Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
Almost three months ago I embarked on a journey of a lifetime. Along with 22 other Peace Fellows representing 17 countries we sat in a class room, wide eyed and not knowing what the next 12 weeks would bring. Representing an equal gender mix and all coming from a variety of backgrounds with a varied degree of experiences we held an array of expectations. What a challenging bunch we could very well turn out to be however with the guidance, expertise and dedication of the staff from the Rotary Peace Centre we were in good hands and none of us could have asked for a more smooth transition into better equipped peace builders.
In the months leading up to our arrival the staff worked to ensure we were well equipped for the journey ahead. Their tireless efforts did not stop as we arrived and the pressure commenced from issues with wifi, accommodation expectations, personal requests, and the list goes on. The staff took it in their stride, they put a smile on their faces and went about making us comfortable and happy. Nothing was ever too much trouble.
The leadership and mentoring from Program Director Ajarn Vitoon was exceptional and it was evident that much thought went into ensuring only the best lecturers and professionals in their field of expertise came to share their knowledge and wisdom with us. His door was always open and although a very fair man he was clear on expectations and was dedicated to the program and the position he holds. On occasions we would receive a visit from Ajarn Surichai who never ceased to amaze with his wisdom. His visits were always a special treat.
The organised field trips were a logistical nightmare however this was not felt by the group given the professional manner in which the staff went about their business. Visiting both Krabi and Sri Lanka saw us connect with amazing people from community to government and religious organisations. The exposure given to such groups would not have occurred if not for the tireless efforts of the staff. It was clear that many hours of work had been spent on ensuring our trips exposed us to the right people to understand our learnings around conflict resolution and peace building. To this we owe a special mention to Cartoon.
Along the way personal requests were abundant, group requests were many and each time the staff did not hesitate to assist. They were flexible in their approach and often stayed back to accommodate movie nights and the like. There were also special requests that did not necessarily fit into the program however they adjusted budgets and managed timeframes to ensure we were given the greatest exposure as possible to increase our learnings.
I will be forever grateful to Rotary International for the opportunity to embark on this exceptional journey of learning and growing as a person. The exposure I have had over the last three months has given me the tools to not only be a better Police Officer but a better person. My new mantra is “Policing through the lens of peace building” and I look forward to sharing this with my colleagues. I know that through this lens we can make a difference.
For all my learnings and personal growth I thank the staff of the Rotary Peace Centre, Chulalongkorn University. None of this would have been possible without your hard work, dedication and professionalism. Thank you Ajarn Surichai, Ajarn Vitoon, Cartoon, Kritika, Oy, and Ying. A truly exceptional team who should be very proud of the work you do. Your input into building peace keepers will leave a lifetime legacy and make our world a better place.
Kelly Anne Lawson – Australia
Rotary Peace Fellow – Class 25