District Governor

Debbie Hale
Debbie Hale

Debbie is a member of the Rotary Club of Salinas Steinbeck, and is serving as our District Governor for the Rotary year 2023-2024.

Give Peace a Chance
February is Peace and Conflict Resolution Month

 When I first started to think about the February theme, I wondered, “Why is peace one of our areas of focus – isn’t Rotary nonpolitical?”  Then I saw the headlines of war:  diseases may kill more people than bombs, water shortages abound as pipelines are damaged, health crisis deepens for the chronically ill.  It’s not just those who are killed or injured by conflict who are affected:  war spreads diseases among people and toxic materials around our environment; war also reduces the supply of clean water, damages health of a population and creates economic hardship. It is no coincidence that a country with decades of conflict, Afghanistan, is one of the last strongholds of polio. 

How can we as Rotarians promote peace?  We can support education through our peace fellowships program.  Rotary provides 130 scholarships a year to outstanding postgraduate students to study in peace and conflict resolution at one of our Rotary peace centers.  In fact, we have a Rotarian peace scholar in our District, Shen Huang, a member of the Visalia County Center Rotary Club.  Our District team is available to nominate candidates from our area and interview applicants from other countries. If you know someone with a passion for conflict resolution, have them review the Rotary.org page on peace fellowships, and then reach out to Shen (pullingtheshens@gmail.com).

Peace and conflict resolution is not just needed abroad; it is also important for our communities and our clubs.  The opposite of conflict may well be collaboration: one of the four “c’s” that I encourage clubs to engage in.  I am proud when past club presidents collaborate to fill in when their leader can no longer serve out their term.  I am also encouraged when clubs join together to hold events.  An excellent example of collaboration is the “Fab 5”, the 5 current Visalia Rotary Club Presidents, who co-hosted a fundraiser for the historic Visalia Fox Theatre. Over one hundred years old, this community gem needs quite a few repairs, so the clubs decided to host an Elton John cover band fundraiser.  It was a great way to showcase the theatre and raise money to keep it in good running order – and it was a lot of fun!

Another way to foster collaboration is among our youth.  I hope you will reach out to your high schools to nominate student leaders to attend Camp Royal, our Rotary youth leadership academy, scheduled for June 9 – 14 at Lake Sequoia.  I had the chance to visit last year and it’s a fabulous camp run by the students, with the support of their counselors, to create their own leadership experience.  Reach out to our Camp Royal Chair, Nic Giannandrea (gianic@me.com), to confirm your club’s Camp Royal slots.  They’re also looking for lunch sponsors this year.  There are two articles in this newsletter with more details.

Differences of opinion are inevitable, but how we work through those differences is important. Take the time to understand the viewpoint of others and focus on the values you share in common.  Because working together, we can create more hope in the world. 

– DG Debbie

         
DG Debbie’s kittens practicing the art of peacefulness

 

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