Young Jamaican envisions herself as peace leader
Rotary has initiated training programme for the next generation of peace leaders from various cultures and countries.
Since the Rotary Foundation launched the Rotary World Peace Fellows programme in 2002, a total of 1,300 young leaders from across the world, including Jamaica, have been selected to study peace and development issues at Rotary Foundation peace centres established at leading universities in France, Australia, England, Japan, Sweden, the United States and Thailand.
These fellows now work in more than 115 countries, many of whom serve as leaders in government, NGOs, the military, education, law enforcement and such international organisations as the United Nations and World Bank.
The first student of the Rotary World Peace Fellow programme from Jamaica, trained at the master’s level, is Khaleen Grant-Monaro, who was sponsored by the Rotary Club of St Andrew North 18 years ago on recommendation by past Assistant District Governor Fabian ‘Bobby’ Young.
She participated in a virtual meeting of the Rotary Club of St Andrew North as part of the Rotary Foundation Month series of activities.
During the discussions, Grant-Monaro said conflict has existed for as long as mankind. “Whether we like to admit it or not, conflict is in our nature. So, to wish for a state where there is no conflict is to wish for the end of mankind. However, wishing for good is also in our nature. And what makes peace possible is the well wishes we direct to our immediate circle: family, friends and allies. We are all connected and in wishing well for the people with whom we are connected, we can create a state where the collective desire for good exceeds our natural inclinations,” she said.
Grant-Monaro noted that her experience as a Rotary World Peace Fellow has taught her that “global peace will never be achieved in many lifetimes to come. It is naïve of us to expect to find a solution to an age-old problem in a decade, or even in several lifetimes.”
NO SINGLE SOLUTION
However, she said although there is no single solution to finding peace, there was a multiplicity of acts we could perform in the present time that could create solutions for the next generation.
“We are tempted to look for grand gestures from great people, as if small acts of kindness that can change the hearts and minds of people is not as powerful as the multilateral system that is the domain of governments,” she continued.
According to Grant-Monaro, peace is a state of mind, which is impossible without personal, social, economic and political security.
“How can we expect people to be at peace when they face insecurity at every turn? Social inequality, lack of access to medical care and lack of education are human conditions that breed fear, competition and conflict,” she said.
According to the Rotary World Peace Fellow: “For a long time, I thought I could make a difference through the United Nations. But I have since learned that there are Rotary World Peace Fellows digging wells, teaching, building homes in remote underserved communities and creating economic opportunities on the individual scale that are doing more to create peace than many governments. So if we continue to expect our Peace Fellows to be great people doing grand things, then we would have lost an invaluable opportunity to make a difference,” she said.
A graduate of Immaculate Conception High School and The University of the West Indies, Mona, Grant-Monaro from humble beginnings said: “Jamaica has too many people with these traits to have so few peace scholars, as the drive and determination of its people for hard work is indisputable. Jamaica deserves more Rotary World Peace Fellows to join the movement.”
She has worked with the Jamaican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, fostering international cooperation and promoting trade as a tool for development. At the Ministry of National Security, her portfolio responsibilities included developing policy to combat human trafficking and advocating for the recognition at the Organization of American States (OAS) of the impact of the guns-for-drug trade in Jamaica, and urging members to ratify the 2003 Declaration on Security in the Americas and its protocols against the illicit manufacturing and trafficking in firearms, their components and ammunition. She later went on to serve at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), where she managed the implementation of a cooperative agreement between the governments of Jamaica and the United States, valued at over US$25 million, which was designed to improve the rule of law, anti-corruption initiatives and build capacity of local civil society organisations.
Grant-Monaro also served as a consultant to the Department of Homeland Security and Deloitte Consulting LLP before establishing her own management consulting firm, PWE Consultants, where she specialises in oversight and implementation of federal, state and local information technology programmes, designed to improve the security and human condition of the populations being served.