A note from our World Peace Scholar

I arrived in Bangkok on June 6, 3 days before the program started on June 9th.
There are 16 other Peace Fellows representing every continent, ethnic and racial group.
Amongst t­­he Fellows are a photo-journalist, educators (4), government officials, lawyers (3), police officers (2), conflict mediators, and program administrators working on issues of urban safety (Philadelphia, Mumbai), maternal health (South Sudan), eliminating ethnic (Sri Lanka) and religious violence (Indonesia), and immigrant rights (Australia) to name a few. They are committed, highly intelligent, dedicated individual providing humanitarian assistance in geographic areas that many people don’t even know exists.
The academic program is quite challenging both personally and professionally. We are constantly challenged to clarify, explore and explain our motivation, our thinking and attitudes towards large scale social issues throughout the world. I spend most of my days sitting in class from 9AM to 4PM daily. In the evenings I am reading or writing and working on assignments. My first assignment was to do a conflict analysis using a 3-point model that we have been taught. I wrote about gender bias in policy environment as structural violence and positioned the conflict between genders as an intractable conflict. I got positive feedback and like everyone else will have to make some modifications to my writing.
In addition to class room learning we also have 2 week-long field studies. So far, we have completed the first of the field studies. In early July we traveled to Northern Thailand’s borders with Burma and Laos. While there we visited several NGO’s who are dedicated to preventing the ongoing abduction of children. Destitute parents and refugees will accept work contracts for their children, unknowingly the children are being sold into slavery on fishing boats, sex market and/or domestic work. Other NGO’s are working on documentation of indigenous people (hill tribes) that have been in existence prior to the designation of nation states by the British. These people live in subcultures with self-determination and don’t adhere to nation state laws they are not recognized by Burma or Thailand and are therefore stateless.
As a group we’re learning tremendously. As an individual not only am I learning I am offering my services and resources. For the NGOs that are lacking in funding I’ve begun to network and connect them to funders and philanthropists that I believe may be of help. I can tell you that I’ve cried a great deal particularly when I look into the faces of young girls who at 14 or 16 yrs of age have been rescued from sexual slavery after having been “broken in” through a series of successive days of being raped. Below I have included a link to an article on the life of a young man held against his will on a fishing boat.
The fellowship program assigns each fellow a host counselor from the regional Rotary Clubs. My host counselor’s name is Kannawan from the Silom Rotary Club in Bangkok. Thailand is filled with wonderful Rotarians. They have been very warm and supportive of our initiatives and interests, as we are of theirs. Below please find a picture of Kannawan and my self the annual swearing in of the Silom Rotary Club’s incoming officers.

Similarly, the Chang Mai Rotarians in Northern Thailand were very kind and generous to us. During our time in northern Thailand we were hosted to dinner by the District Governor. We had a wonderful time with them and were proud to sing the Rotary Peace Fellows song and other Eukalali songs. Overall, we had a wonderful time. See the pictures below J
I hope that the Wall Street Rotarians are all doing very well. I thank you for your continued support and for thinking of me.
Stay cool.