On January 15 & 16, 2016, the Mediators Beyond Border-Rotary International (MBB-RI) Working Group held several workshops, hosted an information booth and participated in a “Peace at Breakfast” social mixer at the Rotary World Peace Conference 2016.
The theme of the conference was “peace starts with you,” — the spirit that MBB members espouse and implement on a daily basis.
Rotary, called by some as the largest volunteer peace organization in the world with 1.2 million members, demonstrated its deep and long-standing commitment to peace and conflict prevention. Many of the keynote speakers were truly inspirational, and the large number of attendees showed how individual Rotarians are eager to learn about and share ways to build peace in their communities.
MBB leaders offered three workshops for attendees at the global event:
- Solutions That Work Globally—on peacebuilding collaboration between Rotary International and Mediators Beyond Borders International;
- Respectful and Conflict-Free Organizations are Productive and Creative—on implementing a peacebuilding plan in one’s district or community; and
- Embracing Civil Rights and Reducing Our Conflict in Our Communities—on cross-cultural negotiation and conflict resolution.
MBB’s information booth, through a variety of printed materials, artwork, maps, club flags, and MBB literature, allowed for conference participants to learn about MBB’s work and how to become involved. By sharing the experiences of MBBs projects on the ground with others at the conference, MBB’s LA members raised the understanding of MBB’s work and its value to the field of peacebuilding.
One volunteer brought his experience from mediation efforts in Brazil, providing his insight into the value that MBB brings to Rotary and vice versa, while a US trainer provided training to six groups of Interactors on behalf of MBB.
Participation in this conference contributed to the growing collaboration between the two organizations and paved the way for another major step forward in our shared efforts to build a more peace able world. MBB members gained a greater understanding of the value Rotary provides the world, while Rotarians saw the potential for MBB to enhance Rotary projects with peacebuilding as an integrated set of efforts that support economic development, humanitarian assistance, health education and other sectors.
Both organizations emphasized the value and importance of concrete action for peace.
MBB will continue to build on the relationships formed at the gathering. Due to the success of building these new networks, MBB will be able to continue supporting: women in South Asia facilitating peace processes, pastoralists in Kenya ending violence, community leaders in Sierra Leone recovering from the devastation of Ebola, and Nepalese communities pursuing justice in rural communities. MBB will continue to build and strengthen dynamic peacebuilding teams worldwide.