Queen Noor and author Greg Mortenson discuss peace-building at Rotary’s Montréal convention
Montréal (June 21, 2010) – Queen Noor of Jordan and author Greg Mortenson, co-founder of the Central Asia Institute, will discuss global challenges to building peace in the 21st Century -- and how Rotary members worldwide help through grassroots humanitarian projects and educational programs -- during Rotary’s annual convention June 20-23 in Montréal.
Queen Noor al Hussein is an outspoken voice on world peace and strategies to improve Arab-Western relations. Her speech is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. June 22 at the Bell Centre Arena. She is the widow of King Hussein of Jordan and chairs the Noor Al Hussein Foundation, which has launched pioneering programs in the areas of poverty reduction and sustainable development, microfinance, and women’s empowerment.
Both Queen Noor and Mortenson see more educational and economic opportunities for women as key to achieving a more peaceful world.
“I’ve seen it around the world, in the poorest countries and in countries riven with conflict. It’s women who are the key to breaking out of poverty, breaking out of stagnation. It’s women who can contribute to achieving real security – not bombs and bullets and repressive governments,” Queen Noor told CNN in 2008.
Mortenson is co-founder and executive director of the Central Asia Institute, which has built more than 130 schools in rural areas in Afghanistan and north-eastern Pakistan and 60 temporary schools in refugee camps in the region. Several Rotary clubs in the region have supported teacher training for these schools. His speech is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. June 21 at the Centre Bell Arena.
In his best-selling book, “Three Cups of Tea” Mortenson recounts how his failed attempt to climb K2 (the world’s second-highest mountain) turned his life around, inspiring him to devote his energies to educating young children, especially girls, in some of the world’s most isolated and war-torn regions.
Rotary is a non-political international service organization open to men and women of all religions and cultures. Founded in 1905 in Chicago, Rotary has 1.2 million members who belong to more than 33,000 clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Every year, Rotary clubs initiate thousands of international humanitarian projects that address the underlying causes of social instability and conflict, such as poverty, disease, illiteracy, hunger, and lack of water and sanitation.
In 2002, Rotary charted a more direct course to peace-building with the launch of an innovative program to train the world’s next generation of peacemakers. The Rotary World Peace Fellows program provides academic and practical training to prepare scholars for leadership roles in preventing and reducing conflict. Up to 100 fellows are selected every year in a globally competitive process based on personal, academic, and professional achievements. Fellows embark on one to two years of study to earn a master’s-level degree or -- in a shorter course -- a professional certificate in peace and conflict studies at one of six Rotary Peace Centers at leading universities in Argentina, Australia, England, Japan, the United States and Thailand.
“Deeper issues related to the root causes of conflict such as political violence, social injustice, poverty, hunger, illiteracy, and environmental degradation all point to the need for more sustainable forms of peace,” said Glenn E. Estess, Sr., chair of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. “It is our hope that these impressive Rotary peace fellows will go out into the world and make a real difference in their home regions.”
The Rotary Centers for International Studies program is already showing results. Currently, 517 Rotary Peace Fellow alumni are making a difference in jobs within United Nations agencies, the World Bank, and leading non-governmental organizations.
“It is this growing network of peacemakers that makes us believe that peace is possible,” says Beirut Rotary member Michel P. Jazzar, who serves as Rotary representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
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