Posted by Royston Flude on Sep 12, 2019
Education is the most important vector for Transgenerational Change
 
I felt that my first newsletter should wait until September when many have returned from summer holidays and schools have reopened. Firstly, may I express my gratitude to Dr Charles Grant the immediate past Chair and his team. We have used the summer to consider a strategy for greater involvement, recognizing that the International Fellowship of Rotarian Educators (IFRE) is open to all with an interest in Education.
We see this population as being in four segments:
 
  • Professionals – people in Education including policy-makers, academics and practitioners
  • Students at the various levels
    • Primary
    • Secondary
    • Tertiary
    • Rotaract & Interact Clubs
  • Mentors – people willing to give say one hour per week to facilitate those that are less fortunate. A CSPOC (www.c-spoc.org) Mentoring programme has proved effective with more that 700 African women leaders and been extended to a further 19 Commonwealth countries. It has also been used with orphans in Russia.
  • Senior Citizens – people willing to facilitate change by sharing Life Experience, having the patience and wisdom that comes with maturity
Particular issues include the empowerment of girls & women and Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) engagement.
 
Recognizing that Rotary International has more than 1.2 million members in 35,000 clubs in 200 countries with each Rotarian having typically more that one hundred influential connections, this could be a vehicle to achieve global positive change.
 
We feel that IFRE should reflect the Rotary International governance structure with Zone, District and Club based groups that respect local issues and culture and are Ambassadors for Change. However, ‘Rome was not built in a day’ and we need to consider a step-by-step approach that celebrates passion and commitment to positive change. I am reminded of the example of Costa Rica that focused on Education for All and now has one of the highest Social Progress Indices as well as being an ecological champion in Health, Education & Enterprise. I believe it is key to finding self-sustaining solutions for our Earth.
 
We live in a world that is increasingly threatened by Asymmetric threats that include natural and complex disasters. I am reminded of the thoughts of the song writer Leonard Cohen who said that the real Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) is the lack of ‘kindness’. I believe that the virtues of Compassion, Patience, Tolerance, Humility and Sharing are born and developed in our Education Systems.
 
I am left with the question of how do we establish grass-roots change for the better and would welcome youth thoughts. We will use this feedback focus our mission & strategy with the redesign our web-site so that we can reach out to other groups to form a Confederation for Change.
 
We are holding a workshop as part of the WIN Conference (www.winconference.net) on 2-4 October 2019 in Athens. IFRE members are encouraged support this conference that is in its 22nd year.
 
Dr Royston Flude, Chair, IFRE
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