The power of community: participating in peace

The University of Queensland has been a Rotary Peace Partner since the inception of the Rotary Peace Fellow Program. The UQ centre offers a Master’s Degree in Peace and Conflict Prevention. Every year in April, the University of Queensland holds a seminar for the graduating class to present their applied field experience. Each year the seminar has a theme and this year’s theme was Participating in Peace.

The applied field study portion of the degree is three months field study within the profession of the peace fellow.

This year’s field experience took place in Chile, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Philippines, Greece, and North Queensland. Presentations ranged from economic and social integration and workplace rights, gaining a better understanding of migration dynamics and challenges for refugees, and restorative justice in Costa Rica, to mediation practices in Indigenous communities in Australia, as well as human rights issues for pregnant women in the penal system and many others.

As the Rotary Peace Fellows are in Queensland for around 18 months, each fellow is assigned a local Rotary club that helps each fellow settle into life in Australia. Rotarian Leslie Smith from Rotary Club of Paddington, Qld, is the Host Area Coordinator for this program.

Also of note is the annual visit to Canberra by the current class. This is a weeklong trip where they visit Parliament House, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Development Policy Centre at ANU, and the War Memorial.

The seminar is an all-day event and a great opportunity for any member of our investment in peace at work. Rotary Peace Fellows also make outstanding district conference speakers as they can deliver first-hand their impact on peace in our communities.