Posted on Feb 16, 2019
Beverly Ghent-Skrzynski
2018-19 District Governor
FEBRUARY IS Peace and Conflict
Prevention/Resolution Month
Conflict and violence displaced more than 68 million people in the past year, and half of those are children.  We refuse to accept conflict as a way of life.   Rotary projects provide training that fosters understanding and provides communities with the skills to resolve conflicts.  Through our service projects, peace fellowships, and scholarships, our members are taking action to address the underlying causes of conflict, including poverty, inequality, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources.
Source: Rotary International
 
Happy Birthday Rotary.  This month is dedicated to the celebration of peace and the 114th anniversary of the founding of Rotary International on February 23rd - World Understanding and Peace Day.  I don’t believe Rotary’s founder, Paul P. Harris, or our own Arch C. Klumph, Father of The Rotary Foundation, had any idea at the time the true significance of their visions for “Service Above Self” and “Doing Good in the World” and the impact they would have on this world for generations to come, for all eternity.
 
Polio eradication, the largest global public health initiative in the world, contributes to peace each and every day.  Bringing light into some of the furthest outreaches of the world, and yes, Rotary does stop wars to immunize its children.
 
Rotary’s Peace Fellowships. In just over 10 years, the Rotary Peace Centers have trained more than 1,200 fellows. Many of them now serve as leaders at international organizations or have started their own foundations. Our district was at the forefront of the formation of this program when 2000-2001 District Governor Jim Frame of the Rotary Club of Mantua stood on the stage at the RI Convention in San Antonio representing us as one of the few charter districts from around the Rotary world who supported the development of the World Peace Fellow Program. 
 
Rotary Youth Exchange builds peace one young person at a time.  The long-term exchanges represent a full academic year and the short-term program can take the form of several days up to three months. There is no better opportunity for our youth to experience another culture, learn a new language and develop life-long friendships all under the umbrella of the Family of Rotary. 
 
Our community and university-based Rotaractors (ages 18-30) are part of a network of over 10,904 Rotaract Clubs representing over 250,000 Rotaractors in 189 countries  and our Interactors (ages 12-18) are represented by over 20,372 Interact Clubs with 468,556 members in over 159 countries.   When our Interactors reached out to the youth in hurricane-ravaged St. Thomas, with the help of Rotary clubs throughout the district, they raised over three times their initial goal of $10,000.  This $33,000 resulted in the development of a Global Grant worth $141,000 sponsored on their behalf by the Rotary Club of Chesterland. It helped rebuild their library for their high school and the community.  Just another example of reaching out with understanding and support make their “world” a better place.
 
Our Rotary Youth Exchange Students, our Rotary Peace Fellows and our Interactors and Rotaractors…these are our peacemakers and they do change our world
 
Many of you may remember Mother Teresa has had a profound effect on my life and I wanted to share with you one of my favorite quotes and the significance of a world without peace.
 
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten
that we belong to each other. 
                                                                                          - Mother Teresa
 
As a Nobel Peace Prize recipient in 1979, she devoted her life to working with the “poorest of the poor” in the slums of Calcutta and donated all of her winnings to those she served.  Mother Teresa continues to be an inspiration to this day.
 
I couldn’t be more excited about the upcoming District Conference of Clubs, April 12-13, 2019 at the Cleveland Airport Marriott.  Woven throughout the mosaic of the weekend will be RI President Barry Rassin’s theme of “inspiration” with a “touch of the Islands” throughout.  We have assembled one of the finest Planning Committees – ever – led by District Conference Chair Julie Brandle of the Rotary Club of Akron.   As our Club Presidents already know, this year we will be holding the Celebration of Life on Friday, before the Annual District 6630 Business Meeting, effectively reducing the conference by a day and giving more of the Family of Rotary the opportunity to remember those we have sadly lost in the last year.  Friday’s speakers will include Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith, FBI – Cleveland Division and we are awaiting final confirmation of attendance by one of the “Children of the Dump” from Nicaragua who is now in college; a shining example of the result of the support provided by so many clubs in our district for the Shoebox Program.   Our afternoon education sessions will lead off with a panel of Rotarians representing some of best “new member development and engagement programs” this year in our district.  PDG Membership Chair Jim McKee will be announcing winners of the Tri-District Membership contest at lunch.    Friday evening will conclude in the Hospitality Suite sponsored by the Rotary Club of Chesterland.            
 
Saturday morning begins with the District Leadership Assembly featuring a wide-array of programming for all Rotarians and guaranteed to Inspire to Lead - Empower to Achieve…And Have Fun. Watch for further details that will be forthcoming in the near future from the District 6630 LEAD Committee co-chaired by PDG Steve Zabor of the Rotary Club of Mantua and Ryan Knotts of the Rotary Club of Hillcrest Sunrise.
 
Saturday’s luncheon is a Celebration of Youth featuring our Rotary Youth Exchange Students, a presentation by the District 6630 4-Way Test Speech Finalists, Charter Ceremony for new Interact and Rotaract Clubs and a segment on our Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) camp – all guaranteed to inspire you.
 
The afternoon will feature the RETURN of the acclaimed “Carnivale” sponsored by our District 6630 Interact Students featuring games guaranteed to make you laugh, intrigue and inspire!  $20 will get you 20 game tickets and the net proceeds will go to support this year’s Foster Care Project selected by our students at Interaction 2018. How fitting that this weekend celebrates “Global Youth Service Day.”
 
As of press time, special plans are “in the making” in the hopes that we can bring one of the Interactors and an adviser from the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, the beneficiary of the Global Grant Literacy Project, to meet in person our Interactors to share what it means to have their support and their outreach.
 
And further late breaking news…Dave and Laura Diffendal of the Rotary Club of Cleveland have generously offered to provide four nights at one of their “incredible” resorts in Belize as an auction item on Saturday to provide further support for Polio Eradication.  Saturday evening will give us the opportunity to honor those who have recently become Major Donors to The Rotary Foundation and the chance for an update on the “53,000 Points of Light” Polio Eradication Initiative.   We will also be welcoming PDG David Bixler and Julie from District 6080 in Missouri as the RI President’s Representatives for President Barry and Esther to this year’s District Conference of Clubs.  PDG David is his district’s Rotary Foundation Chair and Zone 31’s Assistant Rotary Public Image Coordinator.     I know we all look forward to welcoming them to our Rotary Family.
 
Above is a brief overview of the proposed schedule of events for the District Conference.    
 
Warmest regards,

Governor Beverly
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