McCormack Speaks

December 26, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Conflict Resolution Professor Publishes Book on Youth Encounter Programs in Israel

sketch of a peace doveRoss conducted more than 100 interviews with former participants and program staff and spent more than 200 hours observing their programming in order to understand the structure and pedagogical approaches of each organization. She also analyzed the impact of the youth meetings in terms of the depth of changes in their belief systems and their continued social change engagement.“Looking at impact in terms of continued engagement in significant in two ways,” writes Ross. “First, it shifts the discussion from an internal focus to one emphasizing externally oriented initiatives. Moreover, looking at impact in terms of social change engagement enables us to see how programs that aim to transform individuals can link to societal-level shifts.”Decades after the Oslo Accords, alienation and distrust has grown between Jews and Palestinians in Israel, and grassroots groups struggle to find funding to continue their important work to shape participants’ national identity, vision of social change, and motivation to continue to work toward the transformation of Israeli society.

Yet Karen Ross’ investigation and findings on how individual transformation can lead to larger-scale societal change provide not only new insights to conflict resolution methodology and practice but also bring renewed hope for the possibility of Jewish-Palestinian partnership. Continue reading.


December 22, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Mandela’s Chosen Successor: Ramaphosa’s Long Wait to Reignite South Africa’s Promise

by Padraig O’Malley, Moakley Chair of Peace and Reconciliation

Meyer, O'Malley and Ramaphosa (1993)

Roelf Meyer, Padraig O’Malley, and Cyril Ramaphosa, 1993

I met Cyril Ramaphosa on my first visit to South Africa in 1985. Ramaphosa was secretary general of the powerful National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), fresh off leading the largest strike in South African history. I met him again in 1990 after I began to document the South African transition from apartheid to democracy, and interviewed him on several occasions.

In 1993, the University of Massachusetts Boston, where I hold the John Joseph Moakley Chair of Peace and Reconciliation at the university’s John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, awarded Ramaphosa and Roelf Meyer, both of whom were the lead negotiators on the African National Congress (ANC) and National Party sides in the talks to end apartheid, honorary doctorates at its commencement ceremonies.

In 1997, at my behest, Ramaphosa and Meyer went to Belfast to meet with all the key negotiators in the Northern Ireland peace process. As a result, President Nelson Mandela hosted the Great Indaba (The Great “Gathering”) at Arniston, a secure military base in the Western Cape Province that same year. Negotiators from all parties in Northern Ireland and the principal negotiators from the multiparty talks in South Africa that ended apartheid participated. Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein’s lead negotiator, called it a “turning point.” A year later, the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement was signed. Subsequently, Cyril Ramaphosa was appointed one of the two interim decommissioning commissioners and I advised him on things Northern Irish. Continue Reading →

December 21, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Bad Retail Jobs Are Not Inevitable – New Book by Françoise Carré and Chris Tilly Explains Why

book cover: Where Bad Jobs are Betterby Robert Turner, McCormack Graduate School

Retail, the largest U.S. employer, is not inevitably the domain of dead-end jobs with low pay, few benefits, and problematic work schedules. A new study of seven countries demonstrates that better retail jobs are not just possible but already exist.

Françoise Carré of UMass Boston and Chris Tully of UCLA, the study authors, say that changes in government policies and broadly-held values could improve the quality of retail jobs in America, as they have in Europe. New York Times columnist and Economics Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman tagged the study findings as “Supremely important. We have low wages in large part because of political choices, not ineluctable logic of markets.”
Continue Reading →

December 19, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

McCormack Professor Interviewed on Government Use of Mobile Apps

technology at your finger tipsMcCormack Graduate School’s Aroon Manoharan, associate professor of public policy and public affairs, focuses his research on e-government, the application of information technology in government, and how global cities adopt and implement innovative technologies for providing information and services to their citizens. He was recently interviewed by, an Internet and media company based in New York City.

The interview focused on municipal e-government and public participation, specifically the mobile voting (mVoting) app of the city of Seoul, South Korea. Although not an official voting mechanism, the application enables citizens of Seoul to participate in the democratic process by providing their feedback and opinion to public policy proposals. The app is especially helpful for politicians as they focus on the correct problems to solve.

Manoharan learned of the app when conducting a collaborative study between the McCormack Graduate School and Rutgers University’s E-Governance Institute on the e-government performance of the largest global cities. Based on an evaluation of municipal websites, the study titled “Digital Governance in Municipalities Worldwide Survey” identified the strengths and weaknesses of each municipality on issues of privacy and security, usability, content, services, and citizen and social engagement. Continue reading.

December 15, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Marc Cohen Co-Chairs National Panel Examining State-Based LTSS Programs

The post originally appeared on the Gerontology Institute blog.

image of Marc CohenMarc Cohen, co-director of the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston, has been named co-chair of a study panel organized by the National Academy of Social Insurance to help states design new programs to address challenges facing many of their citizens.

The study panel is part of a new academy project called “Designing State-based Social Insurance Programs for Paid Leave, Affordable Child Care and Long-Term Services and Supports.”

The academy noted some states are in the process of developing social insurance programs to meet those needs. The study panel was organized to inform those debates by researching options for funding and administering such programs. Continue reading.

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