By Courtney Lawrence, Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar 2009-10; Katherine Grennier, Rotary Peace Fellow 2016; and Hermes Huang, Rotary Scholar, 2014-15
From the coastline of Costa Rica, to the sidewalks of Bangkok, to the jungles of Indonesia, we have been supported as individuals by The Rotary Foundation to make this world a better place; one where service comes before self. As a team of Rotary alumni, we have been able to pull together in pursuit of empowering grassroots social innovators around the world.
The three Rotary programs that have supported us: Courtney’s Ambassadorial Scholarship at the University for Peace in Costa Rica; Hermes’ global grant supported scholarship at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand; and Katy’s Rotary Peace Fellowship at the Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand; have been critical experiences in defining our work and the experiences that we create for our participants at Designing for Social Innovation & Leadership (DSIL) Global.
At DSIL Global, we train social entrepreneurs from around the world using a combination of design tools, leadership development, and business frameworks. Above all of this, we weave in themes found when peace and conflict studies, sustainable management, and international development intersect; all skill that we developed as Rotary scholars and fellows.
Our lives would not be the same without the support of our clubs back home, our host communities, and the support of The Rotary Foundation.
In all three of our Rotary programs, we were encouraged to develop a network with local Rotary members who supported and mentored us through our times as Rotary scholars. They were there when we got sick or needed advice on the local bureaucracy. They provided a community for us to engage in service to better the places we lived and help the people we worked with. All three of our programs involve exchanging ideas and experience across diverse perspectives. We shared with and learned from scholars, fellows, and practitioners from over 80 countries. This would not have been possible without the support of Rotary and the global community of Rotarians, alumni, and support personnel.
Today, as friends and colleagues, we are using our experiences to continue finding innovation in daily dialogue and shared experiences. In partnership with the University for Peace, we select people who are ready to make a positive impact in their communities and bring them together to accelerate that impact. In the process, we are developing a global network of innovators who can lean on each other. Five times this year we will be facilitating our DSIL programs to bring grassroots innovators together in conversation and fellowship in a creative environment to seek solutions to challenges facing Southeast Asia.
Our lives would not be the same without the support of our clubs back home, our host communities, and the support of Rotary. We’re looking forward to working with more Rotary alumni in the future to create an even greater impact. Rotary is empowering people to change the world, and we’re excited to be a part of it. We’re looking forward to providing new ways for Rotary members to apply Service Above Self, and we can’t wait to bring DSIL Global to a community near you.