Hello there. My name is Michalene Morelli.
…advocate of and for human potential.
I love listening to people discuss their hopes and fears for the future of our planet.
My graduate work allowed me to passion into purpose. Throughout my research, I interviewed more than three hundred people in four countries, two languages, and a range of ecosystems. Total strangers let me into their lives, shared their dreams and their truths with me in ways I had never expected.
I learned more about development, policy, and empathy from a fifteen-year-old girl in Dibulla, Colombia than from any of the government officials I interviewed.
After graduation, I reoriented this approach onto individuals doing the type of work I aspired to.
My academic background is in international law and human rights.
My research and enthusiasm are focused on the food, water, and conflict nexus – with a strong interest in the solutions offered by space-based information technology.
Exactly what type of job works on these issues?
“I don’t know, but you’ll be closer to it in DC.”
I took a short-term contract with a human rights NGO, moved to the most competitive job market in the country, and got to work picking the brain of everyone I met.
I took meetings over assorted beverages, at all hours of the day, with people in a variety of positions. The more people I met, the more people I was introduced to.
“Being in the know” is currency in DC – and everyone is eager to show off their wealth.
By the end of my contract, I had met with individuals working at development banks, think tanks, government agencies, consulting firms, lobbying firms (and firms that called themselves “government relations firms“), a whole slew of civil sector organizations, and on Capitol Hill.
I learned about what people did with the day-to-day of their lives and I learned what drove them to do it each and every day.
I learned that the field I want to work in may not exist yet – at least not in the United States. I am increasingly convinced that it will in the future – because the public sector does not seem to be paying enough attention to the disruption of climate change.
But others are. The private and civil sectors are built to be more adaptable and responsive than the bureaucracy of the federal government. It makes sense that these organizations are out ahead of the challenges that will affect the future – rather than filling out paperwork for the problems that alarmed us ten years ago.
Following the 2016 election, when contacts at organizations I was interested in made it known they were planning to spend the next four years digging in their heels, I decided DC was no longer where I needed to be.
I returned to my home in Washington state and accepted a research consultancy with Namati.
Namati is a legal empowerment organization, dedicated to operating with flexibility, humility, and urgency.
After returning to Washington state – and prior to accepting the contract with Namati – I started this blog as a means of remaining connected to the causes that drive me.
Thinking about the women, men, and children I met during my fieldwork, who are waking up – every morning – without access to water, food, or justice, makes it hard to breathe.
I started this blog to lend a voice to these issues; not because I think it’s anywhere near enough – but because I had to start somewhere.
Thanks for reading.