Posted by Mary Wildermuth on Jul 31, 2017
Program for July 31, 2017:  All About Us!! Club Business
Invocation: Kim Warren
Happy News: Guests today were:  Jennifer Smyser from the Stanley Foundation and Kathy Pesley from the North Scott Club. Happy News: Diana Gradert was happy about the Muscatine County Arts Council's Fundraiser Concert at Ardon Creek Vineyard.  Caitlyn Ryan was happy to celebrate her 10 year old's birthday during the tornado..safely!!  Erika noted that Charlie Lewis has resigned due to health issues and Gregs Thomopolus is transferring to the Iowa City Noon Rotary Club upon his retirement from Stanley Consultants.  Erika also noted that we have over $3800 in donations for the bike project with over 50 bikes being purchased.  Check the Photo Directory on the table and see that your personal information is up to date, please!!
Program: Jennifer Smyser introduced Mel Duncan from the Nonviolent Peace Force. The Nonviolent Peace Force's mission is to provide direct protection in areas of conflict around the world including South Sudan, Syria, and the Philippines. Mel brings good news letting us know that the world is getting better including a stunning decline in poverty, leprosy, infant mortality and in polio cases.  Battle deaths have also fallen.  However, the last 10 years have been very tough for refugees. 65 million have had to flee from their homes at the rate of 34,000 per day. Lack of food is one major cause.  Conflict itself is driven by climate change. The protection of civilians in areas of conflict is the purpose to the Nonviolent Peace Force. The training of nonviolent protectors costs $50,000.  Mel explained the various forms of protection including: protective accompaniement, return and protection of child soldiers, protective presence,early warning early response, civilian ceasefire monitors and interpositioning.  The United Nations is using the Nonviolent Peace Force methodologies.  This work is also beginning to be studied by scholars. War takes a long time and so does peace.  Rotary Peace Fellows sponsors joint trainings with the NPF. Mel stated that in violent conflicts moments mean everything!  "The Best Criticism of the Bad is the practice of the better!!"