Rotary’s peace initiatives at a tipping point

Positive Peace activity

Rotarians, Rotary Peace Fellows, Rotaractors, and Rotary Scholars participate in a Positive Peace workshop.

By Chris Offer, Rotary Club of Ladner, Delta, British Columbia, Canada, and chair of the Peace Major Gifts Initiative

I spent three days in Ontario, California, USA, in January with a group of passionate peacebuilders learning to be Rotary Positive Peace Activators.

The goal of the three-day training was to develop a worldwide network of peacebuilders to support Rotarians and Rotaractors in fostering Positive Peace in their communities. By 2024, Rotary will train 150 new Positive Peace Activators in six global regions, prepared to educate, coach, and accompany Rotarians in at least 1,000 presentations and/or workshops, and act as consultants on projects locally and globally. Continue reading

Peace Fellow makes films to heighten understanding

Former Rotary Peace Fellow Megumi Nishikura filming with a DSLR camera.

Megumi Nishikura

By Megumi Nishikura, 2006-08 Rotary Peace Fellow, International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan

When I was six years old, my Japanese father and American mother took me to the Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Hawaii. When I saw the wreckage of the USS Arizona, I was shocked to learn that the two countries that I belonged to had once been at war with each other. Continue reading

Building Positive Peace in Venezuela

Mauricio Pernía-Reyes

Mauricio Pernía-Reyes leads a class on Positive Peace in Venezuela.

Mauricio Pernía-Reyes

Mauricio Pernía-Reyes

By Mauricio R. Pernía-Reyes, president of the Rotary Club of San Cristóbal Metropolitano, Venezuela

I recently discovered a valuable resource on Rotary’s website that has strengthened my club’s efforts to serve our community and build peace. When I was selected to serve as club president for the 2019-20 year, I wanted to expand my understanding of the resources that Rotary makes available online and through social networks. That is when I found the Rotary Positive Peace Academy. Continue reading

Event brings together Peace Fellows, Nobel laureates

Rotary Peace Fellows at Mexico summit

Rotary Peace Fellows at the Nobel Peace Summit (from left to right): Lauren Coffaro (University of Bradford); Summer Lewis (University of Queensland); Rosalvina Otálora (Universidad del Salvador); Jorge Meruvia (International Christian University)

By Summer Lewis, Rotary Peace Fellow and coordinator of the Rotary-Institute for Economics and Peace Partnership

It’s not often that you get to spend International Peace Day, 21 September, surrounded by more than 30 Nobel Peace laureates and 1,200 young peacebuilders. But thanks to my network of connections with Rotary Peace Fellows, I was able to do just that and bring 30 Rotaractors, Rotarians, and Peace Fellows from the United States, Mexico, and Colombia with me to the 17th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. Continue reading

Rotary Peace Fellows inspire at special concert

Peace Fellows and Lady Solti

Rotary Peace Fellows with Lady Valerie Solti (third from left) and Orchestra Director Charles Kaye (right) at a special performance of The World Orchestra for Peace.

By Carol Hall, Rotary Foundation Chair for the Rotary Club of Abingdon Vesper, Oxfordshire, England

I recently had the privilege of hosting two Rotary Peace Fellows from Bradford University – David from The Gambia and Ghenwa from Syria. Ghenwa comes from southern Syria which has not had the destruction, bombing, and killing that has taken place in northern Syria. However, she cannot live in Syria for fear of reprisal or arrest because of her association with Rotary. Continue reading

My mother’s dream

Reem Ghunaim and her nieces.

Reem Ghunaim and her nieces. Photo by Moataz Al Sadey

By Reem Ghunaim

I am a Rotary Peace Fellow from Palestine. My mother is a Palestinian refugee who fled her home with her family in 1948. My father’s entire village was displaced for two weeks in 1967. In fact, nearly half of my family are Palestinian refugees.

I was born and raised in Tulkarem, home of two refugee camps that still exist from the Nakba of 1948. One camp is beside my former high school in the middle of downtown. The other is located at the Eastern entrance of my city. This refugee camp is the first thing I see every time I return home to visit my family. Continue reading

The power of story to build a better future

Kiran Singh Sirah (middle with sunglasses) and other Rotary Peace Fellows at the Rotary Peace Symposium in Hamburg, Germany. Photo by Monika Lozinska/Rotary International.

By Kiran Singh Sirah, Rotary Peace Fellow and president of the International Storytelling Center

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of visiting Hamburg, Germany, to present a series of talks at the Rotary International Convention and Peace Symposium. I always look forward to the symposiums and the chance to reconnect with other Rotary Peace Fellows. The event underscored for me how much better it is to hear people’s stories in real life, in person, as opposed to on the news. Continue reading

10 reasons to apply for a Rotary Peace Fellowship at ICU

Cherry blossoms line the main entrance to ICU in March.

By Lorraine Hayman, incoming Rotary Peace Fellow at International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan, 2019-21

This summer, I will join the 18th class of Rotary Peace Fellows at International Christian University. Here are my top ten reasons for applying to ICU: Continue reading

Pilgrimage produces project for peace

Rotary Peace Fellow Magdalena Zurita on the Via Francigena

By Magdalena Zurita, Rotary Peace Fellow, International Christian University, Japan, 2016-18
In May of 2018, I completed my master’s studies as a Peace Fellow at International Christian University in Japan. As I waited for the graduation ceremonies, I pondered where I should put everything I had just learned into practice. I was awakened one morning with a new and unexpected thought – traveling. And the word “Tuscany” resounded in my head.

Continue reading

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