Luci Prosapio is a Pepperdine University senior  History and International Studies student who was chosen by Rotary District 5580  to be the beneficiary of a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship to work on a Masters in Development Studies at  Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  




Notice we said she is being sponsored by District 5580, not District 5280, which is the district the Malibu Rotary Club is in.  Malibu Rotary Club and District 5280 sponsored Pepperdine student Amy Joehlin-Price to study public health at the Malawi College of Medicine in southeast Africa in 2007. Amy is now at Ohio State Medical School.  


Pepperdine Dean-Emeritus and History Professor David Baird is a long time Rotarian and has encouraged qualified Pepperdine undergraduates to a apply for these elite Rotary Ambassadorial scholarships. Because Rotary districts tend to limit the number of scholarships issued to a single Rotary club in a district, and it is unlikely that the Malibu Rotary Club's candidate would be chosen, David recommends that the students apply for sponsorship from their hometown club.  Using this technique Pepperdine can boast having  six Rotary Ambassadorial scholars in the past six years-one sponsored by the Malibu Rotary Club and the other five sponsored by the Rotary clubs in the students hometown.  For Luci it meant a hectic summer and beginning of the school year.  She grew up Little Falls, Minnesota, a town of 7,000 near the source of the Mississippi River and managed to have the Rotary Club of Little Falls sponsor her as an Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar after going through an application and interview process in Little Falls.  Then she had to fly back and forth to Duluth, Minniesota, where office  District 5580 is located, to be interviewed by the scholarship committee that district.  It could have been worse, District 5580 is   an international district which consisting of northwestern Ontario in Canada, northern Minnesota and North Dokata. She might have had to go Canada for her district interview.


In her PowerPoint presentation Luci showed some of the facts she had learned about the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship program:


  • Who:  Approximately 500 men and women from 70 countries
  • What:  One year of study, community involvement, and ambassadorial work to respect and improve the lives of others
  • Where: In over 64 countries around the world
  • When: Every year since 1947
  • Why:  To support the Rotary's mission of international understanding and goodwill; to create and foster lifelong associations with Rotary Academic-Year Ambassadorial Scholarships are for one academic year abroad and provide funding for round-trip transportation, tuition and fees, room, board, necessary educational supplies, and language training (if necessary) up to a maximum award of US $23,000 or its equivalent.  


Luci told some the history of her Ambassadorial Scholarship destination, South Africa. It has had European involvement since 1652 - It was a Dutch spice route stopping point.  Coal, gold, and diamond mining increased foreign immigration. In 1948 the National Party established Apartheid. In 1994 there was peaceful transition to majority rule. The country is still dealing with imbalances and devastation from 60 years of Apartheid.  The government of South Africa is a republic under current president Jacob Zuma with Tri-partite government.  Approximately 50 millions citizen and there are 11 official languages spoken. South Africa has the 4th highest HIV/AIDS of all  nations in the world.  The literacy (ages 15+) of 86.4% may not seem too bad, but most developed countries of the world have a literacy rate of 98 or 99%.


Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, where Luci will be studying, was created in 2005 as a  a combination of three previous universities: University of Port Elizabeth,  Port Elizabeth Technikon,  and Vista University.  It has over 3,000 International Students and is located on a wildlife nature preserve. It is the largest university on the continent of Africa. Port Elizabeth was where most of the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer games were played.  


 Luci's Postgraduate Study in getting a  Masters in Development Studies will involve analytical learning as well as first hand experience in a
developing nation and Development and Peace, Organizational Transformation,
and Development Economics.   


In the community Luci has an idea of creating a Theatre Project.  This project will address literacy and community development issues and she hopes to Develop and Produce the play over the course of her scholarship year and hopefully leave it as an on-going project for the community.


Her Goals in the Theatre Project are many: She hopes it will help youth with literacy development through a fun activity, help them learn English; provide information about US and western culture in meetings and performance; foster community and friendship that transcends socio-economic barriers; involve the greater community in development and production; and provide an event for the entire community to unite and enjoy.


Luci still has some logistics to take care of before she leaves. She needs an Application to NMMU and Student Visa, make arrangements for traveling, lodging, vaccinations  and she still has not met her nor does she even know  her host Rotary club.


Her plan is to  make an online journal to document her experiences, with photos, video, daily/weekly entries as way to communicate with family, friends, and clubs back in the United States.  We hope to put a link of that on the Malibu Rotary Club website.


During her visit to the Malibu Rotary Club people in attendance had suggestions and help for her.  Geoff Ortiz was going to put her in touch with theater people to suggest the community play she might due.  Linton Morgan, said his Rotary Club had a relationship with one in South Africa and said might even meeting Nelson Mandela.