11 March 2022

Join a timely walk for peace in the nation's capital

| Evelyn Karatzas
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Group of people standing in front of flags

Last year’s Aussie Peace Walk. Photo: Aussie Peace Walk.

Uniting people from different cultures and backgrounds, the Aussie Peace Walk is back in 2022 for its second year of fundraising.

To be held on the weekend of 26 to 27 March, all funds raised will go towards Rotary’s Give Every Child a Future project.

Participants are encouraged to carry a flag or wear something that signifies the country or culture they’re representing and walk and talk with people from different cultures and backgrounds.

“We want to make a difference in the community and raise money to save lives by encouraging people to walk, which is good for people’s physical and mental health,” Aussie Peace Walk event director Chris Edwards said.

“After all these years of lockdowns, there’s nothing better than being outdoors, talking to people and doing something healthy. It’s ticking a lot of boxes with its benefits and we raise money as well, so it’s a win-win all ’round.

“Most conflict comes from people who don’t understand other people and peace comes through understanding, so there’s no better time than now to do something like this, especially with what’s going on overseas, as this event is about promoting peace and building community at home.

“It’s an extremely inclusive event and at the root of it, everyone is the same. It doesn’t matter where you come from, or your age or anything like that, we all want to be loved, feel appreciated and have opportunities to be recognised for our contributions.”

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Chris emphasised the walk is not a race.

“Many communities stick to themselves, because that’s what they are familiar with, so the walks are a great opportunity to chat with new people and get to know them and likewise they will get to know you,” he said.

“We want people to be proud of their roots.”

The Peace Walk is aiming for more than 500 participants, with people already registered from as far as Sydney, Wagga and Melbourne.

“We’ve noticed people are prepared to travel and walk for peace and at the same time support us in raising money for Rotary community health projects, such as reducing child mortality in the Pacific Islands, with the Rotary Give Every Child a Future project,” Chris said.

“I’m hoping this year a lot of people will be encouraged to think about peace by flying their colours and showing their support, especially with a war going on in Europe, because the more we can do to promote peace in our own community, the better.”

Man leaning against a large bell

Rotary Aussie Peace Walk event director Chris Edwards at the Canberra World Peace Bell in Nara Park. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

To vaccinate 100,000 kids overseas, Chris said it costs roughly $45 per child. With the total fundraising project costing $4.5 million, they are now only $1.2 million short of their target.

The Peace Walk will become an annual event that Chris hopes will grow as international borders gradually open.

Supported by the Canberra Southern Cross Club, the Peace Walks will commence on Saturday with seven, 12, 21 and 42 km events.

On Saturday evening, there will be a Peace Dinner and fundraising art auction at the Canberra Southern Cross Yacht Club. On Sunday, there will be another three walks – seven, 12 and 24 km, followed by a closing ceremony at Albert Hall.

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Everyone who completes the two-day challenge by participating in one walk each day will receive the commemorative two-day Rotary Aussie Peace Walk medal and be eligible to win a range of prizes.

There will be hotel accommodation prizes donated by Doma Hotel Group, including a two-night accommodation package at Hotel Realm Canberra and a team prize including a two-hour session for 12 people in a virtual escape room at Metaphysica.

Chris said the Peace Walks are for people of all ages. Last year, the youngest person to finish two walks was seven years old and the oldest, 91.

“When you’re walking and talking to people, you don’t notice the time go by and before you know it, you’ve passed the halfway mark,” he said.

“If a 91-year-old can walk two days and get the medal, then anyone can.”

To find a walk near you, visit Aussie Peace Walk.

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