Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution is a top priority for members of Rotary and one of the organisation's Six Areas of Focus.
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Sixty million people are displaced by armed conflict or persecution, and
90 percent of armed-conflict casualties are civilians, half of them
children. Through service projects, fellowships, and other
Rotary-sponsored campaigns, members train adults and young leaders to
prevent and mediate conflict, and aid refugees who have fled dangerous
areas. Members also pursue projects to address the underlying structural
causes of conflict, including poverty, inequality, ethnic tension, lack
of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources.
year, Rotary selects up to 100 individuals from around the world to
receive fully funded academic fellowships at one of our peace centers.
These fellowships cover tuition and fees, room and board, round-trip
transportation, and all internship and field-study expenses. In just
over a decade, the Rotary Peace Centers have trained more than
900 fellows for careers in peace building. Many of them go on to serve
as leaders in national governments, NGOs, the military, law enforcement,
and international organizations like the United Nations and World Bank.
Each year, Rotary awards up to 50 Masters Degree Fellowships
for 15-24 months study at one of five premier universities throughout the world, and up to 50
Professional Development Certificates for those working in
peace-related fields who want to enhance their professional skills
through a shorter 3 month study programme at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.
Read more about the Peace Fellows supported by our Rotary District.
Read more about the application process for Peace Fellowships.
Thames Valley District Working for Peace
Many of the Rotary Global Scholars address issues related to Peace and Conflict Prevention in their studies. Most recently, Will Todman has just completed his Masters Degree in Arabic Studies with with its
added certificate in refugee and humanitarian emergencies at Georgetown
University, Washington DC, where he was heavily involved in Peace and
Conflict Resolution in the Middle East. He spent much of his vacations
translating for an adviser to the UN Special Envoy to Syria and
interviewing Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Lebanon and Jordan with his
course leader and the Mercy Corps. At the beginning of March this year,
he presented his paper entitled 'Breaking Through: A Humanitarian Approach to Besieged Areas in Syria' to
an event at the British Embassy in Beirut aimed at bringing donors,
international NGOs, local Syrian groups and Syria experts together to
address solutions to the refugee crisis. He ends his thesis with a quote
from one of the surveys he collected from a besieged area east of
‘I want you to tell the world that I have played no role in this
conflict. I am not with any armed group, faction, or sect. I have no
job, no food for my children, and no means of escaping this hell. Every
day, we see the barrel bombs and we expect to die. We are waiting for
death. May God protect our souls, just let us die.’
While conceding that 'it is incredibly depressing and the testimonies
of those living in besieged areas are tragic', Will finds grounds for
optimism in the truly inspirational local Syrian groups
who are working to prevent Syrians’ suffering and is proud to say that
the UK government is one of the biggest donors to these kinds of groups.
Read more in his blog Will in Washington
Congratulations to Will, who gained a distinction for his thesis, has signed a contract to join the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
as a researcher at the begining of June. He has already had a paper on the Syrian seiges published by the Center. Sieges in Syria: Profiteering from Misery
makes chilling reading and vividly illustrates why a peaceful
settlement of this brutal conflict must be found with utmost urgency.