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

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