Ricardo L. Ramos, a conflict resolution master’s degree student at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, currently on leave from the program, is working as a special assistant for legislative and public affairs for the recently elected mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Honorable Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto.
As a member of the Platform Committee, Ramos was actively involved in the historic campaign that resulted in the mayor’s election last November. Ramos helped develop the alliances and craft the message of needed change that won her the campaign. Fox news called the results “a stunning upset” characterizing Yulin’s win as a “David-slaying-Goliath victory.” Ramos explained, “After twelve years of the past administration, there was a way of doing business that was embedded in the municipality’s organizational culture that … was not necessarily in accord with our vision for the city of San Juan. Working with the systems already in place, it is extremely challenging to implement the new vision.”
In this public affairs role, Ramos serves as liaison with the state legislature of Puerto Rico, represents the mayor at public events, and assists in communications activities. His duties also include drafting municipal ordinances, executive orders, and proposed legislation.
Reflecting on the knowledge and skills learned in his graduate studies to date, Ramos acknowledges the benefits of his education. “I am spearheading the planning for an innovative public budgeting process, using principles of deliberative dialogue and civic engagement which I was exposed to in the conflict resolution program.”
He plans to chronicle this process as the basis of his capstone project to earn his master’s degree. As the final course toward graduation, students design projects that integrate classroom learning into an applied conflict resolution project that demonstrates substantial progress beyond previous learning. He praises the program’s applied content noting, “My studies in the conflict resolution graduate program, and especially my Conflict in Systems and Organizations course, have been essential to helping me in my new role.”