This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.

One of the highlights of the Bangkok Convention was the Peace Symposium that took place before the Convention started. The program was terrific and included a high energy talk/performance by former Sudanese child soldier/recording artist, Emmanuel Jal. The closing session featured Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Leymah Gabowee. Her address on empowering women in Liberia was absolutely riveting. Throughout the symposium, I reflected on how far the Foundation’s Peace Center program has come. I continue to be awed at the caliber of scholar the program is attracting. These young people are truly impressive and their drive to make a lasting impact on the world is contagious.

An external review of the Rotary

Centers program has been requested by the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation and is underway. Such review will inform a strategic planning process for the program. We want to be thinking about where we want to be five years from now and plot strategies on how to get there. It is my personal view that Direct Democracy will almost certainly come into play in planning the future of this program.

As defined by, Direct Democracy is a form of democracy in which the people as a whole make direct decisions, rather than have those decisions made for them by elected representatives.

I have come to know and understand the power of Direct Democracy thanks to Bob Rewoldt and his wife Susan. Bob and Susan are not Rotarians and yet they have made a


investment in the Rotary Centers program as a way of calling attention to the merits of Direct

Democracy. Recently I visited Bob and Susan on their farm in Minnesota and Bob’s passion for somehow

integrating direct democracy into

John Osterlund, General Manager of The Rotary Foundation

the core curriculum of the Peace Centers was overwhelming at times.

I would like Bob and Susan to consider additional investment in the Rotary Centers program which Bob is contemplating. However, Bob maintains that if Direct Democracy is associated with the Rotary Centers program that donors will clamber to support the program. He sees this support coming from Rotarians and non-Rotarians alike.

With today’s technology and the

increasing access to it, I see Direct Democracy becoming a force for peace in the world. As our Rotary Centers program continues to evolve and excel, I predict that Direct Democracy will become a significant component of the overall program.

John Osterlund, General Manager of The Rotary Foundation A monthly feature of the Rotary Global History Fellowship (RGHF). Page 2

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36