EVANSTON , Ill. USA (Sept. 21, 2010) While ceasefires and non-violence between nations are hallmarks of the United Nation's annual International Day of Peace (Sept. 21) it's also about bringing peace into our homes, communities and schools.
Rotary clubs always have embraced this call for peace at the grass-roots level by addressing the underlying causes of conflict and violence through thousands of community-based service projects around the world. "Since 1905, Rotary clubs have worked locally and internationally to make the world a better and more peaceful place one person, one family, one community at a time," said Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar, chair of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.

Rotary also takes a direct approach to world understanding by providing future leaders with the tools they need to "wage peace" on the global stage with its innovative Rotary Peace Centers program. Launched in 2002, Rotary awards up to 100 full scholarships each year for master's-level degrees or a professional certificate in peace and conflict studies at six Rotary Peace Centers located at:
University of Bradford, United Kingdom University of Queensland, Australia International Christian University, Japan Universidad del Salvador, Argentina Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, (an intensive, three-month course for mid-level professionals in government, nongovernment organizations, and international industry)

"As more than 20 major conflicts are currently being waged this year alone, the world needs more peace makers skilled in the arts of conflict resolution," said Stenhammar. "We now have 516 Rotary Peace fellow alumni who already are making a difference in key decision-making positions in governments and organizations around the world."

Those interested in the program can apply through local Rotary clubs. Applications for the 2012-13 class will be available for download from the Rotary website in January 2011, and are due to The Rotary Foundation by 1 July 2011. Qualified applicants must possess an undergraduate degree, have a minimum three years of professional experience at international agencies, government and non-governmental organizations, businesses or academic institutions; and demonstrate a commitment to peace and international understanding through their volunteer, academic, and professional achievements.

"The Rotary peace fellowship has given me a platform that enables me to dedicate myself to the important challenge of international conflict prevention and peace-building in the future," said Richelieu Allison, regional director of the West African Youth Network, who completed the professional development certificate program at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, in its 2006 inaugural class.