Our Club was the lead host for Celebrating World Peace and 111th Birth Anniversary of Rotary International on Tuesday, 23rd February, 2016 with twelve (12) other Rotary Clubs from District 3140 co-hosting the event held at Rotary Service Centre, Juhu, Mumbai.
Rtn.Shirish Rege, President, welcomed the Chief Guest District Governor (DG) Rtn.Subhash Kulkarni and Guest Speaker Ms.Neeta Kolhatkar, Senior Journalist & Rotary Peace Fellow along with Past District Governors (PDG), District Officials, Presidents of Co-host clubs and Rotarians and Guests who graced the occasion. The event began with two students of Rotary KDN Shruti School for Hearing Impaired – the beneficiaries of The Rotary Foundation programme – to cut a cake to celebrate the 111th Birth Anniversary of Rotary International. President then invited Past President (PP) Rtn.Rajendra Ruia, District Avenue Chair for Peace Programmes and Convenor of the event to conduct the proceedings for the rest of the evening.
PP Rajendra Ruia talked about relation between Rotary and Peace - one of the six focus areas of Rotary International is Promoting Peace. Through partnerships with several leading universities, Rotary Peace Fellows develop the skills to strengthen peace efforts, train local leaders to prevent and mediate conflict, and support long-term peace building in areas affected by conflict. RI provides up to 100 peace fellowships per year at Rotary Peace Centers. The mission of The Rotary Foundation (TRF) is to support the efforts of Rotary International in the fulfillment of the Fourth Objective of Rotary viz. The achievement of world understanding and peace through local, national, and international… humanitarian, educational, and cultural programs.
One of the lesser known facts in the history of Rotary International is the Rotary’s relationship with the United Nations which dates back to 1945 when some 49 Rotary members acted as delegates, advisors and consultants at the United Nations Charter Conference. Today, Rotary holds the highest consultative status possible with the United Nations as a non-governmental organization.
The Guest Speaker of the event, Ms.Neeta Kolhatkar was introduced by Rtn.Dr.Mona Shah, President of Rotary Club of Juhu Beach. A photo-video grapher, writer and an eminent senior journalist, Ms.Kolhatkar has over 20 years of experience in television, print and internet journalism. She graduated in Anthropology & Sociology with Masters in Social Work, has been associated with leading news organizations like Times of India, Aaj Tak, India.com, DNA, Rediff.com, to name a few. Full of passion and enthusiasm for life and equality, Ms.Kolhatkar is a Rotary Peace Fellow, having completed a Peace & Conflict Resolution Course at Rotary Peace Centre in Bangkok in the year 2009.
According to Ms.Kolhatkar, unhappiness leads to conflicts – be it personal, domestic, religious, political, legal or societal. Peace is absence of conflict or in other words, conflict resolution leads to peace. Peace leads to progress and growth. The Rotary Peace & Conflict Resolution Course has helped her tremendously in her work as a journalist. Her perspective of looking at situations has changed since then, bringing in rationality in her thinking about the conflicts which she reports as a journalist and at the same time bringing in positive angles to her reporting, thus giving peace a chance. On asked whether there can ever be peace between India and Pakistan, she was quite optimistic – we need to trust the interlocutors who may or may not be people in power. Peace can come through sports, culture or music. People on both sides love peace and want peace but the vested interests are not allowing peace a chance.
DG Rtn.Subhash Kulkarni said a lot needs to be learnt about peace programmes of Rotary International so that they can be percolated down to the club level. He urged all the Clubs in the District to take assistance of the Peace Programmes Committee to recommend candidates for Rotary Peace Scholarships. According to the DG, every time we touch a life through any of our humanitarian programmes, we are promoting peace. He complemented PP Rajendra Ruia and his dedicated team for having carried on these programmes successfully in District 3140 since over a decade.
Earlier, Immeidate Past DG Rtn.Ajay Gupta presented TRF's "Citation for Meritorious Service Award” to PP Rtn.Rajendra Ruia for his devoted and committed efforts in conducting Rotary Peace Programmes, thus promoting peace and world understanding since over 10 years for District 3140. This is the second highest award given by TRF. IPDG Rtn.Ajay Gupta also handed over to PP Rtn.Ruia the Club Trophy by Dist.3140 for the year 2014-15 for Promoting World Understanding & Peace by successful selection of a large number of candidates recommended for Rotary Peace Scholarships.
The meeting ended with a vote of thanks proposed by Rtn.Dr.Nandini Deshmukh, President, Rotary Club of Mumbai Shivaji Park.