...and now for something quite exciting. As Sue so aptly said in her thank you, it is refreshing to hear first hand what and who Rotary does support. Adrian had the privilege to introduce Remaya, a Rotary Scholarship fellow studying Peace and Conflict at Otago University, wisely giving her the floor to tell us about her year in NZ and the journey to become a Peace Practitioner. While her family have been the solid foundation supporting and actively encouraging Remaya and her siblings to pursue their dreams, Rotary made it possible. Fulfilling a bucket list ambition to visit NZ while completing her Masters in her chosen field, Remaya is “having a blast.” A slight contrast to LA’s concrete jungle, NZ is the paradise of her dreams and thanks to the Rotary speaking circuit she is seeing places she could only have imagined last year.


A recent trip to Milford and Doubtful Sound confirms we are as NZers are very lucky to live here. As a very young girl, her Mother read a “Lord of the Rings” chapter every night keeping her end of the bargain, creating favourite childhood memories and planting the seed to someday visit the Land of the films. Hobbiton has been a definite highlight.

Contrary to the photos and what her Parents might believe, Remaya is here to study and develop her Peace Practitioner skills.
“What is Peace and why is it worth studying?”
The desire to contribute in someway to knowledge, academia and human betterment. Peace itself can be defined in many ways and means different things to different people:
Find it within you
Political, international
Absence of War
In simplified terms Peace can be broken down into two types.
Negative Peace: A ceasefire - guns have stopped, tension may still exist however there is no action. Ultimate goal is an absence of conflict.
Positive Peace: Striving for the utopian goal of fairness and justice in the presence of equality. The co-operation of 2 states or communities post conflict.
Unfortunately social structure currently rejects the principles of fairness. The concept of where Peace is needed is not always in a war torn community. The overall message Remya has learnt in her year is that Peace is a process not an end goal and we need to improve ourselves to get the result.
Thematic Areas of Peace and Conflict Studies:
Conflict Analysis
Conflict Resolution - Mediators
Social Relations (Remaya’s study) The Social Psychology of reconciling groups, their interaction, looking at the background causes.
Remaya’s research is defined into two areas;
System Justification Theory - an overall human belief that world systems are fair because the alternative is that they are not fair and this can lead to psychological anxiety.
Belief in a just world. Remaya’s theory developed during her research is “What is, is what ought to be” “people get what they deserve and deserve what they get.”
Raised as an American Evangelist and considering 81% of this demographic supported and voted for Trump in the 2016 American Election, this was a natural step to base her thesis on. Her research is focused on contradictions, individuals, their attitudes and the complete unwillingness to question any unfairness, contrasting so dramatically with Christian faith and beliefs. On a side note, no her parents have yet to read any of her research, only an iron clad thesis will be presented. Having worked for the Defence Department as an undergrad for the Trump administration, Remaya knows first hand the moral conflict within vs the need for employment, the skill set gained while potentially providing a safeguard working within, saying “no” until the next administration comes into term.
The Future - Plans and Rotary Legacy.
With only 2 weeks left the future is fast approaching. Remaya’s dream is to develop and instigate a non profit program focusing on Peace education in Secondary Schools. The Peace process starts with children. Her idea is to showcase an alternative to victory that doesn’t glorify violence instead is achieved through diplomacy, negotiations and compromise. A program where children learn to interact with others especially those that are different, live differently, believe in something else or have an alternative viewpoint. Right now this seems insurmountable however Rotary has taught her that dreams do come true. Remaya is living it, she is here in NZ (a lifelong dream) because of a Rotary Scholarship, trying to stay true to the Memorial Fund Legacy in making the world just a little bit better.
An equal and just society sounds like a rainbow chasing ideal. Peace is a process, Remaya has a firm belief if one changes how they think about Peace then yes it is indeed possible.
Why do people betray what the say they believe? Answer...buy the book!!
Follow Sue's advice Remaya, keep finding Rotary Clubs to speak at and see our Country.