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Aussie Peace Walk celebrates 100 years of Rotary

Celebrating 100 years of Rotary in Australia and New Zealand, the first Aussie Peace Walk will be held in Canberra on 27-28 March.

Originally named the Canberra Two-Day walk, the event has been reimagined as a festival-like event that will be fun for everyone.

According to Rotary Aussie Peace Walk events director Chris Edwards, the aim of the Walk is to be a “multicultural moving festival”.

“We have groups of people representing different cultures and nationalities all walking together,” he said.

The Finnish embassy will be supporting a Finnish team who will all be doing Nordic walking. The last time I looked there were about 35 countries who registered for representation.”

The Opening Ceremony will be held on 26 March at 4.30pm in Nara Park where Governor-General David Hurley AC DSC will officially open the event at the Canberra Rotary World Peace Bell. The Walk will include seven different walking events over two days and to gain an achievement medal, participants must complete one walk on each day.

Mr Edwards said that unlike other events, the Aussie Peace Walk is not a race and instead focuses on creating connection. Throughout the day, people are being encouraged to say “G’day” and strike up conversations as they walk, as “it is through meaningful conversation that we gain understanding.”

“People can stop and get a coffee if they want,” he said.

Participants are also encouraged to dress up to represent their cultural heritage to help foster communication and connection.

We want people to represent the nationality of their choice, which could be their country of origin or it could just be that you learnt Spanish at school and one day you might go to Spain,” Mr Edwards said.

“What will happen is other people walking along might also be representing Spain; maybe they were born there, or they work at the Spanish embassy and they’ll see you and they’ll say hello.”

Rotary’s global mission is to advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education and the alleviation of poverty. To coincide with their vision, the Aussie Peace Walk is also being held in aid of the Rotary centenary project Give Every Child a Future.  

The project was created following the August 2019 measles outbreak in Samoa that killed approximately 80 people, mainly young children. The aim of Give Every Child A Future is to give life-saving vaccines to 100,000 children across the Pacific and ensure generations of children and women are protected against cervical cancer, rotavirus, and pneumococcal disease.

“We need to raise USD$4.5 million because it costs roughly $45 a kid to give them the vaccination. It also includes some funding for training of local people as well as for medical support,” Mr Edwards said.

The two-day event will also include prizes for participation and fundraising. Mr Edwards said a world music Spotify playlist has been created for the event and Canberra born musician Alex Coffey has written a theme song for the day.

“I’m hoping it will be fun, entertaining, get them out of the house and they’ll have a great time,” he said.

For more information visit aussiepeacewalk.com.au

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