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

How Rotary creates lifelong friendships

Kate Kimmer and Hilary Caldis.

Kate Kimmer and Hilary Caldis.

By Hilary J. Caldis, Rotary Peace Fellow

I am constantly in awe of the power of connection. This is what Rotary is all about. We unite in friendship to realize truthful, fair, good-willed, and beneficial outcomes in our communities and the world. For Rotary members and people like me, our lives are forever transformed by this powerful network. Continue reading

Building my kizuna with Rotary and Japan

Flanigan and ICU students

Mark Flanigan (back row third from right) with Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa during a program for ICU students in New York City in July.

By Mark Flanigan, Program Director, Japan ICU Foundation, and a 2010-12 Rotary Peace Fellow at ICU, Tokyo

When I arrived at International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo as a new Rotary Peace Fellow in the summer of 2010, I had no idea it would be the beginning of an ongoing relationship with both the University and Rotary.

I had lived in Japan before through the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program and as a U.S. Army veteran, and was happy to return almost a decade later, thanks to Rotary. Continue reading

Rotary Peace Fellows poised to change the world

Peace Fellows at the 2015 Rotary Convention in São Paulo, Brazil.

Peace Fellows at the 2015 Rotary Convention in São Paulo, Brazil.

By Teree Bergman

When I was an undergraduate, one of my professors expressed the interesting idea that scholars should stop studying the causes of war. He suggested that conflicts occur all the time and that the natural state is war. He proposed that we should be studying the causes of peace, as that is the less common situation. 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

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.

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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

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

Working for peace in the United Kingdom

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Luke Addison at the PeaceJam conference in Winchester, England.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Luke Addison at the PeaceJam conference in Monaco.

By Luke Addison, a member of the Rotaract Club of University of Winchester, England

Two years ago, two members of the Winchester Rotary Club gave a talk at the University of Winchester. I was so inspired by the work they described and their own personal reasons for joining that I stayed to ask them how I could help out.

Eventually the experience motivated me to seek out other students and form a Rotaract Club. The club took off amazingly, and through our local and international service projects, my eyes were open to the amazing work Rotary and Rotaract members do. I developed a passion for the world outside Winchester and a strong desire to make a difference. Continue reading

Protecting the rights of indigenous peoples

Athili Sapriina during the annual Rotary Peace Fellow seminar at the University of Queensland.

Athili Sapriina during the annual Rotary Peace Fellow seminar at the University of Queensland, Australia.

By Athili Sapriina, 2013-2014 Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia

I first became aware of Rotary Peace Fellowships during a trip to the Rotary Peace Center at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, US, in 2008. I had previously attended the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City and over the years witnessed an increased involvement of Rotary with indigenous peoples issues. I am honored to be the first Naga to be awarded a Rotary Peace Fellowship.

The three million Nagas are indigenous peoples of the mountainous frontier between India and Burma. Since the end of British colonialism, Nagas have fiercely defended their independence resulting in the death of thousands — Indians, Burmese and Nagas

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