• Joachim Reppmann

Two Minute Video RC Jerusalem

In 1931, Keokuk Rotarian W.J. Fulton attended the first Rotary International Convention outside North America, at Vienna, Austria. There, he and other delegates grew concerned about rising nationalism which leads to war. Returning home, he sent letters to 496 Rotary clubs in sixty-five countries, inviting them to symbolically smoke a peace pipe in the tradition of his city’s namesake, Chief Keokuk. Letters received back from those clubs have been remarkably preserved and are published in a 332- page book, Die Peace-Pipe-Letters. Members of those clubs were invited to a Peace Pipe reception at the Hamburg RI Convention.

Eighty-eight years later, Fulton’s bridge-building spirit is being revived. Dr. Dan Shanit, Jerusalem Rotarian, has asked Tony Conn and Yogi Reppmann to build a bridge to the Arab/Palestinian Rotary Club in East Jerusalem. Conn and Reppmann have accepted the invitation and will hand deliver an original peace pipe to the East Jerusalem Rotarian Club.

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The question that confronts us today is the same as in 1931-32: Do our leaders have the capacity to reach beyond their grasp, to challenge us to seek the higher angels of nature, to choose "Be informed! Be informed!" rather than "Be afraid! Be afraid!" In the end, however, we know that world peace is too important to be left in the hands of our leaders. Peace starts in our own back yards when we speak our for understanding when their is disharmony, food security where there is hunger, health care where there is disease, education where there is illiteracy, conservation where there is environmental harm, sustainable development where there is poverty ... and when we write letters across border to build goodwill and better friendships. - William Tubbs (2019)

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