Posted by Lynda Ryder, Rotary District 7070 Past District Governor

Jothi Shanmugam has been accepted as a Rotary Peace Fellow to Queensland University in Australia. Peace Fellows earn a Master's degree in international relations, sustainable development, peace studies, conflict resolution, or a professional development certificate in peace and conflict studies. At the Queensland Rotary Peace Center, Rotary Peace Fellows are supported by the fellowship for the 2-year duration of the program. The fellowship includes funding for tuition and other university fees, a monthly stipend for room and board, summer internship support, modest conference and research funding, and round trip transportation between the fellow’s home country and Australia. Let's meet Jothi.....

Jothi currently works with the United Nations Children’s Fund as their Development Manager  (2019); was an Associate Director, Partnerships, for Engineers Without Borders and Senior Project Manager at St. Michael’s and Women’s College Hospital – 2015-18.  She also raised $25,000 for a Rotary water project in Sri Lanka in 2011/12. Jothi is a well-deserved candidate.  Thanks to team member, Ian Lancaster for his many hours of working with Jothi and me.

Lynda Ryder



P E R S O N A L   P R O F I L E

Eight years in peace and development work covering the areas of public health, humanitarian assistance, economic development, policy think tanks, government, research and education.

Twelve years of experience in grassroots activism and high-level political advocacy on behalf of vulnerable populations -including refugees, children, Indigenous peoples and populations recovering from war, armed conflict, violence and natural disasters.

Seven years of applied experience in cross-cultural understanding, designing dialogues for peace between in-groups/ out-groups, ethnographic research, and field work in South Asia, the Middle East and North America.

Ten years of study and volunteer experience in non-violent approaches to peacebuilding -including training in anti-racism, inclusion and diversity, courses on peace from within (yoga and meditation instructor) and Gestalt Psychotherapy.


W O R K   E X P E R I E N C E

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)  Development Manager | Aug 2019 - present

Engineers Without Borders (EWB)  Associate Director, Partnerships| Jul 2018 - Aug 2019

St. Michael's and Women's College Hospital  Senior Project Manager | May 2015 -August 2018

Mosaic Institute (Policy and Research Think Tank) Research Associate, Program Manager | Sep 2011-Jan 2015

Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Gov't of Canada / University of Toronto Research Associate | May 2012 -Jul 2013


E D U C A T I O N A L   H I S T O R Y

University of Toronto  Masters in Legal Studies and Criminology Jul 2012 - Nov 2013

University of Toronto, Trinity College  Hon. BA Peace and Conflict Studies and Criminology Sep 2007 - Jun 2012

Hebrew University of Jerusalem  Independent Ethnographic Research | Apr 2011 - Sep 2011



To work for the United Nations Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary- General for Children and Armed Conflict to advocate for the protection of child rights.

To launch a social enterprise dedicated to providing play and holistic healing for children recovering from war and conflict and help build the next generation of non-violent leaders.

To create and deliver workshops, programs, and training that incorporate Gestalt psychotherapy, yoga, dance and meditation that will help leaders acquire inner-peace and be catalysts for peace in the world.



English (Fluent)

Tamil (Fluent)

French (Basic)



Amnesty International

Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)

Eagle Down Foundation

Médecins Sans Frontières (Syria Crisis)

Project Hope (West Bank) South Asian Legal Clinic Students for International Development (Kenya and Peru)

The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Tropicana Community Services for Immigrants and Refugees

UNICEF Young Management Team, National Committees Representative (33 offices across North America, Europe and Asia- Pacific)

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Canada)

Young Asia Television (Sri Lanka)



Anti-Oppressive Victim Advocate Certification (tools on advocating on behalf of vulnerable populations), The Advocacy Academy, United States

Associate Fellow, Royal Commonwealth Society, The Queen's Young Leaders, UK

Dean's Leadership Award, University of Toronto (awarded to 1 student out of 27,000 from the Faculty of Arts and Science to honor outstanding community service and global citizenship

Dismantling Racism Certification, Practicing Anti- Racism and Tangible Allyship, Dartmouth College, United States

Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Research Award (awarded to conduct independent ethnographic research in Israel and the Palestinian Territories)

Gordon Cressy Leadership Award, University of Toronto (awarded to recognize peace dialogues in Sri Lanka and Canada promoting pluralism and non-violent activism)

Yoga Instructor, Certified in Canada and India