Annual Rotary World Peace Symposium Offers Discussions on World Conflict and Peace

September 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm

The University of South Carolina Upstate will host the fifth annual Rotary World Peace Symposium on the UN International Day of Peace, September 21, 2012.

“Rotary has as a major mission of personal relationships as a basis for dialogue on peace,” said Elizabeth Belenchia, chair of the symposium.  “Recent cultural flares in the Middle East require us to direct more attention to conflict resolution and cultural understanding.  Without channeling time and energy toward solutions, conflict reigns supreme.”

The symposium, which starts at 1 p.m. in the Sansbury Campus Life Center Ballroom, will feature Rachel Rafferty, Rotary Peace Fellow from Northern Ireland, who will deliver the first keynote address on the culture of conflict in Northern Ireland . She will be followed by Kozue Araki, Rotary Peace Fellow from Japan, who will speak on cultural dialogue and Middle East and Japan fellowship opportunities. Rafferty and Araki are both members of Class X at Duke/UNC Rotary Peace Center.

Following the keynote addresses, a panel of international students enrolled at USC Upstate, from Germany, Honduras, China and Tanzania, will speak about their experiences in countries with conflicts.  Awards will be presented by Rotarians to students in the Spartanburg Scholars Academy for submissions to an essay and poster contest. The university’s Center for International Studies will host a reception for all attendees, and then participants will make their way to the Rotary International Peace Park, located at the East Campus Blvd. entrance to campus. There, a second Peace Pole will be unveiled followed by a dedication of the trees planted in the park since the previous year’s Peace Symposium.  Musical interludes will be provided throughout the event by the USC Upstate Chamber Choir. Events will conclude by 4 p.m.

Information will be available at the event for people to learn more about Rotary International Scholarship Programs. Belenchia adds that Rotarians worldwide are asked to commit two hours on September 21 to peace actions.

The event is free and open to the public. For further information, contact Rotarian Elizabeth Belenchia, chair of the Upstate Rotary International Peace Symposium, at or (864) 542-4455.