Soumaoro receives first annual Hesburgh Global Fellowship

Author: Renée LaReau

Djiba Soumaoro

The Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame has created two new fellowships to support the professional development of graduating master of global affairs students.

The Raymond C. Offenheiser Fellowship and the Hesburgh Global Fellowship will subsidize employment with organizations that foster human dignity and equality. The fellowships will be awarded annually.

“These new fellowships demonstrate the Keough School’s commitment to guiding our students on a career path where they can thrive professionally and be a force for good in the world,” said Melinda Fountain, professional development specialist at the Keough School. “We’re delighted to offer them to two outstanding members of our inaugural graduating class.”

Djiba Soumaoro, from Mali, is the first recipient of the Hesburgh Global Fellowship. Named for the late Notre Dame President Emeritus Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., the fellowship provides funding for a graduate of the Master of Global Affairs program to pursue work focused on peace, justice, development, or other related fields.

Soumaoro, an MGA student with a concentration in International Peace Studies, will work for the Ouelessebougou Alliance, first in Salt Lake City, Utah, then in Mali’s Ouelessebougou region, where he was born and raised.

“I want to give hope to disadvantaged and marginalized people in the same way some incredible people gave hope and opportunity to me while I was living in extreme poverty,” said Soumaro, who was the first of his 11 siblings to pursue a formal education. “I want to pay forward all the good that I have received in life.”

The Ouelessebougou Alliance works in partnership with local villagers to transform the quality of life in the region by facilitating sustainable health and education programs.

Soumaoro plans to draw upon the knowledge and skills he developed at the Keough School, especially an informed understanding of structural violence and the conflict analysis skills he practiced as an intern with Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Through his six-month International Peace Studies field experience in the U.S., Mali, and Senegal, Soumaoro worked with the CRS Equity, Inclusion, and Peacebuilding team on efforts to improve conditions for youth and women around the world.

Sofía del Valle, from Chile, has received the Raymond C. Offenheiser Fellowship for Active Citizenship. Del Valle purused is an MGA student with a concentration in Sustainable Development. This fellowship will fund del Valle’s work for Oxfam, a global nonprofit organization focused on alleviating poverty and injustice. As a student, del Valle conducted fieldwork with Oxfam in Accra, Ghana through the Keough School’s Integration Lab. She studied cocoa farming and the cocoa supply chain, aiming to support policy that improves the lives of female cocoa farmers.

The Offenheiser Fellowship is awarded to eligible Keough School graduate students following the completion of their master of global affairs degree. Recipients work for one year at Oxfam’s offices in Boston or Washington, DC.

The Keough School’s Master of Global Affairs program, launched in August 2017, is a two-year professional degree program that prepares students for skilled, effective leadership and careers in government, nongovernmental and civil society organizations, and the private sector. The inaugural master of global affairs class will graduate from Notre Dame on May 19, 2019.