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

A simple idea benefits many in Mexico

Rotary members, students, and teachers in front of the water purification system in San Miguel.

Rotary members, students, and teachers in front of the water purification system in San Miguel.

By Jon Kaufman

From 2 to 8 July, I led my club’s second H2OpenDoors expedition to central Mexico. The three-year-old Rotary project provides SunSpring water purification systems for poor villages and schools and allows the villages to sell the surplus water from the systems.

The project touches on several of Rotary’s areas of focus: providing clean water, building peace (by combating poverty), and educating youth.

We bring along a dozen or so students, as well as a few teachers, so they can see how a simple idea can become a project and benefit thousands of people. We hope the students return to their schools empowered to make a difference. Continue reading

Stories that are changing the world

140919_sirahBy Kiran Singh Sirah, a 2011-13 Rotary Peace Fellow and president of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee, USA.

I recently had a chance to reconnect with my fellow Rotary Peace Fellows at a Rotary Peace Symposium in São Paulo. I was in the company of many talented friends and colleagues, including representatives from organizations like the World Bank and the United Nations, as well as global peace consultants and specialists in health, government, peace, security, and education. It was an incredible group of some 80 interdisciplinary peace advocates and Rotary members from all over the world. Continue reading

Rotary Day at UNESCO

RI President Gary C.K. Huang (middle) with young participants of the Rotary Day UNESCO in Paris.

RI President Gary C.K. Huang (middle) with young participants of the Rotary Day UNESCO in Paris.

By Kristin Brown, manager of Rotary Service Connections

I like to say I have one of the best jobs at Rotary because in Rotary Service Connections we are responsible for many of the programs and activities that help Rotarians connect, partner and serve to make the world a better place.

Last Saturday found me in Paris where, as part of UNESCO’s 70th anniversary celebration, the organization welcomed 400-plus Rotarians and Rotaractors from more than 20 countries for Rotary Day UNESCO. The conference highlighted Rotary’s history with UNESCO and ongoing work for peace, with particular emphasis on the role of intercountry committees (ICCs). ICCs are cooperative relationships established between districts in two countries to promote bi-lateral communication and cooperation between Rotarians, leading to greater understanding and peace between peoples. Continue reading

Rotary Peace Fellows are the connectors that build peace

150313_wendyBy Wendy Coulson, Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, Class of 2015

We talked a lot during our first two weeks at the Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University about connectors and dividers — what brings people or groups together and what drives them apart — in conflict situations.

As soon as our class of Rotary Peace Fellows arrived, we looked for ways to connect with each other. In fact, our tallest classmate found many of us on Facebook and began friendships and organizing workshops even before we arrived. We were so keen to meet each other that we threw open our doors to see who had arrived and threw open our arms to greet those we had only known virtually. Continue reading

A day at Chulalongkorn studying peace

Rotary Peace Fellows attend the first week of classes at Chulalongkorn, Bangkok, Thailand.

Rotary Peace Fellows attend the first week of classes at Chulalongkorn, Bangkok, Thailand.

By Marty Peak Helman, Rotary Club of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, USA

My husband, Frank, and I were recently invited to sit in on a day of classes during the first week of the current Rotary Peace Center’s certificate program, held at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. Every year, Rotary selects 50 mid-life professionals in a worldwide search to come to Bangkok for three months to study peace and conflict resolution.

As I looked around the room, I realized that
I was surrounded by professionals who Continue reading