Peace was the buzzword during the 11th February meeting as President A.P. Singh welcomed the students and their two teachers, Alpa and Doug, from Webb School, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. He also welcomed the Interactors and teachers from DPS, Sri Aurobindo, St. Johns and Bhawan.
We were joined by Mr Kiran Malhotra and his wife Rama Malhotra. Kiran is President Indo-German Chamber and Ambassador of Cologne city in Germany. Mrs Vinita Arora, principal of Bhavan Vidyalaya, was also present.
The meeting was planned to understand the present day youth’s perspective on the subject of ‘Peace and conflict prevention/resolution’.
Four Interactors from India and two from the USA expressed their viewpoints. Their views can be summarised as: Youth desire to work for peace and mission of Rotary basics teaches them to follow the path. Through the exchange of ideas the youth from different cultures gain perspective to work together. Youth need to understand to work for a peaceful tomorrow and it is essential to engage youth in that endeavour. Youthful energy should be directed to build peace. There is a need to develop tools for active change makers. Youth should be encouraged to have capability and welcome an opportunity to work with government. This is a big communication challenge which needs to be overcome by Rotarians to develop a sustainable model.
Vani Adlakha from Aurobindo iterated that hate can not drive hate but love can bring love. Angry youth need to be trained to learn that they should stop being trouble makers. She said,”there is no path to peace, peace is the path for a harmonious tomorrow. We want to live in peace not rest in peace.”
Amit Kaur warned that presently we are blinded by desires and are exploiting resources. Humans are separated by political, religious and other considerations. We long for harmonious living and for that we need to put aside differences and peace is the only answer. We need to actively work for peace so that peace becomes a state of mind. We need to build kindness through small gestures for a kinder and peaceful world.
Ms Alpa emphasised on the benefits of exchange of students within the two schools since the students learn the power to be tolerant and change perception through communication.
PRIP RK Saboo informed the audience that Knoxville was the most secure city during the world war as it had the nuclear arsenal and Rtn. Bill Sergeant, who spearheaded the polio eradication program of Rotary was in charge of security at Knoxville during the war.
Rtn Reema Dewan, while presenting a formal vote of thanks, said that
peace has no language and no boundaries. Through (student) exchange
Interactors pick up pieces to learn that path forward is peace for the world.