The 2012 Rotary World Peace Fellows will graduate on July 17.
The 2012 Rotary World Peace Fellows will graduate on July 17.
25 June 2012

A soccer coach pursuing peace education through sport, a coffee fanatic from Kansas, and a “cowboy” with a passion for humanitarian work are among the peace graduates from UQ this July.

The ninth cohort of Rotary World Peace Fellows will graduate at a ceremony at The University of Queensland St Lucia campus on July 17 with a Masters of International Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution.

Dr Marianne Hanson, Director of UQ’s Rotary Centre for International Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution, said the graduates represented the next generation of diplomats and peace builders.

“Addressing conflicts and seeking peaceful change is not just a noble aspiration for these Fellows, it’s something they are actively pursuing every day of their lives.

“Many of the students have worked in conflict zones themselves, so they have an interest in contributing to conflict resolution and peace building efforts”, Dr Hanson said.

This year's graduating class included students from Canada, Ethiopia, Japan, Somalia and Iceland, and their professional backgrounds include human rights monitoring, teaching, journalism and authoring two best-selling knitting books.

Rotary Peace Fellow James Abraham said the program allowed like-minded people from around the world to connect with the common goal to make a positive and peaceful change to the world.

“I feel myself and the other Peace Fellows were already pursuing great career paths, but UQ and Rotary International have helped catapult us to reach our goals more forcefully, more rapidly, and more enriched in life”.

Students enrolled in the program undertake theory-based and practice-based courses in a diverse range of subjects, including peacekeeping, mediation and post-conflict reconstruction.

Dr Hanson said the degree has been developed to inspire and train future leaders.

“The unique offering of knowledge, complemented with a required on-the-ground field placement, provides students the skills for a practical approach to addressing international and regional conflicts.

“Many of our past Fellows are making world-changing decisions, from influencing national policy for the poor in Cambodia to being a legal advisor for the UN Commission of Inquiry into atrocities committed in Syria.”

The University of Queensland is the sole Australian university and one of only six worldwide selected to host a Rotary Centre for International Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution.

Media: Dr Marianne Hanson (School of Political Science and International Studies) 3365 3112, or Helen Burdon (Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences) 3346 9279,


James Abraham – A New Yorker seeking to narrow the divide between western life, and that of his family back home in India

Abdikheir Ahmed – Immigrated to Canada as a refugee and helped form Environmentalist Sans Frontiers with his Kenyan college classmates.

David Burgener – Exploring the concept of peace education through sport and transferred to Australia from Japan after the tsunami.

Pantea Beigi – Laureate liaison who helped protect human rights lawyer and clients during 2008 attacks on human rights workers in Iran

Cody Griggers – Self-confessed cowboy with a passion for peace agreements, seeking to break the humanitarian stereotype

Lucinda Garrido – Victoria-born mediator whose current studies focus on the impact of the War on Terror on Pakistani relationships

Summer Lewis – Passionate about coffee, Summer hopes to help small-scale farmers improve livelihoods by connecting them with fair trade

Melanie Moore – Human rights advocate, passionate about community justice and reconciliation.

Maki Mizuno-Shaw – A teacher interested in education in developing countries with a view to peace

Erla Sigurdardottir – Icelandic social anthropologist who has worked with UNICEF in Suva and published two best-selling knitting books

Luladay Aragaw Truneh – Ethiopia-born Luladay has worked on The Protection Project, a human rights and human trafficking research institute.