From Rotary International: Nigerian business leader embraces Rotary’s peace studies program
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Sir Emeka Offor’s US$250,000 gift funds fellowships to Rotary’s international network of Peace Centers
EVANSTON, Ill., USA (Oct. 1, 2012) – Sir Emeka Offor, a prominent Nigerian business leader and philanthropist, has contributed US$250,000 to Rotary International in support of the humanitarian group’s global program in peace studies and conflict resolution.
The gift will endow fellowships to the Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. The program each year offers a three-month professional development certificate in peace and conflict studies to up to 50 mid-level professionals from related fields, such as public health, education, international law, economic development, journalism, and social justice. Preference will be given to qualified applicants from Nigeria and other African countries.
The other five Rotary Centers for International Studies offer one-to-two year graduate level programs on the campuses of leading universities in Australia, England, Japan, Sweden, and the United States.
“My hope is that the fellows who benefit from this gift will not only use it to sharpen and enhance their academic and professional skills in peace studies, but also use what they learn and internalize to become practitioners – drum majors – for peace, reconciliation, and development,” said Offor, who is Executive Vice Chairman of the Chrome Group, an Abuja-based oil and gas service conglomerate. He also heads the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, which focuses on poverty alleviation through literacy and education programs in West Africa’s poorest communities.
“In West Africa we have witnessed the destructive, heart-wrenching, and deadly affects that communal, sectarian, and political conflict and violence have on innocent people,” added Offor, a member of the Rotary Club of Awka G.R. A. “We should never give in to the notion that world peace is unattainable.”
Said Rotary Foundation Chair Wilfrid Wilkinson: “We are extremely grateful for Sir Emeka Offor’s generous gift recognizing our commitment to equip a network of world leaders with the skills to resolve and prevent conflict and bring about sustainable peace. Thanks to such strong support, nearly 700 Peace Center alumni are currently applying lessons learned and best practices in key decision-making positions across the globe.”
Rotary clubs have long embraced the call for peace at the grassroots level by addressing the underlying causes of conflict and violence, such as hunger, poverty, disease, and illiteracy. Ten years ago, the international humanitarian organization of service clubs decided to take a direct approach to world understanding by providing future leaders with the tools they need to “wage peace” on the global stage.
In addition to the certificate program in Thailand, Rotary clubs each year sponsor up to 60 scholars for one to two years of study to earn master’s-level degrees at the Rotary Centers for International Studies at Uppsala University, Sweden; University of Bradford, England; University of Queensland, Australia; International Christian University, Japan; and Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
Offor also supports Rotary’s effort to eradicate the crippling disease polio, the organization’s top priority as a spearheading member of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Nigeria is one of only three countries where the wild poliovirus has never been stopped. The other polio endemic countries are Afghanistan and Pakistan. When the initiative began, polio infected about 350,000 children a year, compared with fewer than 700 for all of 2011, a case reduction of more than 99 percent.
Editor’s note: Rotary is a global humanitarian organization with more than 1.2 million members in 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Rotary members are men and women who are business, professional, and community leaders with a shared commitment to make the world a better place through humanitarian service. For more information please visit Rotary’s Media Center.