By Michael Odegaard
Reprinted with permission from Indian Voices
Photo: Rotary Club of San Luis Rey President Michael Odegaard awards 2022 Peacebuilder Nominee Mel Vernon.
August 4, 2022 (San Diego) -- Rotary clubs are well known for leaders among the ranks of doctors and lawyers, but one San Diego County Rotary club may have just made history (again) in the recent installation of its first Indian chief: “Captain” of the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians, Melvin J. Vernon assumed the office of President of the Rotary Club of San Luis Rey (Oceanside) last July 1, accepting the gavel from Native Hawaiian Michael Odegaard who in 2019 qualified the Club as Rotary District 5340’s (San Diego & Imperial County) first “Peacebuilder Club” for teaching the principles of Positive Peacebuilding.
Whereas “negative peace” is simply the absence of violence, “positive peace” represents the cultivation of the values and institutions that create peaceful societies according to the Eight Pillars of Positive Peace proposed by Rotary International’s partner, the often quoted think-tank Institute for Economics & Peace (www.economicsandpeace.org) who annually publishes their peacefulness rankings both of nations and American states.