Rotary to show film, foster discussion about peace

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian social issues & neighborhoods reporter

Published:

 

Tom Shadyac was a successful comedian, director and Hollywood goofball — the mastermind behind cinematic classics like "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" — when accumulated head injuries and a bad bicycle accident turned his whole life upside down.

Constant pain and hypersensitivity to light and noise led Shadyac to withdraw from society; he thought he was dying and experienced a profound transformation, turning against the materialistic Hollywoood lifestyle he'd led. While his symptoms eventually subsided, Shadyac sold his mansion, started a homeless shelter and donated millions to a natural area in Colorado.

He also made a film called "I Am," which examines this troubled world and interviews scientists, philosophers, religious leaders and others about human happiness.

The Rotary Club of Greater Clark County will use that film as a jumping-off place for "A Conversation About Peace: Let's Talk." Everyone is invited to participate in the screening and conversation, which is set for 2 p.m. Sunday at the Fort Vancouver Regional Library, 901 C St. It's free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.

The conversation will be hosted by local Rotarians who have roots in problem-solving in other parts of the world: Lou Radja, executive director of nonprofit EduCongo, which aims to benefit underprivileged children in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Harris Zafar, national spokesman for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, the oldest

Muslim organization in the United States, and its "Muslims for Peace" initiative; and Dan Sockle, a Vancouver resident and U.S. Army veteran who has worked in Iraq as a community mediator and facilitator.

"How fortunate we are to have so many great resources right here in the area," said the Rotary Club of Greater Clark County's Carol Mackie.

Rotarian Chris Kane said the overall mission of Rotary used to be the eradication of polio, but now that the disease is endemic only in three countries — Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan — "we're taking on a new mission, which is to promote peace throughout the world," Kane said.

Scott Hewitt: 360-735-4525; http://www.twitter.com/col_nonprofits; scott.hewitt@columbian.com.