A Rotary Peace Fellow’s journey to Antarctica

Women scientists on Antarctica

Emilse Anabella Palacios joined other women scientists as part of the Homeward Bound expedition to Antarctica.

By Emilse Anabella Palacios, Rotary Peace Fellow 2009-11

My relationship with Rotary began as a Rotary Youth Exchange student and member of a Group Study Exchange. Later as a Rotary Peace Fellow at Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009-11, I began a process of learning about leadership that will continue throughout my life.

On the last day of 2018, I set sail for Antarctica with 89 other women scientists from 26 countries as part of Homeward Bound, an initiative that aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape our planet. On board the former research vessel MV Ushuaia, we represented the largest female expedition ever to that continent. Continue reading

Rotary makes it a small world after all

Jordan Koletic and Robert Smayda

Jordan Koletic, left, and Robert Smayda Jr. at Rotary Day at the United Nations in 2014.

By Kamlesh Chandan, Rotary Club of Lake Norman/Huntersville, North Carolina, USA

In 2015, I was working at one of the largest Fortune 500 banks in the United States when I read an article on our internal website about a team member traveling to eastern Africa. I found the story intriguing, and reached out to her for more details about the trip and to see if it had a connection with Rotary. But at the time I did not hear back. Continue reading

How to prepare to be a Rotary Peace Fellow

Orientation for Rotary Peace Fellows at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.

By Bonnie Emerson, Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, Class 26, from Canada

As an Indigenous (Metis) Canadian woman from Winnipeg Manitoba, I was surprised and very honoured when I was encouraged to apply for the Rotary International Peace Fellowship Program. I wasn’t too optimistic, though. How could a police officer from a mid-sized Canadian city be selected when applicants come from all over the world? Continue reading

Natural farming and the sanctity of life

Natural farming

Tajima-san, second from left, and Lorena Rodriguez, right, on the natural farm in Tochigi.

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

In November, I traveled to Tochigi, to visit Tajima-san’s farm, where he practices natural farming. Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese farmer and philosopher, dedicated his life to demonstrating that “natural farming” can provide us with the conditions and the food necessary to survive on this planet. Continue reading

The right to a better life

The commemoration of the mass murder of 72 migrants

LA 72 held this commemoration of the mass murder of 72 migrants by the Los Zetas drug cartel in San Fernando, Mexico, in 2010. Photo courtesy Giorgio Algeri

By Giorgio Algeri, 2010-11 Rotary Peace Fellow, University of Queensland, Australia 

On a late evening in August, a family of eight migrant persons from Honduras arrived at the refugee shelter where I was serving as a short-term volunteer in Tabasco, Mexico, near the border with Guatemala. The family of three adults and five children, most below the age of 10, had fled their country for security reasons and were renting a tiny room in Tabasco awaiting asylum. The son of the landlord came home drunk and threatened the family with a machete, forcing them to leave all their belongings behind. Continue reading

How to spread positive peace

Planning the 2019 Positive Peace Workshop in Mexico.

Laurie Smolenski, right, joins Rotary members, Rotary staff, and Rotary partners in planning the 2019 Positive Peace Workshop in Mexico.

By Laurie Smolenski

When I learned about the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a think tank dedicated to using empirical research to better understand the drivers of peace, as a Rotary Peace Fellow in 2016, I was fascinated. The idea that peace – which often lives in a lofty realm of aspiration and emotions – could be articulated in concrete metrics, underpinned by data, and visualized through heat maps and charts was new and profoundly impactful to me. Continue reading

Everyone’s safer when a fight is avoided

Rotary Peace Fellow and Vancouver police training instructor Bryan Nykon demonstrates some low-risk judo moves that can avoid escalating violence.

By Chris Offer, Chair, The Rotary Foundation’s Peace Major Gifts Initiative Committee, and a member of the Rotary Club of Ladner, Delta, British Columbia, Canada

I had the opportunity recently to visit the Police Tactical Training Center in Vancouver, British Columbia, a state-of-the-art facility complete with firing range, simulation rooms, gymnasium, and classrooms. My guide was Rotary Peace Fellow Bryan Nykon, who graduated in 2010 from the Rotary Peace Center at Bradford University. After graduation, he joined the Vancouver Police and worked as a patrol constable before his transfer as an instructor in the training center. Continue reading

How do you measure peace?

Eduardo da Costa

By Eduardo da Costa, Rotary Peace Fellow and Peace Ambassador for the Institute for Economics and Peace 

The question of how to measure development and human well-being has attracted the attention of economists, policy-makers, researchers, and other social scientists for decades. For example, the Human Development Index  produced by the United Nations seeks to measures a country’s achievements in three specific areas: living standards, health, and education.

But what about peace? How do we measure peace?

Continue reading

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