Recruiting scholars requires an ongoing effort
Loa Magnusdottir, a former Rotary Peace Fellow from District 1360 (Iceland), worked for UNICEF's Icelandic National Committee prior to her fellowship year and performed duties including filming a television program at a UNICEF-funded school in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo courtesy of Loa Magnusdottir
Rotary Peace Fellows and Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholars can be the pride of their sponsor districts. But finding the best candidates requires an ongoing, strategic effort.
Gudmundur Haraldsson, Rotary Peace Fellowships subcommittee chair for District 1360 (Iceland), says his district taps contacts within the local university and humanitarian aid organizations, advertises in newspapers, and relies on past fellows to advise, educate, and recommend candidates.
“Put the main emphasis on the good academic record of the students, and their experience and ambitions regarding humanitarian aid,” Haraldsson says.
In District 5890 (Texas, USA), ongoing recruitment efforts have led to 36 Ambassadorial Scholars over the past 10 years, an achievement that Bill Barmore, district scholarships subcommittee chair, attributes in part to word-of-mouth publicity and continual relationship-building.
“Each year, we ask the members of our committee if they know a contact person at a local university who will be an advocate,” Barmore says. The committee also sends scholarship information kits to every club in the district.
District 5890 asks its Rotaract clubs to help recruit candidates, and it encourages former Ambassadorial Scholars to speak to clubs and universities.
If you need to narrow down your pool of candidates, District 6440 (Illinois, USA) Scholarships Subcommittee Chair Linda Lutz suggests using personal interviews not only to get to know your applicants but also to observe how they interact with Rotarians.
She also recommends emphasizing the unique advantages of a Rotary experience, such as the networks of Rotarians available to fellows and scholars before and after they go abroad. “That’s a huge asset over other scholarships,” Lutz points out
This story appeared in the January 2010 Rotary Leader
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