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Scholarship for peace

Don Rogers
Vail CO, Colorado

The Rotary Club can help you save the world. And you don’t even have to join the international community service group.

The club aims to foster goodwill and peace among nations ” or at least their people ” through graduate studies abroad.

I mention this because a deadline looms. Applications are due March 31.

Rotary offers three scholarships for professionals 20 to 40 years old. The Cultural Ambassadorial Scholarship funds a three-month study; the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship is for a year; and the World Peace Scholarship is for a master’s program in conflict resolution. Rotary is offering 1,000 such scholarships for studies in 160 countries.

I get a kick out of these programs in part for the sweet irony that Rotary’s image, at least to me, tilts toward Republican businessman and woman. I had not thought of Rotarians as world-peace-study types.

But it’s true. These supposedly uptight, high-powered business types do all sorts of things you’d think were safely in the province of sandaled, lefty, fuzzy-headed do-gooders.

Rotary organizes such efforts as dentist and doctor trips into the world’s poorest, most remote corners. The group took the lead in the international effort to eradicate polio. The local chapters help with funding, and people like retired dentist Eddie Blender of Edwards are among those who go on those trips ” with those 15-hour or more work days to take care of as many patients as they can while out in the field.

The Lions Club works similar magic from this valley, too. And you know we must have a gazillion other community service groups and foundations, too.

But I belong to the Rotary Club chapter in Eagle, so I’m no doubt biased. That and the main reason for writing about Rotary today, the scholarships with their application deadline fast approaching.

I might just be the very worst member of my club. I make few of the weekly morning meetings. Between the time crunch that already makes me late after dropping off my daughter at school and my now-routine early-week panic at the workload, I find myself racing to the office instead of Eagle’s Alpine Bank branch, where the group meets.

So is it guilt that gets me to volunteer each year to help interview prospects for these scholarships or that chance to meet people with who truly want to make a difference?

Probably a little of both. I enjoy the experience and feel a bit more inspired seeing some of the good in the world, particularly after a long work week of dealing with people who can be frankly pretty politicized and self-serving.

Some would joke that I could use some extra studies in conflict resolution. But I’m not eligible. You can’t be a member or the child or spouse of a member. I’m also a little older than I think the Rotary is looking for, holding firmly here at age 29 and edging into that biological miracle for having children so close to my stated age.

Ah well. Enough flippance from me. Seriously, in this period of U.S. history and currently heavy-handed reputation, we could use a few scholars of peace and goodwill ambassadors out there. Maybe one of those just happens to be you.

If so, please consider applying.

The best way to check this out might be to simply e-mail Mel Preusser at melpreusser@comcast.net. The retired school district superintendent is leading the local committee that will interview candidates in April.

Also, here’s a Web site that explains the programs in general: http://www.studyabroad.com/forum/rotary/rotary.html.

This just might be your ticket to helping all of us in profound ways. Think about it.

Managing Editor Don Rogers can be reached at 748-2920, or editor@vaildaily.com. Read his blog at http://www.vaildaily.com/section/BLOG.


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