• Jay Becker

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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“In 1931 the Rotarians in the city of Keokuk, Iowa must have sensed that dark clouds were brewing in the world, and especially in Europe. They thought about the namesake of their city, Chief Keokuk, and his peace pipe. Their invitation to other Rotary Clubs to join them in smoking the peace pipe was more than a symbolic gesture.“

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