Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu to speak at Rotary World Peace Symposium
Two-day event also features leading academics, international experts and next generation of peace makers and humanitarian leaders
BIRMINGHAM (18-19 June 2009) – Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu and former UN relief coordinator Jan Egeland will be the key speakers at the Rotary World Peace Symposium, which will be held 18-19 June in Birmingham prior to the Rotary International convention (21-24 June).
Archbishop Tutu, who currently chairs The Elders, a group of elder statesmen and peace advocates who are using their experience to help resolve some of the world's most intractable conflicts, heads a list of top speakers who will explore the global challenges of peace making with the next generation of leaders, diplomats and other professionals who will face conflict-related issues. [Press conference: 11 a.m., Thursday, 18 June, Lancaster Room, Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel – Plenary speech: 3:45 p.m., Thursday, 18 June, NEC, Hall 3a]
Joining Tutu at the symposium will be Egeland, former UN under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and currently director of the Norwegian Institute of International Relations and special envoy of the UN Secretary-General for conflict resolution [Plenary speech: 9 a.m. Friday, 19 June, Sovereign 1, Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel] and Dan Smith, secretary general of the human relief and development agency International Alert. [Plenary speech: 7 p.m., Thursday, 18 June, Viscount 2, Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel]
The two-day symposium brings together more than 350 leading academics, peace advocates, international journalists, students and alumni of Rotary’s World Peace Fellowship program, and business and community leaders from around the world who are committed to Rotary’s peace efforts.
Launched in 2002, the Rotary Centres for International Studies is one of the service organization’s most innovative educational programs. Each year, Rotary sponsors up to 60 scholars to earn a master’s-level degree in peace and conflict resolution at the Rotary Centres for International Studies located at the University at Bradford, England; the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia; the International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan; Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires, Argentina; and the University of California, Berkeley, USA; the Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA, which jointly host a Rotary Centre. In addition to the two-year programme, the Rotary Centre at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand offers to 50 scholars each year an intensive, three-month course aimed at mid-level professionals in governments, non-governmental organizations, and international industry.
“There is a really urgent need to produce another generation of people who can actually play this kind of role in the future,” says Paul Rogers, professor of peace studies at Bradford University, citing the daily headlines about conflict, war and violence. “We are all hoping we can make a tangible contribution to overcoming some of these problems. It is an extremely important role for Rotary -- not just in the coming years, but even the coming decades.”
Like the members of the classes preceding them, the current students are a diverse group, representing 47 countries and an array of professional and cultural backgrounds. Their interests and areas of expertise include public health, education, international law, economic development, journalism, and social justice.
Rotary Foundation Chair Jonathan Majiyagbe notes that the nearly 400 Rotary Centre alumni already are making a difference in key decision-making positions in governments and organizations around the world. “It is this growing network of peacemakers worldwide that makes us believe that peace is possible,” he said.
Members of the media are welcome to attend any Rotary convention event. Media must check in at the convention press center at NEC for press credentials. Advanced registration is available.
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Rotary is a global network of business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. There are more than 1.2 million Rotary members in over 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical regions.
Journalists can obtain media credentials at the Convention Press Center at the NEC, Piazza One. For more information, contact: Rotary Convention Press Center (opens 20 June) at
0870 76 11503, 0870 76 11504, 0870 76 11518