WWII Vet, PR Pioneer and Rotary Representative to the UN. Sylvan (Barney) Barnet died January 7 after complications from cancer surgery according to his family. His career spanned seventy years in international communications in the fields of publishing, public relations, advertising, and government and as a long serving representative of Rotary International to the United Nations. He received many honors, among them the Public Relations Society of America's 2004 Atlas Award (to both he and his partner Arthur Reef) for Lifetime Achievement in International PR, a field they helped pioneer. In 2006, the United Nations Association gave him its Eleanor Schnurr award for his tireless service to the UN NGO community. Recently, Rotary International and the Rotary Club of New York gave him the Rotary Award of Honor-the highest award for outstanding lifetime service. Sylvan M. Barnet was born August 5, 1919 in Elberon, NJ, the only child of Sylvan and Margaret Barnet. He was educated at Columbia Grammar, Horace Mann and Lawrenceville schools and received his BA from Yale in 1940. He served as a reserve officer in The United States Navy throughout WWII, saw action in both the Atlantic and South Pacific theaters, graduated from the Naval War College and served twice on the staff of Admiral King, Chief of Naval Operations. He left the Navy as a Lt. Commander. In 1954, Barnet became the General Manager of the European Edition of The New York Herald Tribune in Paris. In 1959, he formed Barnet and Reef, PR International with Arthur Reef. In 1965, he joined the Department of Commerce as Deputy Director of the US Travel Service to promote both international tourism and business development in the US. He returned to the private sector in 1968 as Vice President Public Relations and Area Development at American Airlines. Years later he served as Deputy Executive Director of the International Advertising Association. Barnet joined The New York chapter of Rotary International in 1987. He held posts as Representative to the United Nations and Vice Chairman of Rotary International. At the UN, he served as Chair of The NGO Executive Committee, and a member of the NGO Committees on Sustainable Development, and Population and Development. He founded the NGO Committee on Education. When asked in an interview for the July 2009 edition of Rotarian Magazine, "Why do we need the UN?" He answered: "With all its faults, the UN is the only place in the world where it all comes together. Newspapers mainly report on the Security Council, so people don't realize that 80 percent of the UN's work is humanitarian. No other place has [so much] information and resources, and all these people coming together, including civil society (NGOs). That's got to be worth something." Barnet was an avid painter, golfer and reader of American and military history. He and his wife of 68 years, DeeDee, travelled widely; they supported many charities and read regularly to the blind. He was active in Yale Alumni affairs all his life. Sylvan (Barney) Barnet is survived by his two sons, Peter and Bruce, three grandchildren: Kimberly Stokes, Cristi Sauser and Christopher Barnet and four great grandchildren: Bode, Daisy, Tyler and Colin. His wife, DeeDee, died in 2009.
Under the agreement, Rotary clubs and Peace Corps volunteers are encouraged to share their resources and knowledge to boost the impact of development projects in these three countries.
Opportunities for collaboration include supporting community projects, training, networking, and community education. Through the Peace Corps Partnership Program, Rotary clubs can continue to provide small grants to support volunteers and their communities.
Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet and Rotary International General Secretary John Hewko signed the letter of collaboration on Monday, 5 May, at Rotary's headquarters during a ceremony that was attended by RI President Ron Burton and RPCV Rotary staff. In his remarks to the audience, Burton applauded the collaboration and both organizations' commitments to service.
"Today's announcement is particularly meaningful for me because I come from a family of Rotarians," said Hessler-Radelet, referring to her father, grandfather, and aunt. "We are eager to join together in common efforts to inspire volunteerism across the country and around the world."
Hewko noted how both organizations are committed to improving lives and building stronger communities by addressing the root causes of violence and conflict, such as poverty, illiteracy, disease, and lack of access to clean water and sanitation.
The two organizations also agreed to explore expanding the collaboration to more countries based on the results of the pilot. Rotary will enlist the support of its members in recruiting Peace Corps volunteers and involving returned Peace Corps volunteers in service projects at home.
Rotary members made collaboration possibleHessler-Radelet credited Rotary members in the Denver area, particularly returned Peace Corps volunteers Sue Fox, Valerie Hopkins, and Steve Werner, with helping to make the collaboration possible.
The three Rotarians, who attended the signing, are members of the District 5450 Rotary-Peace Corps Alliance Committee, which has sought a formal agreement between the two organizations since 2010.
Werner said they wanted to create an official relationship to make it easier for Rotary clubs and Peace Corps volunteers to connect. "[The letter] ensures compatibility and a shared value system," he added.
Jesse Davis, one of more than a dozen Rotary employees who are returned Peace Corps volunteers, said he hopes the partnership inspires more like it around the world.
"While serving as a Peace Corps response volunteer in Panama, I found myself working with the local Rotary club on countless occasions. They were an integral partner in my work," he said.
Strengthening connectionsThe letter of collaboration not only officially recognizes the partnership between the two organizations, but also encourages Rotary clubs and Peace Corps volunteers to expand the connections already in place.
In Togo, Peace Corps volunteers Daniel Brown and David Gooze have teamed up with Rotary and other partners in the United States and Togo to distribute more than 5,000 soccer balls to disadvantaged youth. They are organizing 'More Than Just a Game' sessions, which use soccer as a medium to teach children about malaria prevention.
"It's just one example of how Rotary and Peace Corps can collaborate on the ground to achieve lasting impact in the communities where we work," Hessler-Radelet said.
Within the Philippines, Thailand, and Togo, Peace Corps posts and Rotary districts will coordinate at the country level with support from the headquarters of both organizations. Local Rotary clubs interested in working with Peace Corps volunteers should contact their district governors. Clubs located elsewhere should work through their Rotary counterparts in the pilot countries.
Read what Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet says on the collaboration
Find out how you can support peace through Rotary
Learn about the Rotarian Action Group for Peace