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Tues 8 November, we welcomed Rotarian, Marion Cowden who talked on the Rotary Foundation. Marion has been a member of the Rotary Club of Wellington since she returned from London to New Zealand in 2009. Marion was the President of the Rotary Club of London from 2008-2009.

As November is Foundation month in the Rotary calendar it was in relation to that topic that our speaker on Tuesday 8th November was Marion Cowden. Marion serves on the District 9940 Foundation Committee as Chair of the Scholarship sub-Committee and it was on the less known aspect of Foundation Scholarships that Marion primarily spoke to us about.

Marion is a Fellow of the NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants and comes with a broad national and international experience as a chief financial officer and senior director in the public and private sectors in New Zealand and Australia and at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, United Kingdom. It was while working in London that she was also president of the Rotary Club of London in 2008 - 09, and on her return to NZ joined the Rotary Club of Wellington. From 2010 Marion also served a 4-year term appointed to the Independent Expert Oversight Advisory Committee (Audit Committee) of the World Health Organisation.

Marion related the experience of two recent Foundation Scholarship recipients to illustrate to broad nature of the Scholarship programme.

The first was in the study for a MA in performance making at the University of London using theatre as a means communication in the process of negotiation and intervention whether working with refugee camps, domestic violence situations or sectarian violence. 

The second was for a NZ doctor to study tropical medicinal hygiene in order to improve the health of people in developing countries.

There are two types of Foundation scholarships available – both are for postgraduate study overseas.

Rotary Foundation Vocational Scholarships

(which replaced the earlier Ambassadorial Scholarships)

A Foundation Scholarship aims at developing the next generation of leaders and is for a minimum value of US$30,000 that can be used towards the cost of academic fees, room and board, as well as travel to and from the study country of the awardee's choice. District 9940 aims to make one award per year that is funded from Foundation District Designated Funds plus a Rotary Foundation Global Grant.

A Vocational Scholarship must be for study in one of the Rotary six areas of focus, which are:

  1. Peace and Conflict Prevention / Resolution
  2. Disease and Poverty Eradication
  3. Water and Sanitation
  4. Maternal and Child Welfare
  5. Basic Education and Literacy
  6. Economic and Community Development.

The application process starts now, in November each year, for local clubs to seek out potential Scholarship candidates. Candidates cannot be selected from the close family of Rotarians. Applicants are interviewed by their local club and then by district during April / May and a selection made in May for study during the following academic year. Candidates must have been accepted for entry into the proposed institution and course that they propose to study.

While scholarships are fully funded by Foundation the local sponsoring club is expected to provide some support in terms of helping candidates through their application and nominating a councillor. Applicants are also expected to have an active association with Rotary, both before their time of study overseas, during their study, and upon their return to NZ, as part of which they may speak to Rotary clubs about their expectations and experience. 

Rotary Peace Fellowships

A Peace fellowship is somewhat similar to a Vocational Scholarship except it is aimed at professionals with work experience in international relations or peace and conflict prevention and resolution and who are committed to community and international service and the pursuit of peace. The fellowship offers successful applicants the opportunity to extend their training through either of the two prescribed study programmes offered in the field of peace and conflict resolution at one of the Rotary Peace Centres at a premier university; either a 3-month Professional development certificate course, or a 2-year master’s degree fellowship.

Further information about the nomination requirements and selection process can be sought from Marion Cowden:

The Rotary Foundation

The Rotary Foundation was founded by former Rotary President Arch Klumph - in 1917 he proposed to set up an endowment “for the purpose of doing good in the world.” In 1928, it was renamed The Rotary Foundation within Rotary International. Through our Foundation, Rotary members have supported thousands of projects to provide clean water, fight disease, promote peace, provide basic education, and grow local economies. We’ve also been a leader in the fight to eradicate polio worldwide. 2016/17 is the centennial for the Rotary Foundation - history available here

The Rotary Foundation - Marion Cowden

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