Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Journey of 8,792 Miles

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Michelle Mendez, Senior Attorney
for Catholic Charities ILS
Until recently, it's been pretty easy to find Michelle Mendez.

Senior attorney for Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services (ILS) and compassionate advocate on behalf of immigrants worldwide, Michelle could often be found working closely with her colleagues and clients at her Silver Spring office.

But this summer, Michelle's expertise and passion have brought her
 8,792 miles across the world to Chulalaongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, as one of only 50 World Peace Fellows named by Rotary International. 

The fellowships are awarded annually to candidates who possess outstanding leadership in the promotion of international cooperation and amity. To further develop their professional skill set, fellows are invited to study abroad at one of five Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution. 

Michelle is about one month into her three-month course of study at Chulalaongkorn University, where she joins fellows from around the world who have experiences in a wide range of human rights work.   

In addition to an intense course of study,
Michelle gets to enjoy all the beauty
and history of her new surroundings!
"With so many of us Fellows representing different experiences and perspectives, our time together in Thailand will surely be one of personal development and fulfillment as well as epiphanies all of which will hopefully allow us to return to our fields with greater appreciation for and understanding of what is needed for conflict resolution," Michelle said. 

"We are incredibly proud of Michelle!" Jacqueline Rishty, Senior Program Manager for ILS said. "This is a great honor for Michelle, and recognizes her endless dedication to helping others." 

Michelle has been with our ILS team for over three years, helping hundreds of people with immigration legal issues. She has cultivated close working relationships with staff working in the immigration court and is tireless in advocating both for her clients and for the rights of immigrants internationally. 

We're sending lots of prayers for a safe, amazing, and inspirational experience for Michelle. See you in the fall, Michelle! Your Silver Spring office will be waiting for you. 

To learn more about the Rotary International World Peace Fellowships, please visit here

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