Caricature of Fred Collignon, by noted Berkeley artist, Stan Washburn

Caricature of Fred Collignon, by noted Berkeley artist, Stan Washburn

Rotary International’s February theme is Peace and Conflict Prevention and Resolution.

Our District played a key role in the Peace Fellows Program‘s early years when one of the centers was located here at UC Berkeley.  We continue to recommend candidates from abroad for Peace Fellows, many of whom are selected. If you see a good candidate for the program either here in the U.S. or abroad, ask them to apply.   Our lead person is Susan Grossman-Cohen, Concord Rotary.

So too does all of Rotary’s work in education, health, community development, water and sanitation support peace by reducing poverty and the frustrations that lead to conflict.  Sometimes, Rotarians actively intervene to mediate conflict. Last year’s RI President was recognized by the UN Secretary and Sri Lanka’s government for supporting peace when he mediated a cessation of hostilities to vaccinate children against polio, and the ceasefire lasted.

More recently, Districts have been probing how we can mediate conflict at home – whether in neighborhood land use disputes or cultural misunderstandings and interracial conflict.  We’ve held breakouts at Assemblies on what clubs can do, and we’ll have them at the District Conference also.

So too can clubs create venues and moments for celebrating our goal of peace in our communties. Come see the Rotary Peace Grove in Tilden Regional Park as we celebrate on the Friday morning of the conference the latest honoree in the Grove for their contribution to world peace.  The Michelin Guide to San Francisco calls it one of their “must-see sights” in the Bay Area.


Our upcoming District Conference is a sell-out!* We’re at maximum capacity for meal seating at our “Summer of Love” Celebration, March 25-26 in Berkeley. You will find only Wait List registration available.

*Does that mean you can’t attend? No! The maximum refers to the number of meals available in the plenary sessions. More about that later. Right now, I urge you to register on the Wait List.  We have already moved more than 60 from the Wait List to registration as new space became available or we got cancellations.   We’ll register you as cancellations are received, with priority given to those who have paid and who meet the other criteria posted.

For clubs who have pledged scholarships to your youth program leaders, it’s so important to get that money in ASAP to Registrar Valerie Munoz. Those places are being held, based on the pledges given the youth groups.

Although the plenary session meal seating is limited, a couple solutions are being explored. Maximum seating has been expanded, and, we are also trying to create an area where late registrants and walk-ups can listen to and hopefully see the speakers. There are more than 40 restaurants within 2 blocks of the conference site, including almost every ethnic food conceivable.  Joan and I counted them.

And there’s plenty to do and learn at the conference even if you can’t take your meal in the plenary sessions. There are 4+ breakout periods Saturday, most offering 5 or more breakout options. There are additional speakers in an auditorium reserved in a building nearby. There is the Friday night 60’s theme Summer of Love party with live music, the Friday fun events, the service projects, the wine reception for our Paul Harris Society members, Major Donors and the PDGs. There’s the beer blast Saturday after the breakouts.

How do you register and get your name on the Wait List? CLICK HERE to request an EZ Link by return email.

For more conference information, CLICK HERE to visit  our District Website.

Get your name on the Wait List, and don’t miss out!

Fred Collignon

District Governor