Retreating to advance peace

Participants in the Peace Fellows Retreat represented nine nationalities who had worked in more than 100 countries.

By Mayer Ngomesia, 2006-07 Rotary Peace Fellow, Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

After a two-hour drive from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu along a winding road, 10 Rotary Peace Fellows and I from around the world gathered in the village of Nagarkot, nestled in the Kathmandu Valley at the foothills of the Himalayas for the third Rotary Peace Fellow Leadership Retreat. It was a rare opportunity to step back and reflect on the difficult realities and high-stress environment of our peace work, and to ponder, why the work we do matters. Continue reading

My journey to Hiroshima: reflections on memory

Rotary Peace Fellows from International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan, visit the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.

By Lorena Rodriguez, 2017-19 Rotary Peace Fellow, International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan

Last March, I visited Hiroshima with other Rotary Peace Fellows from International Christian University, hearing stories from survivors of the atomic bomb. Thanks to the Rotary Club of Hiroshima, we also saw the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Hiroshima is full of stories told and illustrated in various ways: in the images, monuments, poems, and human and nonhuman survivors. All these stories made me reflect in different ways about my commitment to memory and peace. Continue reading

6 tips for recruiting Rotary Peace Fellows

Rotary members share ideas about recruiting candidates during the Rotary Peace Symposium in 2015. Photo by Monika Lozinska/Rotary International

By Rotary Peace Center staff

Whenever Anne-Marie Bach, Rotary Peace Fellowships Subcommittee Chair for District 1470 in Denmark, talks to clubs and districts about the Rotary Peace Fellowship program, she describes it as “the diamond of Rotary.” The program is multifaceted, helping peacebuilders from all over the world shine brighter in their work and have a bigger impact together than they might alone. Continue reading

7 steps for submitting an outstanding peace fellowship application

A Rotary Peace Fellow at the 2017 Convention in Atlanta.

By Sarah Cunningham, Marketing and Recruitment Specialist at The Rotary Foundation

Although the application window for fellowship programs is generally short, applying for a fellowship is a long-term process requiring research, planning, outreach, and perseverance. Here are seven critical application steps we’ve learned from 15 years reviewing and selecting finalists for the Rotary Peace Fellowship. Continue reading

Rediscovering traditional justice in Africa

George Chacha

By George Chacha, 2013 Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Before Europeans colonized much of Africa, local villagers had their own way of resolving conflicts through traditional justice systems. The community would select a certain number of elders, who they felt most suitable for deciding cases, to handle disputes. A distinctive characteristic of these traditional justice systems is that they primarily sought to heal relations between victims and offenders, in contrast to English Common Law, which by and large seeks to punish offenders as a deterrent to further offenses. Continue reading

Teaspoons of peace that will last a lifetime

With peace makers from around the world at the International Institute on Peace Education conference in Innsbruck, Austria

By d’Arcy Lunn, 2016-18 Rotary Peace Fellow, International Christian University, Tokyo

Take visiting 15 countries over five months, then add in any number of training events, an internship, research, attending conferences and events, and meeting two Nobel Peace Laureates, and you get an amazing formula for gaining skills in peace building. The final and most important result of this equation, though, will be what I eventually do with it all. I have some ideas about that. Continue reading

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