Doctor Rachel Rafferty – Peace Fellow
Rachel grew up during the last years of the violence of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and the transition into a tense and fragile peace shaped her passion for pursuing greater understanding between members of different identity groups. In her peacebuilding work, she has developed and implemented a range of projects including peace education workshops, inter-community dialogues, arts-based projects to explore shared aspects of history and active citizenship projects for young people.
Rachel was delighted to be awarded a Rotary Peace Fellowship to study for a Master’s degree at the School of Education at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, starting in 2011. She also had the opportunity to study International Development at Duke University and Peace and Conflict Resolution through the joint Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Centre.
The Rotary Peace Fellowship was a challenging and hugely rewarding experience, developing friendships with peacebuilders from around the world, encountering the culture and history of the American south, and gaining insights into the historical and current experiences of different cultural minorities. Her studies gave her new theoretical and international perspectives that she drew on to make sense of her practical experiences in Northern Ireland.
Rachel completed a PhD at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (NCPACS) at Otago University as a Rei Foundation scholar.  Her doctoral research focused on how civil society actors in a protracted conflict develop differing motivations regarding intergroup peacebuilding. Rachel worked with New Zealand Red Cross on a number of educational projects, including developing a homework support club for young people from a refugee background. She has recently taken up a position of Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies at NCPACS where she looks forward to the opportunities that will provide to share the knowledge she gained over the years, especially the global perspective gained during her two years as a Rotary scholar in North Carolina.