How Rotary creates lifelong friendships

Kate Kimmer and Hilary Caldis.

Kate Kimmer and Hilary Caldis.

By Hilary J. Caldis, Rotary Peace Fellow

I am constantly in awe of the power of connection. This is what Rotary is all about. We unite in friendship to realize truthful, fair, good-willed, and beneficial outcomes in our communities and the world. For Rotary members and people like me, our lives are forever transformed by this powerful network. Continue reading

Seaside sessions on leadership and peace in Sri Lanka

The team of Leadership Retreat Peace Fellows

The team of Leadership Retreat Peace Fellows

By Lucas Wolf (and the team of Leadership Retreat Peace Fellows)

On the southern coast of Sri Lanka, there is a special place just north of Galle where the waves crash over the rocks after their long journey across the Indian Ocean.

The rains arrive in the early evening to inundate the verdant, tropical lands. This was the setting for the second Rotary Peace Fellow Leadership Retreat from 7-9 March, attended by 10 former Rotary Peace Fellows and one gifted facilitator from Northern Ireland, Susan McEwen. We arrived from all corners of the globe, including Juba, Mindanao, Nicaragua, Somaliland, Kurdistan, London, Ottawa, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka itself. Continue reading

Building my kizuna with Rotary and Japan

Flanigan and ICU students

Mark Flanigan (back row third from right) with Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa during a program for ICU students in New York City in July.

By Mark Flanigan, Program Director, Japan ICU Foundation, and a 2010-12 Rotary Peace Fellow at ICU, Tokyo

When I arrived at International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo as a new Rotary Peace Fellow in the summer of 2010, I had no idea it would be the beginning of an ongoing relationship with both the University and Rotary.

I had lived in Japan before through the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program and as a U.S. Army veteran, and was happy to return almost a decade later, thanks to Rotary. Continue reading

Rotary Peace Fellows poised to change the world

Peace Fellows at the 2015 Rotary Convention in São Paulo, Brazil.

Peace Fellows at the 2015 Rotary Convention in São Paulo, Brazil.

By Teree Bergman

When I was an undergraduate, one of my professors expressed the interesting idea that scholars should stop studying the causes of war. He suggested that conflicts occur all the time and that the natural state is war. He proposed that we should be studying the causes of peace, as that is the less common situation. Continue reading

Creating peace in Myanmar

Rachel Hall Beecroft with local Myanmar youth

Rachel Hall Beecroft with local youth on a field visit to Hpa-An, Karen State.

By Rachel Hall Beecroft, Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia

I looked around me at the faces of these change makers and felt overwhelmed by happiness, power, and positivity. These everyday people were coming together for a shared cause — peace. They were giving up aspects of their life to become something greater than themselves alone. They were contributing, they were committing, and most importantly, they were changing the world around them. Continue reading

Rotary Peace Fellows unite in Oslo

Rotary Peace Fellows in Oslo

Rotary Peace Fellows in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo, Norway.

By Lucienne Heyworth, a Rotary Peace Fellow at Uppsala, and Yuko Maeno, a Peace Fellow at University of Bradford

This year has been a momentous one for Rotary Peace Fellows at the Bradford and Uppsala Peace Centers. For the first time, 18 peace fellows met in the beautiful city of Oslo, Norway, for a three day program in January including action packed and ‘peace centered’ information and entertainment that left us enlightened. The purpose of this trip was to develop further collaboration between the two peace centers and to learn about Norway’s peace-building efforts. Continue reading

Peace is possible: lessons from war-torn Bosnia

Bridge over Neretva River

The restored bridge over the Neretva River in Mostar, a symbol of peace in Bosnia.

By Anton Polsterer, past governor of District 1910 and past chair of the Intercountry Committees Executive Council 

I joined Rotary in Vienna in 1986 and transferred to the Rotary Club of Moscow while working in Russia from 1989-92. After moving back to Austria, I became governor of the district covering Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Austria. After years of war and totalitarian government rule, these communities longed for freedom and peace. Continue reading

5 reasons to give to The Rotary Foundation

Polio immunization activities in Ethiopia. Your generous giving supports our work to rid the world of polio.

Polio immunization in Ethiopia. Your generous giving supports our work to rid the world of polio.

By Rotary Voices staff

When you make a donation to The Rotary Foundation, you are helping Rotary members make a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world, by promoting peace, preventing disease, bolstering economic development, and providing clean water and sanitation.

Here are just a few ways your generosity is changing lives. Continue reading

Celebrating the International Day of Peace in Central Mexico

Participants in last year's International Day of Peace celebration form a peace circle.

Participants in last year’s International Day of Peace celebration form a peace circle.

By Wendy Coulson Catalán

Upon landing in Mexico in late April, I hit the ground running. I was asked to share my amazing experience as a recent graduate of the Rotary Peace Center in Bangkok at a peace conference organized by our local Rotary club and Camino de la Paz. Soon after, I was invited to participate on the organizing committee for International Peace Day.

There is a huge imperative in the world, and in our little community in Central Mexico, San Miguel de Allende, to create peace among our citizens on both sides of a huge social and economic divide. Two years ago, a concerned group of community members came together to promote peace by acting as an umbrella group for all the peace initiatives in town. The group, which includes several Rotary members, calls itself Camino de la Paz — The Way, or Path, of Peace.  Continue reading

Little Rotary moments that transformed my life

Heidi Resetaritis at a 5K walk/run to promote health and fitness and raise money for PolioPlus.

Heidi Resetarits at a 5K walk/run that raised money for PolioPlus.

By Heidi Resetarits

Little moments of connectivity in life — who you talk to, who you share with — can completely change your trajectory. A few years ago at a holiday work party, I met my friend and future mentor, Ann Tull. The party was dull, but our conversation sparked a little light in me that transformed my life.

Ann introduced me to Rotary, and eventually encouraged me to apply for an Ambassadorial Scholarship. I realized that working toward higher education and a future that revolved around Service Above Self was what I was looking for. A year later and I was on my way to the United Nations University for Peace in Ciudad Colon, Costa Rica, as an Ambassadorial Scholar from Rotary District 5450. Continue reading