Meet your Regional Organizer
My name is Elise Roberts, and I have been the regional director in the midwest region since early 2011.
My interest and passion in international justice and human rights is rooted in my time at Macalester College, and my study abroad experience in Bolivia. During the summer after my first year at Macalester College, I traveled by myself to Bolivia to study Spanish. I soon found myself blockaded into Sucre, in the midst of massive protests (which were directly tied to the relationship between United States aid money and Bolivian coca policies). Over the next six weeks, as I learned about the history of United States intervention in Bolivia, I was struck by how much of the poverty, injustice, corruption, and violence in Bolivia was somehow rooted in the policies and actions of my government. When I returned from Bolivia, I began researching ways to fight unjust US policies in Latin America. I began following the work of Witness for Peace, and I attended my first protest at the School of the Americas in Georgia.
After college I spent two years volunteering, studying, and working abroad, and I began to lead programs in international service education. Since then, my travels and work have brought me to more than sixty countries, and I have taught seven programs abroad in both South and Central America, the South Pacific, India, and eastern Africa. While I continue to love to travel and work abroad, my journey has continuously led me back to root problems in my home country. I eventually could not ignore that change had to happen back home and that my role in fighting for international justice was based in building awareness and changing destructive policies and practices in the United States.
So, I returned to the States, and I spent a year as an AmeriCorp VISTA Volunteer. In 2009, I graduated with a Master’s in Social Work Administration from Columbia University, with a focus in International Social Welfare. During and after graduate school, I interned as an NGO advocate at the United Nations through International Movement ATD, a human rights-based NGO composed of volunteers and supporters around the world.
I recently returned to the Midwest, and I am excited to connect with and learn from all the Witness for Peace supporters around the Upper Midwest region! I would love to hear from you— please e-mail or call to introduce yourself or to learn about upcoming plans for WFP-UMW. To support our work, please click here. Thank you!