A Person of Action, a Champion of Peace
  Peace. On the surface it seems like such a simple concept. But if you ask Ann Frisch, you’ll quickly learn that there is a lot more to peace than meets the eye. A peace activist since the age of 16, the White Bear Lake is being honored as a Rotary "Champion of Peace” on Nov. 10-11 at Rotary Day at the
United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
   Frisch is just one of six people in the world who is being honored in Geneva for actively working to build peace in our world
  Frisch is speciSically being honored for her efforts in unarmed civilian peacekeeping worldwide. She is the lone recipient of the award from the United States. Frisch, a United Nations delegate to Geneva, co-wrote the First manual on unarmed civilian protection, which was endorsed by the UN. Her training in a civilian-based peace process is administered by the United Nations Institute for Training and
Research, the department that trains all UN personnel.
   As a young girl, Frisch’s parents Silled the home with spirited and meaningful conversations about politics and public affairs, she said.
  “I was well briefed and immersed in political life,” Frisch said. “My parents were comfortable being in the opposition.” Frisch’s mother was a great follower of Gandhi, and that rubbed off on her daughter. Frisch followed Gandhi in college and became an advocate for world peace. She would become
a professor at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh where she taught human services courses and a graduate course in global education.
  She says through her work in the classroom, she learned about war and peace “from the inside out.”
Frisch retired early from her job at UW-Oskosh. “I was looking for a new career, but did not know what it would be,” she said.
  She got involved with an organization called the Nonviolent Peaceforce, unarmed, paid civilian protection force that fosters dialogue among parties in conSlict and provides a protective presence for threatened civilians. The organization is based in France, and has an ofSice in
Minneapolis. Frisch initially was placed as a member of the organization’s fundraising team. In 2007 she went on a mission to Guatemala where she worked as a peacekeeper working to
investigate human rights violations.
  She was soon working with Nonviolent Peaceforce cofounder Mel Duncan, who currently serves as the organization’s director of advocacy and outreach. “That’s when I began doing advocacy work,” Frisch said.
  Frisch said she was a Rotary member when she was a professor at UW-Oshkosh, but had left the organization.
  “In 2012 I attended a meeting of the St. Paul Rotary Club and realized I had to rejoin the organization,” she said. That led to her working to spread the word of nonviolent
conSlict resolution at Rotary International conventions and giving presentations on peace. In 2015 she became a board member of the Rotarian Action Group for Peace. She is also a member of Rotary’s Peace Education Committee. Most of Frisch’s work is presenting at Rotary events, but she also
helps individual Rotary clubs in doing prep work for grant applications on peace, she said. 
  She says her mission, as well as the boards and committees on which she works is to provide Rotary with the means to work in areas of conflict
  My most satisfying work as a Rotarian is working with Rotary’s partners to extend work into area of conflict without having people at risk,” she said. She collaborated with Rotary members in Thailand to
establish the Southern Thailand Peace Process training program in 2015 in Bankok, Hat Yai, and Pattani in southern Thailand. The group brought together electrical and rrigation authorities, Red Cross staff, a Buddhist monk, and a Catholic nun to this border region to train civilians to build
so-called safe zones. These are areas in which families, teachers, and local ofSicials do not have to confront military force every day.
 Frisch was nominated for the “People of Action: Champion of Peace” award by Past District 5960 District Governor Karel Weigel and Kyle Haugen, the 2017-18 District Governor. 
  Her nomination letter states: Ann Frisch, from her first week as a District 5960 Rotarian, has brought the United Nations endorsed practice of Unarmed Civilian Protection  to every level of Rotary. Nonviolent Peaceforce, since its inception in 2002, has put forth on the world stage unarmed civilians
from around the world protecting and assisting civilians who find themselves in violent conflict. Ann was an early Unarmed Civilian Protector in Guatemala, and upon returning
to the US she became a Senior Adviser to Nonviolent Peaceforce. In that capacity, she began to do peace education around the world. She has presented at three of the past five Rotary International Conventions about the effectiveness of Unarmed Civilian Protection, and has spoken around the
world to Rotary Clubs. Her signature project has been the leadership of a global grant dealing with a Civilian Based Peace Process in Southern Thailand, which is still ongoing.
   Being selected for the honor took Frisch by surprise. “I was quite astonished,” she
said. “I know a lot of people have worked for peace for a long time.”
“Receiving recognition for my work with the Nonviolent Peaceforce never occurred to
me,” she added. Frisch is proud that her work has resulted in new relationships, has resulted in
new presentations on peace and peaceful conflict resolution and has resulted in some
opportunities for Nonviolent PeaceForce to resolve conflict in areas of concern.
 
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