Scholarship Programs History

A little history on the scholarship programs that have been offered by The Rotary Foundation and the ones that District 7780 and its predecessors have utilized. The Rotary Foundation has offered many scholarship programs.  Cultural and Multi-Year Ambassadorial Scholarships, Rotary Grants for University Teachers and the Rotary Peace Fellowships.  At their April 2009 meeting, The Rotary Foundation Trustees decided to end some Rotary programs, including funding for the Cultural and Multi-Year Ambassadorial Scholarships. Effective 1 July 2009, The Rotary Foundation will no longer fund these two types of Ambassadorial Scholarships as well as Rotary Grants for University Teachers.  There are only two scholarship programs now offered – the Ambassadorial Scholarship program which is now only offered for the academic year and the Rotary Peace Fellowship. 

Ambassadorial Scholarships
The Ambassadorial Scholarship is The Rotary Foundation's oldest and best-known program, which was founded in 1947.  Because the Ambassadorial Scholarship is now limited to one academic year, recipients may not be able to earn degrees or diplomas during the study period. The scholarship may also be used for vocational training.

Rotary Peace Fellows
In 1999, the Trustees approved the plan to partner with universities to establish the Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace.  The centers were so named to increase public awareness of Rotary’s commitment to peace.  Determining The Rotary Peace Centers was based on such criteria as geographic diversity, the university’s willingness to work with The Rotary Foundation, superior faculty, and an established degree program with a core curriculum in international relations, peace, and conflict resolution.

Rotary Peace Fellows began traveling abroad to pursue a master’s degree at the Rotary Peace Centers in 2002.  In 2006, a pilot of a short-term peace studies program was launched at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. This alternative to the master’s degree program enhanced Rotary’s existing work to support international peace studies and attracted mid to upper-level professionals who could arrange to be away from their employment for just a few months.  It also provided a lower-cost option to The Rotary Foundation and more immediate returns on Rotary’s investment in world understanding and peace. In 2008, the Trustees approved the short-term option as a permanent offering within the Rotary Peace Centers program.  Applicants can choose from two Rotary Peace Fellowship options:  Master’s Degree or the Professional Development Certificate.

Rotary Peace Centers include:  Chulalongkorn University; Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; International Christian University; Universidad del Salvador; University of Bradford and University of Queensland

Differences between Rotary Peace Fellowships and Ambassadorial Scholarships
The Rotary Peace Fellowships program builds on the strengths and success of the Ambassadorial Scholarships program but the focus and structure of the two programs differ in terms of scholarship availability, strategies for promotion and recruitment, selection criteria and process, application materials, and funding.  Candidates for Rotary Peace Fellowships generally will be older and more professionally focused than those for Ambassadorial Scholarships.

This program does not require District 7780 to use its DDF funds to pay for the RPF participants like it does for Ambassadorial Scholars.  In 2001-2002, when Peter Johnson was District Governor, District 7780 donated $50,000 from the Districts DDF funds to this program which covered one RPF.  District 7780 was among the first districts in the world to donate $50,000 to cover one full scholarship to the RPF program.  A RPF does not have to receive full funding from its nominating District.  All the funds donated to this program are pooled to support all the participants each year from around the world.

Since then we have donated approximately $5,000 each year towards this program from our DDF funds as we have been utilizing more of our funds to help support the projects that District 7780 Clubs are working on via Matching and District Simplified grants in our local communities and around the world.

Ambassadorial Scholarships
The program which our District has utilized the most is the Ambassadorial Scholarships.  Our first Ambassadorial Scholar, Harland Eastman, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Sanford-Springvale, ME, was sent out in 1952, by then District 285.  After being a member of several clubs around the word, Harland joined the Rotary Club of Sanford-Springvale in 1979 and was club president in 1989-1990.  He is now an honorary member.

District 7780 and its predecessors have sponsored 35 Ambassadorial Scholars from 1952 through 2003.  The availability of an Ambassadorial Scholarship is determined by each Rotary District and varies from year to year.  Some districts may not offer scholarships.   District 7780 has not offered this scholarship for a number of years.  With the advent of District Simplified Grants and the increased interest in Matching Grants over the last few years, it was felt that there was not enough money in the District Designated Funds to do these two programs and an Ambassadorial Scholarship. 

Rotary Grants for University Teachers
District 7780 has had only one Rotary Grants for University Teachers – Professor Douglas Morris sponsored by the Rotary Club of Durham-Great Bay, NH in 1995-1996.  He went to Hangzhou University in China which at that time was a non-Rotary Country for 3 months to teach English.

Rotary Peace Fellows
District 7780 has had three Rotary Peace Fellows nominated by the District and all three were chosen by The Rotary Foundation to participate in the program.  Only two have actually completed the program.  The first one picked in the summer of 2002 decided not to participate in the program.  We have had two more picked since then.  In June 2007, we nominated Brian Sandberg who attended the Universidad del Salvador in Brazil and completed the Master’s Degree program.   In 2009, we nominated Darren Wallach who attended Chulalongkorn University and completed the Professional Development Certificate.  They were both sponsored by The Rotary Club of Portland, ME.