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February 23, 2014

Meet the Rotary Peace Fellows – Doyin Ogunyemi

Meet Doyin Ogunyemi, our next Rotary Peace Fellow from Class 12.  Doyin is pursuing a Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution at the University of Bradford, Division of Peace Studies.  This will be a second post-graduate degree for Doyin who already holds a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Lagos in Nigeria.  Her undergraduate degree in Medicine and Surgery was conferred from the University of Ibadan in 2004.

Since completing her first post-graduate degree in 2009, Doyin has practiced as a Public Health physician involved in community health outreach, disaster management, epidemic outbreak response, and research. She is a member of the Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN) and the West African College of Physicians (WACP).

As a serving member of APHPN since 2008, Doyin’s activities include a focus on community-based approaches to peace and conflict resolution, mobilizing communities to promote people-centered approaches to public health issues, building partnerships across sectors and disciplines, collecting science-based information, and sharing experiences. Her academic interests include the relationship between conflict, poverty and health; community-based initiatives for prevention, early detection, and the proactive resolution of conflicts; and resolving conflicts in order to build collaboration.

Doyin’s research interests lay in the implications of conflict in the public health and health care systems, environmental conflict management, and sustainable development. She has a special interest in addressing the community-wide health, social, and economic issues raised by ongoing conflicts that are rooted in the effects of extreme poverty, violence, population displacements, and the collapse of public health services.  Doyin chose to pursue her second postgraduate degree—a Master’s in Conflict Resolution—to support her research in these particular areas.

We asked each Peace Fellow two interview questions.  Here are Doyin’s answers: 

1.   What is your opinion about the prospects of an end to armed conflict in the next 50 years?

While an optimistic approach to life is the best, it is a difficult one to sustain in terms of being able to foretell an end to armed conflict. The era of the ‘security dilemma’ (sometimes called the spiral model) has led to arms racing which is seen by nations as a show of power. The accumulation of arms with the notion to be more secure has the propensity for armed violence to continue for some time (unless properly checked).

2.   What do you believe are the three most important contributing factors to fostering peace within and among nations?

The promotion of social justice and the use of media to speak against social inequities

Global cooperation and bottom to top approaches in governance

The involvement of peace workers in developing strategies for conflict      ‘prevention’ rather than ‘reaction’ across all cadres of the society

Doyin’s choice to use her considerable intellect and passion to improve the lives of Nigerian people is inspirational for anyone who wants to participate in reaching the long-term goal of global peace.  Her contributions do not end at the borders of Nigeria.  Her work demonstrates that wherever your peace building stage is—within the family—the community—the region—or the nation, your work will resonate far beyond that place.  This young peacemaker’s research is invaluable to the improvement of lives around the world, as all nations face the same challenges described in Doyin’s background, particularly in the areas of conflict management and sustainable development.

We hope that Doyin will keep us informed about her progress.  Thank you, Doyin, for all that you have already accomplished and will accomplish in years to come.

Your comments are welcome.  Send them directly to our Managing Editor at:  rebecca.popham@tutufoundationusa.org, or use the “Post a Comment” box below if you prefer.

February 13, 2014

Meet the Rotary Peace Fellows – Frannie Noble

Meet Frannie Noble, our next Rotary Peace Fellow from Class 12.  Frannie attends the University of Bradford in the UK, which is one of the Rotary Peace Centers. As a Peace Fellow in Bradford’s Division of Peace Studies, Frannie is working toward an MA in Peace, Conflict and Development. Her particular area of interest is children’s rights.

Frannie’s interest in children’s rights grew out of work and study in West Africa. While living in Bamako, Mali, she interned with the Coalition of African NGOs Working with Children, and volunteered at a state run orphanage in the capital.

Following university, Frannie traveled through Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania to better understand care systems for orphaned and abandoned children with a particular interest in learning how children’s programs worked with local governments.

In 2010 Frannie began work in Nairobi, Kenya, to establish and run Oasis, an outreach program of Flying Kites, Inc. The program worked to unite local children’s homes and offer professional training to orphanage staff.

Frannie is interested in project management, in particular programs that support the needs of children and families in conflict.

We asked each Peace Fellow two interview questions.  Here are Frannie’s answers: 

1.   What is your opinion about the prospects of an end to armed conflict in  the next 50 years?

I believe the efforts to reduce arms and to end violent conflict are appropriate and necessary, but a complete end to armed conflict is an incredibly complex challenge. While I do not believe that we will see a complete end to armed conflict in the next 50 years, I do believe that an increased awareness of different types of violence, examples including domestic violence, structural violence, environmental degradation, and violence towards women, is helping to change the way countries and people work to improve the quality of life for individuals. Even more so, a greater respect for local participation and solidarity in solving conflicts and decreasing violence can and should be used to contribute to greater peacebuilding efforts.

2.   What do you believe are the three most important contributing factors  to fostering peace within and among nations?

Local ownership, involvement and partnership in development and peace building projects.  

An end to the use of root causes of conflict as an explanation for violence. When we simplify conflict into compartmentalized and often stagnant “root causes” it diminishes how we think about the individuals involved in the conflict and limits our ability to respond in a dynamic manner. 

A change in the selection process and appointments of leaders to international organizations like the IMF and World Bank to better represent the populations they serve.  

Your comments are welcome.  Send them directly to our Managing Editor at:  rebecca.popham@tutufoundationusa.org, or use the “Post a Comment” box below if you prefer.

February 12, 2014

The Gifts of African American Innovation

African Americans have been prolific inventors, providing a multitude of gifts to the nation that once enslaved them.  Many of these inventions have had a wide and long-lasting impact and now form a part of our everyday lives.

George Washington Carver

Best known among African American inventors is George Washington Carver.  During his career, Dr. Carver researched and developed more than 300 uses for peanuts including chili sauce, shampoo, shaving cream, and glue.

In 1916, he published the research bulletin, How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it For Human Consumption. At the time, the boll weevil had destroyed Alabama’s cotton crop and many farmers had turned to peanuts as a cash crop. Cotton oil mills were converted to produce peanut oil. Livestock could eat the peanut plant and sharecroppers could feed their families on crops that weren’t sold. It is not overstating matters to say that Dr. Carver and the peanut helped save the economy of the South.

Alfred L. Cralle

Alfred L. Cralle’s name is perhaps lesser known, but as an African American inventor, he developed and patented the first ice cream scoop, something very familiar to ice cream lovers everywhere.  Even though ice cream has been around for centuries and no one can be specifically credited with its invention, thanks to Alfred Cralle, getting the frozen dessert out of the container became much easier.  Alfred L. Cralle was born September 4, 1866 in Kenbridge, Virginia and attended schools in his community. He showed an early interest in how things worked. After Cralle finished his schooling and worked for a time in his father’s carpentry business, he moved to Pittsburgh, PA where he worked in the Markell Brothers drugstore and for the St. Charles Hotel. Cralle noticed that while ice cream had become a popular dessert, it was a big problem to serve, sticking to spoons and ladles. Often it required two sets of hands and multiple implements to get it from the container to the serving dish.  It could be a monumental mess!

His first ice cream scoop looked like a wooden stick with a metal cone on top. Originally known as an ice cream mold and disher, it was designed to keep the ice cream from sticking and be easy to use with one hand. He experimented with scoops using various inexpensive materials for the cone, the part that held the ice cream when it was scooped from the container. This strong, inexpensive, and effective device allowed ice cream to be served faster and more hygienically.  Today the ice cream scoop is a common household utensil and its invention did much to make ice cream a popular dessert around the world.

A History of Innovation

The successes of men such as Carver and Cralle did much to dispel demeaning characterizations used to stereotype African Americans following the end of the Civil War.  Their tenacity in the realms of science and business inspired others to break down barriers for African Americans in the arts, sports, and politics.  A society gains strength in part from its ability to innovate and adapt.  The long tradition of African American innovation has contributed in a significant way to the growth of our modern economy.

February 4, 2014

Meet the Rotary Peace Fellows – Sana Saeed

Sana Saeed is a Peace Fellow based out of the International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo, Japan. ICU is one of the International Peace  Centers around the world supported by Rotary.

Sada’s experience includes working at the Interfaith Alliance as the Program Coordinator of Leadership Education Advancing Democracy and Diversity (LEADD).  This national program for high-school age youth promotes active citizenship in a multi-faith society.

As Director of Youth Programs at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, VA, (UUCA), Sana gained in-depth experience and developed her skills to effectively work with youth by managing social justice, spiritual, and education programs for 300 high-school and middle-school youth. While at UUCA, Sana also served as a consulting Program Manager for the Interfaith Youth Action Group (IYAG), a pilot initiative in the Washington, D.C., area that builds on previous efforts by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s Faiths Act Fellows. It aims to empower high school students from diverse backgrounds to become leaders in interfaith dialogue and service, guiding them to create their own year-long community service initiatives with both a local and global expression, using the United Nations Millennium Development Goals as their platform.

Sana extensive experience also includes working in the role of Campus Program Coordinator for the American Islamic Congress (AIC) with a focus on Project Nur, an initiative to create multicultural and interfaith student groups on U.S. college campuses. Her work with the AIC was highlighted in an article Sana co-authored about the impact of Project Nur on Muslim students in Washington D.C. and Boston, MA.

Early in her career, Sana worked as a Program Associate for Clergy Beyond Borders, an organization that aims to build bridges between clergy of different faiths and train them to promote religious pluralism. At the same time, she was also a Graduate Research Assistant for the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University in Virginia. In 2008, she completed her M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University.

Sana’s recent accomplishments include co-authoring a national high-school curriculum on introducing the concepts of anti-racism and social justice to teens called, Building a Beloved Community with the Unitarian Universalist Association, for whom she is a member of the national Youth Ministry Advisory Committee (YMAC). In June 2012 she was elected to be an at large Board member of the InterFaith Conference of the Metropolitan Washington, D.C.

1.  What is your opinion about the prospects of an end to armed conflict in the next    50 years?

I’d like to think that in the next 50 years there would be an end to armed conflict, but history shows that humans have used armed conflict for thousands of years. I think priorities of peace makers should focus on creating more understanding to foster pluralism, dialogue to prevent misunderstandings, access to peace education as a way to begin addressing the use of arms in conflict, and also to grapple with societies in the midst of armed conflict. I believe these elements and more need to become more accessible to, and include input from, the people on the ground (local communities) who are caught in the midst of armed conflict, as a way to begin addressing the growth of peace.

2.   What do you believe are the three most important contributing factors to     fostering peace within and among nations?

I believe interfaith dialogue, education, and inclusivity are essential to fostering peace. By inclusivity I mean making sure the voice at the grassroots level and in local communities impacted by conflict, trauma, and violence is prevalent in the peace process, including peace talks, as national conversations around peace often represent only a certain set of voices with access to the conversation.

Your comments are welcome.  Send them directly to our Managing Editor at:  rebecca.popham@tutufoundationusa.org, or use the “Post a Comment” box below if you prefer.