Saturday, September 29, 2018

A Brief Introduction

Hello all!

My name is Mitchell Paquette and I am from La Crosse, Wisconsin. This year I was selected by Rotary International District 6250 to be a Global Grant Scholar. The Global Grant Scholarship is a $30,000 award for an individual to pursue graduate level studies at a foreign university, in a subject related to one of Rotary International's six focus areas: Peace and Conflict Resolution,  Disease Prevention and Treatment, Water and Sanitation, Maternal and Child Health,  Basic Education and Literacy, and Economic and Community Development. With the help of the Downtown La Crosse Rotary Club, I applied and was awarded a Global Grant Scholarship in the area of Peace and Conflict Resolution for the 2018/2019 academic year. I will be using the funds to pursue a Master's of Law in International Human Rights Law at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom.

Prior to becoming a Global Grant Scholar, I was living in New York City, working for a nonprofit human rights organization, the New Media Advocacy Project (NMAP), developing media to advance legal cases and advocacy campaigns, both domestically and internationally. During my two years at NMAP, we partnered with incredible human rights defenders from across the globe, working on issues such as criminal justice reform in Pakistan, corporate mining abuse in the Philippines, and transitional justice in Guatemala. As I became more immersed in this global community of human rights lawyers and advocates, all working to promote a more equitable and just world, I saw how powerful a tool the law could be to positively impact lives and societies.

Rotary International has provided me with a tremendous opportunity to develop that legal knowledge at one the world's leading institutions for the study of human rights law. Over the next year I will deepen my knowledge of the legal foundations of human rights as well as the institutions that promote and enforce them. With this education, I hope to re-enter my career better prepared and more capable of contributing to meaningful and lasting improvements in the protection of human rights worldwide.

Now that my Global Grant year is underway, I would like to recognize all of the people and organizations who helped me get here: Jodi Widuch, Lyn Sheffer and the Downtown La Crosse Rotary Club, Lyn Kenney from District 6250, my host counselor Colin Brodie and the Rotary Club of Colechester, and The Rotary Foundation. This opportunity would not be possible without them.

Over the next year, I will be posting regularly on this blog about my time in the UK, my academic pursuits, and my experiences with Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland. I cannot wait to get settled into my life here in the UK and begin my studies. Thank you all for your interest and support as I enter this next chapter of my life!

Talk to you again soon.

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