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We seek out speakers to bring interest of all kinds to our members and guests. Some reminding us of our duties as Rotarians, others telling us what they have done with their lives, including those who are doing something about the problems they, and all of us, face. Because we meet online, speakers do not have to be in Melbourne. To date we have had speakers from all over Australia as well as India, England, Cambodia, South Africa, the USA and the Philippines. Anyone is welcome to join our meetings to listen to our guest presenters.

Peace Pipe Proposal

16th September

In December 1931, a time when many were concerned about rising nationalism in Germany and many parts of the world and the danger of war, Jewett Fulton of the Rotary Club of Keokuk, Iowa (on the Mississippi) sent 504 letters to Rotary Clubs in sixty-five countries outside the United States, encouraging members to smoke a symbolic and communal peace pipe, a ritual practiced by Indian tribes as a way of dealing with conflict. While this initiative was ultimately unsuccessful in preventing what became a devastating world war, it demonstrated nonetheless the willingness and courage of an individual and of groups of people to stand up for the ideals they believed in.

Today, the world situation is alarmingly similar as nationalism and ideologies that violate human rights are on the rise again. In this context, a new peace pipe initiative has been inaugurated. Dr. Dan Shanit of the Jewish Rotary Club in Jerusalem has asked Tony Conn of Keokuk, Iowa, and Joachim (Yogi) Reppmann of Flensburg, Germany, to build a bridge to Palestinian RC East Jerusalem. 

The question is – what can a one-person project like in 1931 teach us today and what can we do as individuals for world peace?

Tony Conn and Joachim (Yogi) Reppmann

Anthony Conn is a field agent for the Knights of Columbus Insurance as well as president of Conn Communications, Inc., a wireless communications agent in Iowa and Missouri.  He served 10 years in the United States Army as an officer in the Corps of Engineers, stationed at posts in South Korea, Germany, and United States.  Anthony is a graduate of St. Ambrose University, B.S. Mathematics.  He has served on many civic organizations in his community and currently board member of Keokuk Area Community Foundation and RC Keokuk, Iowa, USA.  He is President and co-founder of Peace Pipe Proposal, LLC., a non-profit organization that promotes world peace and international understanding. 

Dr. Joachim ‘Yogi’ Reppmann was born in Flensburg, State of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, in 1957 (border town to Denmark at Baltic Sea – north of Hamburg).  He matriculated at the University of Kiel, where he studied history, American literature, and philosophy.  In 1978 and fueled by his fascination with America from reading wild west fiction novels he traveled to the United States to learn everything he could about our country. He has written several books on notable Schleswig-Holstein emigrants and the mass migration to the United States; served as a professor of German at St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges in Northfield, Minnesota; and chaired several conferences. The Steuben Society of America’s History Award, 2014, has been presented to him for his research on the 1848 movement’s democratic impact in Germany, and the USA.