McCormack Speaks

June 12, 2018
by saadiaahmad001

Jeffrey Pugh, Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution, Earns Top Award For Article on Universal Citizenship in Ecuador

This year, the Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies (MACLAS) awarded Jeffrey Pugh, Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution at the McCormack Graduate School, with the Harold Eugene Davis Prize, which is awarded to a MACLAS member in good standing for a book chapter or article published in the past two years.

Pugh received his award at the annual meeting in March for his article entitled, “Universal Citizenship through the Discourse and Policy of Rafael Correa,” published in Latin American Politics and Society in 2017. The chair of the Davis Prize committee, Dr. Michael Schroeder, commended Pugh for his “nuanced, multilayered, exceptionally well-written, and meticulously researched and argued” analysis on the discourse of universal citizenship in Ecuador. At the 2018 MACLAS conference in Pennsylvania, he explained the selection committee’s decision-making process:

“[Pugh offers] a compelling framework for addressing one of the most important issues of the 21st century, and one that only promises to become more salient with the social and political dynamics set in motion by global climate change. On what basis do ordinary people make claims for rights? The emerging concept of universal citizenship is fascinating, provocative, and holds many comparative implications. The article’s analysis of Ecuador and President Rafael Correa’s use of universal citizenship discourse to advance his political goals while constraining boundaries of membership in the nation and claims making offers a compelling strategy for analysis. The article… offers a powerful framework for addressing one of the most important issues of the contemporary era, a framework that can be applied far beyond Pugh’s case study of Ecuador. [It] is attentive to a host of countervailing and contradictory pressures and forces, and helps to place Latin America in the center of contemporary debates that have far-reaching global implications.”

Each year, MACLAS offers several awards, grants, and prizes for excellence in scholarship and service. Founded in 1979, MACLAS is an organization that brings together scholars, researchers, students, and professionals in the Mid-Atlantic who have interests in disciplines and pursuits related to Latin America. Pugh served as MACLAS President during the 2013-2014 academic school year.

February 3, 2018
by McCormack Speaks

Conflict Resolution Programs Prepare Veterans for Future Careers

Veterans at UMass BostonFor more than six decades, the G.I Bill has helped millions of active duty or retired veterans and their dependents pay for college, graduate school, and training programs. Like all the academic programs at UMass Boston, the Graduate Programs in Conflict Resolution at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies salute their service and are committed to supporting veterans’ professional-development efforts, whether they are looking to turn their military experiences into a career, or to get started in a new field.

“The veterans in our program have added such an important dimension,” said Eben Weitzman, director of our graduate programs in conflict resolution. “They bring a very real understanding of the implications of how conflict is handled. On the one hand, they understand first-hand what happens when diplomatic negotiation fails. On the other, they have hands-on, real-world experience with managing interpersonal conflict within a group, team or organization in a high-stakes environment. And they go on to use what they learn here in a broad range of ways—whether working in the State Department, contributing to international aid programs, providing services to other vets, running their own businesses, or in many other career paths.”

Meet Veteran-student Josh Stuart-Shor

This Boston native and U.S. Army veteran served as an infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and then as a Green Beret in the 3rd Special Forces Group. His experiences include multiple deployments across Afghanistan, Iraq, and Central Asia. He left the military in 2016 to pursue an MA in conflict resolution to further develop his interests in interorganizational conflict and leadership. These interests were developed during his time overseas working with local militias and organizations.

“I joined the service for a few reasons. I was told growing up that we had an obligation to our community to serve in some capacity as a way to give back or contribute,” Stuart-Shor revealed. “My formative years found us at war in two countries and I saw a lot of young men and women going to war. I figured that if I had to serve and my country was at war, this was how I could best be utilized at the time.”

Stuart-Shor found several parallels between his military experience and his study conflict of resolution at UMass Boston. His military background was heavily focused on working with local populations, governments, and militaries in foreign countries. “While our common enemy was the Taliban, the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and other insurgent elements, we faced inter-group conflict in interactions with varying organizations with competing or separate interests. I was placed in the position multiple times where I had to mediate or negotiate various crises that could have significant implications.” His decision to study conflict resolution was heavily influenced by the fact that he “wanted to be better prepared for these types of situations in the future.”

Stuart-Shor finds that negotiation and mediation skills can make a difference in local or global disputes. “Understanding competing interests and how to define an individual organization’s definition of success or a ‘win’ in a dispute is the first step in the resolution process.”

He would recommend this program to other veterans who are looking for a way “to build off the skills they learned in military and contribute to the greater global good.”

Josh Stuart-Shor currently works as a human performance coordinator at O2X, a Quincy-based team of U.S. and U.K. Special Operations veterans, athletes, and human performance experts. His goal is to put to work the skills and techniques learned in the program and apply them in the world of organizational leadership and resiliency, eventually re-entering the national security apparatus.

Meet Veteran-student Jake Graff

Graff served as a U.S. Navy Seabee until 2014. After earning his BA in criminal justice in 2016, he is now enrolled in the conflict resolution program. He plans to use the skills he acquires to transition into the world of corporate mediation.

“I was always had a feeling I’d end up in the military,” said Graff in a recent interview. He explained that when he got restless after his freshman year in college, he decided it was time. “The benefits of traveling and having the Navy pay off part of my school loans and getting the GI Bill after also went a long way to influencing my decision to enlist.”

Graff went on to share this thoughts on conflict for servicemembers and the vital role of conflict resolution.

“There is conflict in the office, on the job site, and at home … everyone has conflicts to deal with,” he stated. “Yet, veterans have experienced some of the worst conflicts you can imagine. We exist, while serving our country, in an environment that is built on conflict. And military members have an extra burden. We have to constantly wrestle with the fact that we could get sent anywhere at a moment’s notice and there is always the possibility that we won’t come back.”

When asked if he would recommend the conflict resolution program to other veterans, he acknowledged that “learning how to deal with conflict moving forward can maybe help veterans workout some of the issues from their past.” He continued, “Knowing how to properly manage such a massive part of our everyday lives is invaluable. So while I am only a few months into this program, I recognize its vital importance.”

Learn more about the master’s degree program in confliction resolution or an accelerated bachelor’s to master’s degree for those without a current undergraduate degree.

December 4, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

McCormack Staff Member Speaks to the Nigerian Government to Pass a Bill Targeting Hate Speech

by the Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development

Post-it notes on bulletin board with messages of toleranceRepresenting the Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development (CPDD) at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, Nigerian Program Manager Mariam Marwa-Abdu recently spoke at a one-day retreat for federal lawmakers of Nigeria’s House Committee on National Security and Intelligence as it considers a bill on religious tolerance that includes provisions targeting hate speech. Recent trends in Nigeria have seen hate speech being used as a tool for silencing targeted groups, and as a weapon to belittle, defame, and bully different groups based on their ethnicity, religion, and culture.

Marwa-Abdu, a lawyer with years of management experience in Nigerian nonprofits, oversees CPDD’s collaboration with the Interfaith Mediation Centre (IMC) of Kaduna, Nigeria, working to build greater peace between Muslims and Christians nationwide. In her presentation on the Religious Tolerance and Prohibition of Hate Speech Bill, which IMC and CPDD helped to draft, Marwa-Abdu sought to persuade the members of the House of Representatives on the need to consider passing the document into law. She explained that if the law is not set in place quickly, the situation is likely to deteriorate, especially as Nigeria moves toward elections in 2019. After a few hours of deliberations based on her comments, the 18 committee members agreed to use the IMC/CPDD recommendations as a working document and vowed to see that the bill is passed into law. Continue reading.



November 28, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Former EPA Chief and Alumna Gina McCarthy ’76 Returns to Campus to Talk Climate Change

by Colleen Locke, University CommunicationsGina McCarthy Talks climate Change at the McCormack Graduate School

UMass Boston alumna and former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy ’76 returned to campus Monday for a panel looking at climate change challenges and opportunities.

The program was sponsored by the McCormack Graduate School, UMass Boston’s Sustainable Solutions Lab, and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. McCormack Dean David W. Cash moderated the discussion with McCarthy and Greentown Labs Executive Director and CEO Emily Reichert.

McCarthy said climate change needs to be treated as a public health challenge — a fight  for clean air and safe water not in the distant future but now — and that the messaging needs to change. Continue reading.

November 11, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

The Freedom to Fish: International Fishing through a Local Lens by Jack Whitacre

By Jack Whitacre, a McCormack Graduate School student

image of a fishing vesselI’ve heard it said that life is about survival, and just as animals use their teeth, people use the law. Growing up I fished on the shores of Maine, however over the years the fish stopped biting. I learned from National Geographic how commercial vessels have overfished international waters too. A lonely fishing lure launched a question about the roots of the international legal order at sea: Which rules are governing our planet’s fishing and how did they come to be?

While many people associate global fishing with the industrial revolution and the offshore processing plants of the 1930’s, the Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas reveals that itinerant European fishing expeditions crossed the Atlantic well before Columbus. Many of today’s finest fishing vessels pale in comparison to the boats of the past. For example, as early as 1540 the Spanish and French Basques had fishing ships weighing up to 600 tons. Continue Reading →

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