Nonviolent Peaceforce Partners with Rotary on Peace Workshops in Thailand
By Dr. Ann Frisch
Nonviolent Peaceforce teamed up with Rotary Clubs of St. Paul, Minnesota and Khuanlang-Hatyai, Thailand to give three workshops on civilian engagement in peace processes for Rotarians in three Thai cities: Pattani, Hatyai and Bangkok.
One hundred and fifty Rotarians and colleagues in their communities attended the interactive workshops. Shadab Mansoori, NP Myanmar Country Director, and Atif Hameed, NP Program Director, presented case studies of civilians involved in the peace process in their respective countries. Dr. Norbert Ropers and colleagues from the Prince of Songkla University Peace Resource Center facilitated the sessions with presentations on the current civilian peace process in Thailand. Rungrawee Chalermsripinyorat, an independent analyst and scholar, spoke about the history of the conflict.
(Published March 25, 2015)
These workshops mark the first time that a Rotary District Grant has funded training for Rotarians to participate in peace processes. Rotary principles of grass roots leadership, nonpartisanship, and nonviolence parallel that of Nonviolent Peaceforce.
Organizers hoped that Rotarians, with knowledge about civilian peace processes, will be more engaged in addressing root causes of the conflict along with others in their communities.
St. Paul Rotary Grant Coordinator Dr. Ann Frisch is an NP Senior Adviser and was a civilian protection officer in Guatemala in 2007. The friendship with the Rotarians in Southern Thailand began at the Rotary International Convention in 2012 in Bangkok. The Khuanlang-Hatyai Rotary Club eagerly embraced the task of enrolling Rotarians in the three cities and arranging for the trainers as a way to promote peace in their community.
Dr. Frisch coordinated the fundraising with fourteen Rotary Clubs (and one Rotaract Club) in the Minnesota-Wisconsin 5960 district and thePeacebuilderClubs of Portland, Oregon.
Dr. Frisch also visited Yangon, Myanmar where she attended the charter presentation of the Rotary Club of Yangon, being reconstituted after forty years. She also observed NP's Training of Trainers for the Myanmar Peace Process that focused on establishing a community-based protection monitoring mechanism.
NP's engagement with Rotaryis part of our effort to mainstream unarmed civilian protection.