Father-daughter team makes peace a family affair
Before departing for Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, Brian Farr poses with his daughter Jana, a Rotary World Peace Fellow, at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. The club nominated both to pursue peace studies. Photo courtesy of Brian Farr
Brian Farr expected to hear inspiring speakers at the Rotary World Peace Symposium last year in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA -- among them, his daughter Jana, a Rotary World Peace Fellow, who was delivering the invocation.
What he didn't expect was to be so motivated by what he heard that he would enroll in a peace studies program himself. In April, Farr, assistant attorney general for the State of Utah, graduated from the three-month peace and conflict studies program at the Rotary Center at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.
He credits Past RI President Charles C. Keller's "visionary" speech for providing the key inspiration. Keller talked of the need to seek more peaceful means of conflict resolution and "emphasized that peace-building is not a spectator sport," Farr says.
Neither he nor his daughter could be accused of standing on the sidelines as far as peace is concerned. They helped build international goodwill before the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and worked on developing the Global Mediation Project, a component of the city's future vision.
"It's been fun to see how our lives continue to cross paths in our work," says Jana, who will graduate from the University of Bradford in December. "Our conversations have become richer during my study in England and his in Thailand. We enjoyed bouncing ideas off each other."
Spending time with Rotarians has been a highlight of Jana's experience, just as it was for her father during the 2007 RI Convention. "It was that international spirit of Rotary that pulled me toward Chulalongkorn nearly as much as Keller's speech," he says.
The father-daughter team is exploring how best to use a combined body of knowledge and passion to meaningfully contribute to building peace. "And we're also looking forward to continued interactions with Rotary," Jana says.
This article appeared in the October issue of Rotary World.