Four ways to promote Rotary Peace Centers
Former Rotary Peace Fellow Nai-Hua Wu says the opportunity to learn about conflict resolution was the best experience of her life. Rotary Images/Alyce Henson
Former Rotary Peace Fellow Nai-Hua Wu says the opportunity to learn about conflict resolution was the best experience of her life.
"I truly feel that this world is a better place because of Rotarians’ efforts," says Wu, who attended the Rotary Peace Center at International Christian University in Tokyo from 2005 to 2007. "It was my first experience with what Rotary is all about. There is no division of nationality, and Rotarians work together for a better world."
Wu, now pursuing a doctorate in management at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, is one of more than 500 graduates of the Rotary Peace Centers program. Many former peace fellows work for high-profile nongovernmental and international organizations, such as the United Nations and the World Bank.
Prospective candidates have until 1 July to apply for fellowships starting in 2012.
Here are four ways you can promote the program and find candidates in your community:
1. Involve the media
Send out press releases to the local media asking them to promote the Rotary Peace Centers program and the upcoming application deadline in an article or news broadcast. Write letters to the editor expressing the need for peace in these tumultuous times and highlighting the work of Rotary Peace Centers and alumni.
2. Reach out to the community
Hold informational sessions and invite the community. A current or former Rotary Peace Fellow could serve as your guest speaker, and you could show the Building Peace DVD as part of the program. Get permission from your local college or university to share brochures or post materials in high-traffic areas on campus, such as student centers. Peace fellows can come from the professional sphere too, so be sure to send brochures to libraries, community groups, and other local organizations.
3. Give presentations to other Rotary clubs
Local club members may know the perfect peace fellow. Give a guest presentation at another club in your district or region to inform fellow Rotarians about the program. This can also help open a dialogue about peace, which is central to Rotary’s mission.
4. Spread the word
Talk about the Rotary Peace Centers every chance you get, from club and district meetings to dinner parties. You can also promote the program through social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and through your club or district newsletter or website.
Whatever approach you take, the secret is persistent networking, says Bob Fels, who has served as a member of the Rotary Peace Centers Committee and chairs the Rotary Peace Fellowships subcommittee for District 9800 (Australia). "The essence of our approach is get Rotarians to use their networks to ask organizations that employ peace workers to identify candidates. However, you have to persist with the organizations. Keep knocking on the door."
What are your ideas? Share your thoughts in the comments section below or on Rotary International’s LinkedIn group.