Sofía del Valle awarded first Raymond C. Offenheiser Fellowship for Active Citizenship

Author: Luis Ruuska

Sofía Del Valle

Sofía del Valle, a Master of Global Affairs student in the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded the first Raymond C. Offenheiser Fellowship for Active Citizenship, created in honor of Ray Offenheiser, director of the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD), an integral part of the Keough School.

The Raymond C. Offenheiser Fellowship is one of two new fellowships recently created by the Keough School, the other being the new Hesburgh Global Fellowship. These new fellowships—which will be awarded annually—are designed to support the professional development of graduating master of global affairs students by subsidizing their employment with organizations that foster human dignity and equality.

"These new fellowships demonstrate the Keough School’s commitment to guiding our students on a career path where they can thrive professionally and be a force for good in the world," said Melinda Fountain, professional development specialist at the Keough School. "We’re delighted to offer them to two outstanding members of our inaugural graduating class."

The Raymond C. Offenheiser Fellowship will fund del Valle’s work for Oxfam, a global nonprofit organization focused on alleviating poverty and injustice. As a student, del Valle conducted fieldwork with Oxfam in Accra, Ghana through the Keough School’s Integration Lab. She studied cocoa farming and the cocoa supply chain, aiming to support policy that improves the lives of female cocoa farmers.

Del Valle wanted to continue her work with Oxfam because of the organization’s approach to social problems as complex issues.

"Oxfam is an organization that cares about the issues I care about, and they genuinely put people at the heart of what they do." she said. "Their emphasis on the structural causes of poverty and inequality set them apart."

Throughout her career, del Valle has worked for organizations focused on inequality and socio-environmental conflicts. Before coming to Notre Dame, she worked at Casa de la Paz, a Chilean-based nongovernmental organization that advises institutions on conflict resolution and community relations. She also has worked as a volunteer with vulnerable children, youth, and women while living in a slum in southern Chile. del Valle holds a BA in sociology from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

The Offenheiser Fellowship is awarded to eligible Keough School graduate students following the completion of their master of global affairs degree. Recipients work for one year at Oxfam’s offices in Boston or Washington, DC.

Before joining NDIGD, Offenheiser served for 20 years as president of Oxfam America. Under his leadership, the agency grew eightfold and repositioned itself in the United States as an influential voice on international development, human rights and governance, humanitarianism, and foreign assistance. In addition to serving as NDIGD's director, Offenheiser is a distinguished professor of the practice in the Keough School.

The Keough School’s Master of Global Affairs program, launched in August 2017, is a two-year professional degree program that prepares students for skilled, effective leadership and careers in government, nongovernmental and civil society organizations, and the private sector. The inaugural master of global affairs class will graduate from Notre Dame on May 19, 2019.

This piece was developed from an extended piece originally published by the Keough School of Global Affairs at on May 7, 2019.

The Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD)—an integral part of the new Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame—works to address global poverty and inequality through policy, practice, and partnership. 

Contact: Luis Ruuska, communications specialist, Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development,