District 5420’s Peace Scholar Departs for Japan


Luz Maria Carreno of Salt Lake will soon be departing for Japan where she will study for a master’s degree as a Rotary Peace Scholar at the International Christian University in Tokyo.  “Founded in the wake of WWII, ICU embraces the mission of the United Nations and has a strong focus on the promise of international diplomacy” according to Rotary International. “Fellows pursue a master’s degree in peace studies within the public policy and social research program” for 22-months (the Peace Fellowship will cover tuition and fees, room and board, round-trip transportation, and all internship and field-study expenses).

“ICU was my first choice of Rotary’s 7 peace centers around the world,” notes the first-generation college graduate, “because ICU’s rigorous master’s curriculum really aligns with my interests.  But a new language opportunity was an added bonus.”

“Understanding peace – what it looks like and how it can be measured – is a really useful lens through which to view our issues,” notes Utah’s next Peace Scholar.  “And, understanding peace will help us better know where we’ve been as a nation, where we’re going as a society and help us view each other by our similarities rather than our differences.  Based on the world peace index, the US ranks 121st of 163 nations analyzed. I think we can do better than that.”

As she begins her new adventure, to include academic training, practice and global networking opportunities as one of 130 fully funded fellowships worldwide, she is aware how much being a female immigrant has helped shape her desire to find a way to help immigrants – especially women in conflict – and youth navigate peace in a new society.

Carreno, who was born in Mexico and grew up on a dairy farm in Garfield, UT, earned a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University.  Following graduation, she served her new country as an AmeriCorps*VISTA (“Volunteers in Service to America”) during 2014-16 working with underrepresented communities, including high school age immigrants.

In the last week in July, she will begin a month of language and culture training travel in Japan but the real work begins in September.

“I applied twice to be a Peace Fellow so I am doubly excited and ready to get started,” states Luz.  “This is a special opportunity and I am privileged to be able to do this.  I hope I am not the last small town girl to have this chance.”

The deadline for 2022 Peace Fellow applications has now passed but prospective candidates should begin immediately to prepare to apply next year, including resume building.

For more information, contact District 5420 Peace Chair Kris Swanson at kris@creativecommconcepts.com or by phone to (970) 309-3353.

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