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

Brothers and sister in peace

Rotary Peace Centers at Chulalongkorn class of 2016.

Rotary Peace Centers at Chulalongkorn Class of 2016.

By Ana Patel, 2016 Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

“Sawatdee” is a useful phrase in the Thai language. It means everything from hello and good morning, to goodbye and peace be with you. I learned the phrase on the second day of my three-month International Rotary Fellowship in Bangkok this summer, along with the traditional gesture of putting Continue reading

Peace Fellow’s summer: a diplomatic experience

Sarah Sanderson and other embassy interns

Rotary Peace Fellow Sarah Sanderson (second from right) and interns at the U.S. embassy in Mozambique with Ambassador H. Dean Pittman.

161014_sanderson_hshotBy Sarah Sanderson, Rotary Peace Fellow, International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan

As a Rotary Peace Fellow, I had been looking forward to my summer applied field experience, which is self-designed by the peace fellow. So I was thrilled when I was accepted for a summer internship position at the U.S. Embassy in Maputo, Mozambique.

The goal of a Department of State internship is to expose interns to a broad picture of how a U.S. embassy works. Because of this, over a ten-week period I was able to rotate through three different departments including: financial management, consular, and public affairs.

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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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