4 ways to be a disruptor for peace

Four peace fellows sit on steps outside the center
Rotary Peace Fellows at the Rotary Peace Center at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.

By Rebecca Crall, Areas of Focus Manager, Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention

In a conversation recently with a group of professional peacebuilders, one of my colleagues (and a new Rotary member) surprised me when he referred to Rotary as a “disruptor for peace.” A disruptor for peace? That was something new and unexpected.

Disruption signals great change – change that’s happening fast. It often feels like it’s taking place at a dizzying pace, and it’s associated with chaos and displacement. It’s not something we often imagine wanting more of. But my colleague’s comment got me thinking of disrupting for good: using our platform as Rotary members to disrupt violence and create peace. Can we apply this idea to build a future where peace is our norm?

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Rotary Peace Fellowships impact thousands

Alejandra Rueda

By Alejandra Rueda, 2008-10 Rotary Peace Fellow, University of Berkeley

When I became a Rotary Peace Fellow in 2008, the presidential theme was Make Dreams Real. My dream was to support the Colombian countryside by improving the quality of life of farmers and, in turn, to achieve a more responsible use of nature and the ecosystem services it provides. I also wanted to help resolve the social conflict that Colombia has experienced. Or at the very least, to contribute to the development of projects that would spur economic and social recovery in areas that sorely needed it.

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Rotary members as provocateurs: building legacies in turbulent times

By Maiden R. Manzanal-Frank, 2015 Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

Portrait of Maiden Manzanal
Maiden Manzanal-Frank

The Rotary Peace Centers Program has truly transformed my life. After receiving a peace fellowship in 2015, my commitment to peace, human security, and development deepened further.

In my current role as a global impact advisor, I help organizations become more robust, sustainable, and effective in their missions. I draw upon two decades of work with social enterprises, rural women, cooperatives, home-based workers, farmers, artisans, health advocates, and local changemakers. Being based in Canada, I have made contact with all the Rotary clubs in Central Alberta, Edmonton, and Calgary (which I can reach within a few hours), regularly offering support and advice. I share my experiences as a Rotary Peace Fellow and promote the program every year.

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Peace research brings calm to chaos

Magnus Elfwendahl
Magnus Elfwendahl

By Magnus Elfwendahl, past governor of District 2350 and a member of the Rotary Club of Uppsala-Carolina, Sweden

Some months ago, I participated in the celebration of 50 years of Peace and Conflict research at Uppsala University in Sweden. During the anniversary symposium some prominent international scholars reflected on big societal challenges and the future of peace and conflict research. Experienced practitioners shared their thoughts on how peace and conflict research can contribute to policy and practical peace work. The keynote speaker, Jamie LeSueur, head of Emergency Operations of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), was a Rotary Peace Fellow during 2013-2015 when training for future peace work at Uppsala University.

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Rotary Peace Fellow sheds light on minorities in Japan

Farrah Hasnain and her friends at the Hamamatsu Festival.

Farrah Hasnain

By Farrah Hasnain

My aim is to change my students’ perception of the U.S. There is a hegemony of whiteness in English language teaching, and I want to represent how diverse and multifaceted the American identity truly is.”

When I wrote this to enter The JET Program as a high school English teacher in 2014, I was not aware of how much this would impact my life in Japan. As I began to crack open textbooks, wake up sleepy students, and navigate the enigma that was the old-school Japanese copy machine, I slowly built a consciousness for the parallels that thrived in the rice fields and smoky factories of Hamamatsu, Shizuoka. Continue reading