Alumni work for peace at UN
Bautista Logioco, a member of the first class of peace fellows at Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a political affairs officer for the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York. Rotary Images
Three graduates of the Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution are working at the United Nations to promote peace, tolerance, and human rights.
Bautista Logioco, Jayashree Nadarajah, and Richard Gee are among dozens of Rotary Foundation alumni playing important roles at the UN. These alumni bear witness to the close collaboration between Rotary and the United Nations, celebrated during Rotary UN-Day on 7 November.
"This is our life's work and our biggest dream," says Logioco, a political affairs officer for the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York. "Rotary gave me and others the chance to create and build the capacity to make contributions to society through peace and conflict resolution."
Logioco was a member of the first class of peace fellows at Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2002-04. He has been with the UN for about a year, providing support and guidance for 7,000 peacekeeping troops in Haiti.
He says a natural connection exists between the Rotary Centers and the United Nations.
"Both aim to contribute to help people's lives through peace-building initiatives," says Logioco. "Rotary is a worldwide networking machine that expands the promotion of human understanding in every single direction."
Nadarajah, a program officer at the Office of the Special Representative for the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, says Rotary will always be close to her heart. The former Rotary World Peace Fellow, who was also an Interactor, Rotaractor, and Group Study Exchange student, says Rotary helped shape her views of peaceful resolution and equal rights.
"Rotary is an essential partner to the UN," says Nadarajah. "They are able to help in places where the UN has no reach. Rotary is held in the highest regard."
Nadarajah graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2006. Her work at the UN has included protecting children in Darfur, Sudan, from armed conflict.
Richard Gee, another member of the inaugural class at Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is an electoral and political affairs officer with the Electoral Assistance Division, focusing on issues in the Middle East.
Gee says the Rotary Centers' agenda for implementing peaceful conflict resolution sets them apart from other peace programs.
"There is so much potential for what kind of impact the Rotary Centers can have on building peace and human rights," says Gee. "Rotary has a quiet but influential role in humanitarian efforts around the world."
Since 2002, the Rotary Centers for International Studies program has graduated more than 430 peace fellows. Many have gone on to work for peace in government and nongovernmental organizations, including the UN, World Bank, and the Organization of American States.
"The most important part of the Rotary Centers is that they're truly creating a network of peace practitioners," says Logioco. "The network can only multiply from here. I think it is now starting to deliver results."