Posted by Patrick Adizua

A Goal of World Peace, Goodwill, and Understanding 

For years dedicated Rotarians hoped for a Rotary-sponsored academy promoting world peace, goodwill, and understanding. The concept was proposed in 1996 as the Paul Harris Centers for International Studies to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Rotary founder Paul Harris. Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Raja Saboo led a committee that recommended the creation of Rotary Centers at educational institutions worldwide where Rotary Fellows would obtain a graduate degree in international relations, conflict resolution, and peace studies.

Over a two-year period, a Trustee-appointed committee of Rotarians with expertise in higher education developed a conceptual plan for the Rotary Centers. In April 1999, the Trustees approved the plan, and the Paul Harris Centers concept officially became known as the Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution.

The Rotary Centers Committee considered more than 100 universities to host the Rotary Centers. The eight universities recommended to The Rotary Foundation Trustees were selected using specific criteria, including geographic diversity, superior curriculum, faculty, and program costs. Elements critical in the final selection were the universities' willingness to participate in this effort and the Foundation requirement that they have established degree programs with a core curriculum in international relations, peace, and conflict resolution.

These Rotary Centers University Partners were selected:

International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan
University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
University of Bradford, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England
Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
University of California-Berkeley, California, USA
Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Efforts to achieve national and international peace continue to be thwarted by war, famine, poverty, and disease around the world. The Rotary Centers for International Studies program is a major educational priority of the Rotary Foundation and a bold and critical step in the Foundation's commitment to world peace, goodwill, and understanding. The Rotary Centers will provide future leaders with opportunities to study the root causes of conflict, theories of international relations, and effective models of cooperation. Beyond academics, Rotary Scholars will gain practical tools in conflict resolution for use in their chosen careers.