An insight into the Rotary Scholarship Scheme and the important academic work it enables was given to the club by its most recent guest speaker.
Maria Gargiulo, from New York in the United States, is the latest Rotary Scholar to be hosted by Maidenhead Rotary Club. On Monday she gave a presentation about her work at the club’s first evening Rotary family meeting since before the first lockdown which saw a welcome return to Maidenhead Golf Club.
Sponsored by Rotary District 7980 in New Haven, Connecticut, Maria is studying for a Masters degree at the department of Sociology and Demography at Nuffield College, Oxford University.
A statistician with a deep commitment to human rights, her thesis work is focussing on feminicide – the intentional killing of a woman or girl because of her gender.
She explained feminicide is a preventable cause of premature death that is largely ignored on policy agendas worldwide. Her research investigates feminicides as a form of political violence with the focus on the risk factors that make victims most vulnerable.
She has carried out fieldwork in South America, researching domestic violence and investigating the number of women who have been ‘disappeared’ by the authorities. The aim is to provide robust statistical evidence to help shape future policy to minimise violence against women.
Maria also works with the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) and had just returned from Bergen in Norway where the group was presented with an award for its distinguished work defending human rights and democracy by the Rafto Foundation, an international human rights organisation.
Funded by the Rotary Foundation - Rotary’s own charity - the scholarship programme has an average annual spend of $7.5 million. Since it began more than 350,000 awards have been given to scholars worldwide.
The scheme helps graduate students pursue their studies all around the world by providing grants to support them studying abroad in areas relating to Rotary’s key areas of focus: promoting peace; fighting disease; providing clean water; saving mothers and children; supporting education; growing local economies, and protecting the environment.
In the Thames Valley District 1090 alone, The Rotary Foundation is funding 29 scholarships for graduate students - one studying in Reading, the others in Oxford. Between them they are studying for 11 doctorates and 18 masters degrees. The students hail from 11 countries on four continents.
Giving the vote of thanks, Rotarian Eddie Clarke, the club’s chair of Foundation, said Maria’s work was both vital and relevant and also demonstrated the importance of support from the Rotary Scholarship Scheme.