Global grant scholar focuses on human rights
Global grant scholar Claire Achmad visits the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. Photo courtesy of Claire Achmad
Claire Achmad of New Zealand is passionate about improving the quality of people’s lives by working as an advocate for human rights.
Achmad is studying international public law as a 2010-11 Rotary Foundation Global Grant scholar at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. She is also interning with UNICEF’s Child Advocacy and Rights Unit in the Netherlands and helping organize a juvenile justice course at the university. Her scholarship is aligned with Rotary’s peace and conflict prevention/resolution area of focus.
“My mind has been stretched, challenged, expanded, and enriched in many ways, and I have had the privilege to be taught by some fantastic teachers and experts in the field of peace, justice, and development,” says Achmad, whose scholarship is sponsored by District 9940 (New Zealand) and the Rotary Club of De Rottemeren in District 1600 (The Netherlands). “I am not only learning a lot and reaping a lot of knowledge through my study, but I am giving back through my other commitments in the community.”
Before her scholarship, Achmad worked as an attorney with the Ministry of Social Development in Wellington. She was also honored as young corporate lawyer of the year in 2010 by the Corporate Lawyers Association of New Zealand.
District 9940 and host District 1600, both Future Vision pilot districts, have brought together considerable experience to help ensure Achmad’s scholarship works smoothly. District 1600 has hosted several Rotary Scholars from District 9940. In addition, District 9940 has sponsored five Rotary Peace Fellows.
To overcome an initial lack of awareness about global grant scholarships among its member clubs, District 9940 featured the scholarships in Future Vision pilot workshops and at the district assembly, presidents-elect training seminars, and the district conference, says Past District Governor Antony Fryer.
“To ensure continuity in the district’s scholarship program, the membership of the previous Ambassadorial Scholarships committee continued into the Future Vision pilot scholarships committee, in addition to the appointment of new members,” Fryer says.
In May, Achmad addressed a UNESCO European regional forum in Tuscany, Italy, on the topic of children’s rights. After her scholarship, she would like to work with a nongovernmental or intergovernmental organization and eventually with a United Nations agency.
“My education at Leiden will be a crucial stepping stone to developing my career, allowing me to make the contribution I aspire to, addressing [humanitarian] needs on a long-term basis through sustained work,” she says. “I feel a sense of deep gratitude towards Rotary and the support of The Rotary Foundation, District 9940, and Harbour City [Wellington] Rotary Club.”
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