5th Mediterranean Peace Forum 2017
Med MDIO President’s Speech
”Promoting peace through Mediterranean Rotaract”

Below you will find the speech of the Med MDIO President 2016/17 Paul Sampatakakis during the 5th Mediterranean Peace Forum which took place in MEDICON 2017 Croatia!

”Dear Rotaractors and Rotarians, dear friends of the Med MDIO,
good morning and welcome to our Rotaract Mediterranean Peace Forum!

for the ones who don’t know me, my name is Paul, I am Rotaractor for almost three years now, member of Rotaract Club Glyfada, RD2470 Greece and I am serving the Med MDIO this Rotarian year in the President’s position. I come from Athens, Greece and I work as a doctor in Germany.

I am very happy to be with you today. I want to thank every member of the HOC, every volunteer and of course the MEDICON Chairperson Filip for their great efforts. Moreover, I would also like to thank the Head of the MPF organizing Committee and incoming Med MDIO President Maria Vittoria, our International Coordinator and CR Egypt Raghda as well as all the other members of the committee who made this forum come to life.

We gathered ourselves here today to hold the 5th Mediterreanean Peace Forum. We shall discuss, exchange opinions, views and ideas on the matter of peace around the Mediterranean Sea. Most importantly, we are going to interact during the forum’s workshop on this topic, which, if you ask me, should concern everyone among us.

I am proud to be one of the speakers today and I would like to talk to you about my point of view regarding the relation between peace and Mediterranean Rotaract, and of course how can we as Rotaractors endorse, support and sustain peace around the Mediterranean region.

I bet there are people in this room who do not yet know what the Med MDIO is, who we are and what we do! Therefore I will give you a small heads up.

So what is the Med MDIO?
As its name says, Rotaract Mediterranean Multidistrict Information Organization, we are a union of Mediterranean Rotaract Districts aiming to coordinate and share information to foster club relationships beyond district and country boarders.

The main purpose of the Med MDIO is to develop international relationships between Rotaract Clubs and Districts all over the Mediterranean region.

Our organization exists for the following objectives:

  • facilitate communication between Rotaract clubs in the Mediterranean Districts,
  • provide assistance and support to the DRRs,
  • disseminate and exchange information among the represented Rotaract Districts and Clubs in the Mediterranean region,
  • foster international contacts among Rotaractors,
  • encourage them to work together in international projects.

I find the last objective the most important of all because it represents our actions, what we do and what do we stand for.

Apart from the above mentioned coordinating and supporting role, our organization has a deeper feature that distinguishes it since its first day. It was five years ago, during the 1st Mediterranean Peace Forum in Pompeii in December 2012 where the Med MDIO was initiated and its founders met for the very first time.

Therefore its core of existence is based on the idea of peace,
Peace around the Mediterranean Sea.

Let us go back to the matter of peace.  What exactly does peace mean? I searched and found the following definition:

“Peace is the lack of conflict and freedom from fear of violence between heterogeneous social groups.”

If you ask me, I would say at first that this is a proper, clear, straight to the point definition. But is that it? Is that all?
What if we asked ourselves what is not peace? I believe that everyone would come up with several things which could never be related to the idea of peace. Peace is defined as a lack of conflict. What happens when we do have conflicts? Where does conflict come from?

For an example: poverty, inequality, ethnic tension, lack of access to education or medicine, unequal distribution of resources, social and racial racism and son on. All the above cause conflict!
My conclusion is that the existence of those global social problems in our societies is proportional to the lack of  peace. As long as these problems exist, and they do exist, even in the most advanced societies of the world, we simply can not have peace. When we talk about peace, we almost always mean the absence of a hostile status between two nations or countries. This thought is incomplete though. We should include peace between two families, peace in a neighborhood, peace among friends, among brothers and sisters.

What does Rotary have to do with all this? Where do we find common ground? Its obvious. The main purpose of Rotary answers this question: Service above self.

If you combine this information you come up with the conclusion that through service projects, Rotaractors and Rotarians are taking action against the causes of conflict. In this way, we work indirectly for peace.

Having that said, I see my speech today as a great opportunity to talk to you about our organization and present you the work that has been carried out this year.

Before this Rotarian year begins, I was trying for months to come up with an idea that would unite us Rotaractors and create a high wave which would spread across the Mediterranean Sea.  I wanted this idea to overcome the boundaries of a Rotaract service project and become a bold message towards every direction.

Love is an unconditional commitment everyone deserves and everyone shall get. This was our main goal this year.

We, as the Med MDIO, did not want to mess up with the plans of each Rotaract Club or each President, we didn’t want to invite ourselves in a Club. We wanted to embrace, endorse, promote and encourage each Rotaract social effort to help and strengthen social groups in need. It didn’t matter if these were homeless people, children that do not have a family or the means to go to school, people that need treatment but they’re lacking of the financial support. The purpose always remained the same.

Love each other and serve above yourself.

I am very happy that many Clubs embraced our effort and participated in our primary project this year. Here you can see the final results of MED Love:

  • 96 Rotaract Clubs
  • 66 Clubs in Joint Projects 
  • 102 Projects
  • 22 Joint Projects
  • 12 Mediterranean Countries

The next project of the Med MDIO this year was called Med Dinner. It is one of the two secondary projects that the Med MDIO team had this year and its goal was to bring Rotaractors from different countries together through culture. For the ones wondering, yes one big part of this project had to do with the Mediterranean cuisine but this was an easy way to connect Clubs with each other, promote and foster international relationships and of course, create twinnings and friendships between them. This project had a high participation rate as well. Bellow you can see the final results of Med Dinner:

  • 54 Rotaract Clubs
  • 39 Clubs in Joint Projects 
  • 25 Projects
  • 7 Joint Projects
  • 14 Mediterranean Countries

The third and final project of the Med MDIO for this year was called Med Nature. The aim of Med Nature was to support the sustainable development Goals of the UN as well as to promote for an eco-friendly mindset and action plans. It was also conceived to highlight the environmental problems of global warming, pollution and biodiversity. Here are its final results:

  • 83 Rotaract Clubs
  • 70 Clubs in Joint Projects 
  • 33 Projects
  • 11 Joint Projects
  • 11 Mediterranean Countries

After many months of team work, on behalf of the whole Med MDIO team, I am very proud to present you the final results of our year:

Med MDIO Projects 2016/17 involved:

  • 153 Rotaract Clubs
  • 160 Rotaract Med MDIO Initiatives
  • 40 Rotaract Joint Projects
  • 102 MED LOVE Projects
  • 25 MED DINNER Projects
  • 33 MED NATURE Projects

I would like to close my speech by saying that each social project carried out, even the smallest one, is a tiny step further for peace to prevail.

Thank you very much for listening!”

29. April 2017

Paul Sampatakakis
Med MDIO President 2016/17

By clicking here you can download the slides of the presentation.