The World Will Live As One

Category:  Community
Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 at 9:26 AM
The World Will Live As One  by Rebecca Styn


In the face of war, promote peace. 

That is exactly what Rotary International did in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. In 2002, one year after the tragedy occurred, Rotary International’s first class of Rotary Peace Fellows began their studies. Since then, over 590 Fellows have graduated from the program and have gone on to work towards building peace within our nation and across all borders. And the program is now celebrating its 10th year.  

The Rotary International Peace Fellowship is a program of study that gives qualified individuals the opportunity to either obtain a master’s degree in international relations, public administration, sustainable development, peace studies, conflict resolution, or a related field, or to earn a professional development certificate in peace and conflict resolution. Of the 42,000 Rotary Clubs and seven Peace Centers worldwide, the master’s and certificate program accepts up to 110 fellows annually through a globally competitive process based on personal, academic, and professional achievements. 

But, don’t let the numbers deter you. Erie is actually home to one of their current Fellows, Joyce Miller. Miller was chosen to attend the Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, in Thailand, through the three-month professional development certificate program. In fact, she’s still there and she writes a weekly blog about her activity, which you can read about by visiting: In addition, Heather Richmond, a graduate of Mercyhurst University, was also accepted into one of 10 Rotary Fellows at International Christian University in Tokyo. Though she was sponsored by her own hometown, she was encouraged and assisted by the Erie Rotary Club. She completed the program just last year.

According to Mary Ellen Dahlkemper, the District Representative for Rotary Peace Scholarships: “The interview process is very strict. We are not required to choose any applicant if we don’t feel they are a good fit for the program.” Though she does believe this program to be invaluable to those who are awarded the opportunity. “I really believe in this initiative as a way to help promote world peace. Through this, we are creating goodwill amongst individuals in other countries – which is part of our ‘Four-Way Test’ –and a cornerstone of Rotary.” In this ‘Four-Way Test,’ of all things Rotarians say, think, or do – they ask themselves four questions: Is it the truth? -- Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? And will it be beneficial to all concerned? It is one of their guiding principles - and is a simple checklist for ethical behavior – which transcends generations and national borders. And just one reason why this program is paramount to their organization.

Once awarded, the Fellows will attend one of seven Rotary Peace Centers at leading universities in Argentina, Australia, England, Japan, Sweden, the United States, and Thailand. They will work to advance knowledge of issues related to peace, world understanding, and causes of conflict, and continue this practice throughout their lives in their careers and through service activities. Fellowships for the master’s degree program cover up to two academic years of expenses including round-trip transportation, tuition and fees, room, board, and other limited items.

As District Director, Dahlkemper can assist anyone who lives in the district – which incorporates 50 clubs extending south, close to Pittsburgh. For more information on either program, contact Dahlkemper at 814.878.2167 or  Interested individuals can also consult the Rotary International website at  for more information and to download an application.  Applicants must be sponsored by a Rotary Club.  The deadline for applying through The Erie Rotary Club is June 1, 2011 for programs beginning in 2012.

Erie Reader: Vol. 6, No. 21
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