Quest for Peace

 
Join my quest for peace
By Past District Governor Anton Polsterer, District 1910; Past Chair of Inter-Country Committees worldwide
 
I want to share my experience in a multi country district afflicted by war, specifically civil war, and how Rotarians and Rotary clubs can help re-establish mutual understanding and goodwill.  Our efforts can help heal the wounds caused by political and civil unrest by creating a climate, which renders future conflicts difficult and hopefully impossible.
 
I joined Rotary in Vienna in 1986 and transferred to the Rotary Club of Moscow while working in Russia
from 1989-92. Later, after moving back to Austria, I became District Governor for Bosnia & Herzegovina,
Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria. After years of war and totalitarian government rule, these communities longed for freedom and peace.
 
Our district had 130 clubs with more than 5000 Rotarians. We represented five different nationalities and languages. Croatia and Bosnia were heavily hurt by the Yugoslav civil war in the 1990s: Bosnia and Herzegovina had a pre-war population of 4.5 million people including Orthodox Serbians, Catholic Croatians and Bosnian Moslems. During the war, close to two million people, almost 50% of the population was displaced within their own country to create “ethnic” regions.