Deeply wounded world needs Rotary Peace Centers

Maire-Paule Attema, right, and her husband, left, with host Rotarians in Brisbane, Australia.

By Marie-Paule Attema, a Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

After months of anticipation, I finally arrived in Brisbane, Australia, where I will be for the next 18 months while I pursue the Masters of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland Rotary Peace Center.

I quickly felt at home after being picked up by our “Australian parents,” who have been extremely helpful in our transition.  I have enjoyed the pros and cons of Australian living as I have quickly adapted to 30 degree weather in March and travelling via a ferry that feels more like vacation than public transit. I have also survived Cyclone Debbie (experiencing my first ever rain day) and have been sure to watch my step for snakes and spiders.  I have also learned to stay out of the Brisbane River.  Bull Sharks are everywhere!!

The staff at the University of Queensland Peace Center have been incredibly welcoming and helpful. I was rather anxious returning to studying after six years, but after only one month I feel inspired and prepared to undertake my program. I’m both honored and intimidated to be on this journey with nine amazing Peace Fellows from all over the globe. Each Peace Fellow brings vast knowledge and life experience.

This semester I’m enrolled in four peace and conflict related courses. The course work is both challenging and exciting. I’m excited to learn not only about peace and conflict theories but also practical skills including mediation. Furthermore, I was excited to be a part of a seminar for Class 14 this past week. These peace fellows presented on their AFE (applied field experience).  It was an enlightening experience and I am excited for my opportunity to apply some of my newfound knowledge into the field.

In a world deeply wounded by conflict, I feel more than ever that peace education is essential. I’m thankful for my sponsoring Rotary Club of Tavistock, Ontario, Canada, and my host Rotary Club of Balmoral Brisbane, Australia, for their continued support, and look forward to keeping in touch!

Is a peace fellowship right for you?

About the author: Marie-Paule  is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. She immigrated to Canada 16 years ago. Over the last ten years she has worked with marginalized populations in various community initiatives in Ontario, Canada. Her career goal is to contribute to recovery and mental health in the aftermath of armed conflict, and in the long term, to promote peace and equality through global policymaking.

6 thoughts on “Deeply wounded world needs Rotary Peace Centers

  1. Dear Marie-Paule, I’m Rtn Ndoba Mugunga, Past President of Rotary Club de Kigali, District 9150 International Service Chair. My Club is planning to organise a virtual conference titled ” From Genocide against Tutsi to Promoting Peace” on April 15, 2021. We would like to invite you as guest speaker to share your experience as a Rotary Peace Fellow for five minutes. Also we would like request your permission to show your video at Toronto RI Convention 2018. I would appreciate your quick response. Thanks and God bless you!


  2. Pingback: Deeply wounded world needs Rotary Peace Centers | The Rotary Club of Carteret

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