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Commonwealth Rotarian Peace Envoys (CRPE)

Promoting Peace is one of the significant initiatives that Rotary has been pursuing over the
years. Rotarians in London and the Commonwealth Secretariat have come together to form
the CRPE  in order to collaborate in promoting peace as follows:

  • Collectively, the committee knows of a number of potential Rotarians who are diplomats
    or who are working for International Organisations and who have vast experience in
    peace promotion initiatives based on their programme of work in various fields.
  •  The committee will aim to draw upon the expertise and experience of these diplomats to
    voluntarily train and support the CRPE. However, the CRPE will sensitively
    manage the use of serving diplomats as diplomats have to abide by their respective
    governmental protocols.

The CRPE initiative will also focus on the following aims:

  •  Raise public awareness of Rotary and the Commonwealth;
  •  Increase sustainable service focused on programs and activities that support youth and
    young leaders;
  •  Increase Rotary membership through outreach to recently retired and young
  •  Increase overall member retention by improving member engagement and club health;
  •  Promote activities and programmes that foster understanding and mutual respect as well as seek to alleviate the underlying causes of conflict which includes poverty, inequality, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources;

The CRPE has embarked on planning and implementing a number of events that contribute to the Commonwealth celebrations that begin on Commonwealth Day on 12th March and end on 20th April 2018 – which marks the end of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and Commonwealth Forums in London.

These events also build upon the 2017 Commonwealth theme of  'A Peace-Building Commonwealth’, and fits neatly into the 2018 theme ‘Towards A Common Future’, which takes effect from March. It explores how the Commonwealth can address global challenges and work to create a better future for all citizens through sub-themes of sustainability, safety, prosperity and fairness - topics which will be at the fore-front of discussions during the April 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London.

 In her Commonwealth Day address, HM the Queen said that “Voluntary effort, by people working as individuals, in groups or through larger associations, is so often what shapes the Commonwealth and all our communities. By pledging to serve the common good in new ways, we can ensure that the Commonwealth continues to grow in scope and stature, to have an even greater impact on people’s lives, today, and for future generations”. The CRPE agrees completely and is taking concrete action to towards Peace Building and Promotion.

The headline events organised by the CRPE which have started on 24th March 2018 and end on 20th April 2018 are:

Saturday 24th March 2018 – Tree Planting at St George V Park, Newham.

The Commonwealth Rotarian Peace Envoys have purchased  210 trees from the Woodlands Trust and handed these over to Newham Council. The Council has agreed to assist with the planting and then continue with the ongoing maintenance of these trees at the King George V Park in Newham. Members from the Rotary Clubs of Tower Hamlets, Newham, Stratford and Westminster West have come together to support this project.  Planting of the trees was completed on Saturday 24th March 2018, and Rotarians from Barnet and Pall Mall joined the four other Rotary Clubs involved in this exercise. Sincere thanks to New Ham Council and its staff for the sterling assistance provided.  Please click here to read the poster.

Tuesday 17th April 2018 - Rotary in London and the Commonwealth Drumming for Peace.

This performance will be at the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Centre in Westminster and is called Rotary in London and the Commonwealth - Drumming for Peace. A number of Commonwealth Forums are being held at this venue and HM the Queen and Commonwealth Heads of State are expected to attend at various times during the day. London Rotarians and drummers representing the 53 Commonwealth countries are performing under the direction of Kevin Hathway who is a renowned professional percussionist and musical director. The music has been composed by young Commonwealth students from the Purcell School of Music under the direction of Alison Cox, Founder of The Commonwealth Resounds. Performers have to be at the QEII Centre by 8.30am to clear security. The first performance is expected to start at 9am. Arrangements for this event are being handled by the CHOGM organising committee based in the UK cabinet office. This event is being fully supported by the Rotary Club of Westminster West. On completing their performances at the QEII Centre around mid-day, the performers will then head off to Parliament Square for the Commonwealth Big Lunch.

Tuesday 17th April 2018 – The Commonwealth Big Lunch.

Rotary in London and the Commonwealth Resounds are bringing their performers and support teams together to celebrate their partnership by organising a Commonwealth Big Lunch after the performances have been completed at the QE II Centre. Lunch will be at Parliament Square which already has all the 53 Commonwealth Flags fluttering in the wind. The Purcell School is preparing a special Commonwealth packed lunch for its performers. Any Rotarians who wish to join in are requested to bring a packed lunch. Bottled water is being supplied by a sponsor. There will be approximately 70 performers and logistics supporters present for this event. The Commonwealth Big Lunch is being supported by the Purcell School of Music and the Rotary Clubs of Stratford, Tower Hamlets and Westminster West.

Note on The Commonwealth Big Lunch:

The Commonwealth Big Lunch is being advocated by the Eden Communities Project with the aim of bringing people together to celebrate their connections between Commonwealth Day on 12 March and 20 April when the Commonwealth celebrations end. We will be joining people across six continents to celebrate community and build new connections. The Big Lunch which is the official Eden Communities Project takes place every year and falls on 7th June this year.

Thursday 19th April 2018Peace Songs dedicated to Rotary in London and the Commonwealth.

The peace songs were composed by children and young composers, using poetry written specially for this event by Commonwealth poets.  The young people will perform at St George's, Hanover Square(2a Mill Street, W1S 1FX) and are part of the Commonwealth Festival Choir and Orchestra. Guests of Honour include Mike Hodge who is the London Rotary District Governor, Dr Josephine Ojiambo who is the President of the Rotary Club of Westminster West and Sree Vallipuram who is Founding Chair of the Commonwealth Rotarian Peace Envoys. Proceeds from this event will go towards supporting victims of Hurricane Irma in Antigua, Barbuda and Dominica. This event is being organised by the Commonwealth Resounds and is supported by the Rotary Club of Westminster West and the Royal Society of St George.  Email [email protected] for further information or group bookings.

Friday 20th April 2018 – Tree Planting at Tower Hamlets.

The Commonwealth Rotarian Peace Envoys have placed an order for 210 trees with the Woodlands Trust and these will be handed over to Tower Hamlets Council. The Council has agreed to plant and maintain these trees. Details of the venue and time will be provided as soon as it is known. Members from the Rotary Clubs of Tower Hamlets, Newham, Stratford and Westminster West have come together to support this project.

Friday 20th April 2018 – Sound, Image, Movement – the Commonwealth.

Rotary in London and the Commonwealth Drumming for Peace will perform at St James's, Piccadilly (197 Piccadilly, W1J 9LL) as part of a very special, colourful concert for young people featuring light classical music, folk, jazz and world music created and directed entirely by brilliant school-age musicians from The Purcell School. Guest of Honour will be Her Excellency Karen-Mae Hill, High Commissioner of Antigua and Barbuda. Proceeds from this event will go towards supporting victims of Hurricane Irma in Antigua, Barbuda and Dominica. The Concert is organised by The Commonwealth Resounds and is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Westminster West. Email [email protected] for further information or group bookings.

Calling on all Rotarians in London to Plant Trees in their Gardens.

Rotary International President Ian Riseley has stressed that protecting the environment and curbing climate change are essential to Rotary’s goal of sustainable service. He has challenged every Rotary club to make a difference by planting a tree for each of its members between the start of the Rotary year on 1 July and Earth Day on 22 April 2018.

With this in mind, Sree Vallipuram, the Chair of the CRPE, has been requesting all London Rotarians to plant one or two trees in their back gardens. March and April are the right time to plant trees in the UK and this is a simple and straight forward way to ensure that the trees are planted and maintained.  If you could plant more than one tree, you will be planting on behalf of those Rotarians who do not have a back garden. Fruit trees are recommended as they will continue to provide for future generations as well.

District Chairperson Mike Hodge lent support to this call for London Rotarians to plant trees whenever the opportunity arises. District Governor Nominee Tony Sharma and Assistant Governor Himanshu Jain have been instrumental in negotating with Newham Council, on behalf of the CRPE, to plant and maintain 210 trees in King George V Park in Newham and a further 210 trees in Tower Hamlets. These initiatives are supported by the Rotary Clubs of Tower Hamlets, Stratford and Westminster West.

The CRPE has organised a tree to be planted for one third of London's Rotarians. It urges all London Clubs to not loose sight of this very achievable target. The CRPE will provide assistance and advice will on how to approach your local Councils and how to source the trees.

Future Projects in the Pipeline
 International Children's Assembly -  for World Peace

The International Children's Assembly - for World Peace is to be held in August 2019 in the Bulgarian cities of Sofia and Plovdiv. Both cities are the co-hosts.  This Assembly will bring together talented as well as disadvantaged children from all over the world to enable them to participate in a series of events that will promote peace and understanding as well as build lasting relationships. Full details of the events being planned for the Assembly will be made available as soon as they have been finalised.   A Children's Peace Park will be established in each hosting country.

It is envisaged that subsequent Assemblies will be hosted by other cities once every two years. The CRPE and Rotary in London have begun discussions to host the 2021 International Children's Assembly -  for World Peace  in London, England.

 International Children's Assembly for World Peace -  Brochure

Peace Park : Pakistan-India Border

This Project entails the establishment of a Peace Park on the border between Lahore, Pakistan, and Amritsar, India. This idea is based on a Peace Park that was established by Rotarians on the Canada-USA border called the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (WGIPP). This initiative will be spearheaded by a IPDG Kees van der Pol from District 5080 in Canada who is a Director of the WGIPP Association. IPDG Kees will be working in conjunction with DG nominee Tony Sharma of D1130 in London and other DGs from Pakistan and India who have expressed support for the Peace Park. Preliminary discussions have begun and more details will be available as and when progress is made to take this initiative forward.

Stand for Peace

This initiative originated from the Pole for Peace – which is in effect a pole with messages of peace and can have flags and other symbols placed on it. The pole was found to be costly and the idea transformed to a cheaper Pipe for Peace. This has now evolved into a “Stand for Peace” which takes the form of a Post with four sides and carries messages of Peace and Goodwill. Rotary Clubs all over the world can purchase these poles and tailor the messages to meet local needs. A prototype of the “Stand for Peace” is currently being made and the plan is to make a flat pack version and ship this to clubs who can then reconstruct the stands quite easily. The cost of each “Stand for Peace” is envisaged at approximately £50 or less.

Peace Convoy

 This project entails driving a bus painted in Rotary colours, loaded with gifts, travelling from India to Hamburg in Germany, in time for the 2019 RI Convention which will be hosted in that city. The bus will be met at various border outposts along the way by Rotarians of the respective countries and taken to orphanages where gifts and essentials would be distributed. The bus is likely to pass through 42 countries and visit as many orphanages along the way. The final destination of the bus is London.


Issue 1 - December  2017

Issue 2 - March 2018