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The Seven Centers of Peace

Duke University/University of North Carolina in Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina


This story originally appeared in the February 2022 issue of Rotary magazine. Visit Peace Fellowships for updates. 

Rotary Peace Centers offer tailor-made curricula to train individuals devoted to peacebuilding and conflict resolution — no matter where they land. More than 1,500 peace fellows from more than 115 countries have graduated from a Rotary Peace Center since the program was created in 1999; the first peace centers began classes three years later. The curriculum at each peace center has been carefully crafted to address specific aspects of the peacebuilding process — and train the next generation of global change-makers. Currently, Rotary has seven peace centers in various locations around the world. The newest, at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda — the first in Africa — welcomed its inaugural cohort of peace fellows in 2021.

The Duke/UNC fellowship program is an anomaly among Rotary Peace Centers. For starters, the 21-month curriculum offers core courses in peacebuilding and brings together fellows from two college campuses 10 miles apart, which doubles students’ resources and flexibility. It’s also the only master’s program that doesn’t offer a degree in peace studies, instead focusing on international development policy at Duke and, depending on a student’s interest, various academic specialties at UNC.

The holistic approach gives peace fellows the tools to enter pertinent development sectors such as public health and education, where they can prevent conflicts and promote peacebuilding through, say, improving sustainable development and human security. The program’s willingness to think outside the box leads to unusual instruction, with courses in water and sanitation and a peace- and development-related film series.

The classes offered are chosen for their direct utility in the field: Because monitoring and evaluation have become key job skills in the peacebuilding and humanitarian sectors, Duke/UNC offers a class in the evaluation of peacebuilding programs. “At the end of the day, employers don’t care if you understand all the theories about diplomacy,” says Susan Carroll, the center’s managing director. “They want to know that you can incorporate it into projects you work on and manage projects and budgets.”

Read about other Rotary Peace Centers

• This story originally appeared in the February 2022 issue of Rotary magazine.