While most of Cape Girardeau is focused on the United States this Fourth of July, Ryan Fenwick's thoughts are likely to be in another part of the world.
On July 5, Fenwick will leave for Tokyo, Japan, as part of Rotary International's World Peace Scholars program.
The 24-year-old Cape Girardeau native was among 51 of 1,500 applicants chosen this year for the all-expenses-paid program, which was created to train future leaders in peace studies.
"The world is such a small place now. You can get from point A to point B around the world in a short plane ride," Fenwick said. "And here in the Midwest, there's a lot of room to grow in our international perspective."
Fenwick is a 1999 graduate of Notre Dame Regional High School, who earned bachelor's degree in communication and international studies from St. Louis University.
He has studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, and Beijing, China.
He will spend the next two years in Tokyo at the International Christian University, one of seven Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution.
Fenwick said he'll study general peace-related issues, including causes of conflict and resolutions but also plans to focus on the business side of peaceful negotiations.
After two years, he'll graduate with a master's degree and wants to use his experience to work in an administrative position for a multinational corporation.
He is sponsored by Rotary District 6060 in Missouri and the Cape Girardeau West Rotary Club.
Each Rotary district may nominate one candidate.
While Rotary International has six other such centers around the world, Fenwick said he especially wanted to attend the one in Japan.
"Asia still feels like it's untouched by Western society," he said. "I feel a real sense of stewardship. It's a humbling experience to see a culture so different from the one I grew up in."
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