Peace Building in District 5495

As the D5495 Peace Fellowship Chair, my task and our committee's task is to annually seek humanitarian peacebuilders who wish to apply for one of the 50 fully-funded Master's Degree Fellowships or 80 Professional Development Certificate Fellowships as selected by the Rotary Peace Centers from applicants throughout the world. 
 
On November 1, 2021, D5495 was proud to have two Fellows selected for the Master's Degree program.  One of these selections is Mustafa Rezaie, from Afghanistan, who was awarded a Fellowship to Duke University to start this fall of 2022.  That was great news.  The bad news was at the time of this announcement it was already extremely difficult, if not impossible, to depart Afghanistan.
 
Mustafa was introduced to us by the Rotary Peace Centers, who asked D5495 to vet his application.  We were pleased to do this, and it validated for D5495 that the Peace Centers trusted us.  I first met Mustafa via Zoom in April 2021, and we have since had at least 100 communications (Zoom and emails in the early days, and mostly WhatsApp since the Taliban took over).  
 
These last 10 months - and especially the last four months - have been a roller-coaster of mixed emotions for those of us involved with trying to help Mustafa and his family depart Afghanistan.  I am pleased to share with you that on Feb. 21, Mustafa, with his wife and two young daughters, arrived safely to Islamabad, Pakistan.   
 
This amazing collaborative effort is the result of work of Rotarians in Pakistan, staff at the Rotary Peace Centers, Fellowship alumni, Duke University, and others over many months after failing to get help through our State Department, USAID, and our two Arizona state senators offices.  It has been an honor to be but a small part of it.  Their next steps are for them to secure visas to come to the USA.
 
***
 
However, steep challenges still remain for Mustafa and his family as they attempt to leave Pakistan for their final destination in the United States. There is an urgent need to raise funds for the family as they attempt to secure visas.
 
I would like to raise at least $5,000 from D5495 Rotarians (and others if they want to help) to assist the family while they are in Pakistan, as well as provide airfare to the USA once they secure their visas.  Due to the visa process, we do not know at this time how long the family will be in Islamabad.  (Mustafa's airfare would be paid for by the Peace Centers). 
 
I have been told it will cost $800 per month for them to stay in Islamabad.  Currently, Islamabad Rotarians are helping them, and I expect Rotarians there to also contribute funds. Once the family arrives in North Carolina, we have already had positive communication with Rotarians in Durham, N.C., where Duke is, to also help the family.  We have also requested the Peace Centers provide some help from their discretionary fund if they can.
 
Current D3272 DG Saifullah Ejaz in Pakistan is supportive of this cause, as are D3272's DGE and DGN, and other key Rotarian leadership in Pakistan and especially in Islamabad. Even Rotary International President-Elect Jennifer Jones is aware of Mustafa's situation. I feel we have done our due diligence and follow-up to make the following request.
 
 
REQUEST:
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I have secured approval from the Phoenix Rotary Club Charities (PRCC), a separate 501(c)(3), of Phoenix Rotary 100 to accept restricted donations from anyone to raise the $5,000 goal mentioned above.  A letter from our PRCC would go to every contributor. The contributions are to be specified for "Peace Fellowship Support. The funds would eventually be sent by the PRCC to D3272 in Pakistan as Peace Fellowship Support for Mustafa and his family.  
 
The funds would be used as needed for their housing, food, and general well-care while there
 
To help Mustafa and his family, contributions can be made directly to PRCC:
 
Checks to be made out to either "Phoenix Rotary Club Charities" or "PRCC."  The memo on Check should read "Peace Fellowship Support."
 
Mail check to:  PRCC
                         501 East Osborn Road
                         Phoenix, AZ  85012
 
Peace and regards,
 
Tony Cerato
D5495 Peace Fellowship Subcommittee Chair
Phoenix Rotary 100
Rotary Statement on Ukraine
A message from Director Vicki Puliz
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In response to the tragic events occurring in Ukraine, please see the official statement from Rotary International below. I know you are getting many questions from members about how they can help, because that is how Rotarians respond to crisis and disasters when other people are in need.  
 
The events in Ukraine are changing rapidly. General Secretary John Hewko, Director Katerina Kotsali-Papadimitriou, and other European Rotary Senior Leadership are working closely with Rotary leaders in Ukraine to monitor and provide substantial humanitarian assistance in a coordinated, effective way. They thank you for your support and desire to help, and will be back to us soon with action we can take.
 
Official Statement from Rotary International:
 
It is a tragic and sad time for the people of Ukraine and the world. 
 
At Rotary, we are deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in Ukraine and the escalating loss of life and humanitarian hardship there.  Continued military action against Ukraine will not only devastate the region, but also risk spreading tragic consequences across Europe and the world.
 
As one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations, we have made peace the cornerstone of our global mission.  We join the international community in calling for an immediate cease fire, withdrawal of Russian forces, and a restoration of diplomatic efforts to resolve this conflict through dialogue. 
 
In the past decade, Rotary clubs in Ukraine, Russia and nearby countries have transcended national differences and have actively engaged in peace-building projects to promote goodwill and to marshal assistance for the victims of war and violence. Today, our thoughts are with our fellow Rotary members and others in Ukraine coping with these tragic events. Rotary International will do everything in its power to bring aid, support and peace to the region. 
Hello D5495 Leaders,
 
Annually, February 1 – May 15 marks the Rotary Peace Fellowship Program application process for the 2023-24 academic year.  This highly competitive and extraordinary program provides up to 50 Master’s Degrees and 80 Professional Certificate opportunities to deserving peacebuilders from all over the world.
 
This is a fully-funded program by The Rotary Peace Centers within The Rotary Foundation.  There is $0 cost to your club or our District.  
 
This past year D5495 was honored to have two of our applicants awarded Master’s degree opportunities for this coming 2022-23 year.  Thanks to those of you who know and support this program. We want more D5495 Rotarians to know about it and share it with others. We are asking your help to promote the Rotary Peace Fellowship Program.
 
Please go to the D5495 website “Resources” tab at the top of the page and click on “Peacebuilding Resources”. Then scroll down to “Peace Fellowships/Peace Centers and you will find 6 items to learn about both the Master’s and Certificate programs, the Role of the Rotary Club, qualification criteria, and more.
 
Within our own communities here in Arizona there are so many peacebuilders doing amazing work to keep us safe, healthy, educated, and well looked after.  Many of these individuals are candidates for this Certificate.  We would like your clubs to promote the Professional Certificate program locally.  Please see the attached flyer. 
 
We have a dedicated committee to assist your clubs with the application process.  We can also provide a short program on this for your clubs.  And we are available to answer any questions.
 
 
Peace and regards,
Tony Cerato
D5495 Peace Fellowship Subcommittee Chair
Phone:  719-351-6616
The two Rotary Clubs in Peoria -- Rotary Club of Peoria and Rotary Club of Peoria North -- collaborated to install several Peace Poles and a "Be Kind" bench at Rio Vista Community Park in Peoria.
 
Rio Vista Community Park is located North of Thunderbird Road and one-quarter mile west of the Loop 101 Agua Fria freeway.
 
For more Rotary "Landmarks" to be found throughout Arizona, visit the "Rotary Landmarks" photo album.
 
 
Members of the Peoria North Rotary Club on Saturday, Nov. 6, installed a peace pole at a community garden operated by Heart for the City. The garden is located at 6850 W. Bethany Home Road in Glendale.
 
Club members initially volunteered to clean up the garden in April 2021 during the Arizona Rotary Week of Service: weeding, composting, and building garden structures.
 
Club members in the photo at left: Donnis Deever, Jason Braunstein, Steve Matthews, Lou Rotundo and Club President Sharee Sheets.
 
The City of Peoria was recognized as the 334th city in the world to be designated as an International City of Peace, thanks in large part to the efforts of Past District Governor Chuck Fitzgerald and members of the Rotary Club of Peoria.
 
PDG Chuck and Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat asked three community leaders to endorse the City of Peace application. The Peoria Diamond Club was honored to do so, along with the Peoria Chamber of Commerce and the Peoria Unified School District.
 
Mayor Carlat read a proclamation announcing the city’s designation as an International City of Peace during a recent Peoria City Council meeting. The proclamation read, in part:
 
“We welcome the citizens of Peoria, Arizona who have established their community by Proclamation and continuous peacebuilding as an International City of Peace. Liaison Chuck Fitzgerald is active in many nonprofit organizations as well as serving as Sergeant at Arms for the Arizona House of Representatives. He is a long time Rotarian and countless volunteers, such as Chuck, are involved in community projects.”
 
The Rotary Club of Peoria installed a Peace Pole several years ago at Centennial High School and is in the process of installing a second one at a Peoria park.
 
 
VISION
The City of Peoria is a community where conditions allow for each of our citizens to reach their fullest potential; we are a community known for its acts of service and compassion, and its depth of gratitude.
 
MISSION
To create a society that is caring, compassionate, respectful, inclusive and equipped to serve its citizens, the surrounding communities, and the world.
 
GOALS
  • • To develop stronger systems of care and compassion
  • • To consistently launch children and youth into their fullest potential
  • • To build a thriving business, entertainment, and employment infrastructure
  • • To achieve better performance on environment stewardship
  • • To achieve high levels of resilience and adaptability
  • • To create space to explore peace through educational programs and community events
  • • To continually strengthen the importance and reputation of the Peoria Peace Initiative
  •  
In a photograph taken during the city council meeting: From left, are Peoria Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Jason Reynolds, City of Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat, ICoP Liaison Chuck Fitzgerald, Peoria Diamond Club’s General Manager Roz Shanley, Peoria Chamber of Commerce President Scot Andrews, and Retired Peoria Police Officer Bill Weight (front). The artistic Peace Pole was a gift to the City Council and will remain in the Council Chambers as a visible reminder to all that peace is possible!
 
 
Our D5495 Peace Fellowship Committee has endorsed 3 candidates for fully-funded studies in 2022-2023 through The Rotary Foundation Peace Center
 
Kateryna Mashchenko, Ukraine, Protection Project Manager for the Danish Refugee Council. With 6+ years of peace-related work experience, Kateryna ensures full respect for the rights of the individual in accordance with human rights law as well as international humanitarian law. Since the Russian invasion of the Ukraine in 2014, more than 2 million Ukrainians have been displaced.
 
Tetiana Shymanchuk, Ukraine, co-developed the first Victim Assistance program in the Ukraine for child survivors of explosive ordnance, which was later adopted by the Ukraine government. Her 5+ years of peace-related work experience includes leading a Danish Refugee Council Protection Program focused on early recovery, development assistance, and social protection of vulnerable populations in the Ukraine. 
 
Mustafa Rezaie, Afghanistan, has10+ years of peace- related work experience in war-torn Afghanistan.  Currently he oversees the Afghan Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development.  As AME Manager, he provides emergency response mechanisms to internally displaced persons, raises awareness of human rights, and empowers women and youth to have a stronger voice in Afghanistan. 
 
* All D5495 Rotary clubs and members are encouraged to seek potential Master’s Degree and Certificate applicants for 2023-24.  Take action by sharing this opportunity with your own networks, both in Arizona and outside of your own area! There’s a good chance that your own contacts know of potential qualified applicants out there.   There is $0 cost to the club or D5495.  
Contact Tony Cerato tcerato@aol.com  (719-351-6616) for more details or a short club program.
 
Each year a fellow D5495 Rotarian who has demonstrated an “an enduring commitment to PEACE” is selected by a volunteer committee comprised of Peacebuilders Network members.  Peace is the very 1st on the list of Rotary’s 7 Areas of Focus.  The other 6 Areas of Focus can be likened to a first step toward Peace, because they address conditions that can make Peace possible. 
 
Tony Cerato is well-respected for his tireless commitment to Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution.  As our Peace Fellowships Chair in 2020-21, he led the marketing and selection process in which D5495 successfully endorsed 3 candidates for fellowships.  He is an active member of the Peacebuilders Network.  His participation in Rotary service projects provides Inner Peace—like Peace of Mind, comfort and hope.  
 
Fellow Rotarians say that Tony:   
  • has a keen ability to mobilize others around programs and initiatives 
  • delivers presentations at conferences, club meetings and Zoom calls
  • is always there to lend a hand, and is a key volunteer at the Peacebuilders Network booth at conferences and events
  • has a long track record of support for the Rotary Foundation & Rotary Peace Centers
  • has led efforts to educate us about Peace Fellowships since 2018
  • is there if a Peace thing is going on --- and he is financially supporting it! 
  • ‘You’d only have to spend 5 minutes with him to recognize his enthusiasm and commitment to Peace.’
Congratulations, Tony!