Meet the Rotary Peace Fellows – Tamara Lorincz
April 11, 2014
April 11, 2014
Meet our next Rotary Peace Fellow from Class XII, 2013-14, Tamara Lorincz, who is sponsored by the Harbourside Rotary Club of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She is pursuing a Master’s of Arts degree in International Politics and Security Studies at the University of Bradford in England. Tamara is sharing her adventure as a Rotary Peace Fellow with her husband and two little boys.
Tamara’s professional background is in environmental law and policy. In 2003, she graduated with a Master’s degree in Business and Law from Dalhousie University in Halifax. She earned a specialization in Environmental Law and Environmental Management. Upon graduation, Tamara became the Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Environmental Network, an umbrella organization for all of the environmental groups in the province.
For three years, the Network partnered with the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation on an international development project in Honduras. Tamara also coordinated the Nova Scotia Working Group on Education for Sustainable Development and launched the annual Green Roots Sustainability Education Symposium. She co-founded the East Coast Environmental Law Association and established environmental legal capacity building and training programs. From 2006-2012, Tamara served on the national board of Eco-justice Canada and from 2008-2010, she served on the Minister’s Roundtable on the Environment and Sustainable Prosperity.
From 2010-2013, Tamara helped her sons’ former school, École Burton Ettinger Elementary School, in Nova Scotia, become one of the first and the best Green Schools in the province. She raised over $40,000 to improve the school grounds, provide an eco-retreat for all the teachers, give nature fields trips to all the students, buy new library books, bring in expert environmentalists, and acquire new green curriculum resources. With the money raised, the students and staff built three outdoor classroom spaces, raised vegetable beds for every class, created two butterfly gardens, and built a native bog with a bridge. They also installed birdhouses, benches, a bike rack, added more trees to their school forest, and planted a school orchard. Last fall, the school was featured in a film by TD Environment – A Greening Story: École Burton Ettinger Elementary School – Tamara’s sons are in the film!
Tamara has been a long-time volunteer in the Canadian peace movement. She has organized many local events and national campaigns. She is on the board of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace. Tamara serves on the advisory council on the Global Network Against Nuclear Power and Weapons in Space.
From 2003 until 2013, Tamara was a member and one of the spokespeople for the Halifax Peace Coalition. In 2004, she won the Keep Space for Peace Award in New York. In 2012 and 2013, Tamara was invited to speak on military spending and military sexual violence on NGO panels at the Commission on the Status of Women Conferences at the United Nations.
In 2012, Tamara launched Demilitarize.ca and her blog “Wednesdays against Warships.” Last month, Tamara spoke on demilitarization and economic conversion at a peace conference in Santa Barbara, California.
As a Rotary Peace Fellow, Tamara is expected to create an Applied Field Experience. This coming summer of 2014, Tamara plans to work for the International Peace Bureau (IPB) in Geneva, Switzerland, where she will help assist the IPB with its workshops at the International Peace Conference in Sarajevo from June 6-9, 2014, and will help with the IPB’s Disarmament for Development campaign and its Global Day of Action Against Military Spending project. Her research interests involve the intersection of peace, the environment, and women’s rights. Tamara plans to pursue a PhD in the future to promote education for peace, non-violence, and disarmament.
We asked each Peace Fellow two interview questions. Here are Tamara’s answers:
1. What is your opinion about the prospects of an end to armed conflict in the next 50 years?
“I am hopeful that armed conflict will continue to decline over the next 50 years. I must have hope because a world without weapons and war is the world that I am working for, and it is the world that I want for my children and everyone on this fragile planet.
There is evidence to show that we are living in the most peaceful time in human history. In 2011, two major books were published, “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined,” by Steven Pinker, and “Winning the War on War,” by Joshua Goldstein. With great research and analysis, these authors show how violence against women and minorities, wars between nations, battle deaths, slavery, and torture have decreased over time because of the increase in human rights, international law, and democracy. Last August (2013), the British people chose their “better angel” and forced Parliament to vote against a military strike in Syria.
There is an incredible growing global movement for peace. Almost 6,000 mayors have joined Mayors for Peace to demand the abolition of nuclear weapons. There is the Peace One Day organization that works hard to bring about a day of global ceasefire and non-violence annually on September 21st, which is the United Nations International Day of Peace. In 2010, the Global Day of Action against Military Spending started to raise awareness every year of the $1.7 trillion dollars wasted on military budgets that is not spent on urgent social and environmental needs. In 2012, One Billion Rising was launched on Valentine’s Day to end violence against women around the world.
This year, World Beyond War, an international, nonviolent campaign to put an end to war, and to establish a just and sustainable peace. In many ways, our homes, schools, and communities are more peaceful, and it is only a matter of time before our international relations become more peaceful, too.
2. What do you believe are the three most important contributing factors to fostering peace within and among nations?
- Renouncing violence and war. We must stop violence at all levels from our private homes to all organizations and the people within them who work on policy making for international affairs at every level. Work must continue vigorously to reach the goal of complete, total disarmament—again, every place where people congregate to live and work together, from private homes to mammoth institutions, there must be “zero tolerance” for weapons that maim and kill. The economics of the business of war must end, replaced by the economics that foster health and well-being for all living beings. A “hard stop” must be imposed on the arms trade, eliminating military spending and stopping militarism in all of its forms, including “games.” We must live up to Alfred Nobel’s statement which he put in his will, [let there be]“No more standing armies.”
- Investing in peace and sustainable development. We need to invest to tackle our dire climate and ecological crises. We can do this by building a global low-carbon economy that is green, peaceful, and fair. We also must prioritize the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals for global social justice.
- Respecting gender equality, human rights, and international law. We must treat people with dignity, respect human rights, abide by international law, and implement the United Nations Security Council resolutions for Women, Peace & Security. In addition, Western countries must be held accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the recent past, e.g., Vietnam, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
We look forward to hearing from Tamara with updates on her activities. She, along with the other Rotary Peace Fellows you have met so far, provide us with the inspiration to create the path we wish to follow in the pursuit of making the world a place that celebrates life. We extend our great appreciation to all of the Peace Fellows for the work they are doing now and will do in the future.
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