Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010
ROTARY INTERNATIONAL NAMES LEWIS A WORLD PEACE FELLOW
MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University's Summer Lewis has been named a Rotary World Peace Fellow by Rotary International.
Lewis, Manhattan, a project coordinator with K-State housing and dining services, is one of 50 fellows from 24 countries chosen for the 2010-2012 program.
Rotary World Peace Fellowships are awarded annually and offer participants the chance to study at Rotary Centers for International Studies at seven universities in Argentina, Australia, England, Japan, Thailand and the United States. Fellows earn a master's degree or professional development certificate in peace and conflict resolution. The fellowship covers tuition, room and board, round-trip transportation, and internship expenses for the participants.
Lewis will study at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. She leaves in January and will spend 18 months earning a master's degree in international studies, peace and conflict resolution. The program includes courses, thesis work and a two- to three-month-long applied field experience, where the fellows work on a project related to their area of study.
Lewis will concentrate on sustainable food systems and how they relate to peace and conflict resolution. Although she is still developing her topic, Lewis also wants to explore the role that women play in sustainable food systems. Her interest stems from the way that factors involved in food systems -- natural resources, labor, health, culture, gender, poverty and trade -- are interconnected and can generate either the potential for conflict or the possibility for peace.
"I'm open to learning more about general peace and conflict resolution, but then eventually moving into a more specific study of how conflicts relating to food and agriculture can be resolved," Lewis said. "My specific interest is related to sustainable food systems and small-scale producers."
Since May, Lewis has worked as a project coordinator at the new CornerStone Coffee and Bakery in the Jardine Apartment Complex. She also co-teaches a course in the School of Leadership Studies and is a project assistant with the College of Architecture, Planning and Design's Italian studies program.
Lewis attended K-State from 2001 to 2005 and received degrees in Spanish, sociology and women's studies. While at K-State she worked for the women studies and American ethnic studies programs, the K-State Women's Center and the Crisis Center in Manhattan. She is the daughter of Iris Lewis and Raeford Lewis, both from Manhattan.
After graduating Lewis spent two years in Boston working for Equal Exchange, a fair-trade, worker-owned cooperative that distributes coffee, tea and chocolate produced by small-scale farmers in Latin America, Africa and Asia. She worked for a year in Chittagong, Bangladesh, as the liaison for guest and employee relations at the Asian University for Women.
It was Lewis' experience working for Equal Exchange that sparked her interest in the World Peace Fellowship program and prompted her to apply. In November 2009 she learned that she had been selected as a World Peace Fellow.
"I am delighted that Summer has been selected for this Rotary Peace Fellowship. Summer's longtime commitment to the Fair Trade movement and the welfare of women around the world, and her prior work and volunteer experiences in Asia and Latin America, have prepared her well for getting the maximum benefit from her Rotary Peace Fellowship," said William Richter, professor emeritus of political science and district chair for the Rotary World Peace Scholarship Committee. "She is an exceptional person, and I know her future work will beneficially impact many people around the world."
Although Lewis has been to 15 countries, she has never been to Australia. Aside from experiencing a new country and culture, she is also excited about the diverse group of people she will encounter through the fellowship.
"In my group alone, I'm going to be with other peace fellows who are from Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Iran and Japan," she said. "Just in my program, I'm going to experience different layers of culture and different backgrounds. I'm really excited about that. I think it will lend a lot of perspective."