations, religions, news media, the role of technology, and peace advocates working in the world. Roger could attend only 8 of the 104 breakout sessions.

Among the speakers were Father Greg Boyle, founder of HomeBoy Industries, and actress Sharon Stone, widely recognized for her humanitarian efforts. Roger attended sessions on Rotary Peace Fellows, the Peace Corps, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and Dr Bernd Wohlschlaeger, a World War II Nazi tank commander’s son who converted to Judaism and moved to Israel. Another speaker, Bassel Baz, clandestinely rescues missing children that authorities can’t find, to reunite with their parents. Other sessions dealt with complex water issues, sustainability, and sanitation. Another session was “Developing an Integrated Rotary Peace Plan”, urging Rotarians to maximize pathways to peace, world understanding, and conflict resolution. The final dinner was a tribute to the First Responders of the recent San Bernardino Massacre, some of whom were present. Roger met many DGEs who went to their training in San Diego right after the Peace Conference.

Rotary has a long history in peacemaking. In 1921, this concept was incorporated into the Rotary Constitution and Bylaws. In 1940 in Havana, Rotarians adopted a resolution calling for “Freedom, Justice, Truth, and Respect for Human Rights”, which became the framework for the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1942, a conference of Rotary Clubs from 21 nations provided the impetus to UNESCO. In the 1945 conference leading to the founding of the United Nations, there were 49 Rotarians (11 from the US) in 29 delegations. Polio Eradication, begun by Rotary, is now promoted by the World Health Organization.