• 04-JUN-2015

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former president of Costa Rica Dr. Óscar Arias to speak at Rotary World Peace Symposium

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SÃO PAULO (4 June 2015)  – Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Óscar Arias will deliver the keynote address at the Rotary World Peace Symposium​, where students and alumni of Rotary’s Peace Centers Program​ will take part in a dialogue on peace-building 4-5 June at the Palácio das Convenções, Anhembi: Elis Regina Auditorium. Dr. Arias will speak at 9:25 a.m. on Thursday, 4 June.

Dr. Arias was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his plan to put an end to the civil wars that were devastating Central America. In August 1987, the peace plan was approved by Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. It aimed to establish free elections, safeguards for human rights, and an end to foreign interference in the internal affairs of those countries. Dr. Arias is also a recipient of the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism​ and a trustee of Economists for Peace and Security.

Also speaking at the event is Steve Killelea (9:20 a.m. Friday, 5 June), founder and Executive Chair of Integrated Research Ltd. as well as The Charitable Foundation and Institute for Economics and Peace.  Killelea is an accomplished entrepreneur in high-technology business development. After successfully building two international software companies, he decided to dedicate most of his time and fortune to sustainable development and peace.

The three-day symposium will bring together more than 80 students and alumni of Rotary’s Peace Centers program, a peace studies initiative that provides future leaders with the skills and tools needed to resolve conflicts and promote peace.

Rotary​– an international organization of volunteer service clubs – sponsors up to 100 scholars each year who embark on one to two years of study to earn master’s-level degrees in peace and conflict resolution. These degrees are obtained at Rotary Centers for International Studies located at leading universities in England, Japan, Australia, Sweden, and the United States including:

  • Uppsala University, Sweden
  • University of Bradford, England
  • University of Queensland, Australia
  • International Christian University, Japan
  • Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

Rotary also awards up to 50 certificates a year for a three-month program in peace and conflict prevention and resolution at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand for experienced professionals working in peace-related fields.

Founded in 2002, Rotary’s Peace Centers program boasts over 900 graduates. At least 430 alumni from 97 countries have assumed positions in governments and peace-related organizations around the world.

Katia Dantas, a 2009 alumna of the Rotary Peace Center at Duke-University North Carolina – and native of Brazil – will speak at the Rotary International Convention (10:45 a.m. Monday, 8 June).  Dantas currently works as the Latin American and Caribbean Policy Director at the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC).  

She has been instrumental in expanding ICMEC’s outreach efforts in the region, through extensive collaboration with regional bodies, government representatives, and non-governmental organizations. Dantas is helping to raise public awareness on the importance of protecting children against sexual exploitation, child and abduction through speaking engagements in several regional, national and local events.

Since 1905, Rotary clubs have embraced the call for peace at the grass-roots level by addressing the underlying causes of conflict and violence such as hunger, poverty, disease and illiteracy.

“Rotary clubs are tackling the world’s biggest issues on a local and international level through their many service programs,” said John Kenny, chair of The Rotary Foundation, the charity arm of Rotary International. “Our clubs show that with dedication and a solid plan, ordinary people can make the world a much better place.”