Alumni Essay: Leah Wheeler '01 (Political Science Minor)
Worked for Cleveland Soccer Foundation (CFS) - an organization that uses sports, particularly soccer, as a vehicle for meeting people's needs. Spent four years in the Czech Republic. Held positions as women's programs coordinator, vice president of CSF Czech, member of a global strategic planning team for women's programs. Responsibilities included national and international strategic planning, creating and overseeing local programs (such as community teams, prison-inmate programs, leadership training programs, Roma sports programs), leadership and coordination of international volunteer teams, and international fund-raising. Traveled extensively, working in more than 15 countries worldwide, including countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, Western Europe and Central America. In fall 2007, Wheeler earned the qualifications to teach in the Da Vinci Program for Intercultural Communication Education from the E.U. She completed her master's in international human rights at the University of Essex, England (degree includes international law, refugee law, sociology of human rights, philosophy of human rights, indigenous rights, psychology and human rights, international humanitarian law, NGOs and human rights). The title of her dissertation is "Posttraumatic Growth and Forgiveness: A Combined Intervention for Ending Cycles of Violence After a Human Rights Abuse"; it covers two psychosocial interventions and how they can be combined for greater success in peace-building, indigenous rights, reconciliation, and post-conflict reintegration of soldiers. Wheeler currently holds the position of human rights consultant with CSF and is an international women's programs team member. Her responsibilities include global and country-specific training of CSF staff in human rights issues and work, human rights research and consulting for CSF offices and programs, creation and oversight of human rights specific programs and partnerships (such as working with refugees, indigenous peoples, post-war and low-level-conflict peace and reconciliation, violence against women, etc.), fund-raising, and strategic planning for development of global women's programs.