Think for a moment. Picture and relive your Folklorama experiences every year – the drinks and foods, the music, dance. The welcoming hospitality and goodwill. The clothing worn by Ambassadors pavilions. The celebration of diversity.
The Indigenous presence and increasing pride. The ceremonies and pow wows and drumming and the sense of an ancient culture and enduring values coming to life.
Their purpose is to lead the whole human family to become a better, more caring, kind, respectful and less violent species. They are also teaching us to realize that we and the four elements – earth, air, fire and water – are all interconnected, interdependent and essential for survival.
We are learning that our planet would be a healthier place without humans. We are now asking ourselves how can we understand nature better and live in harmony with our environment and express gratitude for all given to us by power and energy greater than us every day that allows us to breathe, eat, drink, and stay warm enough not to freeze or burn to death.
Newcomers are welcomed to Winnipeg as refugees and immigrants. They enrich our lives. They teach us how to become global citizens. They advance our understanding and appreciation for other languages, cultures and histories.
They help us understand we are all equal and have the same essential needs to survive and lead the lives we chose. We learn from them that we share a common need for meaning and purpose, sense of belonging, self-worth, freedom and expression.
Our public library system is available for learning and comfort and safety. It is accessible to all who want to learn about peace, justice and human rights. It is a place of hope and learning whatever one chooses to learn. It is also a place for community to meet, to have social interaction and to build friendships.
Our schools and universities are teaching us about getting along with one another, resolving conflicts, seeking justice and respecting the rights of others.
The Winnipeg Police Service protects us and teaches us how to be safe and respect the law and the rights and freedoms of others.
Our courts and legal system ensure that no one is above the law and everyone is equal under the law. If disputes happen and laws are allegedly broken, fair and reasonable processes are available to all to resolve them without violence and without capital or physical punishment being imposed on law breakers.
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is an interactive learning centre open to all to learn about the mistakes humans have made in the past and continue to make. Mistakes caused by ignorance, arrogance and greed and other basic instincts.
Its exhibits show us how abusing power at the expense of the rights of others to live, work, play and raise families in safety and freedom is not right. It shares with us how individuals have had the courage to stand up to abuses of power and defend rights and freedoms.
These in hindsight are the heroes. These are the peace builders. We learn how to be like them. We are encouraged to be like them.
Rotary International and its clubs and districts around the world are a grassroots movement for peace. After starting in 1905 in Chicago, the first meeting outside the USA occurred in Winnipeg on Nov. 3, 1910, almost 110 years ago. This resulted in The Rotary Club of Winnipeg since then being called: “The Club that made Rotary International.”
The Rotary peace movement is the largest mainstream grassroots peace movement in the world www.rotary.org. Through Rotary World Peace Partners www.rotaryworldpeacepartners.org in Winnipeg, collaborations have been formed with all of the above “pieces of peace”.
Our microcosm of the world is evolving through the inspiration and facilitation of Rotarians and friends and allies of Rotary into a community committed to “positive peace”. The Rotary International movement and allies, and its local parts in Winnipeg and allies, are committed to advancing understanding, goodwill, peace and compassionate action in a good way. What is just expression and action before speaking or acting is determined by a four step self-analysis:
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
This is the method suggested by Rotarians for anyone to speak and act peacefully. Each who acts in this way is a peace builder and an example for others to follow.
To learn more and to become a piece of peace building in Winnipeg, join in the Peace Days Festival by going to www.peacedays.ca where you can view a full calendar of all the events.
After the festival, you can go to the Sol Kanee Lecture about Positive Peace by Steve Killelea at CMHR Oct. 4 at 1:30 p.m. Rush seating, free and open to all.
You can also come hear Paul K. Chappell at Marpeck Centre, Canadian Mennonite University on Oct. 19 from 7 to 9 p.m.
So, can Winnipeg play a role in building positive peace in the world? It already is! The common humanity worldwide is more and more watching how we are doing this.
Check out this City TV News story on Winnipeg’s Peace Days: http://winnipeg.citynews.ca/video/2017/09/15/elementary-school-kids-march-for-peace/
And view this presentation relating to Peg and the Global Peace Index: