Peace and Conflict Resolution
his third Oxford Peace Conference, in memory of PDG Malcolm Boddington, show cased the Rotary Foundation’s work for World Peace and Conflict Prevention & Resolution through it’s Peace Fellowships and the partnerships with others involved in the peaceful settlement of conflict.
We were extremely privileged to have so many distinguished speakers and guests join us over the two days to consider the subject of Peace Through Understanding.
Barbara Winton spoke about her late father, Sir Nicholas Winton at the Pre- Conference Dinner, held in the Queens College on Friday 9 September. As the world faces the greatest refugee crisis since WW2, it was thought-provoking to hear how this modest man responded to the situation that faced him in 1938.
As we sat in the splendour of the Queens Hall, replete with delicious meal in the company of good friends, there were many who pondered their good fortunate to be there and not trapped in the squalor of the Calais Jungle or similar, homeless and desperate, having lost everything.
At the Conference itself in the Nelson Mandella Lecture Theatre at Saïd Business School on Saturday, conflict in the Middle East was still very much an agenda item.
While variou aspects of the Syrian disaster were addressed by Dawn Chatty, former Director of the Refugee Studies Centre in the University of Oxford, Melhem Mansour, the first Syrian Rotary Peace Fellow and Gabrielle Rifkind of the Oxford Research Group, Neil Cooper of the Peace Studies Department of the University of Bradford, and Roger Griffin of Oxford Brookes University, explored the wider causes of conflict and strategies for prevention and resolution.
Jo Berry and Pat Magee both of ‘Building Bridges for Peace’ movingly demonstrated the power of empathy and the importance of dialogue in rebuilding lives.
Altogether an exceptional event and sincere thanks to Philip Bobby and team
While the Foundation’s Peace Program is specifically focussed
on Peace Studies at the six designated Rotary Peace Centers throughout the world, the Rotary Global Scholarship program, with its emphasis on building world understanding through the six areas of focus, contributes in many ways to creating a more peaceful world.
A typical example is Will Todman, an Oxford University graduate who has recently completed a Masters degree in Arabic Studies with an additional certificate in Refugee and Humanitarian Emergencies at the University of Georgetown in Washington DC. A fluent Arabic speaker, Will spent most of his vacations visiting the Middle East with an adviser to the UN Special Envoy to Syria
for great organisation. Fuller details to follow shortly on the web site at
Rotary Scholars and Building Peace
and interviewing Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.
Since completeing his thesis with Distinction, he has been contracted as a researcher on the Middle East Program at the prestigious Center for Strategic and International Studies and has had many of his papers published. A Rotary Scholar making a real difference!
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