2005-07 Rotary Peace Scholars

Rotary International has named a new class of Rotary World Peace Fellows to study at the seven Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution.

The centers are located on the campuses of Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan; Sciences Po, Paris, France; Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires, Argentina; University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England; University of California, Berkeley, California, USA; and University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Like the members of the three classes preceding them, the 60 students in the 2005-07 class are a diverse group, representing 28 countries and a wide array of academic and professional backgrounds. Their interests and areas of expertise include public health, sustainable agriculture, international law, public policy, economic development, journalism, and social justice. For example:

Cherine Badawi, of the USA, has an undergraduate degree in cultural studies and has lead conflict resolution workshops for young people. She will attend the Rotary Center at International Christian University.

Robert Opira, of Uganda, holds an undergraduate degree in project planning and has worked with World Vision, an international nonprofit organization, to plan and implement programs aimed at rehabilitating and reintegrating former child soldiers. He will attend the Rotary Center at the University of Queensland.

Olga Nesterova, of Kazakhstan, earned a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics and a master's in business administration. Most recently employed as an information technology supervisor, she will attend the Rotary Center at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The class of 2005-07, like previous groups, is a polyglot cohort, speaking at least 37 languages, including American Sign Language, Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese, Icelandic, Japanese, Khmer, Lao, Maori, Persian, Swahili, Ukrainian, and Zulu.

"You have only to pick up a newspaper to realize how vitally important it is that our world leaders be skilled in the arts of conflict resolution and peaceful negotiation," says Frank Devlyn, trustee chair of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. "Everything we do through our Rotary clubs, from fighting poverty to eradicating polio, is intended ultimately to promote world peace. What better way to contribute to that effort than by helping to develop future world leaders committed to achieving peace and understanding."

The program is already showing results. Members of the inaugural class of Rotary World Peace Fellows completed their studies during the past year, and many are working at jobs where they can make a difference. For instance:

Bautista Logioco, of Argentina, who earned a master's degree at the Rotary Center shared by Duke University and University of North Carolina, is now a conflict resolution program officer with the Organization of American States.

Arnoldas Pranckevicius, a native Lithuanian who earned a master's degree at the Rotary Center at Sciences Po, advises the president of Lithuania on domestic policy issues.

Anna Pehrsson, who received her master's degree at the Rotary Center at Universidad del Salvador, works as a project officer at the Conflict Prevention in Practice Project at Folke Bernadotte Academy in her native Sweden.

As part of its ongoing effort to promote world peace and international understanding, Rotary International will establish a Rotary Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. Beginning in July 2006, the new center at Chulalongkorn University will pilot the Rotary Peace and Conflict Studies program, a special three-month course in peace studies, conflict resolution and mediation training aimed at middle and upper-level managers in governments, non-governmental organizations, and private corporations.

The Rotary Peace and Conflict Studies program will accept 30 fellows per session with about one third of the openings reserved for students from outside of Thailand. Sessions will be held twice each year. Offered in English, the program will begin in July 2006 and will be evaluated after three years. The oldest university in Thailand, Chulalongkorn will draw upon its faculty's strength in international relations, political science and business management, as well as guest lecturers and outside experts to provide case studies and practical training.

Rotary clubs may nominate applicants to a selection committee of The Rotary Foundation, which administers the Rotary Peace and Conflict Studies program and other popular educational initiatives of Rotary, the world's largest privately funded source of international, university-level scholarships.
Each fellow's employer will be expected to cover the US$5,000 cost of the three-month session, including tuition, room-and-board and educational materials. The Rotary Foundation will cover the expenses of roundtrip travel between the fellow's home and Bangkok.

Application forms and other program materials are available in the RI Web site's Download Center. For more information, email BangkokPeaceStudies@rotaryintl.org.

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