• Twitter
  • Facebook

Untitled Document


My Rotary Peace Fellowship Journey – Abdul Karim I

My name is Abdul Karim Issifu. I earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Community Development from the University for Development Studies-Ghana, Wa Campus in 2013, and a Master of Philosophy Degree in Peace and Development Studies from the University of Cape Coast-Ghana in 2018. Graduating with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) in Community Development I was accepted in the Faculty of Planning and Land Management to serve as a Teaching Assistant in 2013/2014. While I was at the University of Cape Coast, I held tutorials for Master of Arts students in Peace and Development Studies at the Institute for Development Studies.

I have published 17 peer-reviewed journal articles with content related to indigenous peace building, chieftaincy and ethnic conflicts. Also, I am an Alumni of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (Nigeria Cohort 1). Currently, I am the President of West of Africa Peace Ambassadors Network (WAPAN).

Every year, the Rotary Foundation selects 100 of the world’s most dedicated and brightest professionals in a globally competitive process based on personal, academic, and professional achievements to study at one of the six Rotary Peace Centres; University of North Carolina-Duke University (USA); University of Bradford (UK); University of Queensland (Australia); International Christian University (Japan); Chulalongkorn University (Thailand), and Uppsala University (Sweden). The fellowship supports Rotary’s mission to increase the capacity of peace builders through rigorous academic training, practice, and global networking opportunities. The fellowship is intended for people, who have chosen a career related to international relations, peace, and conflict resolution; who have work experience in these areas; and who have a commitment to community or international humanitarian service and working for peace.

Through training, study, and practice, Rotary Peace Fellows become leaders and catalysts for peace and conflict resolution; many go on to careers in national governments, NGOs, the military, law enforcement, and international organisations like the United Nations and World Bank. The fellowship covers funding for tuition and other tuition fees, a monthly stipend for accommodation, contingency fund, funding for key conferences, and support during the Applied Field Experience, and transportation between the fellow’s home and study destination at the start and end of the fellowship period. To be considered for the fellowship, Rotary District may nominate candidates for competition in the worldwide selection process. Thus, candidates must be endorsed by passing an interview organised by a Rotary District.

In March 2016, I applied for the fellowship for the first time through the endorsement of the Rotary Club of Accra South (with a PHF banner). Unfortunately, I was not selected even though I thought I had presented the best application. I would have started my studies in August 2017 if I was selected. Honestly, I was dispirited at the beginning, but I gathered momentum quickly. I told myself that the denial was rather a motivation for me to work harder on my professional career so I intensified my work as a peace ambassador.

In March 2017, I applied again through the endorsement of the same Rotary Club of Accra South. This time I was selected and awarded with the prestigious scholarship in November 2017. That was not all; I had to pass the regular entry requirements for admission to the Master programme in Peace and Conflict Studies at Uppsala University in Sweden. The edgy continued again after the application for admission in February 2018. I was nervous because Uppsala University is the most competitive placement site and receives more applications than any other University in Sweden.

Fortunately, in April 2018, I received the notification of admission result to start my fellowship in August 2018. I became super excited because I am the first Ghanaian to be accepted at Uppsala University for the respected Rotary Peace Fellowship. Again, I was enthusiastic about Uppsala University because it is a comprehensive university in every sense of the word. Research and education are closely linked, and regardless of what you study, as a student, you will have close contact with research groups and make important academic connections. You will be able to partake in research seminars and other activities at your department, and gain practical, hands-on experience conducting field and laboratory work. Importantly, my department, i.e. Peace and Conflict Research has renowned and distinguished lecturers, conducive atmosphere for academic work, and multicultural students with diverse backgrounds.

I strongly believe the master programme will not only equip me with the professional skills to be able to tackle the multitudes of conflict challenges facing Ghana, but also, it will provide me the prerequisite analytical and research skills necessary to undertake a doctorate degree programme in International Conflict Resolution.

As my short-term career goal is to become peace and conflict consultant, I expect to benefit from this programme by having the capacity to solve problems independently and the ability to monitor and critically evaluate the development of knowledge within peace and conflict research.

Meanwhile, having said all that, I have positioned myself to be able to stand the winter after hearing frightening experiences of the weather. I will like to conclude with a word of motivation. Thus, in all our dealings we must not entertain fear and dissuasion; they are psychological killers. Instead, we must prepare to rise again better off at any fall irrespective of the number of times.

Abdul Karim Issifu
Rotary Peace Fellow