April 13th was the date of this year's annual Rotary Peace Fellow Seminar. The theme this year was "Everyday Peace: Processes, Perspectives and Potential". 
Class XVI Peace Fellows in a celebratory mood after the 2019 Peace Symposium
 
The Peace Fellows Seminar is a vital component of the Fellow’s activities in the Rotary Centre – as it facilitates the building and maintenance of links between the Rotary Centre and Rotarians. The Seminar is a platform for our Fellows to share their experiences with Rotarians first hand, to hear about how their learning has progressed, and the journey they have embarked on both as scholars and practitioners. It is also the University’s way of thanking Rotary for its contributions, support and funding of the program and indeed for its enlightened decision some time ago to work towards world peace, justice and understanding. These values are jointly shared by the University of Queensland, and are reflected in our substantial commitment to the School’s teaching and research program in peace and conflict resolution.

It was heartening to see a full house at The Women's College auditorium again this year. About 140 Rotarians and other guests gathered to to hear the Class XVI Rotary Peace Fellows "Show and Tell" us about their focus in study and activities.
The day was a great success and it cannot be summarised better than it was in Peace Fellow Miku Largarde's closing address:
 
"Our seminar’s theme, "Everyday Peace: Processes, Perspectives, and Potential", recognises that peace is not a one-off event. It is a process as much as it is a goal, one which is ever evolving, dynamic, and multidimensional.  As a result, building sustainable peace must begin with everyday practices.
 
This morning in the “processes” panel, we learned from Michelle how participatory research methods can sustain peacebuilding efforts. Mohamed talked about the importance of early warning and response systems to help manage conflicts, such as those between pastoralists and farmers in the IGAD region. Nori shared how mapping and analysing conflicts at all levels can help build everyday peace.
 
But everyday peace is not just about processes, it is also about the perspectives that guide our actions. Lauren discussed how adopting a human rights lens can empower Talibe children and help address root causes of instability. Isa highlighted the importance of a gender perspective in peace and security discourse. Morgan challenged us to critically think through what it means to be a "settler" in our individual contexts. I proposed listening to different perspectives and learning more about peace, not just war, in order to build peace. In other words, taking a “perspectives” approach to everyday peace means changing the way we view things, and adopting approaches that are culturally sensitive and empowering to the marginalised, to create more peaceful and inclusive communities.
 
In our final panel, “potential”, we explored some of the ways that people are testing, experimenting and expanding the potential of peace and conflict work into the future. As Raina suggested, we can begin by questioning our assumptions, innovating, experimenting and adapting as we go. Grace reminded us to look at the big picture of conflict, to find new and unexpected angles to build peace. Finally, Emily challenged us to break-free of the limiting paradigm of our educational system and act in support of peace literacy for our schools.
 
The examples we shared today are just the beginning. Will we change the world overnight? No. But we hope that by committing to shifting our actions and perspectives - both at the global level and in our everyday lives - we can create a ripple effect that may eventually leave the world a little better than when we found it.
 
And so now, we challenge you, as our allies in this effort, to find ways to keep this momentum going. How can we create a more peaceful home? A more peaceful community? A more peaceful country? A more peaceful world?
 
All we can do is offer the skills we have and the gifts we have been given. That is our best effort at world peace."
 
--Miku Largarde, RPF Class XVI Representative