This summer, Mary Claire Manchester ’13 is making a difference and putting her passions into play.
“I am learning and contributing to something I am extremely passionate about, foreign policy between Latin America and the United States,” she says.
Manchester is working as a grassroots organizer and advocacy intern at Witness for Peace in Washington, D.C.
Among her various responsibilities, Manchester is focused on advocacy outreach for the non-profit. “I work on a variety of tasks, such as writing letters to the editor on a number of topics such as the war on drugs, immigration, Honduras and free trade agreements,” she says.
Witness for Peace is a non-profit organization that supports peace, justice and sustainable economies in the Americas. It seeks to change U.S. policies and corporate practices that contribute to poverty and oppression in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Since 1983, the Witness for Peace organization has maintained a full time presence throughout Latin America and the Caribbean Basin America in Nicaragua, Mexico, and Colombia, establishing relationships with the popular, civil and religious sectors, hosting delegations, and documenting the effects of U.S. foreign, military and economic policies.
Already, Manchester has been able to see firsthand the vital intersection between grassroots organization and political action. “We keep in contact with representatives of collegial organizations and Congressional offices,” she says.
Manchester, an international relations major with a Spanish and Latin American studies minor, is also engaged in community service efforts in Geneva. She volunteered with the America Reads program, which serves elementary school children in the Geneva area by tutoring them to improve their reading skills.
On campus, Manchester acted in the Tennessee Williams’s play “Dragon Country” and recently returned from a study abroad program in San Joaquín, Costa Rica. During her study abroad she attended a small, Spanish intensive institute and lived with a Costa Rican host family for four months. She also studied Spanish in both Buenos Aires, Argentina and Antigua, Guatemala.