Meet the Global Scholar
Anna is Rotary District 6220’s Global Scholar for the 2019/2020 academic year. She will be perusing a MA in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice at Queen’s University Belfast.
Signing the Peace Wall in West Belfast, 2018
Anna DeWitt – MA Conflict Transformation and Social Justice – Rotary District 6220
What is a Rotary Global Scholar?
Every year, Rotary International districts around the world sponsor a year of academic study in a humanitarian related field. I am lucky enough to be this year’s scholarship recipient and representative for my local Rotary district. Over the course of the next year, I will be moving to Belfast, Northern Ireland to complete a MA in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice at Queen’s University Belfast. During the year, I will volunteer with a local organization(s) working to promote peace, social cohesion, and mitigate the enduring effects of conflict on the region. I also plan to participate in the Belfast Rotary Club by participating in meetings, events, and other volunteer opportunities when time allows.
Who are you?
Although I have a important new title, I am also a Midwesterner, recent college graduate, and an idealist who wants to make a difference. Originally raised in the Twin Cities area, my parents moved to Eastern Wisconsin shortly after I started college. Between moving to college, moving across a state, and even living abroad in the past four years, I guess you could say that I am no stranger to change.
Most recently, I am a Luther College graduate with BA degrees in History and International Studies. In college I focused on European history and politics, particularly Brexit and its effects on Northern Irish. I even spent my third year of college living and working in Nottingham, England.
Aside from academics and travel, much of my free time in high school and college has been spent working and volunteering. One of my favorite activities included designing and participating in an exchange with students from Iraq. Others involved teaching English to refugees or teaching history lessons and promoting higher education to students at historically disadvantaged schools.
Why Belfast and why Conflict Transformation and Social Justice?
My decision to choose Belfast and Northern Ireland in general was one that was sentimental and practical. When I was lucky enough to visit Belfast about a year and a half ago, I absolutely fell in love with Northern Ireland. Not only is the country physically beautiful, but I have never met kinder, more welcoming people.
As a historian Belfast’s rich and complicated history appeals to me too. This brings up another point; Belfast’s history of ethnic and religiously fueled conflict. Belfast is well known for its history of violent conflict between Protestants and Catholics, British and Irish. Mostly peaceful today, the region’s history of turmoil and journey to peace make it an ideal location to study peace and conflict. Throughout the year, I hope to learn more about how to build sustainable and just peace whether in Northern Ireland or abroad. Importantly, my program matches with one of Rotary International’s ‘focus areas’, peace and conflict prevention/resolution. This is a key component of what made me eligible for a Global Scholarship.
And finally, it goes without saying that I will be lucky enough to study at one of the best universities in the world. Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) is a hub for scholars in my field, politicians, and international diplomats alike. With access to first hand experience in my field of study on campus and in the wider Northern Irish community, Belfast was a natural choice.
So without further ado, welcome! On this site you will find:
- Updates about my time in Belfast; academic, Rotary related, and occasionally personal posts.
- Information about Rotary International’s Global Grant scholarship and program.