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Loyola University Chicago

Commencement

George McGraw

Founder and Executive Director, DIGDEEP

George McGraw (BA ’09) graduated summa cum laude from Loyola University Chicago in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy. He received his Master of Arts in International Law and the Settlement of Disputes in 2010 from the United Nations University for Peace in San Jose, Costa Rica. Within a few years of graduation, McGraw became a well-known expert in water issues and the founder and executive director of DIGDEEP, a human rights organization dedicated to clean water access.

McGraw’s activism began while attending Loyola. He first explored the right to water in international law while completing his honors degree in political science. While studying at Loyola, he also worked as a legislative affairs intern for Representative Judy Biggert in Washington DC and as an international legal affairs intern at the Consulate General of Mexico in Chicago.

While studying in Costa Rica, McGraw accepted a fellowship at the Ministry of Justice and Peace in San Jose. His master’s thesis built on his earlier work as an undergraduate, exploring the human right to water in domestic and international law. The piece was later published by the Loyola University Chicago International Law Review and is required reading for several national and international human rights programs.

McGraw then worked as an independent consultant for the United Nations Development Program where he assisted in the preparation and editing of Afghanistan’s Human Development Report for 2011. This bolstered his interest in water access, and he began to provide a unique perspective on the intersection of water resource issues, human rights, and infrastructure.

The belief that every human has the right to water—and the profound link between water and human dignity—inspired McGraw to found a global organization for clean water access, DIGDEEP. DIGDEEP has built sustainable water projects in South Sudan, Cameroon, and the United States. DIGDEEP also helps Americans better understand and conserve their resources through education programs like its 4Liter Challenge. This commitment to social justice in McGraw’s work exemplifies Jesuit values and leadership.

McGraw’s success with DIGDEEP has led to teaching positions in Kashmir, Japan, and the United States. He is also a contributor to the Huffington Post, RealClear, and Breitbart. McGraw has been a guest of major news outlets and spoken at events hosted by the Clinton Foundation, the Ford Motor Company, and TEDx. He is also one of 30 global scholars working on the International Jesuit Ecology Project, a digital textbook in environmental science for Jesuit secondary and higher education.

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