Kirkcudbright Rotary Peace Project winter 2017

Kirkcudbright Rotarian Jean Best pushes ahead with the Peace Project over the forthcoming winter months of 2017

Kirkcudbright Rotary Convenors attend a Peace Advocate Presentation from Jean

It is widely recognised that modern day pressures on young people of all ages, exacerbated by the growth of social media, have undoubtedly increased and complicated the problems having to be faced by our young people today.

Some five years ago Jean Best, supported by husband Keith, launched the Rotary Peace Project in response to the needs of these young people.

Working initially with Kirkcudbright Academy pupils, Jean developed a programme that equips young people to practise conflict resolution. Whether this is between people or whether it is about inner conflict, the programme teaches the young people the skills and processes that are the tools necessary to achieve 'conflict resolution'. Once they have been taught the skills of conflict resolution, and then had the opportunity to practise them, these young people become Peace Advocates. They can then use their new skills, as well as their newly unlocked leadership skills, to work with and teach younger people. To give a young person the ability to make informed choices and decisions when faced with conflict anywhere, anytime will most certainly empower that person not just for the present but for later in life.

In recent years Jean and husband Keith have travelled extensively throughout the UK, and visited Ireland, Mexico, the USA, Australia and Germany, to introduce the Peace Project. The need for for such a programme is undoubtedly global.

Jean is now working to include the Peace Project as one element of the very popular 'Duke of Edinburgh Award' and meetings with senior government ministers may soon see the Peace Project included in school work programmes.

The 11th November 2017 is officially 'Rotary Day' and how fitting it is, that on this day, Kirkcudbright Rotarian Jean Best will travel to the United Nations in Geneva to receive one of Rotary International's 'People of Action: Champions of Peace' awards. Only six Rotarians throughout the world are selected to receive this most prestigious of awards. Jean is the only Rotarian from Europe to have been honoured this way.

Remembering her roots, last Saturday, the 7th October, Kirkcudbright Rotarian Jean Best (seated centre front) gave a three hour presentation about the Peace Project to eight fellow members of her Rotary Club at its headquarters, Selkirk Arms Hotel. Club members from the International, Youth Service, Foundation and Community and Vocational committees came together to learn more about the Peace Project. The aim was to inform members about the Peace Advocate programme and see how the programme can work within all committees. Jean commented 'it was a great morning, encouraging stimulating discussion about the world we live in today and how we can enhance it by working together'. 

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