Rotary Peace Fellow sheds light on minorities in Japan

Farrah Hasnain and her friends at the Hamamatsu Festival.

Farrah Hasnain

By Farrah Hasnain

My aim is to change my students’ perception of the U.S. There is a hegemony of whiteness in English language teaching, and I want to represent how diverse and multifaceted the American identity truly is.”

When I wrote this to enter The JET Program as a high school English teacher in 2014, I was not aware of how much this would impact my life in Japan. As I began to crack open textbooks, wake up sleepy students, and navigate the enigma that was the old-school Japanese copy machine, I slowly built a consciousness for the parallels that thrived in the rice fields and smoky factories of Hamamatsu, Shizuoka. Continue reading

Becoming a champion for Syrian youth

Champion School students fix a soccer goal and clean up a practice field.

Muyi Yang

Muyi Yang, Rotary Peace Fellow, Uppsala University, 2019-21

If you told me ten years ago that I would be running a non-profit school in a post-conflict country, I would have laughed out loud. At the time, I was working as a business representative for a commodity trading company, visiting clients and inspecting their coal mines.

Visiting one client, colleagues and I found several unbelievably young workers at several mines. Some of them looked even under 10 years old. The client admitted to us that the workers were indeed below the legal age to be working in the mines, but they were keeping it secret because, “what else can we do?” Continue reading

Top 10 ways to be a peacebuilder in the new year

A peace mural in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. The mural is part of a project initiated in 2017 by Yesenia Uribe Rochel, of the Rotary and Rotaract Clubs of Juarez Emprende, which she helped to found in 2019. The project is designed to promote leadership, open minds, and develop resiliency in the community.

By Fergal McCarthy, Peace Programs Manager

Many people use the end of one year to reflect on things they would like to accomplish in the coming year. What better resolution than to sow the seeds of peace in 2021?

Peace underscores much of the work that Rotary members do in improving their communities around the world. Rotary’s peacebuilding initiatives seek to create environments where lasting peace is possible. Continue reading

Why I Raise for Rotary: Doing Good with the World Fund

Trustee Brenda Cressey

By Brenda Cressey, Trustee and Rotary Member of South Portland-Cape Elizabeth, Maine, USA

Several years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to take part in a multi-project mission with more than 100 Rotarians, spouses, Rotaractors and even a few new Rotarians from Rotary District 5280. We flew to Panama to visit project sites, perform cataract surgeries, and deliver wheelchairs.

There were several “Rotary moments” on that trip, but the truly unforgettable moment for me was when a grandfather, having no legs, was presented with the gift of mobility in the form of a bright red wheelchair. Continue reading

My miracle and ending modern slavery

Chiang’s class at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex.

By Mina Chiang, Rotary Global Grant Scholar to University of Sussex, 2017-18

I will never forget the miracle that changed my life. I call it a miracle because the sheer chance of it happening is close to zero.

I was living in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, at the time supporting the establishment of a new science university for a local Catholic church. There was a small museum next to the university that tells the story of the town’s role as a major port and central hub during the slave trade centuries ago. I have always had a passion for helping the vulnerable and deprived, and had secured master’s degree offers from some of the best International Development programs in the world. But my family and I lacked the resources for me to pursue an advanced degree. Continue reading

Bearing witness to 75th anniversary of atomic bombings

Atomic bomb survivor Michiaki Ikeda speaks during the webinar “Bearing Witness from Nagasaki”

By Jaclyn McAlester, Rotary Peace Fellow at International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan

I grew up in New Mexico, USA. I doubt most people think of nuclear testing when they think of New Mexico, but that’s exactly where testing of nuclear devices of the same design as the atomic bombs detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki took place. The testing was conducted on 16 July, 1945. Less than one month later, atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August and Nagasaki on 9 August. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the first and only time nuclear weapons of such magnitude have been used in armed conflict. Continue reading

Virtual Rotary Choir keeps the music going

Members of the IFRM Virtual Rotary World Choir during a recent online concert.

By Bonnie F. Sirower, past district governor of District 7490 (New Jersey, USA) 

A lot of Rotary members are not aware of the opportunities they have to dramatically increase their friendships and connections through a Rotary Fellowship.

I first joined the International Fellowship of Rotarian Musicians (IFRM) at the 2005 Rotary International Convention in Chicago. I was drawn to their booth in the House of Friendship by the number of people having fun singing to the accompaniment of a pianist. I joined the fellowship right then and there and for several years, participated in the Rotary World Choir at conventions during the Interfaith Service on Sunday mornings. What a beautiful way to be together – making gorgeous music with people who had previously been strangers. Continue reading

Month by month, pillar by pillar: Engaging my club in Positive Peace

KC Williams

By KC Williams, president, Rotary Club of Maryville, Tennessee, USA

I absolutely love being a member of Rotary. My Rotary membership experiences both in the United States and in the Caribbean over the past 15 years have created a lasting impact on my life choices and experiences. So, it is not lightly that I admit that I have successfully avoided serving as president of a Rotary club until now and, as usual, my timing is impeccable. Continue reading

Peacebuilding during a time of upheaval

Global Cyber Peace Conference

A delegation of 30 Papua New Guinea participants funded by the Evangelical Lutheran Church take part in the Global Cyber Peace Conference.

Elaine Pratley

Elaine Pratley

By Elaine Pratley, Rotary Peace Fellow

This has not been an easy year. I attended my first virtual funeral because of local lockdowns due to COVID-19. Friends have lost jobs and loved ones, and the news about the global recession remains bleak. And to think that it was only three months ago when I thought the Australian bushfires were the biggest disaster to hit us this year! I feel the word “upheaval” would be an understatement, but I cannot think of a better word.

As a peacebuilder, conflict is at the core of my business. Peacebuilders do not consider conflict as inherently bad but recognize its potential for growth and positive change. Continue reading

Promoting peace on the Pakistan-India border

Rotary members at Kartarpur Sahib

In March, members of Rotary, Rotaract, and Interact from both Pakistan and India gathered together at Kartarpar Sabib a shrine holy to Sikhs.

By Sajid Pervaiz, past governor of District 3272, member of the Rotary Club of Ruryila, Pakistan

In March, members of Rotary, Rotaract, and Interact from both Pakistan and India gathered together at a holy shrine on the border for an afternoon of food, fun, and fellowship. It was a small, but significant step toward building peace between our two countries. Continue reading