Rotarian Selected for Peace Study - February to May 2012

April 17th, 2012 | General »

Millcreek's Joyce Miller is busy packing her bags, but not for a typical spring break.  Rather, she is preparing for an adventure and rigorous course of study in Bangkok, Thailand, as one of 50 Rotary Peace Fellows selected from all over the world.

Miller, 61, who is president emeritus of Keystone Research Corp. and belongs to the Rotary Club of Erie, will attend the Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University from February 16 to May 1. "It is a fellowship awarded through Rotary International.  It provides an opportunity for individuals selected to attend a course of studies in peace and conflict resolution, "Miller said.

Rotary, which is an international volunteer service organization that promotes peace, has six peace centers throughout the world.  The center in Bangkok offers professionals a three-month course.  Another organization in which Miller is active, People-to-People International, holds peace camps for youths from different parts of the world, and Miller hopes her Rotary studies will cross over to the work.  "One of the things I'd hope to do down the road is participate in a peace camp as a faculty member," Miller says.

To be accepted, Miller participated in an intensive selection process, competing against an estimated 600 applicants.  She will join Rotarians from Canada, Brazil, Kenya, Ireland, India, Finland, Australia, Syria, and five Americans on the trip.  Miller is the first person from the Erie region to attend.

As a sociologist and organizational consultant, Miller expects to tain useful skills in her field of work, something she had to substantiate in her application.  "I often have to work with multiple organizations and help them build collaborations," Miller said.  "How to negotiate and mediate among organizations that have to come together is one way this would help me."

While there, the class will visit Nepal and remote areas of the country.  Classes will be six hours a day for 10 weeks, and two days after arriving, students will make a presentation.  "We already have homework," Miller said.  She also will stay in Thailand several days after the fellowship ends to participate in a Rotary world peace conference there.  

"It's a way that the Rotary shows a commitment to its mission of building peace in the world.  It's a big organization within an international footprint, and they can devote a lot of resources to that, Miller said.

To follow Miller's experiences, click here to read her travel blog.

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