Rotary scholar pursues his dream to visit every U.S. national park

Meyer at the Grand Canyon

Mikah Meyer at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Rotary has helped Meyer reach for his dreams, including visiting all 400 plus U.S. National Park sites in a single tour.

By Mikah Meyer, former Rotary Scholar

Growing up as a pastor’s kid in Nebraska, I had a strong desire to get out and see the world. But I would never have had the opportunity to pursue my dreams if it had not been for Rotary.

I was awarded a Rotary scholarship during my junior year at the University of Memphis, while earning a degree in voice performance. I heard about the opportunity through a teacher who had been a Rotary Scholar herself, and a close friend who had been a Rotary Youth Exchange Student. Continue reading

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

Living a Rotary dream

Desai and his brick

Binish Desai and the brick his company makes from industrial waste.

By Binish Desai, a member of the Rotary Club of Bulsar, India, and a former Rotary Youth Exchange student

India is my Nation
Valsad is my Station
Helping is my Aim
Binish is my Name

I’ll never forget the introduction I used as an exchange student.

This year, I have had the outstanding opportunity of not only meeting other youth exchange students from around the world, but of being recognized by my Rotary community as an outstanding alumnus. My youth exchange took place in 2009-10 almost six years ago, and yet my Rotary experience feels like it’s just beginning. Continue reading

Rotary Youth Exchange tour reunites 25 years later

Rotary Youth Exchange students from 1991 reunite 25 years later.

Rotary Youth Exchange students from 1991 reunite 25 years later.

By Emma Naas, a former Rotary Youth Exchange Student from Sweden

In the summer of 1991, 377 Rotary Youth Exchange students boarded eight buses and journeyed around the American continent for five weeks. Those weeks were for all of us unforgettable, and a fantastic end to our exchange year. The time we spent on those buses was so special, it created an unforgettable bond between us and a wonderful memory. We never thought we would ever meet again. But we were wrong. Continue reading

How a Rotary Scholarship to Ireland changed my life

Dave Revsine

Dave Revsine

By Dave Revsine, former Rotary Scholar and studio host for the Big Ten Network, adapted from a presentation to the Rotary Club of Deerfield, Illinois, USA

A year in Ireland as a Rotary Scholar changed my life. It is something I still think about every day. It altered my life trajectory, and allowed me to see the world in a different way.

I was entering my senior year at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and trying to figure out what to do with my life, when a good friend of my dad’s, a professor at Rice University, set up a lunch to talk about my career aspirations. As a history major, I had good grades, was starting an LSAT review course, and figured I’d probably end up going to law school. But I wasn’t excited about it. 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