History of the Rotary Peace Centre

Rotarians have long believed that international ­understanding develops most quickly through personal relationships. In the 1930s, clubs in France and Germany formed the first petit comité, now known as an intercountry committee. These countries were still recovering from a devastating war, but the former adversaries knew that peace, however fragile, was worth keeping. Although a second world war dashed their hopes, these peace-minded Rotarians reconvened in 1950. Since then, Rotarians have formed 250 intercountry committees to promote international friendship and service.

One of the four objects of Rotary is; “The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.”

Rotary’s commitment to peace and the generosity of Rotarians around the world are what make the Rotary Peace Centers program a success. Since 2002, the Rotary Peace Centers have trained over 1,400 Rotary Peace Fellows who are now working as leaders in government, nongovernmental organizations, the military, law enforcement, education, humanitarian assistance, restorative justice, and international governance organizations. In addition to contributing to peace as individuals, these dedicated fellows are part of an expanding global network of Rotary alumni whose influence grows with each graduating class.

Since 2002, The Rotary Foundation established 7 Peace Centres at universities around the world after an extensive selection process. The University of Queensland was one of these 7. The fellowships cover tuition and fees, room and board, round-trip transportation, and all internship and field-study expenses.

The first cohort of Rotary Peace Fellows started their studies in 2003 and since then there has been a cohort of 10 Fellows selected each year from around the world to study a masters degree in peace and conflict resolution at the University of Queensland Rotary Peace Centre.