The Rotary Club of Londonderry is a dynamic network of friends, actively working on worthwhile community projects that make a difference, at home and abroad. We make this difference by contributing our time and experience to make the most of who we are and what we have in our community. 

Since the announcement that Derry is to host the first UK City of Culture in 2013, the local Rotary Club has been working towards holding an event that would attract Rotarians and many other peace-promoting people from around the world to the City during 2013. To date a number of meetings have been held between senior Rotarians in the City, Ilex, Derry City Council and the Culture Company with a view to Rotary holding a potential event in Ebrington Square, and the local Club is delighted to announce that an International Peace Conference will take place in the City from Friday 24th May to Sunday 26th May 2013. 

The Rotary year of 2012-13 marks the 90th anniversary of the Chartering of the Rotary Club of Londonderry and The Derry Club will be supported by the Rotary Clubs on the island of Ireland for such an event in 2013. However, as the theme for Rotary International during World President Sakuji Tanaka's year, 2012-13 is Peace Through Service, the Club thought it would be fitting that a Rotary International Peace Conference be held in the City. During his year, President Tanaka will hold three Rotary Global Peace Forums in Berlin, Honolulu and Hiroshima. Each will explore how the Rotary motto of Service above Self can be used to enhance Global Peace. President Tanaka is quoted as saying;- 

"In Rotary, service is much more than a sideline or an occasional pursuit. It is a way of life. It is an approach that emphasizes consideration and caring for others, and leads to harmony among people. Through embracing service in all aspects of our lives, we foster a spirit of sharing, find goodwill for others and choose peace." 

The President of the Rotary Club of Londonderry Club, Maurice Brennan commented: 

" I believe that it is fitting that a major Rotary event be held in the City in 2013 that will celebrate what has been achieved not only in Derry/Londonderry but in the whole of Northern Ireland over the past 15 years, however, we also recognise that there are still challenges ahead for all citizens" 

The local Club's proposal has received a very favourable response from Rotary International, with World President Tanaka likely to attend. This event will provide another major opportunity for Derry to be showcased to an International audience. Through the Rotary International network the Derry Club plans to invite Rotary Clubs from other parts of the World that are still locked in conflict. It is hoped that those travelling Rotarians will be able to hear at first hand the experiences and challenges faced by the people involved in delivering peace in Northern Ireland. It would also hope that the legacy from the event could be that it helped other parts of the World achieve peace. 

In order to ensure that this event is successfully promoted to an International audience, a delegation of senior Rotarians from the City will travel this weekend, at their own expense to The Rotary International 103rd Annual Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, where they man a stand in one of the exhibition halls to not only promote the Peace Conference but also promote the City of Culture 2013. There will be an estimated 20,000+ Rotarians from around the world attending the convention. 

President Maurice continued: "We as business and professional leaders from the City wanted to do something for 2013 and the Rotary International network allows us to tap into 1.2 million Rotarians in 32,000 Rotary Clubs around the world, with whom we can communicate and tell them about the success our City has achieved over the past number of years, but more importantly, we can share with them our optimism for the future." 

"We, as a small club of friends, also appreciate the scale of this project and believe that this will be one of the largest projects ever taken on by a Rotary Club on the island of Ireland but we are also very fortunate with the ability of members we have within our club. Many are true leaders in their own field, but collectively are capable of improving the lives of many less fortunate than themselves." 

''Our Club will be well represented in Bangkok this weekend by our travelling Rotarians, Past Presidents Alan Rodden and Werner Scheel, President Elect Gavin Killeen, John McMonagle and Nigel Sproule. Many of our other members that have not been able to make the trip have already been heavily involved in the preparations for the event and will continue to be over the next year, but I know with the calibre of members we have the event will be a fantastic success" 

While at this stage the itinerary for the Peace Conference is not finalised, however, the event will include keynote speeches from local and world leaders, a series of Peace Building Workshops, where local and international peace activists will share their experiences of ongoing peace-building work and a Gala Event that will showcase the new Cultural Regeneration Space at Ebrington Square. 

The delegation of Rotarians will travel from Dublin on Saturday 5th May to Bangkok to attend the Annual Rotary Convention from 6th to 9th May, returning on 12th May 2012.  


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