Advocate program builds a culture of peace

Jean Best

Jean Best addresses participants of a peace conference.

By Jean Best, a Peace Officer in District 1020, with Rotary Peace Fellow Flor Yanez and Rotary Coordinator Keith Best

Who would have thought that sitting in an awareness raising session about Rotary Peace Fellows would have led to the creation of a skills based Peace Advocate Programme and an invitation to affect the lives of young people across the entire country of Mexico?

We received an invitation from Mexico’s national commission for peace after Rotary Peace Fellow Flor Yanez  Continue reading

5 Reasons to apply for a Rotary Peace Fellowship

Barbara Herthel

Rotary Peace Fellow Barbara Herthel

By Barbara Servulo Herthel, a Rotary Peace Fellow from Brazil

As I reached the end of my Professional Certificate Fellowship Program at the Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, I found myself dealing with a lot of feelings and thoughts about this experience. I am very thankful for the three months, all the sharing and learning I received from others, the daily routine, the field trips, and more.

To express my gratitude, I decided to come up with 5 reasons to apply for this program, based on my own experience and the lessons I learned. Continue reading

What makes a Peace Fellow?

Chris and the Peace Boat

Christopher John Lindstrom and English and Spanish trainers aboard the Peace Boat.

By Christopher John Lindstrom, a 2011-13 Rotary Peace Fellow at International Christian University, Japan

As a Rotary Peace Fellow, I was excited to be able to use my experience building bridges of understanding through language all over the world on board the Peace Boat.

Peace Boat is a 33-year-old nongovernmental organization based in Japan that works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development, and respect for the environment. Continue reading

Making peace, one exchange student at a time

Belgian Exchange Student Marcellin Niset in Alaska

Belgian Exchange Student Marcellin Niset in Alaska

By Marcellin Niset, Rotary Youth Exchange Student from Belgium to Alaska

The Italian-American author and actress Vanna Bonta wrote, “There’s no hospitality like understanding.” That quote stuck with me as a Rotary Youth Exchange student to Alaska in 2015-16. I arrived in Alaska, a wilderness filled with beauty and love, determined to make my exchange purposeful and beneficial for myself, my host community, and the world.

An exchange is not only about a student going abroad, it is about all the people that make this exchange possible, and the ones that are impacted, directly and indirectly. Continue reading

Open World Program promotes understanding

Open World program delegation

Rotary members in North Carolina host delegates from Russia in the Open World program.

By Greg Batz, a member of the Rotary Club of White Bear Lake

Twelve years ago, I was invited by a fellow Rotarian from a neighboring Rotary club to chauffer a delegation of Russian judges to the federal court house in Minneapolis for a tour and meetings on a Friday morning. Little did I know how that simple offer to help that day would change my life.

These five judges had been nominated and selected to participate in the Open World Leadership Program and were just finishing their 10 day visit to the United States. The experience I had that day was the beginning of an opportunity to travel to Russia four times and experience a country that most Americans only read about in the news or see on TV. Continue reading

Peace Fellow’s project improves access to health care for refugees

Bartlett

Bartlett

By Rebeccah Bartlett, 2014-16 Rotary Peace Fellow, Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Many refugees rank finding a job and getting a good education for their children as their most pressing needs after finding asylum in a new country. Access to healthcare barely makes their list, even though health affects their ability to acquire and keep a job as well as their children’s ability to perform well in school.

What’s more, refugees are rarely able to focus on accessing prenatal/postnatal health care and family planning services, despite the fact that 80 percent of most refugee populations are made up of women and children. Many refugees in transit through Europe have little or no systematic support or knowledge of the public health resources and legal rights available to them. They are also particularly vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking. Continue reading

Uppsala equips 9 to pursue peace

2016 Rotary Peace Fellows at Uppsala

The 2016 Class of Rotary Peace Fellows at Uppsala from left Ahmad Mohibbi (USA), Kate Lonergan (USA), Sireh Jabang (Gambia), Nicole Ella (Australia), Clair Maizonnier (Australia/France), Meena Pillai (Australia), Krystal Renschler (Canada). Not pictured Takuya Koimaru (Japan), Ahmed Abdi Wais (Somalia).

By Magnus Elfwendahl, host area coordinator at the Rotary Peace Center in Uppsala and a member of the Rotary Club of Uppsala Carolina, Sweden

I was honored earlier this month to witness the beginning of nine careers in peace building and conflict resolution as the most recent class at the Rotary Peace Center at Uppsala University received their masters degrees.

The memorable event concludes two years of training, study, and practice for these dedicated and bright young professionals. The Rotary Peace Fellows joined 30 other students at a graduation ceremony in the town’s medieval cathedral attended by friends, relatives, host families, and members of the local Rotary clubs. Continue reading

Jubilee celebrates a year of mercy, unity

Rotary members at the Vatican for the Jubilee.

Thousands of Rotary members gathered at the Vatican in Rome to celebrate a message of compassion, inclusiveness, and service to humanity.

By Elizabeth Celi, Rotary Club of Rome International

The audience at the Papal Jubilee, though buzzing with excitement, excuded serenity. Despite a sea of thousands of people right behind us in St Peter’s Square, I sensed a palpable feeling of tranquillity. We were positioned up close to Pope Francis’ outdoor podium with the sun shining and the soothing sound of water surging through two magnificent stone fountains on either side of us.

As a member of Rotary for eight years in Melbourne, Australia, and now in the Rotary Club of Rome International, I was delighted to attend this event which focused on stories of extending a hand to Continue reading

Alumni of three Rotary programs unite to advance ‘Service Above Self’

The three Rotary alumni and DSLI Global participants at the Zero Baht Shop Community, a domestic migrant community that has developed a recycling program that funds community insurance and social support programs.

The three Rotary alumni and DSIL Global participants at the Zero Baht Shop, a domestic migrant community that has developed a recycling program that funds insurance and social support programs for the community.

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. Continue reading

Opening doors in Cuba

Jeri Fujimoto with Oragami book

Jeri Fujimoto, governor-elect of District 5150, displays some of the gifts delivered by the team of Rotary members.

By Jon Kaufman, director of H2OpenDoors

Along with 40 friends and supporters of the H2OpenDoors project, I took part in an eight-day exploratory expedition to Cuba on 8 April.

Members of six Rotary clubs in District 5150 and their friends and family joined The Bay Area Cuba Community Alliance, starting on the far eastern side of the island for a visit and site survey at a small village in Granma province. Each person presented a suitcase of donations to the Town Delegate in an emotional ceremony. Continue reading