As the first female president of Rotary International, Jennifer E. Jones’ recent appointment represented a historic moment for equality in the organisation’s 115-year history. In this video series, Jennifer sits down with IEP Founder & Executive Chairman Steve Killelea to answer questions from Rotary members across the globe about peace, community and their personal philosophies on these topics.
Both influential figures in the global peace and community development landscape, Steve and Jennifer reflect on their personal experiences around peacebuilding, what inspires them, how they became the people they are now, and how they hope to build a better world through their work.
Having chosen the theme of her presidency as ‘Imagine Rotary’, Jennifer has asked Rotary members around the world to imagine a better society and tackle the pressing challenges in front of them. “The theme really is about dreaming dreams, and not limiting ourselves about what these can be,” Jennifer said. This interview gives Rotary members and Positive Peace Activators a chance to better understand the motivation behind this theme, as well as the ongoing commitment to peacebuilding within Rotary.
Patricia Schafer opened the discussion with a wide-spanning question about a big dream that each has had, particularly in their careers. Steve’s answer, unsurprisingly, related to his success in the technology industry. Steve initially retired at 36, only to then create another hugely successful technology company, the success of which allowed him to found the Institute for Economics & Peace. This was a goal he had been working towards, but had kept to himself until it became a true possibility.
Jean-Marie Poinsard then asked what inspires both of them, particularly in reference to Rotary members’ actions over the past few years. Steve referenced the strength of connection he has observed within Rotary since he was a child, when his father was president of their local Rotary Club. This strength has continued through to the partnership that has now blossomed between Rotary and IEP in recent years. He finished his reflection with a statement of appreciation for the imagination and power of Rotary members, and Rotary International as an organisation.
Chris Offer, Canadian Rotary member and Positive Peace Activator, asked about the motivation behind the Rotary-IEP Partnership, as well as the value of Positive Peace in the development and community-building sectors. Steve addressed how the closely aligned values and motives of both organisations have influenced the strength of the partnership, with both focussing on peace, community and resilience. All major challenges facing humanity, he argued, are global in nature; thus requiring a unified, global response through the lens of peacefulness. “Peace is a prerequisite for the survival of society as we know it,” Steve said.
To watch more from this series click here Rotary Imagine – Connecting for a better world.