Global Grant Scholar Madi Vorva: Update from Cambridge

The Peace Committee brings to you an update from our Global Grant Scholar, Madi Vorva. She is studying to receive her MPhil in Environmental Policy at Cambridge University and has been active among various Rotary clubs in the area. 

Greetings from Cambridge!

I wanted to wish you all season’s greetings and share some of my fall term highlights. Let me begin by saying that I have learned so much about myself as a student, leader, Rotarian and American in the last few months. My sincere thanks to the Plymouth, Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor North clubs, District 6400 and District 6380 for making this opportunity possible.

I was welcomed to the UK at the Rotary Scholars weekend in Coventry. It was so exciting to meet a community of 40+ scholars studying at 17 UK institutions, each committed to making a difference in different Rotary areas of focus!

With fellow scholars Genevieve (US), Fumika (Japan), Gary (District Governor, Rotary in the Heart of England).

My host family for the weekend also took me to the National Memorial Arboretum, a meaningful trip to honor the WW1 centennial.

With Paul and Lorna Beedham from the Bedworth Rotary Club at the National Memorial Arboretum.

My course, the MPhil in Environmental Policy, in the Land Economy Department is both challenging and exciting. I am especially enjoying international environmental law, taught by Dr. Jorge Viñuales, a prominent legal scholar and UN consultant. For my dissertation, I will be working with Dr. Ksenia Gerasimova, a sustainable development and agriculture policy expert, looking at the World Bank’s CAO accountability mechanism.

First week in Cambridge, I was excited for my department orientation!

You can find me on most weekdays in the David Attenborough Building, learning from researchers and practitioners working at the intersection of the conservation, environmental policy and economic development.

Pictured at the David Attenborough Centre for Conservation.

I am lucky to call Darwin College “home” and have met many friends from all over the world here. Darwin College is situated right along the River Cam, with beautiful gardens, an island and view of the surrounding fen. The property was donated by Darwin family and I can’t help but smile when think about how lucky I am to experience this historical place, as well as the alums who once shared these hallways including Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey. Just down the street, I live in a townhouse with students from China, Egypt, Poland, Australia, Chile and the United States. We have a tradition of cooking together and sharing recipes from our home countries. Next month my American friend Julie and I will make a proper Thanksgiving meal for everyone to try!

Pictured classmates Claudia and Romana at Darwin’s Christmas formal hall.

I’ve also been getting to know the Cambridge Rotary community thanks to my wonderful host John Barrett. Here’s a fun radio interview with Neil Whiteside, Cambridge 105 radio host and fellow Rotarian.

With my Rotary host John Barrett at the Norfolk District scholar welcome event.

This fall, I presented to the Cambridge South Rotary Club, with more talks to other clubs scheduled in the New Year. I also volunteered at the Rotary Club of Cambridge’s annual Christmas Charity Carol Concert which raised over £5,000 for the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity and Cambridge Churches Homeless Project.

School children performing at the Christmas Charity Carol Concert held at Great St Mary’s Church.
I was featured in the Concert program, one of the many beneficiaries of different Rotary Club of Cambridge activities.

My year in Cambridge is flying by and I am excited for what the spring and summer terms will bring. I look forward to sharing my experience with all of you upon my return.

Happy New Year!