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Rotary District 7490 Engages Interact Clubs with 2013 Peace Initiative

Using Our Liberty to Promote Burma's! Would we be so courageous?


Sophie Stone (L) and Charlotte Bennett Schoen (R)
As Chair of Peace and Conflict Resolution for District 7490 Charlotte Bennett Schoen designed a 2013 peace initiative for all the district Interact Clubs. Working closely with Sophie Stone of Paramus Sunrise Rotary, presentations featuring the emerging democracy in Burma were introduced at the October 2012 Interact Leadership Conference.


At the leadership conference, Peace and Conflict Resolution gave each high school a 2013 peace poster -featuring Nobel Prize winner and global peace icon Aung San Suu Kyi. Students were informed of the May 3, 2013 target date when their own Interact club would produce a peace initiative - art, march, performance, writing, photo (there is no wrong choice) -- using the theme "Using Our Liberty to Promote Burma's!" Portions of the 2012 film THE LADY played - a dramatic presentation of the bravery and courage of Suu Kyi as she stood for democracy against one of the most oppressive regimes of the world.


With financial support of 10 Rotary Clubs, 50 copies of the dvd THE LADY were purchased for each school district and recently distributed to district Interact Clubs with the help of Governor Bonnie Sirower's Assistant Governors. The film allows our students to understand democracy in America as they learn about Suu Kyi and her nearly 20 years of house arrest as she engaged in her non violent campaign for democracy.

Coincidentally, as our peace initiative project progressed, President Obama and Secretary of State visited Suu Kyi in Burma, November 2012. Aung San Suu Kyi came to Washington DC to receive the Congressional Gold Medal which had been awarded 4 years earlier when she was under house arrest. Suu Kyi was the recent keynote speaker at Rotary International's January 2013 Peace Conference in Hawaii. 


The students will email an image of their May 3 event to Peace and Conflict Resolution Chair Charlotte Bennett Schoen - Charlotte will have a surprise Burmese gift for the participating schools, purchased in Burma. As an advocate for Global Justice Charlotte will be working in Yangon for 2 months (Feb 20 - April 25) and students and advisors can email her during this time (charlotte3377@gmail.com). The emailed documentation of May 3, 2013 will become the basis for our 2014 Interact peace activities - as Rotary District 7490 stands for Peace through Service internationally and locally.


This mural is located at Lincoln Middle School, Passaic, made by Quality of Life students who worked with a professional artist to create this mural of our courageous global peace icon, Aung San Suu Kyi. It is our first recognized peace initiative project for 2013; other schools that want to submit a project before the May 3rd target date are welcome to do so.

Related stories: 2013 Peace Initiative Project for Rotary District 7490 Interact Clubs

Rotary District 7490 Interact/React students Peace Initiative Project

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