Peace Builders Initiative

 
 

Our Mission

 
To serve as a catalyst and resource for promoting and sustaining positive, peace-enhancing communication and relationship skills among all people within the greater Columbus community.
 

Our Goals

 
  • Serve as convener of special events and ongoing programs with the purpose of encouraging positive community engagement, understanding and trust while facilitating grassroots, peace enhancing, problem solving.  
  • Collaborate with aligned* organizations and businesses as a supportive partner in peace-building efforts, with the purpose of maximizing Columbus Rotary’s Peace Initiative mission fulfillment. 
*Aligned means that others’ peace building efforts are in alignment with our mission, Rotary’s Guiding Principles and the Four-Way Test. 
The Four-way Test is:
  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
 

About Columbus Rotary Peace Builders

The Columbus Rotary Peace Builders committee originated in 2017.  It was initiated by a serendipitous visit by Columbus Rotarian Nancy Trux to the Gulf Beaches Rotary in February 2017.  A member of the club, a man of Indian descent, Raj spoke of a racially motivated hate crime in Kansas City, in which his friend’s son was killed.  Raj was distraught & posed this question to the Rotary club, “What am I to tell my [Indian] friend about America?”
 
Ms. Trux presented the Columbus Rotary Board with the challenge of addressing this question in Columbus, Ohio.  The Board agreed that Rotary with its non-partisan, non-political, non-religious, cross-cultural & international stand, needed to be a part of the solution. The Board also agreed that Columbus is a community uniquely positioned to make collaboration & peace a part of the culture, given the “Columbus way”.  Specifically recalled by the Board was the Columbus collaboration to peacefully desegregate the Columbus schools in 1979.
 
In light of that background, a small group of Rotarians began to brainstorm solutions. Joining the group was Tom Carlisi, a Rotarian and an independent consultant who had expertise in Compassionate Communication.  He was already speaking with the Rotarian Action Group for Peace (RAGFP), developing a curriculum to build Rotarian Peace Building Skills using the 4-way Test, which was made available to the committee. 
 

Columbus Rotary Peace Building Activities to Date

  • Fall 2017.Training of Southside Staff as well as Columbus Rotarians in Nonviolent Communication, in collaboration with Reeb Avenue Center.  This was a 4-part Workshop series at Reeb Avenue Center.
 
  • Fall-Winter 2017-18.  Creation of 8-part online learning modules on building Peace through Nonviolent Communication (this will be put onto Rotary Action Group for Peace website with the recognition of Columbus Rotary).
 
  • Winter 2018.  With Rotary’s leadership, the February 2018 Community Roundtable was created in collaboration with an Interfaith Collaborative.   This was a three-hour event, hosted by First Community Church on “Building Peace & Civility—Working Together”.  Participants were placed strategically at tables with people from different backgrounds and offered the opportunity to dialogue. There was an overwhelmingly positive response to the opportunity & experience.
 
  • Spring 2018. Boys & Girls club involvement at Reeb Avenue.  “No Fault Activities” were initiated so that youth could begin to utilize Non-violent communication skills.  
    • Rotarian Tom Carlisi conducted a 5-week program, with the Southside Boys & Girls Club (9-12 yr. old). Rotarians facilitated small group discussions.
    • The training culminated on May 22 with adults & youth of the Southside participating to build cohesion & compassion within the Southside community. 
 
  • September 17, 2018. This Community Needs Assessment was designed as a follow-up to the February event.  The 1½-hour program introduced community leaders to Rotary and the Rotary’s Peace Building efforts and asked to identify community priorities. 
    • Rotarians served as hosts & table recorders who facilitated small group discussions and reported the results to the larger group.
    • The overall message from participants was that they wanted more opportunities to dialogue across differences, with greater inclusion of youth.
    • All participants were invited to stay and join the Monday Rotarian luncheon.
 
  • February 24, 2019. This was the second Annual “Building Peace across Differences” Event. Attendees participated in three sessions:
    • Deep Listening training will provide skills to dialogue openly & creatively in the World Café. 
    • In the World Café, participants built trust as they identified problems they are willing to solve.  After building initial rapport, the group engaged in “Strategic Doing”—What can we do? What should we do? & What will we do?
    • Youth Panel discussed community problem(s) in which they—acknowledged a problem, unified; started small & worked from the ground up to achieve success.
       
  • As a result of the participants’ enthusiasm and energy February 24th
    • In roads initiated into the Linden community
    • Rotary Core Group created.