The Rotary Club of Fairfax, a part of Rotary District 7610 in Northern Virginia, recently awarded the Global Grant Scholarship to a young woman from Fairfax City. Sophie McManus learned she was the winner of the competitive scholarship on Nov. 4, nudging out many other young people from the area.
Sophie, who is currently employed as the program coordinator of external relations with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., became fascinated with diplomacy and peace studies when she was invited to participate in the National Model African Union in spring of 2011. She studied the political instability in Zimbabwe and its effect on the entire Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). The experience allowed her to practice the analytical and critical thinking skills she’d learned conducting her research project and applying them to larger entities and ideas.
The purpose of the Global Grant Scholarship Program is to further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries. While abroad, scholars serve as ambassadors of goodwill to the people of the host country and give presentations about their homelands to Rotary clubs and other groups. Upon returning home, scholars share with local Rotarians and others the experiences that led to greater understanding of their host countries.
The two-year scholarship, for study during the 2014-2015 academic year, will enable McManus to obtain a Masters of Arts in Conflict Transformation and Peace Studies from the University of Kwazulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. McManus has chosen to focus on peace studies and conflict resolution programs because she is interested in understanding the factors that lead to the issue of racism through history and wants to understand the process of peacekeeping. Her academic coursework will be supplemented by participating in a community development project that provides a summer camp to youth in low socioeconomic communities and have experienced racism, discrimination or violent xenophobic attacks.
The Rotary Club of Fairfax is a member of Rotary International, an organization of business and professional persons united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. For more information about the Rotary Club of Fairfax, visit the club’s website at www.fairfaxrotary.org or email Rotary Club of Fairfax’s Executive Director Irby N. Hollans, Jr., at firstname.lastname@example.org.