What are the issues?

Whilst I was listening to a Rotary Peace Fellow on her progress since becoming qualified I questioned why Rotary was not developing young people much earlier in their

lives such as during secondary schooling. Consequently young people were not being empowered with peace and conflict resolution skills prior to becoming a post graduate as a Rotary Peace Fellow. The problem exemplfied itself as I visited schools in the role of Her Majesty’s Inspector of Education. Young people were struggling to cope with making choices in their social skills, at home, school and in their community. This was leading youngsters into indecision and lack of self-confidence when trying to deal with their own personal conflict and broader problems in their homes and community. Statistics proved that there is a growing rise of youngsters suffering from bullying in a variety of forms. This spans from name calling in the playground to cyber bullying by text or email.

Unfortunately statistics have shown that youngsters have only one way to deal with their problems. This is often solved by self-harming leading to suicide or by joining gangs.

If this trend continues to develop we will not have young people capable of leading our countries in the 21st century. They do not see themselves as leaders and often feel they are not taken notice of and not listened to. Most felt that they would only be listened to if they were violent or destructive.

The Peace Project was developed to empower young people to feel confident to become leaders in their homes, schools and communities. The Peace Project is a skill based programme, written by myself working with Rotary Peace Fellows, young people and other Rotarians.  It is facilitated by Rotarians, teachers and community workers and is not dependent upon any organization outwith Rotary. Creating Peace Advocates is a way to enable and empower our young people to become the leaders of the21st Century.

Jean M Best PHF


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