A Rotary Peace Fellow’s journey to Antarctica

Women scientists on Antarctica

Emilse Anabella Palacios joined other women scientists as part of the Homeward Bound expedition to Antarctica.

By Emilse Anabella Palacios, Rotary Peace Fellow 2009-11

My relationship with Rotary began as a Rotary Youth Exchange student and member of a Group Study Exchange. Later as a Rotary Peace Fellow at Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009-11, I began a process of learning about leadership that will continue throughout my life.

On the last day of 2018, I set sail for Antarctica with 89 other women scientists from 26 countries as part of Homeward Bound, an initiative that aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape our planet. On board the former research vessel MV Ushuaia, we represented the largest female expedition ever to that continent. Continue reading

Rotary makes it a small world after all

Jordan Koletic and Robert Smayda

Jordan Koletic, left, and Robert Smayda Jr. at Rotary Day at the United Nations in 2014.

By Kamlesh Chandan, Rotary Club of Lake Norman/Huntersville, North Carolina, USA

In 2015, I was working at one of the largest Fortune 500 banks in the United States when I read an article on our internal website about a team member traveling to eastern Africa. I found the story intriguing, and reached out to her for more details about the trip and to see if it had a connection with Rotary. But at the time I did not hear back. Continue reading

3 tools for building peace in your community

Participants take part in a mapping exercise to understand how the eight Pillars of Positive Peace are interconnected during a workshop in Mexico in 2017.

By Summer Lewis, Rotary-IEP Partnership Coordinator

When you think about peace, do you think about how peace is lived and practiced? Are you seeing images of violence and thinking peace is the “opposite” of that?

There is no one right way to define peace, but there are many ways to work towards it. Continue reading

How to prepare to be a Rotary Peace Fellow

Orientation for Rotary Peace Fellows at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.

By Bonnie Emerson, Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, Class 26, from Canada

As an Indigenous (Metis) Canadian woman from Winnipeg Manitoba, I was surprised and very honoured when I was encouraged to apply for the Rotary International Peace Fellowship Program. I wasn’t too optimistic, though. How could a police officer from a mid-sized Canadian city be selected when applicants come from all over the world? Continue reading

Natural farming and the sanctity of life

Natural farming

Tajima-san, second from left, and Lorena Rodriguez, right, on the natural farm in Tochigi.

By Lorena Rodriguez, 2017-19 Rotary Peace Fellow, International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan

In November, I traveled to Tochigi, to visit Tajima-san’s farm, where he practices natural farming. Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese farmer and philosopher, dedicated his life to demonstrating that “natural farming” can provide us with the conditions and the food necessary to survive on this planet. Continue reading

French, American Rotarians celebrate peace as New Orleans turns 300

Peace seminar New Orleans

Rotary members from France and the US held a peace seminar at Loyola University in New Orleans for the city’s 300th anniversary

By Jean-Marie Poinsard, president of the France-USA Inter-Country Committee

In October, Rotary members from the city of Orléans, France, spent a week visiting Rotary clubs in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, reinforcing the bonds of friendship and peace between our two countries. The idea for the trip actually began a few years earlier during the Atlanta Convention in 2016. Continue reading

Painting the way to peace

Park mural in Cuidad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico

Members of the Rotaract Club of Juárez Integra in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, by one of the 10 murals they painted in public spaces.

By Yesenia Uribe, Rotaract Club of Juárez Integra, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

I have always been concerned about the situation in my city. Ciudad Juarez is sadly known for a high crime rate and violence related to drug trafficking which creates an atmosphere of insecurity.

I wanted to learn more about how I could implement peace in my community, so I applied to participate in a workshop called A Stronger Mexico: Pillars of Positive Peace organized by the Institute for Economics and Peace. I learned that peace starts in small communities and that we cannot think about global peace if we do not work on it from the roots. Continue reading

The right to a better life

The commemoration of the mass murder of 72 migrants

LA 72 held this commemoration of the mass murder of 72 migrants by the Los Zetas drug cartel in San Fernando, Mexico, in 2010. Photo courtesy Giorgio Algeri

By Giorgio Algeri, 2010-11 Rotary Peace Fellow, University of Queensland, Australia 

On a late evening in August, a family of eight migrant persons from Honduras arrived at the refugee shelter where I was serving as a short-term volunteer in Tabasco, Mexico, near the border with Guatemala. The family of three adults and five children, most below the age of 10, had fled their country for security reasons and were renting a tiny room in Tabasco awaiting asylum. The son of the landlord came home drunk and threatened the family with a machete, forcing them to leave all their belongings behind. Continue reading

Firefighter exchange builds bonds

Firefighter exchange

Firefighters from Argentina and Florida, USA, share techniques during an exchange sponsored by Rotarians in both countries.

By Celia Giay, past RI vice president and a member of the Rotary Club of Arrecifes, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The idea for our firefighter exchange was born when my club received a visit from local volunteer firefighters. Club members listened attentively as our guests explained their dream of continuing to learn better ways to protect their community, and on that very night we set a goal to organize an international exchange to make that possible. Continue reading

How to spread positive peace

Planning the 2019 Positive Peace Workshop in Mexico.

Laurie Smolenski, right, joins Rotary members, Rotary staff, and Rotary partners in planning the 2019 Positive Peace Workshop in Mexico.

By Laurie Smolenski

When I learned about the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a think tank dedicated to using empirical research to better understand the drivers of peace, as a Rotary Peace Fellow in 2016, I was fascinated. The idea that peace – which often lives in a lofty realm of aspiration and emotions – could be articulated in concrete metrics, underpinned by data, and visualized through heat maps and charts was new and profoundly impactful to me. Continue reading