Updated: Jul 29, 2021
Toward a Better Future by Learning from the Past
The online magazine “p’review” sets the scene for a
Rotary conference concerning nationalism and discrimination
In the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, on the hundredth anniversary of the murder of countless blacks by a white mob, American President Joe Biden said at a commemoration in that city: “This is what great nations do. They come to terms with their dark sides.” An upcoming working conference sponsored by Rotary Service Clubs, an organization known throughout the world, will offer perspectives on this frequently painful undertaking. The conference, with the slogan “Nationalism, Then and Now – How to Shape the Future,” will take place in Northfield, Minnesota on May 23-27, 2022.
The current issue of the 55-page digital magazine p’review, “Peace. Inclusion. Equity,” has recently been published with the purpose of setting the scene for the conference, which will look both to the past and the future. “The original impulse for me were the Keokuk Peace Letters,” Tony Conn comments in explaining his strong interest in the program. In 2016 he had come upon the historically significant letters in the small town of Keokuk, Iowa, on the Mississippi River. They date back to the year 1932, a time that was shaped by the consequences of the global economic crisis and the specters of nationalism and totalitarian ideologies. Dr. Joachim (Yogi) Reppmann, Northfield, MN & Flensburg, Germany, emphasizes that “this moving and timeless collection of letters revolves around two central fundamental values of Rotary: understanding among nations and dedication to world peace.”
The October conference in Northfield is based on these fundamental values, which is why the title story of the richly illustrated p’review features the Keokuk Peace Letters. As Conn points out, “the rediscovery of these almost forgotten letters provided the initial spark for our idea of thinking in common about Rotary’s mission. Our concern is to bring into sharper focus the areas of peace and the prevention of conflicts.”
Conn continues: “Because whether we are talking about crimes from colonial days, the expulsion of First Nations, slavery, the genocide of the Jews, daily instances of racism against ethnic minorities even in supposedly model democracies – all of these demand responses that may not be avoided by an organization like Rotary with its orientation toward the common good.”
Conn and Reppmann find it heartening that, under the shadow of the murder of George Floyd by a policeman and the storming of the Capitol by a mob, Rotarians in the United States are looking to Germany for advice. Dr. Jim Hart of the Rotary Club of St. Paul, Minnesota wonders if Americans, by concerning themselves with the crimes of National Socialism, might learn something about the country’s own dark chapter of slavery. Many have also taken special interest in the “Stumbling Blocks,” of which 75,000 have been placed in front of dwellings in many German cities and towns. Their purpose is to commemorate those Jewish fellow citizens who were driven out or murdered during the Nazi period.
Dr. Todd Thomson, President, RC Northfield, MN &
Dr. Sabine Schwachula, Rotary e-Club Cologne, Germany
About p’review online and details about the upcoming conference in Northfield, go to: www.peaceconference.us
For further information: firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com
The online magazine p’review is available at: www.LuLu.com