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Rotary clubs to host local peace forum

By Corene Brisendine

Local Rotary clubs are inviting the public to give peace a chance at a forum on Saturday.

The event is a response to a challenge by Rotary International’s president to spread world peace. The peace forum is intended to give attendees guidance on how they can accomplish that on a local level.

Mary Jean Eisenhower, CEO of People to People International and granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, will be a featured speaker.

The registration deadline is noon Wednesday and only 225 seats are available. Vernon Turner, public relations and technical chair for the event, said about 200 people have already signed up. The registration fee is $50 and includes refreshments, lunch and a T-shirt. Student scholarships are available.

Debra Rodenbaugh-Schaub, co-chair of the event, said a diverse group of people including high school and college students, business owners, parents, clergy and international exchange students from Kansas City, have already registered.

The forum will begin with a continental breakfast at 8 a.m. on Saturday at the Leadership Studies building on campus. After the parade of flags, the first keynote speaker, Philip Silvers, will speak.

Following his presentation, attendees can choose from several roundtable sessions where interest group representatives will give a brief overview of their organization and how they are helping communities. After introductions, the session attendees will be encouraged to discuss the specific topic of that session. Those topics include student and citizen exchanges and study abroad, humanitarian assistance, peace and conflict resolution, peace and conflict in our schools and communities, advocacy and community mobilization, diplomatic and military service, and community service abroad and Peace Corps. Discussions will be mediated by various Rotary club members from the surrounding area.

Attendees will have the opportunity to attend two of the seven sessions.

Rodenbaugh-Schaub said the sessions will be taped and uploaded to the Manhattan Rotary website.

After lunch, Eisenhower will be the second keynote speaker.

Then the Lee Longhorn Choir will sing songs about peace. During the closing session, organizers will show a video of responses by Manhattan community members on what they think peace is.

Mayor Loren Pepperd will be on hand to read a proclamation declaring Saturday “Peace Day” in honor of the forum, Rodenbaugh-Schaub said.

She said nine other clubs in the district and several local businesses helped in creating this event. She said the club hopes to make this an annual event.

“Seeking peace is a forever task,” she said.

To register, visit the Manhattan Rotary website and click on “Rotary Peace Forum” tab at the top of the page to register. Download the form or fill it out online.

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