International Day of Peace 2018

14 Dec 2018

The UQ Rotary Peace Centre and Class XVI Peace Fellows participated in the International Day of Peace celebrations at St John’s Cathedral on 21 September, recognising two local organisations as ‘Local Agents of Peace’.  The Romero Centre and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) were recognised on the night for their sustained contribution over the years towards peace in the community. Dr Melissa Curley, Director of the UQ Rotary Peace Centre, said the recognition was established in 2017 and designed ‘to be able to recognise and celebrate people and/or organisations who have made a substantial contribution to peace and peace building activities, within the principles of non-violence.’

Julian Burnside, AO, human rights and refugee activists and barrister, gave the public lecture at the event, which is now in its 7th year, organised annually by St John’s Cathedral and the United Nations Association of Australian, Qld Division. The Very Reverend, Mr Peter Catt, Dean of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane, welcomed around 400 people from the community to the celebration.

The Romero Centre was established in 2000 in response to the needs of people arriving in Australia seeking safety and human rights, and draws upon many volunteers to assist with its support work in the community. In presenting the award to the Romero Centre, Rotary District Governor, Ms Wendy Prothero, said that the work of the Romero Centre aligned with that of Rotary’s motto of ‘Service above Self’ and praised the staff and volunteers alike for their ongoing commitment to providing services and support to vulnerable members of the community. Elaine De Vos, CEO, and Beata Ostapiej-Piatkowski, Centre Manager, received the award on behalf of the Romero Centre (see picture).

WILPF is an international non-governmental organization with National Sections covering every continent. Since their establishment in 1915, they have brought together women from around the world who are united in working for peace by non-violent means and promoting political, economic and social justice for all. In presenting the award to Chris Henderson (see picture) for WILPF, Queensland branch, Dr. Nicole George from UQ spoke of the range of activities WILPF was involved in to promote peace, from a range of local, national, to international activities including organizing local public events, hosting webinars, facilitating roundtables, conducting research and awarding the Australian Peacewomen awards.

The UQ Rotary Peace Centre is located with the Graduate Centre in Governance and International Affairs, in the School of Political Science and International Studies, and is funded by The Rotary Foundation. Peace Fellows undertake an 18 month Masters of Peace and Conflict Studies within the School, fully funded by The Rotary Foundation. For more information about applying for Rotary Peace Fellowships, please see The Rotary Foundation’s website.