The Rotary Foundation awards up to 40 fully funded fellowships annually for professional development certificate programs at Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul, Türkiye. The fellowship covers tuition and fees, room and board, round-trip transportation, and field-study expenses.

During the one-year blended learning certificate program, peace and development professionals with diverse backgrounds and expertise advance their skills to contribute to their communities and regions. Fellows complete a preliminary online course to be followed by residential courses, attend field visits, and realize a self-designed social change initiative. The program concludes with an on-site capstone seminar which overlaps with the incoming cohort of peace fellows. Upon completion, fellows receive a postgraduate diploma in peace and development studies.

The program is offered through the Faculty of Economics, Administrative, and Social Sciences and the Graduate School of Global Politics and International Relations in partnership with CIFAL Istanbul of UNITAR (International Training Centres for Local Authorities and Local Actors) and ULMER/HLO (International Leadership Research and Application Center/School of Government and Leadership).

The Otto and Fran Walter Rotary Peace Center

In January 2023, The Rotary Foundation Trustees approved Bahçeşehir University to host the next regional Rotary Peace Center, made possible by a generous gift of $15.5 million given to the Foundation in February 2021 from the Otto and Fran Walter Foundation to establish a peace center for fellows focusing on peacebuilding within the Middle East and North Africa region.

A search committee considered more than 30 internationally recognized universities across eleven countries, and Bahçeşehir University was selected to host the new peace center for its global reach, expertise and high-level programming in peace and development, study environment and accessibility, capacity to host 40 fellows a year, and commitment to partner with Rotary.

This Rotary Peace Center will always honor Otto and Fran Walter as benefactors and will continue their legacy to promote peace by providing Rotary Peace Fellows with opportunities to grow as peace scholars and leaders.

Bahçeşehir University

Bahçeşehir University (BAU) is a private university with a global presence. Listed in the prestigious Times Higher Education Index (THE), it is one of the leading higher education institutions in Türkiye and around the world, hosting nearly 30,000 students from more than 125 countries. The Otto and Fran Walter Rotary Peace Center will be located at the university’s Future Campus, recently built in the suburbs of Istanbul.


Otto and Fran Walter were dedicated to charity and peace advocacy. In 2021, their family foundation pledged US$15.5. million to The Rotary Foundation for the establishment of a Rotary Peace Center to train peace and development leaders from the Middle East and North Africa region. Today, Bahçeşehir University is home to the Otto and Fran Walter Rotary Peace Center.
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