Three members of Orange Plaza Rotary and two students from the El Modena High School Interact Club were among the hundreds of attendees at the Rotary Presidential Peace Conference held January 15th and 16th at the Ontario Convention Center. The Conference was the first of 5 Presidential Conferences to be held this Rotary year, but the only one focusing on peace and conflict resolution. It was also the only conference to be held in North America.
Organized by the six Rotary Districts of Southern California and Nevada, the event drew high profile speakers, including actress and activist Sharon Stone, who addressed the crowd on Friday afternoon. Breakout sessions for Rotarians highlighted the many areas where conflict resolution techniques are vitally needed, including schools, businesses and communities around the world. The sessions were lead by Rotarians and leaders from dozens of nonprofit organizations which partner with Rotary to build peace.
On Saturday, nearly 400 high school students from numerous Rotary-sponsored Interact clubs attended a separate conference focusing on peace and conflict resolution issues in their own lives. In addition to discussion sessions, Interactors joined together in service, packing more than 17,000 meal packages for the organization Stop Hunger Now.
The Orange Plaza team returned home with new ideas for introducing conflict resolution techniques in our community and local schools. Both Rotary and Interact look forward to working closely together in the future.