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Rotary clubs hoist UN peace flag at City Hall

Holding the United Nations peace flag are, from left: Rotary International District 5040 Governor Dave Hamilton, City of Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall, and City Coun. Garth Frizzell. Both Hall and Frizzell are members of the Rotary Club of Prince George – Nechako. They are surrounded by Rotarians from the three Prince George clubs. Rotary photo

Prince George Rotarians, along with the City of Prince George raised the United Nations peace flag today at City Hall to proclaim Sept. 21 as the International Day of Peace and the week dedicated to peace in Prince George. 

Members from the four Prince George Rotary Clubs (Prince George, Nechako and Yellowhead and Rotaract Club were joined by Rotary International District 5040 Governor Dave Hamilton, a member of the Rotary Club of Tsawwassen, along with Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall, a member of the Rotary Club of Prince George – Nechako.

“The advancement of international understanding goodwill and peace have always been among Rotary’s goals,” said Hamilton. “Peace is something that just can’t be talked about, we need to live it.”

The District Governor represents 49 clubs and 1,400 Rotarians in B.C. is visiting Prince George and neighbouring northern B.C. communities this week in an effort to grow the volunteer service organization.

Lorne Calder, a Rotarian from the Rotary Club of Prince George, is the District Governor-Elect and will serve his one-year term beginning in July 2021 until June 2022.

Prince George Rotary Clubs support and participate in Rotary International initiatives as well as collaborate with local organizations, which together work toward peace and conflict prevention/resolution. In this unprecedented time during the coronavirus pandemic, the work of building positive peace is more important than ever.

In 2019-20, 138 Prince George Rotarians volunteered 9,484 hours and raised $70,065 for charity groups in the City. They also contributed USD $21,542 to the Rotary Foundation that supports Rotary projects around the world that focus on preventing disease, providing clean water, supporting education, growing local economies, saving mothers and children and promoting peace and conflict resolution and supporting the environment. The three clubs contributed USD $4,255 to the PolioPlus campaign, a global polio eradication program that Rotarians have been involved with since 1979.

Since the founding of Rotary International in 1905, Rotarians have made the pursuit and support for “peace” as one of our key focus areas. In 1914, Rotarians attending the international convention in Hamilton, Ont. adopted a resolution that Rotary clubs “lend its influence to the maintenance of peace among nations of the world.” Today, more than 1.2 million Rotarians can be found in 130 countries around the world.

Rotary International’s youth exchange program, group study exchanges, and Ambassadorial Scholarships were launched to increase cultural understanding and peace. Rotarians’ contributions to the Rotary Foundation are used to sponsor 130 Peace Fellowships every year to study peace and development issues.

The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by a unanimous United Nations resolution and provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to a culture of peace. Each year, the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on Sept. 21. This year’s theme is Shaping Peace Together. The UN is encouraging everyone to celebrate the day by spreading compassion, kindness and hope in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The General Assembly of the United Nations has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

Rotary District 5040 is an area that spans south of Prince George to 100 Mile House, north to Mackenzie, west to Burns Lake, Smithers, Terrace, Prince Rupert and Kitimat. It also includes clubs along the Sunshine Coast, Whistler, Squamish, Vancouver, New Westminster, Burnaby, Richmond, Ladner and Tsawwassen. 

District Governors are selected from a pool of candidates from across the District and serve a one-year term.

During his time in Prince George, Hamilton, a retired newspaper publisher, visited venues the three Prince George Rotary clubs contributed to, such as the Rotary Soccer Fields, Rotary Hospice House, the new skateboard park at Darren Fitzpatrick Bravery Park, and the Rotary Gazebo at UNBC among others. 

Besides fundraising for local and international projects, the three Prince George Rotary clubs connect professionals from across the city who take action to create lasting change locally, regionally and internationally. Rotarians connect diverse perspectives, and apply their leadership and expertise to solve social issues. Through Rotary’s Youth Services program, they help develop ethics, and better communication and leadership skills in youth through youth exchange and the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. 

Rotary International represents 1.2 million volunteer members in 35,000 clubs around the world.

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