HOW IT ALL BEGAN
“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”
In February 2015, the Rotary District 5080 Friendship Exchange group was unable, due to tensions, to observe a cricket match in Faisalabad, Pakistan. The group was also unable to observe (for similar reasons) the “Changing of the Guard” on the India-Pakistan border at Wagah, on the Grand Trunk Road between Lahore and Amritsar.
The Friendship Exchange leader, Kees van der Pol, Rotary District 5080 Director on the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park Association (WGIPP), suggested the creation of an international peace park on “no-man’s land” between India and Pakistan, jointly initiated by Rotary District 3272 (Pakistan) and Rotary District 3070 (India) with support from the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park Association, which brought about the world’s first peace park in 1932, straddling the Alberta, Canada and Montana, USA border.
Ensuing tensions concerning relations between India and Pakistan, precluded any significant progress being made on the proposal for the past two years.
At the 2017 Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, GA, the idea came back to life.
More recently the change in political power in Pakistan has, it seems, been encouraging in bringing the two nations together.
Founded in 1905, Rotary International has expanded to every corner of the world and is represented in more countries than the United Nations.
Rotary is the group that can make a Pakistani-Indian Peace Park possible. We have a history of successes, including:
49 Rotarians serving as delegates, advisers, or consultants at the 1945 San Francisco Conference to form the United Nations.
In 1946, at the 1st General Assembly of the United Nations Rotary had three observers.
Our world-wide 30+Year Polio Eradication Initiative
Six Rotary Peace Centres around the world
More than 1000 Peace Fellows
Many Politicians, government leaders, diplomats all over the world are members of Rotary International.
In this current time of political unrest and sabre-rattling by various world leaders, it makes sense for Rotarians, in the words of John Jakes, to “Take a Stand and Make a Mark” by “Making a Difference” in our world.
Rotary International is dedicated to Six Areas of Focus, "to build international relationships, improve lives, and create a better world to support our peace efforts..." The very first Area of Focus is "Promoting Peace". Rotary "encourages conversations to foster understanding within and across cultures".
Rotary’s Guiding Principles developed over the years to provide Rotarians with a strong, common purpose and direction. They serve as a foundation for our relationships with each other and the action we take in the world.” These principles include:
The Fourth Object of Rotary, “The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.”
The Four-Way Test’s “non-partisan and non-sectarian” “Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?” and “Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”
The Fourth Avenue of Service, “International Service exemplifies our global reach in promoting peace and understanding. We support this service avenue by sponsoring or volunteering on international projects, seeking partners abroad, and more.”
Rotary International President (2012-13), Sakuji Tanaka’s theme was “Peace through Service.”
Creation of WGIPPA and its 86th Anniversary in 2018, started by Rotarians from both sides of the border. It is now supported (directors) by four surrounding Rotary districts, including 5080, an international district.
The WGIPPA Mission Statement, "...and our commitment to building peace initiatives whenever possible."
The WGIPPA Core Value (b) which states, “We will advocate with Rotarians and other groups who have similar goals for the promotion of peace, freedom and equal opportunities for all.”
Part of the Rotary Pledge of Peace, recited at border ceremonies is: "We will work for peace, maintain liberty, strive for freedom and demand equal opportunities for all mankind. May the long existing peace between our two nations stimulate other peoples to follow this example.