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

Rotary Scholar runs for clean water

A team of walkers carry a ladder rigged up with water jugs to simulate the burden that women and children in some parts of the world must bear to fetch water.

A team of walkers carry a ladder rigged up with water jugs to simulate the burden that women and children in some parts of the world must bear to fetch water.

By Hai-Ryung Sung

Access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation should be a right for all people. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Many people still suffer and die from waterborne diseases they contract because of an inadequate supply of water, lack of sanitation, or poor hygiene. In many developing countries, women and children are forced to carry heavy bottles of water for many miles.

As a Rotary Scholar, I had the pleasure of taking part in the GlobalRun4Water recently in North Carolina, USA, raising awareness and money for water- and sanitation-related projects. My scholarship was funded by a global grant sponsored by Districts 3640 (Korea) and 7710 (North Carolina), my host district, which also organized the run. Scott Rossi, a member of the Cary-Kildaire Rotary Club, came up with the idea for the event, and has earned the affectionate nickname, the “Water Guy of District 7710.”  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

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 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

Rotary Peace Fellow: storytelling can build peace

Kiran Sirah speaks at the International Assembly 21 January. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

Kiran Sirah speaks at the International Assembly 22 January. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

Kiran Sirah is the executive director of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee. He graduated from the Rotary Peace Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013 with a Master of Arts in Folklore. The following is a excerpt from his speech 22 January at the International Assembly, a training event for incoming leaders in San Diego, California, USA.

There is a saying: The world is like a book, and those who do not travel will only ever have read the first page. For me storytelling is a way of traveling the world. Why? Because it enables us to be inspired, to follow our dreams, and to realize that our stories belong to a world full of stories just waiting to unfold.

Continue reading

Courting Blakness — offering indigenous peoples a voice in art

The Courting Blakness exhibit showcased work by indigenous peoples.

The Courting Blakness art show included work by indigenous peoples.

By Bobbie Chew Bigby

Since beginning as a Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, earlier this year, I have found many opportunities to build peace and not even have to leave campus.

One of the most profound experiences thus far was volunteering to put together “Courting Blakness,” a curated art show that featured works by Australia’s First Peoples — Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The show was set against the backdrop of the Great Court, known for its picturesque grassy area and stunning sandstone pillars. Continue reading

Dialogue for peace in Norway

Ema Talam address Rotary members in Oslo, Norway, during the program on dialogue as a means of promoting peace.

Ema Talam addresses Rotary members in Oslo, Norway, during the program on dialogue as a means of promoting peace.

By Ema Talam, a university student from Bosnia and Herzegovina

This summer, I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of 16 participants from the Western Balkans to participate in a program for university students and young professionals, age 20 through 30, organized by The Rotary Club of Oslo Vest, Norway, and supported by other Rotary clubs throughout Norway and the Western Balkans.

When I boarded the plane on 15 June, I did not know that this was going to be one of the most interesting summers of my life. I didn’t know much about Rotary and I knew Continue reading

Building peace through storytelling

Kiran Singh Sirah at the United Nations during International Day of Peace.

Kiran Singh Sirah (left) at the United Nations in New York during International Day of Peace.

By Kiran Singh Sirah, 2011-13 Rotary Peace Fellow, Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

There are moments in our lives that we remember forever. These moments become our stories and help us understand and connect with a larger global community. When we tell our stories, we inspire others to tell their stories, and that produces positive change. Ultimately, through the power of storytelling, we build healthier communities, more effective workplaces, and schools of learning that enrich our lives. Continue reading