“You have to strive for peace in yourself, in your home, in your day-to-day contacts with people.”
That was part of the take-home message from Debra Rodenbaugh Schaub, co-chair for the Peace Forum, at the end of Saturday’s event.
Co-hosted by the Manhattan Konza Rotary Club, the Manhattan Rotary Club, the Kansas State University School of Leadership Studies and various Rotary Clubs in District 5710, the Peace Forum, here in Manhattan, will be one of many throughout the year.
Sakuji Tanaka, President of Rotary International, established “Peace through Service” as this year’s theme and requested each Rotary Club worldwide host Peace Forums discussing how they effectively contribute to peace and conflict resolution.
Saturday’s event was significant as it fell on the Day of Peace here in Manhattan.
Beginning their event at 8:30 am was a parade of flags, brought into the Town Hall room of the Leadership Studies building, by a group of international students, either from the Rotary exchange or students participating in the forum itself.
This was followed by a welcome from Manhattan Mayor Loren Pepperd and keynote speaker Phil J. Silvers, the past director of Rotary International.
Those in attendance had the chance to sit through their choice of seven other presentations, each with two or three presenters.
Among the topics discussed were student and citizen exchange, humanitarian assistance, peace and conflict resolution studies, peace and conflict resolution in local schools and communities, advocacy and community mobilization, diplomatic and military peacekeeping efforts, and community service abroad.
After lunch, back in the main room, the second keynote speaker of the day talked about her work with People to People International.
Mary Jean Eisenhower, CEO of the group and granddaughter of President Eisenhower, reminisced about the beginnings of People to People International, which her grandfather began and her experiences leading up to where she is now.
Through the discussions and the talks, the idea was presented peace will not come over night. There are a lot of things, which need to happen to make our lives peaceful.
“What we hope people will be getting out of this experience,” said Bill Richter, professor emeritus at Kansas State University and program co-chair for the Peace Forum, “are ideas on how they, in their own aspect and interest for peace, can do more.”