November 27, 2006
59, Number 12
November 27 , 2006
BY beverly clark
Zachary Manfredi has become something of a media star.
The newly-named Rhodes Scholar has been interviewed recently by so many reporters that he has trouble listing them all. By his count, he’s talked about winning this prestigious award with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Associated Press, the Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, The Hub and many others.
“It’s been fun to a degree, but it’s a little overwhelming,” he said several days before the Thanksgiving break. “Let’s just say I’m glad to be going home for a few days.”
Manfredi, an Emory College senior, has been selected as a Rhodes Scholar for 2007. He is the 18th Emory student to be selected for the scholarship that provides for two or three years of study at Oxford University in England.
He has maintained a 3.99 grade point average while pursuing a triple major in philosophy, international relations and comparative literature. Manfredi plans to use his scholarship at Oxford to pursue a master’s in philosophy. His research will focus on the philosophy of international relations and human rights, and its potential to influence policy concerning the development of institutions like the International Criminal Court.
“For me, receiving the Rhodes scholarship is a chance to continue to pursue my passions. As a Rhodes scholar I’ll get to work on important political causes and also to keep asking important philosophic questions; it’s a synthesis of my two greatest loves, justice and knowledge. I’d definitely pursue this path regardless, but it’s nice to get the external validation that others believe you’re on a good path,” said Manfredi, who grew up in Rochester, Mich., outside of Detroit. He was named a Truman Scholar last year, one of 75 students in the nation to receive the competitive fellowship meant to foster careers in government and public service.
“On behalf of the entire university, I congratulate Zachary on his esteemed achievement,” President Jim Wagner said. “We are honored to claim him as a student. Zak truly embodies the ideal of an engaged citizen-scholar. His incredible intellect, and compassionate commitment to social justice and community building, along with his courageous leadership abilities, will serve him well at Oxford and beyond.”
Once he completes his degree at Oxford, Manfredi plans to pursue his passion for human rights and earn a joint law degree and doctorate in political philosophy, focusing on cases of war crimes, political prosecutions and genocide.
Manfredi has dedicated much of his time at Emory to raising awareness about human rights issues. He serves as president of Emory’s Amnesty International chapter, and is founder and president of the Student Activist Coalition on campus. Manfredi also served as an intern in the democracy program of The Carter Center, working on civil society building programs and election monitoring in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire and Haiti.
The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan, has been a particular focus for Manfredi, who is co-founder and president of the non-governmental organization Paperclips for Peace in Sudan. The organization raises funds for humanitarian relief, several thousand so far, and advocates for political action in Darfur.
“Ever since I was really young, I’ve been passionate about political justice, due in large part to the values my parents instilled in me, and so I’ve tried to do whatever I can in small ways to make the world a more just place for all,” said Manfredi, who plans to work in international law and policy.
Many faculty who have worked with him say Manfredi is among the most dedicated and intellectually gifted students they have encountered.
“I really owe a great deal of my success in this process to my mentor, Dr. Elizabeth Goodstein,” Manfredi said. Goodstein is an associate professor in Emory’s Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts and director of graduate studies. “I’ve learned so much from her, not just in terms of academics, but also about life and what I want to do in the future. She’s really an inspiring professor, always going the extra step to challenge her students to think harder about important questions. Emory’s incredibly lucky to have her, and I’m even luckier to have benefited from her guidance.”
In addition to his activist work, Manfredi was a member, until recently, of Emory’s nationally ranked debate team, the Barkley Forum, and continues to volunteer with the Urban Debate League, a partnership between the Barkley Forum and the Atlanta and Decatur city schools. He also has served as a writer and editor for the Emory Political Review and Emory Undergraduate Research Journal. A member of the Emory Scholars program as a Goodrich C. White Scholar, he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society his sophomore year.
Manfredi is one of 32 American college or university students selected as Rhodes Scholars this year. He is the third Emory Rhodes Scholar in the past seven years, and was selected from 896 applicants endorsed by 340 colleges and universities nationwide. Two hundred seven applicants from 94 institutions were finalists.
Emory’s most recent Rhodes scholars are John Henderson in 2003 and Danielle Sered in 2000.
Manfredi is a graduate of Rochester High School in Rochester, Mich., and is the son of Krista Manfredi of Rochester and John Manfredi of Waterford, Mich.
The Rhodes Scholarship, established in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist and colonial pioneer Cecil Rhodes, is the oldest international study award available to American students. Scholars are chosen based on criteria set down by Rhodes: high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor. The American scholars join students from 18 other jurisdictions around the world.