Every February, during World Understanding Month, the San Diego Downtown Breakfast Rotary Club honors someone in our community with the Peacemaker of the Year Award.  This recognition to given to an individual who has made a significant difference in promoting peace, tolerance, understanding and conflict resolution, actions consistent with Rotary’s Mission Statement of helping to build goodwill and peace in the world.
This year, our club received 17 nominations -- all worthy candidates -- and we were delighted to present the Peacemaker of the Year Award to Dr. Patricia Marquez, Dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego.
The award recognized Dean Marquez for her dynamic leadership role in transforming the Kroc School into a global hub for social innovation and peace-building that will prepare “Changemakers” to shape our world.  Since 1999, Rotary has partnered with the Kroc School in sharing ideas and taking action to make positive and lasting change.
Diana Kutlow, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at the Kroc School of Peace Studies, introduced Dean Marquez, who graciously accepted the award on behalf of the students, faculty and staff at the Kroc School, as well as on behalf of Rotary.  Dean Marquez gave a heartfelt message of hope for creating world peace and for bringing those who feel excluded into the mainstream.  In her role as Dean, she looks at problems collaboratively and with a fresh approach, constantly asking herself, “What can we do better?”  By striving to turn crisis into positive change, she equips students, including Rotary Peace Scholars, to transform the world.  Congratulations to Dean Marquez on this well-deserved award.
Many thanks to our Pathways to Peace Committee, especially Sandra Schrift and George Shipp.   George is pictured above presenting the award to Dean Marquez.  Thanks also to Cynthia Villis, Past President of La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary and Associate Provost at USD, for pinch-hitting for Sandra last week.