Working together for peace through Rotary

Rotary Peace Fellows Magdalena Zurita and Phil Gittins.

By Magdalena Zurita with Phill Gittins, Rotary Peace Fellows

My interest in promoting peace brought me to Bolivia, where I am doing my applied field study while earning a master’s degree at the Rotary Peace Center at International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan. I am passionate about the reduction of poverty and inequality, and efforts to address these challenges in ways that promote working together and embracing difference. In May, a Skype call and email exchange connected me to Phill Gittins, a fellow Rotary Peace Fellow, who has been working in Bolivia for many years. Through Rotary two strangers, working on peace separately, are now working on peace together. Continue reading

Building peace in Colombia

Ana Laura Zavala Guillen leads a discussion at the University of Sheffield.

By Ana Laura Zavala Guillen, 2011-13 Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Bradford

Over the last three years, as a doctoral researcher, I have been studying the loss of territory by San Basilio del Palenque, a town located in the Colombian Caribbean, due to the armed conflict, business developments, state demarcations and the war on drugs. San Basilio is considered the last Colombian Palenque, communities built by runaway slaves during the 17th century as shelters. Continue reading

In Guatemala, education for women is a privilege

Children at the elementary school in Carcha, Guatemala.

By Wendy Pacay, A Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

When I was a child, I really enjoyed school. I lived in a small town surrounded by the rainforest. Meeting with my friends at school, playing with them, and learning from them are among my best memories. I had a lot of curiosity that drove me to discover new things from books and from my teachers. It was easy to do my homework because I liked it so much. Continue reading

We are all same, same…but different

Rotary Peace Fellows at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.

By Dessa Bergen-Cico, a Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

One thing I have learned through my experiences traveling and working around the world is that people are more alike than they are different. Moreover we embody our expressions of joy in similar ways.

Anyone who has ever visited Thailand has likely heard the phrase same, same when trying to make a purchase from a vendor or negotiate the menu in a restaurant. Same, same is an English phrase used by Thai people, it means that two or more items are similar, or cost the same amount.  Continue reading

Unique field experience cements Peace Fellow’s desire to pursue human rights

Laurie Smolenski, right, with her Rotary Peace Fellow class at the University of Queensland.

By Laurie Smolenski, 2015-17 Rotary Peace Fellow, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

I’ve just completed 18 months as a Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. A highlight was spending three months in Mexico City for my applied field experience. This is a cornerstone of the University’s Peace Fellow program, through which Fellows take on a project or internship outside of Australia. I interned with the Mexico City office of the MacArthur Foundation, which supports peace and justice initiatives globally. Continue reading

Deeply wounded world needs Rotary Peace Centers

Maire-Paule Attema, right, and her husband, left, with host Rotarians in Brisbane, Australia.

By Marie-Paule Attema, a Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

After months of anticipation, I finally arrived in Brisbane, Australia, where I will be for the next 18 months while I pursue the Masters of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland Rotary Peace Center.

I quickly felt at home after being picked up by our “Australian parents,” who have been extremely helpful in our transition.  I have enjoyed the pros and cons of Australian living as I have quickly adapted to 30 Continue reading

Why host a Rotary Peace Fellow?

Masao Mizuno meets with a Rotary Peace Fellow.

By Masao Mizuno, Rotary Club of Ageo West, Japan

Hosting a Peace Fellow substantially changed my life in Rotary. Since joining Rotary, I have been running a company that imports industrial tools, mostly from Israel and Europe, so I am familiar with talking to people from other countries. Continue reading

Prestigious award to Rotary Peace Fellow in Uppsala

Peace Fellow Lindsey Doyle (far right, first row) and other prize winners with Vice-chancellor Eva Åkesson

By Magnus Elfwendahl, Rotary Club of Uppsala Carolina, Sweden

In January, I had the honor of watching as Rotary Peace Fellow Lindsey Doyle from the United States received Uppsala University’s foremost award to teachers and students supporting human rights. Doyle was awarded the Martin H:son Holmdahl prize at Uppsala’s doctoral conferment ceremony. Continue reading

More than friends, Rotary Peace Fellows are a family

Rotary Peace Fellows at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

Rotary Peace Fellow Class 22 at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

By Hermanto Hasan, A Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

When I found out I was accepted for the Rotary Peace Fellowship at the prestigious Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, I was filled with happiness and also surprise. I had applied for several fellowships in the past, but all required a university degree, which I do not have. Continue reading

Bringing about reconciliation

A community reconciliation event in the Solomon Islands

A community reconciliation event in the Solomon Islands.

By Nadia Mahmood, Rotary Peace Fellow, University of Queensland, Australia

Over the past two and a half months, I have been working with Prison Fellowship Solomon Islands (PF), a grassroots peace-building organization which runs conflict resolution, restorative justice,and reconciliation programs and provides support for families of inmates.

It is honestly hard to put into words how inspiring and engaging it is to work with this team of local volunteers who exemplify everything that Rotary stands for. Continue reading