“The world is in great need of more peace fellows who can work hand in hand with governments and communities to counterbalance the outbreak of war and conflict.”

– Abu Sufian Taj Elassfia, 2011-13 Rotary Peace Fellow

Admittedly, I did not know about Rotary Peace Centers or Peace Fellowships until after I became a Rotarian myself.  I wish I had known earlier. If we hope to live together in a safer world that can better manage conflicts, we need to train effective peace-builders. With support from the Rotary Foundation, Rotary Peace Centers do just that. To date, Rotary Peace Centers have trained more than 900 Peace Fellows working throughout the world on a wide range of issues – but all with the ultimate goal of peace.  The alumni of this program are a global network that grows larger every year.  I hope you will consider applying to become a Peace Fellow, refer someone, or support the program in other ways.

Peace Fellows candidates must be endorsed by a Rotary Club.  Clubs can endorse as many candidates as they want but are most likely to do so for individuals whose professional experiences and goals march up with their own priorities.  Applicants can use Rotary Finder to locate their nearest clubs, get to know them, and to find a good match.  There are six Peace Centers where Rotary Peace Fellows train:

Below are the formal criteria by which an individual’s candidacy will be addressed. 

  • Proficiency in English
  • Excellent leadership skills
  • A strong commitment to international understanding and peace through professional and academic achievements as well as personal and community service activities
  • For the certificate program, a strong academic background, plus five years of related work experience
  • For the master’s program, a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, plus three years of related fulltime work or volunteer experience
  • For the master’s program, proficiency in a second language (strongly recommended)
  • Note: To avoid conflicts of interest, neither active/honorary Rotarians, Rotary employees, nor family members of Rotarians may apply. Rotary program alumni including Rotaractors, Interactors, and former Ambassadorial Scholars are eligible.  

Meet the criteria? Here are the specific steps for applying.

  1. Review the application instructions and check the eligibility requirements and restrictions below before applying.  Read the entire application before you begin.
  2. Thoroughly research the curriculum and programs at each of the Rotary Peace Centers before starting your online application. You will be asked to rank the centers in order of importance.
  3. Master’s degree applicants: Collect all academic transcripts, test scores, and any other documents required by preferred universities as noted on the fellowship application. All supplementary materials must be in English. Certificate applicants: Academic transcripts or scores are not needed.
  4. Inform your local Rotary district that you are applying for a peace fellowship, and request an interview. District endorsement is required to complete the application process. TIP: Your local Rotary club can help you connect with your district. Use Club Finder to locate the club nearest you. Club interviews and endorsements are strongly encouraged but not required for applicants who have district support.
  5. Prior to interviews, fill out the application form, attach the required supplementary materials (test scores, academic or professional recommendations, essays), and submit them to your Rotary district no later than 31 May.
  6. Complete an interview with district representatives. Districts must submit endorsed applications to The Rotary Foundation by 1 July.
  7. Receive notice of selection results in November. If you are chosen for a fellowship, you will receive the name of the Peace Center where you will study.
  8. Apply for admission to the university where you will study. Being chosen for a fellowship does not mean you have been admitted to the university.

If you are a Rotarian, you can become engaged by educating your club and others about Peace Fellowships.  Start by inviting someone who participated in the program to speak.  Don’t know any alumni? No problem. Contact alumni@rotary.org and they will find one for you.  Your club may also be in a position to support the program financially. It is only with the generous support of Rotarians that 100 professionals can join the Peace Fellows program each year.

Both Rotarians and non-Rotarians can support the program by raising awareness. Social media (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.) is a great way to do so. The Rotary Peace Centers Facebook page is a useful resource.  Reach out to other service organizations, universities, or send a press release to local media outlets.  Think of it as an opportunity to get to know your community better while making others aware of what Rotary is, does, and how they or others they know might benefit from the Peace Fellows program.

You can find more information in the Rotary Peace Centers Program Guide.  Take a look at Sarah Sanderson’s blog on the application process and Barbara Herthel’s blog about what it was like to study at Chulalongkorn University.   Of course, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out.  Thanks for thinking about getting involved!