What the latest IEP report says about world peace

By Michael Collins, Executive Director Americas, Institute for Economics and Peace

In June, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) released its 15th annual Global Peace Index, one of the leading measures of peacefulness globally. Since 2017, the IEP and Rotary have been in a strategic partnership, providing members with new tools to effectively build peace in communities around the world. It has been my pleasure to work with Rotary members as I have been involved in the process of creating a number of global peace indexes.

Continue reading

Becoming a champion for Syrian youth

Champion School students fix a soccer goal and clean up a practice field.

Muyi Yang

Muyi Yang, Rotary Peace Fellow, Uppsala University, 2019-21

If you told me ten years ago that I would be running a non-profit school in a post-conflict country, I would have laughed out loud. At the time, I was working as a business representative for a commodity trading company, visiting clients and inspecting their coal mines.

Visiting one client, colleagues and I found several unbelievably young workers at several mines. Some of them looked even under 10 years old. The client admitted to us that the workers were indeed below the legal age to be working in the mines, but they were keeping it secret because, “what else can we do?” Continue reading

Promoting peace on the Pakistan-India border

Rotary members at Kartarpur Sahib

In March, members of Rotary, Rotaract, and Interact from both Pakistan and India gathered together at Kartarpar Sabib a shrine holy to Sikhs.

By Sajid Pervaiz, past governor of District 3272, member of the Rotary Club of Ruryila, Pakistan

In March, members of Rotary, Rotaract, and Interact from both Pakistan and India gathered together at a holy shrine on the border for an afternoon of food, fun, and fellowship. It was a small, but significant step toward building peace between our two countries. Continue reading

Positive Peace and a pandemic

By Rebecca Crall

It is easy to see the health crisis created by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. What’s not as easy to see are the long-term impacts of the crisis on peace, particularly in states with government and public health infrastructures weakened by violence or unrest.

Fortunately, Rotarians have an amazing capacity to use their ingenuity to address the world’s most pressing challenges. And the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. As the Area of Focus Manager for Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention, I have been spending some time thinking about the pandemic in terms of peacebuilding and human resiliency. Continue reading

Water as an instrument for peace

Rotary Scholars in WCD program

Rotary Scholars from left to right: Nataliya Chemayeva from Turkmenistan, Aminjon Abdulloev from Tajikistan, Jahan Taganova from Turkmenistan, Botir Ismoilov from Uzbekistan, Botagoz Sharipova from Kazakhstan, and Nargiza Osmonova from Kyrgyzstan. Photo by Celeste Noche. © Rotary International. All Rights Reserved.

By Nataliya Chemayeva, Rotary Scholar, Water Cooperation and Diplomacy Program

The Central Asian region has been the focus of global water catastrophes for almost two decades now. No one is indifferent to the problems that we share as a region. There are multiple layers to the problem that have transformed political discourse within the countries and have affected relationships between water experts.

All of this personally was ambiguous to me until I started working for the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea. In my commission, we deal mostly with environmental issues and have some exposure to water-related events. This is what sparked my interest in the topic. I soon developed an understanding that technical solutions alone were not going to bring about desired results without a balanced diplomacy. Continue reading

Water and peace in the Aral Sea basin

The video (above) by Botagoz Sharipova, Nataliya Chemayeva, and other Rotary Scholars in the Water Cooperation and Diplomacy program has been selected as finalist by the Geneva Water Hub and will be featured at the Budapest Water Summit 15-17 October and during Geneva Peace Week 4-8 November.

By Botagoz Sharipova, Rotary Scholar, Water Cooperation and Diplomacy Program

Every living being and every local economy depends on water. In my country Kazakhstan, the source of our water comes from seven major rivers that we share with our neighbors. Six of those originate in other countries including Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, China, and Russia. In Central Asia, access to water and conflict resolution are closely intertwined. Continue reading

Talking sticks, restorative practices build cooperation

Lindsey Pointer facilitates a connection circle using a talking piece.

By Lindsey Pointer, Rotary Global Grant Scholar

During the recent U.S. government shut down, a bipartisan group of roughly two-dozen senators helped craft the funding deal to reopen the government. The group used a “talking stick” as a tool to facilitate their meeting, only allowing the senator with the stick to speak in an effort to cut down on interruptions. Continue reading

New Englanders, Nigeria clubs aid Boko Haram refugees

By Marty Peak Helman, District 7780 Foundation Chair

Children in a refugee camp in eastern Nigeria.

Children in a refugee camp in eastern Nigeria.

The American University of Nigeria (AUN) was co-founded by Rotarian Felix Obadan in 2000, and 12 years later, when Felix was governor of Rotary’s District 9125, which covers a large portion of Nigeria, he chartered the Rotary Club of Yola-AUN on campus. Their strong influence on campus makes it not surprising that many University professors and senior staff are Rotary members, and that the University prides itself on its work toward peace, entrepreneurship, and economic development as well as its strong academics.

The University’s mission is to graduate students prepared to take on the challenges in Nigeria and throughout West Africa – challenges of climate change, development, and peace building. And peace is not an abstract concept at the university. After all, it is located in Yola, the capital of Adamawa State, in the region where Boko Haram is most powerful. In fact, those few dozen Chibok schoolgirls who escaped from being kidnapped by Boko Haram are now safely living at the University, where they are receiving social services and education. 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