February is Peace Building and Conflict Prevention Month in the Rotary World.
February is Peace Building and Conflict Prevention Month in the Rotary World.  In January, we celebrated the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.  In January, we also lost another great peacemaker – a Vietnamese Buddhist monk named Thich Nhat Hanh (pronounced tick na han).  They had a deep and profound respect for each other.  MLK nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for a Nobel Peace Prize, and Thich Nhat Hanh considered MLK a “bodhisattva” – an enlightened being trying to awaken other living beings and help them move toward more compassion and understanding.   When Thich Nhat Hanh met the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. in person for the first time, he knew he was in the presence of a holy person.  Not just his good work, but his very being was a source of great inspiration for him.  ”When those who represent a spiritual tradition embody the essence of their tradition, just the way they walk, sit, and smile speaks volumes about the tradition.”  They had tea together in his room, and then went down for a press conference.  Dr. King spoke out for the first time against the Vietnam War.  That was the day they combined their efforts to work for peace in Vietnam and to fight for civil rights in the U.S.  Thich Nhat Han wrote:  “I also believe with all my being that the struggle for equality and freedom you lead in Birmingham, Alabama, is not aimed at the whites but only at intolerance, hatred, and discrimination.  These are real enemies of man – not man himself.”  Thich Nhat Han died in France at the age of 95, and MLK, JR. would have been 93.  What a collaboration that would have been had MLK not been assassinated.  Let us as Rotarians dedicated to Peace and Conflict Resolution continue their work.
In other news, Rotary International celebrates its 117th birthday on February 23rd, also the date of  The Rotary Foundation Virtual Gala & Fundraiser to “Celebrate our Foundation”.
Join our hosts, Rotary International Vice President Valarie Wafer, and Rotary Foundation Trustee, Dean Rohrs, for our Fundraising Gala on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, at 8:00 pm ET.   Special guests include RI President-Elect Jennifer Jones, Director-Elect Drew Kessler, and our MC for the evening, Past-Director Jeffry Cadorette.