Rotary Club of Belfast

Global Grant Scholars

The Club has been an active supporter of Rotary's Foundation Scholarships and annually hosts scholars studying in Belfast.

The Global Grant Scholarship Programme replaced Ambassadorial Scholarships in 2013.

During their time spent with us the Club is delighted to welcome the Scholars to our weekly meetings and events and they are active participants with Rotaract.

Global Grant Scholars hosted by the Club:

  • Rania Lewis 11.10.21Allie Linzing 01.11.21The Club are delighted to welcome 2 Global Scholars for the 2021/22 year - Allie Linzing and Rania Lewis (far right) whilst they are studying at Queens. 

    Rania from Austin, Texas is studying for a Masters in Conflict Transformation & Social Justice at Queen's University and Allie Linzing from Highland Park, Illinois is studying for a Masters in Education for Special Needs Children.

    The Club have been delighted to welcome them regularly to Club meetings both on zoom and hybrid at the Europa. In October 2021 they spoke at a Club meeting with interesting and detailed expositions of their background, studies, interests and future plans and both addresses, peppered with infectious enthusiasm both of which were greatly appreciated - see here.
  • NatashaLeenaHornlein2The Club was delighted to welcome 2 Global Scholars studying Conflict Resolution in Queens during the 2020/21 year. Leena Hornlein from Gilbert, a town in Maricopa County, Arizona sponsored by Gilbert Rotary Club and Natasha Oviedo (right) from Sierra Madre, a city in Los Angeles County, California sponsored by Rotary in Sierra Madre Rotary Club.

    Sadly due to Covid restrictions we were unable to meet them in person but they have been regular attendees at Club zoom meetings and the Club are very grateful for their input in preparations for this year’s online TABU Progamme.

    Natasha Oviedo spent the whole Academic Year in Belfast and, intent to be involved with the community, was actively involved with the Rotaract Club and the Horn of Africa People's Aid NI providing refurbished laptops to refugees in NI. Leena Hornlein, returned to the USA during the year to continue her studies even more remotely but returned to Belfast at the end of the academic year.

    In their address to the Club Monday 25 January 2021 (see here) Leena and Natasha gave a highly detailed exposition of their backgrounds, study, interests and future plans speaking extremely well holding the rapt attention of members with addresses peppered with infectious enthusiasm. They highlighted their enjoyment being in NI and answered as many questions as the time allowed.

    Leena 6 Natasha1
  • ScholarGroupThe Club is delighted to welcome this year’s Global Scholar Anna DeWitt from Wisconsin, USA, sponsored by Appleton Rotary Club. She will be studying for a Masters in Conflict Resolution and Social Justice at QUB and is pictured with President Karen and Past President Bryan Johnston at her first visit to the Club Monday 23 September. We look forward to seeing her of at Club meetings and wish her a happy and successful year.

    Throughout the year Anna was a frequent visitor to the Club and attended the District Conference.
  • AmbScholarsPresMarkAndPPBryanThe Club were delighted to welcome 2 Global Scholars attached to the Club this year whilst studying at University in Belfast. Ciara McHugh from Milwaukee, studying for a PHD at Ulster University and David Mills from South Arkansas studying for a Masters Degree at Queens University. They introduced themselves to the Club on Monday 18 September having arrived just a few days earlier.

    In addition, Global Scholar 2016/17 Laney Lennox, who was sponsored by the Rotary Club of South Shreveport, Louisiana and studied for a Masters in Conflict Resolution at QUB, has returned to Belfast to study for a PHD at Queens.DavidsPresentationON Arkansas

    They visited the Club on several occasions and David addressed the Club on 11 March (see here) reflecting on his home state Arkansas (stressing its French influence means it is pronounced Arkansaw!) and thanked the Club for the incredible opportunity to study conflict in Northern Ireland noting he wants to take this work back to the USA and work with Non Government Organisations to bridge divides developing in the migrant community.


    The 3 Scholars took a major part in the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) Seminar held in Belfast 28-31 March organised by the Club. Reporting to the Club (see here) they all expressed their thanks for the opportunity and experience and pointed out some of their highlights. Picture shows from left: Laney Lennox, Ciara McHugh, President Mark, Seminar Organiser Past President Ivan McMinn and Rotarian Veja Olberatova.

    DavidLeavesForHomeOn his final visit to the Club before he left for the US Tuesday 21 February, Global Scholar 2018-19 David Mills greatly thanked the Club for making his time here so beneficial and formative of his career ahead and also for the support and encouragement over the last 18 months. He noted that he had gained a lot from doing his Masters in Conflict Transformation and all the experiences he had been given. The Club wish him well in his future career.

    Ciara is presently undertaking a PhD at QUB and is likely to be in Belfast for the next 5 years.

  • SarahPresentsDistrictBanner 18.09.17The Club were delighted to welcome Sarah Markley, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who would be studying for an MA in Violence, Terrorism and Security at QUB.

    PresRosemarySarahAndrew 20.11.17On her 1st visit to the Club September 18 she presented her District Banner to President Rosemary who wished her a happy and successful year. Sarah went to the District Conference and during her time here visited the Club many times bringing her father on November 20.

    In her well received address to the Club on her experience in NI, reminding that she comes from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she advised Pennsylvania has fairly similar weather (but more snow!) and that while studying for her Degree in History and French she had spent one Semester here 2 years ago. She revealed she had enjoyed it so much she had wanted to come back. She has a broad programme of studies and will be here until September when she will return to the USA.

    SarahPresentsRotaryPinsFromHome ClubToBelfastClub 16.04.18She highlighted meeting the US Consulate General and attending the District Conference as well as being a delegate at the Living Freedom 3 day Conference in London in March, participating in the IMPACT Social Innovation Challenge partnering with the Turnaround Project and last weekend attending a Good Friday Agreement 20th Anniversary event. She stressed she was loving her time here getting out and about with lots of friends and really appreciates the community spirit and great camaraderie.Sarah Markley pin

    Thanking again for her time here and Rotary's input she gave District 7280 pins to members.

    SarahMarkleyDegreeAwardedOn her final farewell visit to the Club Monday 01 October Global Scholar Sarah advised that she had now completed her Masters in Violence, Terrorism and Security at QUB and, noting that she was returning to the US and was looking for a job on Foreign Policy in Washington DC, greatly thanked the Club for her support and encouragement. President Mark stated that the Club was delighted to have her with us during her year here.

    Sarah has advised that she has got an Internship in Washington with the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. We wish her every success in her future career.
  • PresIvanAndPPBryanWithGlobalScholars2016 bThe Club was delighted to welcome 2 Rotary Global Peace Scholars attached to the Club for the 2016/17 academic year. They introduced themselves on Monday 12 September and are: Catherine Glen (on the left), sponsored by the Rotary Club of Spartanburg, South Carolina, who will be studying for a Masters in Childhood Adversity at Queens University. and Laney Lennox, sponsored by the Rotary Club of South Shreveport, Louisiana, who will be studying for a Masters in Conflict Resolution also at Queens University. they gave a presentation to the Club Monday 28 November. Their well received address detailed their backgrounds, current activities and future plans.

    CatherinePresentationCatherine advised that she came from South Carolina near Florida which is famous for its official State Hospitality Beverage - tea (particularly 'sweet tea' which is 50% sugar! South Carolina being the first place in the United States where tea was grown) as well as shrimps and crisps. She has been involved in working with children since university helping children improve their lives in the US and Japan. CatherinePresentation2Noting that childhood adversity results in life long negative health and educational outcomes and children are more likely to be aggressive, involved in anti-social behaviour, or go to prison she advised that her thesis included working with Barnados welcoming Syrian refugees into schools. She concluded by stating she wanted to continue improving special needs programmes after school, develop school community interventions, train youth as leaders and promote peace.

    LaneyPresentationLaney advised that she was from Louisiana, 200 miles north of New Orleans, which has a very mixed culture heavily influenced by Texas influences, the streets having names relating to the Alamo. She noted that had wanted to study abroad as part of her peace studies degree and chose Northern Ireland. She is particularly interested in “narrative theory” (how people deal with experience by observing stories and listening to the stories of others) noting sharing stories creates common human identities. She concluded by noting that NI is amazing place for someone interested in story telling and that she is involved in story-writing centres and workshop groups for different communities hoping to work in this area when her studies are finished.

    PresRosemaryAnd ScholarsThey visited the  Club on many occasions and went to the District Conference; Laney is shown here left on 24 July 2017 with 2 other Scholars Kristina McLaughlin, the guest speaker who discussed her recent travels and study at Trinity College Dublin of historical memory in post-conflict areas and Shaley Moore from Missouri, USA (sponsored by Webb City-Carl Junction RC) who through the Rotary District 6110 Kirchner Scholarship is studying for a Master's degree in International Peace and Reconciliation at Magee College, University of Ulster who also address the Club on 14 August.

    LaneysPresentation 18.09.17Laney was delighted to report to the Club 18 September 2017 that she had completed her dissertation for her Masters in Conflict Resolution at the George Mitchell Institute, Queens University. She advised that having done a semester in Belfast whilst studying for her BA in creative writing at Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi, she became interested in how Belfast could be used in creative storytelling. Following graduation she spent a year in Galway editing literary reviews but wanted to get back to the conflict and social justice area and applied for her Masters to come back to Belfast through which she has been researching storytelling and how it can be used. This study introduced her to archives and Laney has done an internship in archive filming former prisoners’ experiences in Long Kesh and Armagh Women’s Prisons and is now interested in how archives help in recording the past. She was also delighted to have had a Masterclass with George Mitchell.

    LaneyPresentsBanner 18.09.17She advised that her time in Northern Ireland had had a major influence on her future career choice and that the sort of work she wants is more established in NI than other places so she is applying for jobs hoping to stay and apply her experience.

    Laney stressed that her involvement with Rotary had given her great experiences attending the Conference and speaking to Clubs and she attended a USA election party last November. She thanked the Club for the support and presented a banner of her sponsoring Rotary Club of South Shreveport.

    We wish both Scholars every success in their future careers.
  • ExchangeOfBannersThe Club was delighted to welcome during the year Global Scholar Kjelsie Hass.

    Kjelsie was being hosted by Dublin Rotary Club but was based in Belfast and was a frequent visitor. She presented a banner from her sponsoring Rushmore Rotary Club, Rapid City, South Dakota, District 5610 on her first Club visit 07 December 2015 to President Elect Ivan McMinn.

    On her final visit to the Club, Monday 13 June, Kjelsie bade her farewells. She thanked the Club for her support and guidance particularly President Ronnie, PPs Bryan Johnston and Derek Baxter and Eric Rainey.

    Addressing the Club, Kjelsie noted that she had been undertaking an MPhil in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation In Trinity College, Dublin and the Irish School of Ecumenics in Belfast. After a picture quiz she disclosed that her home was Rapid City, South Dakota and having in 2009 completed her Global Studies at South Dakota University she backpacked in Europe. This led to her changing tack to a career in diplomacy and in 2011 she interned at the State Department in Brussels and at the US-EU Communications Hub. In 2013 she became a Corps member of "Teach for America" and taught 11-15yr old disadvantaged children – 98% of whom qualified for free lunches and they had a reading level of only 5-7 years age.

    KjelsieQuestionTimeShe revealed that, coming from a sheltered background, she found this a difficult period; there was a culture of violence and she and her family had 2 death threats. But the 2 children she made particular progress with inspired her and led to her undertaking this year as a Global Scholar in Peace and Reconciliation. Her dissertation studies the link between trauma and truth in post conflict societies particularly comparing NI & South Africa and she left for Capetown Tuesday 14 June. Her experiences have again shifted her focus from International Diplomacy as the one thing she will be taking back is the importance of direct work in communities and working on the ground and she is currently interviewing for a post with Non-Profit companies.

    Loudly applauded she ended with thanks for generously hosting her. We wish her well.

    We are delighted to report that she has 'excitedly' emailed February 2017 that not only did she graduate with distinction, but has also been awarded the James Haire Prize for Best Dissertation of 2015-16 for her MPhil program noting she couldn't have done this without the support of The Belfast Rotary Club during her time here. She will be returning for the summer commencement ceremony in June and we forward to hopefully her attending a meeting then.

    In her email she related that having returned home she visited her family in South Dakota for the first time in nearly a year while also finishing her dissertation and started her new job in Jacksonville, Florida working as an Organizational Development Training Specialist at PACE Center for Girls. She states: "I love my new job! I work at our Headquarters office and travel frequently to our 19 centers across the state of Florida. We are also expanding to Georgia within the next year and New York soon after that. PACE provides academic and counseling services to girls from at-risk backgrounds. We are regularly invited to conferences at the White House to discuss and promote effective programming for women and girls, and we were involved in a recent national research project that puts PACE as the leading organization in the U.S. working for girls from at-risk backgrounds due to our strength-based, gender-responsive, and trauma-informed approach. I was also chosen in September to participate in a 1-2 year leadership fellowship here through Teach For America called the Halverson Alumni Fellowship. The fellowship aims to position Jacksonville's Teach For America alumni as a force of change in the education movement here both inside and outside of the classroom, creating relationships amongst organizations and movements across our community so that we can become effective educational leaders who will continue to lead the movement. I presented as a guest speaker at a couple of local Rotary clubs here in Jacksonville 2 weeks ago. February is the Rotary's Peace and Conflict Resolution month so my presentation fit in well to introduce this theme. The Rotarians here loved hearing about how welcoming you all were to me during my time there! Our District Governor was also coincidentally in attendance at the first club I spoke at. He loved hearing about my time as a Global Grant Scholar so he emailed all Presidents in the District recommending my presentation so I have several more presentations scheduled in the coming months.
  • PresRonnieAndKatieThe Club was delighted to welcome 2014/15 Global Scholar Katie Scrantom, who was sponsored by the Far North Rotary Club, Chicago, while she studied for for an MSc in Psychology of Childhood Adversity at Queens University Belfast.

    She addressed the Club on Monday 24 November, noting that she was being sponsored by the Rotary Club of Chicago Far North, she thanked Rotary for the support which has enabled her to undertake this study - a pilot one year programme. She spoke about her work with children and how it led her to this study.

    She had been an undergraduate in New Orleans when hurricane Katrina hit she moved to Chicago and spent 7 years there, her longest stay in any one place as she had travelled all over the States as her father changed jobs. She has spent her life working with children through High School, summer camps, two week visits to orphanages in Mexico and Honduras and, being particularly interested in childhood adversity, 4 years as a social worker in Chicago. She started with others the Dwon Madiki Partnership - a partnership between student members of Invisible Conflicts (IC) at Loyola University Chicago and primary students and families in Lacor, Uganda (the name Dwon Madiki translates to "voices of tomorrow" in Lacor's native language, Acholi). Recognizing that all children have a right to a prosperous education, Invisible Conflicts raises about $17,000 per year to fund the education (tuition and school supplies) of twenty Ugandan students from vulnerable backgrounds at multiple boarding and day schools in northern Uganda. Lacor was the epicentre of a conflict between the government and the Lord's Resistance Army, which began in 1986 and roughly ended in 2006. The IC Plunge (where students collect donations and take a dip in Lake Michigan in December!) raised $13,000 in the first year. She first came to Belfast in 2013 to work with Tools for Solidarity, which was when she learned about the Queen's MSc which has a specific focus on development in the context of adversity particularly in a post-conflict setting.
    Dinner 13

    Under her professional name Kale Quinby, she also finds time to be a professional singer! It was in this guise that she performed at the Club's Christmas Dinner and beautifully sang 2 of her own compositions concluding with the whole room singing I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.


    During her time here she made 6 presentations to other Rotary Clubs accompanied by Past President Bryan Johnston or Past President Derek Baxter - shown left at her last visits at Londonderry and Dungannon respectively.

    On her final visit to the Club, 7 September 2015, Katie having completed her Dissertation for Masters in Art, Peace and Child Psychology outlined her degree work. Her special area of work was child development and she concentrated on using art to build special bridges in society and to give children confidence to establish good relationships. This had involved her interviewing 10 children from a broad ethnic background in Dungannon and she related some interesting comments by the children.

    Now moving to Northern Spain, she said her sad farewells. She thanked Rotary for the wonderful opportunity she had been given, the Belfast Club in particular for her reception and guidance and the help and support from PPs Bryan Johnston and Derek Baxter Loudly applauded she ended with a very tearful goodbye!

    We wish her well.

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