) - Amid daily headlines of war, suicide bombings, ethnic and religious violence, and social unrest emerges some exciting positive news: Hiroyoshi "Hiro" Hiratsuka from Conway, SC has been selected as one of Rotary's World Peace Fellows to study peacemaking and conflict resolution at International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan.
Hiro is the first Rotary World Peace Fellow sponsored by Rotary District 7770 and the first in South Carolina. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Conway, Hiro will start his peace fellowship in September 2008 to pursue a rigorous two year program leading to a master's degree in Peace Studies.
"Since my first international experience at age 14, my commitment as a global citizen has always been, through educational exchanges, to confront the core issue of today's global world.culture of violence and conflict. I am honored that the fellowship gives me an opportunity to contribute to addressing this essential issue," says Hiratsuka. "Personally, I can finally fulfill my pledge to my grandparents to not repeat the atrocities of the past and work toward world peace."
Hiro plans to be involved in post-conflict community projects sponsored by the United Nations and other international organizations. Eventually, Hiro would like to return to international education and to incorporate his field experience into teaching at the university level.
Hiro is a native of Chiba, Japan who earned a BA in International Studies at Ramapo College of New Jersey and a MA in International education from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT. Since 2005 he has served as International Programs Coordinator and Lecturer in Japanese Language at CoastalCarolinaUniversity (Conway, SC). His prior professional experiences include International Internship Coordinator at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany and Group Leader of Freeman Asia Japan Teacher Training at Experiment in International Living in VT.
Course work at the Rotary Centers focuses on preventing and resolving conflict by addressing its root causes ? for example, responding to hunger with food security, disease with health care, illiteracy with education, and poverty with sustainable development. A key component of the program is a degree-related internship or an applied field study which will allow Hiro to put his classroom lessons into practice.
Launched in 2002, this innovative approach to world peace is a graduate-level program aimed at equipping the next generation of government officials, diplomats and humanitarian leaders with skills needed to reduce the threat of war and violence. The Rotary World Peace Fellows are selected every year in a globally competitive process based on their professional, academic and personal achievements. Like the members of the classes preceding them, the 60 students in the 2008-11 class are a diverse group, representing 33 countries and an array of professional and cultural backgrounds.
The six Rotary Centers are located on the campuses of leading universities in five countries: University of Bradford, England; University of Queensland, Australia; International Christian University, Japan; Universidad del Salvador, Argentina; University of California, Berkeley; and -in a shared arrangement- Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
District 7770 Governor, Mary Martin says "This is a first for our district and the State of South Carolina and represents a fantastic opportunity for Hiro. I congratulate the Rotary Club of Conway for sponsoring such an outstanding candidate who will now join some sixty other Rotary World Peace Fellows throughout our world dedicated to world peace and understanding." Rotary Foundation Chair Bob Scott notes that 225 RotaryCenter alumni already are making a difference in key decision making positions in governments and organizations around the world. "It is this growing global network of participants, increasing by 60 every year, that makes us believe that peace
possible,"Scott says. "It's not a dream -- it is reality."