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"Spellbinding Rotary video talk!" Richard Schulte, RC Northfld. MN

Updated: Nov 13, 2022

I was able to attend the Zoom meeting sponsored by the Leavenworth Rotary Club on Wednesday, February 3, 2022. It was a terrific meeting. The historical information about the European Rotary Clubs and their members who responded to the Letters from Keokuk was spellbinding. It was a demonstration of living history - Rotary members who subsequently disappeared, Club secretaries who became Nazis, Rotary members who were not sheltered by Nobel prizes in their resumes. The letters are an effective vehicle for remembering what happens if good men fail to act in the face of lies and evil.— Hosts: Rtn. Liz Saunders, nee Prey, Kiel, Germany & Joel Walinski; Presenters: Matthias Schütt, Schürensöhlen, Germany & Yogi Reppmann, Northfld., MN & Flensburg, Germany. The Notion of the Keokuk Peace Letters, 1922-2022 is more relevant than ever: Rotary, with its 1.2 million members worldwide, has been advocating for peace, democracy, and environmental and climate protection since 1905. An extraordinary example of this involvement is associated with the name Jewett Fulton. Fulton, an American Rotarian, traveled to Europe in 1931 to participate in the International Rotary Convention held in Vienna. He was deeply disturbed by the political, economic, and societal tensions he sensed on the European continent. Once back in his hometown of Keokuk, Iowa on the Mississippi River, he and his Rotary Club initiated a global action in an effort to counter the approaching calamity. The Keokuk Club sent out a letter to each of the then-existing 504 Rotary Clubs outside the United States offering to smoke the peace pipe symbolically with them. Today our world is once again in turmoil. Nationalism, discrimination, authoritarian forms of government, and an emphasis on thinking in terms of spheres of influence are again on the increase. The sense of democratic renewal that prevailed at the end of the Cold War has vanished. This is why Jewett Fulton’s peace pipe notion is now more relevant than ever, and we Rotarians hope to activate it anew. The timeless and fascinating responses received by the Keokuk Rotary Club from all over the world at the beginning of the 1930s and the further development of this global action until the present day are documented at:

Link to Zoom Rotary Meeting Recording (22 min):

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