Rotary Peace Fellow Internships

Peace and Sustainable Development

2021- 2022 (March – April)

Common Core collaborated with the Rotary Peace Centre at Chulalongkorn University by placing HKU undergraduates with international Rotary Peace Fellows in online, part-time, volunteer internships from March to April 2022, working on projects related to real-world peace and conflict situations. Through a working mentorship involving research and advocacy activities, students developed transdisciplinary and collaborative competencies to confront ill-defined sustainability problems.

Social Change Initiative 1: Equality promotion for women in Palestine (with Ms Suheir Freitekh, Palestine)

Suheir’s project focuses on finding solutions to ease the difficulties women of Palestine live under due to women’s self-esteem and leadership issues in Palestinian society. Firstly, the major challenge is the cultural norms that restrict women to remaining in the traditional female professional roles and a lack of space for development. The second challenge is the lack of role models for young girls to aspire towards, given the limited opportunities given to women to access leadership roles and the lack of a business enabling environment to support female workers and entrepreneurs. Access to loans and funds are difficult for women due to their inability to provide collaterals and guarantees since women lack control over financial resources and land ownership, and most of the funding projects for the development of women entrepreneurs focus on livelihood initiatives rather than empowering potential women leaders and creating leaders of change in Palestinian society. Interns will be working on designing strategies and policies to help NGOs in the region around these issues, and creating fundraising and other economic initiatives to empower affected women.


Ms Suheir Freitekh is based in Jerusalem and Ramallah. She holds a Master’s degree in International Studies around Peace and Conflict Resolution and is completing another Master’s in Peace and Conflict Management. Suheir has a background in international relations and political journalism, with over 10 years of experience working with Internation Crisis Group, Palestinian NGOs and government entities.

Social Change Initiative 2: Connecting global youth environmental projects (with Dr Michael Chew, Australia)

Michael’s project is focused on building a global online environmental youth leadership program called ‘Stories for Change’ to bring together a global, thriving community of youth environmental changemakers, showcasing the grassroots projects that these youth are leading, and developing supportive online communities of practice which will drive learning, leadership, and impact through environmental storytelling. The program will operate on a peer-to-peer model, where participants learn from each other’s experiences around the world and are supported to expand their own local environmental projects/campaigns while deepening their awareness of global connections and opportunities. Interns will be working to develop and run a global online environmental storytelling competition that will form a core part of gathering and showcasing positive stories of environmental change throughout the world.  Interns will grow their international networks, have opportunities to meet other environmentally-minded youth from around the world, and gain experience in global collaboration for environmental change. They will also implement environmental awareness and advocacy campaigns and activities.

Dr Michael Chew is based out of Melbourne, Australia, and is a participatory action researcher, photographer, and environmentalist, exploring creativity in social change. His approach draws from interdisciplinary perspectives of participatory design, mathematical physics, social theory, art photography, and social ecology.  Michael co-founded grassroots NGOs Friends of Kolkata and Friends of Bangladesh and has run participatory storytelling projects across Asia. He holds a PhD from Monash University in design-based action research, using participatory photography to inspire youth environmental behaviour change across cities in Bangladesh, China, and Australia.

Social Change Initiative 3: Climate Change Games for Change (Mr Torran Anderson, United States of America)

Torran’s project involves using games, play, and immersive experiences to enhance environmental education and peacebuilding, building awareness and momentum for action to address our most serious challenges like climate change. Torran hopes his research will culminate in a climate change game to broaden the way we teach and communicate about climate change. Interns will conduct research around educational game design, collect data by playing different types of games, and provide feedback, analysis, and critique, and input in the creation of a new educational game. 

Mr Torran Anderson is based out of Arizona, USA and has over twenty-five years of experience in environmental education and has a Master’s degree in Education. Torran works at the Institute for Energy Solutions at the University of Arizona and as the artist-in-residence at the Environmental Education Exchange where he uses storytelling and games to address environmental issues. He has published over fifty books and created the environmental story app, “Earth Day Carol,” which tells the story of a Plastic Bottle Scrooge visited by the Ghost of Plastic Past, the Ghost of Plastic Present, and the Ghost of Plastic Future. He has worked on social justice programs as the Director of the Legacy of Japanese Incarceration Project and works with Indigenous communities on environmental issues and climate change education. As a Rotary Peace Fellow, he is exploring how to use games to teach about climate change.

Social Change Initiative 4: Women’s rights to land in Uganda (Mr Ocen Ivan Kenneth, Uganda)

Ivan is based in Uganda and is focused on gender inequality in relation to land ownership and access. For individuals and households, land ownership translates to a secure place to live, means to earn a livelihood, and the ability to mitigate the economic and social risks associated with natural disasters, disease, and economic shocks. In Uganda, although women are responsible for between 60 and 80 percent of food production, women rarely own the land they are working on, have tenure security or control over the land. Interns will research and design strategies for rural women around land mediation, conflict resolution, and land ownership advocacy. Additionally, interns will support activities related to raising aware, building the capacity of local women, network building with land rights actors, and organising resources to support women in their pursuit for land justice.

Mr Ocen Ivan Kenneth is based out of Lira, Uganda and is the Global Peace Ambassador for Uganda, Founder and Executive Director at Foundation for Development and Relief Africa (FIDRA), and the Human Rights, Peace and the Brain Center in Uganda. Ivan was among two Africans selected for the 2021 Rotary Peace Fellowship Program. With over 10 years of experience in project management and rights advocacy, Ivan is interested in youth issues, mental health advocacy, social-economic empowerment of local communities in less developed countries, and gender-related challenges. Ivan is interested in using the methodology of theatre and storytelling for people to share their personal stories of trauma, and build resilience and avenues for healing and empowering individuals in leading and fostering peace in their own communities.

If you have any questions, please contact the project coordinator Dr Jack Tsao ( @ the Common Core.

About Rotary Peace Centre, Chulalongkorn University

The Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University is a collaborative effort of the Rotary Foundation and Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok Thailand.

The spike in conflicts around the world has underscored the need for professionals skilled in creating peace. Rotary created the Rotary Peace Centers in 2002 to identify and train highly qualified professionals to become agents of peace. Seven Rotary Peace Centers at eight prestigious universities throughout the world offer Rotary Peace Fellows a rigorous program of study and applied field experience in areas relating to peace and conflict resolution. The Rotary Peace Centers draw from Rotary’s long, unwavering commitment to peace, seen in projects that address the root causes of conflict. Since the program began in 2002, the Rotary Peace Centers have trained more than 1,500 fellows who now work in over 115 countries.

This project was supported by the HKU Gallant Ho Experiential Learning Grant.

Refer to the Commitments and Conduct for research projects.