O’Rourke ’07 to Receive Rotary Peace Fellowship

Shannon O'Rourke '07 poses at the Hiroshima (Japan) Peace Memorial, the only original structure left standing near the atomic bomb's hypocenter. O'Rourke participated in a Global Peace Forum in Hiroshima organized by Rotary.

Nov. 20, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Shannon O’Rourke ’07 has been selected as the Naohiro Tsuchiya Endowed World Peace Scholarship - Rotary Peace Fellow for studies as part of the Rotary Peace Centers Program. She will study at the Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand in early 2016.

Rotary Peace Fellowships are awarded to no more than 100 people across the globe every year. The awards cover all expenses for the recipients to receive academic fellowships at one of the internationally located Rotary Peace Centers. O’Rourke will be pursuing a Professional Development Certificate for people seeking education to become leaders for peace and conflict resolution. Up to 50 recipients of the fellowship are awarded this certificate in annually. As the Naohiro Tsuchiya Endowed Scholar, O'Rourke's fellowship is fully funded by Naohiro and Ayako Tsuchiya from Japan.

O’Rourke is excited to begin working with other Rotary Peace Fellows from around the world. “I look forward to exchanging with them about their lives and their experiences,” she said. Currently living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and working for the Norwegian Refugee Council, O’Rourke also expressed excitement at the prospect of moving to a different part of the world. “I’ve been living in a conflict-affected country for the past four years,” said O’Rourke, who manages education programming to provide children and youth in war-torn DRC with access to education. “I look forward to studying peace full time to help me get a new perspective on my experience here [in DRC].”

O’Rourke will engage in the program in Thailand from January through March 2016. She previously visited Senegal on a Rotary Cultural Ambassador Scholarship to study French and participated in a Rotary-sponsored Global Peace Forum in Hiroshima, Japan.

O’Rourke received her bachelor’s degree from IWU with a double major in political science and International Studies. She earned a master’s degree in International Development Studies from The George Washington University in 2010.

By Lydia Hartlaub ’16