Michael Poffenberger, a graduate of Puyallup High School and the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded a Rotary World Peace Fellowship by the trustees of The Rotary Foundation. The Fellowship is one of only 50 granted annually for Master’s degree programs at five different universities around the world.
Poffenberger was sponsored for the unique scholarship by the Rotary Club of Lakewood and Rotary District 5020. His parents live in Edgewood, near Tacoma.
In a separate but related program, Rotary makes available 50 three-month opportunities for mid-career leaders to pursue Professional Development Certificates at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. The goal of both programs is to support the The Rotary Foundation mission by supporting and advancing research, teaching publication, and practical field experience on issues of peace, goodwill, causes of conflict, and world understanding. One function is inspiring people to work for a culture of peace and tolerance while enhancing their capacity, knowledge, and skill by generating interaction between practitioners and academics.
For Poffenberger this means advanced international opportunities in the area of peace and conflict resolution.
The scholarship winner is expected to enroll in the Rotary Center for International Studies at the University of Queensland in Australia early in 2011 where he will be joined by nine other scholars from all over the world.
At Notre Dame, Poffenberger earned degrees in Anthropology and International Peace Studies while also becoming involved in a number of service organizations. He now lives in Washington, DC and serves as Executive Director of a non-governmental organization (NGO) called Resolve Uganda, of which he was one of the founders. Resolve Uganda is working to end a two-decade war in central Africa in which thousands of children have been abducted and forced to become child soldiers and millions have been displaced from their homes.