On Monday, Ms Sandra Fong of the Citizens Constitutional Forum joined RC Suva East to tell us about her experience as a Rotary Peace Scholar at the University of Bradford in the UK from 2012-2013. Sandra was sponsored by RC Suva Peninsula Sunset to attend a one-year Masters Programme in Conflict and Peace Resolution through the Rotary Peace Fellowship programme.
Each year, Rotary selects individuals from around the world to receive fully funded academic fellowships at one of our peace centers. These fellowships cover tuition and fees, room and board, round-trip transportation, and all internship/field study expenses. Peace fellows can either pursue a Masters Degree at one of 5 recognized Universities specializing in Peace Studies around the world, or a Professional Development Certificate through a 3-month programme at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.
Sandra was driven to apply for a Masters Degree, and selected the University of Bradford in the UK, as this institution is known for its expertise in conflict and peace resolution studies.
Speaking passionately and articulately about her Masters Degree, Sandra emphasized how the support and opportunities she received as a Rotary Fellow had enhanced her experience. She and the 11 other Peace Fellows formed a very international and tightly bonded group. Rotary host families helped introduce them to Bradford and the UK, and together they shared weekly meals, outings and experiences. They also received stipends to gain applied field experience during semester break. Sandra took this opportunity to work for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Nairobi, Kenya.
“I would definitely recommend this programme to others,” said Sandra. She has already applied her studies to her work at the CCF, in pursuing more peaceful strategies of advocacy.
Sandra first heard about the Rotary Peace Scholar programme through her friend, Fiji’s first Rotary Peace Scholar, Mr Peter Emberson, when she was working at the Peace-building NGO Dialogue Fiji.