By Mauricio R. Pernía-Reyes, president of the Rotary Club of San Cristóbal Metropolitano, Venezuela………………

I recently discovered a valuable resource on Rotary’s website that has strengthened my club’s efforts to serve our community and build peace. When I was selected to serve as club president for the 2019-20 year, I wanted to expand my understanding of the resources that Rotary makes available online and through social networks. That is when I found the Rotary Positive Peace Academy.

A result of Rotary’s partnership with the Institute for Economics & Peace, the Rotary Positive Peace Academy is a free online course aimed at strengthening knowledge and identifying “concrete ways to enhance and engage in Rotary’s work in peace and conflict resolution and the areas of focus – all via a Positive Peace lens.”

What is Positive Peace?

Positive Peace is a framework based on empirical facts called “pillars of Positive Peace.” It helps to identify and understand through real statistics the forces that contribute to peaceful, prosperous, and resilient societies. As a professor of law, I immediately saw that this could be an opportunity to bring data, procedures, and information to our community, as well as to youth leaders and university students, to lay the foundation for building Positive Peace in Venezuela.

How to promote Positive Peace 

I completed the Rotary Positive Peace Academy course and encouraged the rest of my club to take the online course too. Once our club’s new board began, we decided to host a face-to-face training for members – the first Positive Peace training in Venezuela.

Members presented their opinions and showed their enthusiasm for Positive Peace. We worked with partners to brainstorm how to bring Positive Peace to our community. By then, I contacted Summer Lewis, the global coordinator for the Rotary and Institute for Economics and Peace partnership. Lewis provided support, suggestions, and ideas on how to carry the message of Positive Peace forward in our district. She shared with us a wealth of information, including promotional materials from Rotary International World Headquarters in the United States.

Planning to spread the message

Our last activity was to train the Rotaract Club of Metropolitano (District 4380). The national president of Junior Chamber International (JCI), a nonprofit organization of young active citizens who are engaged and committed to creating impact in their communities, was visiting our city and she also attended the training.

This Rotary year, we decided all club members should complete the Rotary Positive Peace Academy and we set a goal to be a 100 percent Positive Peace club, as well as training clubs in the metropolitan area of San Cristóbal. We are also going to apply for a global grant and extend the message of Positive Peace to our district, so we have studied the Positive Peace Workshops that took place in Mexico and Colombia. Positive Peace is included in our strategic plan for the next three years.

The best way to serve our community in Venezuela is to help lay the foundation for the eight pillars of Positive Peace and strengthen the formation of our communities to do so.

About the Author: Mauricio Rafael Pernía-Reyes is a lawyer, university professor, and researcher in administrative law. He has been a member of the Rotary Club of San Cristóbal Metropolitano since 2015.

Rotary has partnered with the Institute for Economics & Peace, an independent research center leading the study of peace and conflict, to help address the causes of conflict and create favorable conditions for peace. Learn more.