Class 6

Katia de Mello Dantas, Brazil

Masters in International Development Policy, Duke University
Katia Dantas gained first-hand experience in development through her work for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Brazil, where she worked with USAID’s health program during the course of several politically contentious disagreements between the U.S. and Brazilian governments. She has since participated in the negotiations to resurrect the HIV/AIDS program. In her tenure, she has also been active in the design of USAID strategy against Trafficking in Persons in Brazil. During the applied field experience, Katia has worked for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), exploring the linkages between migration and health, and the several implications of international cross-border movements. Upon completion of the Rotary World Peace Program, Katia expects to apply her educational and professional experiences in working towards mitigating the impact of social inequalities worldwide.


Ruben Gonzalez Flores, Panama

Masters in International Development Policy, Duke University
Ruben Gonzalez is a Panamanian sociologist and activist who has devoted a large part of his life working for environmental and indigenous rights. Most of his experience has been spent in the field, working directly with communities to develop sustainable projects based on the needs of local peoples. Upon completing his university degree, Ruben worked in Panama to develop and implement health programs for rural communities, and later in Mexico on a project that examined mobile populations and AIDS in Central America and Mexico. Ruben has recently focused on training and supporting indigenous communities to interact and negotiate with the government and private companies on issues such as hydroelectric projects, land disputes, and human rights. He has also headed multiple research projects on land tenure, marine resources, and forest management in indigenous communities. Ruben is a founding member of The Alliance for Conservation and Development (ACD), a Panamanian NGO that works to promote sustainable development, community based projects, and the protection of the environment and indigenous rights. Upon completion of the Rotary World Peace Program, Ruben would like to return to Panamá with new skills for helping marginalized people, grass root organizations, and governments come together in the pursuit of integral development for the majority of the people.


Mattias Lindstrom, Sweden

Masters in International Development Policy, Duke University
Mattias has an academic background in primarily business administration (Växjö University & Katholieke Universiteit Leuven). He began his career working with Hugo Boss and Unilever. Thereafter he started his own business – – a web guide about European master programs in business and economics. At the end of 2004 he joined the Brussels office of the Swedish Trade Council (STC), a semi-governmental organization with offices in 45 countries around the world. At the STC Mattias worked with fee-based projects (for Swedish companies) such as market analysis, entry strategies, partner search/acquisition target identification and EU-funding opportunities. Following his studies as a Rotary World Peace Fellow, Mattias hopes to make the transition from the private sector to the public sector, using his extensive experience in general management and project leadership to guide development organizations and teams to achieve their goals.


Sang Hee Jeong, South Korea

Masters in International Development Policy, Duke University
SangHee began her career in journalism, interviewing people whose life work innovating for environmental protection, peace among religions, and promotion of cultural understanding gave inspiration to others. This work strengthened her interest in social issues, and later she joined the Korean Red Cross in the South Asia tsunami relief and reconstruction operation. As country coordinator of the Korean Red Cross for the Sri Lanka delegation, SangHee worked closely together with the Sri Lanka Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross, and other partner societies. During this work, she decided to devote herself to poverty reduction and the advancement of developing countries, with special interest in North Korea. Upon completion of the Rotary World Peace program, SangHee would like to pursue her career in development policy making so that people in developing countries may also benefit from the growth of the world economy.


Willan Mendoza, Bolivia

Department of City and Regional Planning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Willan’s interest in world peace and international understanding began when he was awarded a full scholarship to study at the Armand Hammer United World College in New Mexico. There, he learned the importance of education in order to promote international conflict resolution, and spent time volunteering in community service and search and rescue. After graduating in 1995, he returned home to begin undergraduate studies in Systems Engineering and also became an ESL Teacher. Before arriving in Chapel Hill to pursue a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning, Willan was a senior consultant at an IT company and a professor at a local university. With the knowledge he gains as a Rotary World Peace Fellow, he hopes to work to develop and implement plans to assist low income groups, especially women, to gain the skills and tools they need to improve their lives; Economic Development Policies for communities in Latin America or Latin American immigrants in the US and EU.


Zumrat Salmorbekova, Kyrgyzstan

Russian & Eastern European Studies Program, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

More than a decade ago, historian Zumrat Salmorbekova began her professional career by joining the Institute for Regional Studies, an NGO addressing human rights and training in Kyrgyzstan. Her work monitoring ethnic minority rights, studying the problems involved with the integration of Central Asian states, and monitoring the general political situation in her country has widened her knowledge and stimulated her interest in the issues of peace building and conflict prevention in the Ferghana Valley. Zumrat’s most recent position, as UNIFEM project manager, has enabled her to establish an early warning system for conflict situations in the Ferghana Valley and create a network of field observers in northern Tajikistan and southern Kyrgyzstan. Upon completion of the Rotary World Peace Program, Zumrat plans to apply her knowledge and skills in framing local issues to the international community of policy makers and intensify networking among regional scholars interested in increasing the capacity and leverage of Central Asian regional civil society.


Pia Simonsen, Australia

Masters in International Development Policy, Duke University
Pia Simonsen has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Development Studies and Bachelor of Commerce in International Business Management from the University of Melbourne. Her interest in international relations led her to Brussels where she was Assistant to the Ambassador/Administration and Finance Officer at the Embassy of Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. Pia worked closely with the European Union and various multilateral organizations to promote and implement development cooperation. More recently, Pia joined the Club of Madrid, an NGO of former heads of state and governments dedicated to promoting democratic consolidation and good governance. As Administration Officer at the Brussels Office, her role involved project management of missions, events and policy research. Following her studies, Pia would like to utilize her skills to foster good governance in the Asia-Pacific region.


Jane Welsh, Australia

Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Jane Welsh is the Senior Community Access Advisor for the Asia Regional Support Team (RST) with Ipas. Ipas is an international NGO working on addressing unsafe abortion and reproductive rights in 14 countries.  She works with teams in Asia to develop programmes and activities that increase inclusion and access to safe abortion services for women and communities to prevent unwanted pregnancies and decrease unsafe abortions. Previously she worked with the Association of the Blind in Cambodia and Acid Survivors Foundation in Bangladesh on the development of disability and gender responsive activities with acid attack survivors, their family and communities.  She was a Rotary World Peace Fellow at UNC Chapel Hill and graduated with a MA in Medical Anthropology (2007-2009).


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