Thanks to the inaugural David Matz Fellowship Program, three graduate students spent 10 days in Northern Ireland focusing on the achievements of the past and the key contemporary challenges still facing peacebuilding in the region.
Saadia Ahmed, Enrico Manolo, and Josephine Patterson joined Professor Marie Breen-Smyth to travel to Armagh County which, at one time, was referred to as “bandit country” where disputes over parades between local nationalist residents and the Protestant Orange orders drew world media attention.
“Our students were walking the streets of Armagh with former combatants and survivors of the Troubles, seeing the exact places were key events took place with the people who participated in and lived through those events, and then reflecting with the very peacemakers themselves as to how they have been trying to build bridges across those divides, and reviewing the impacts together,” said Darren Kew, director of McCormack Graduate School’s Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development. “Education does not get any better than this!”
Saadia Ahmad has been studying, practicing, and writing about the ways to engage with religious diversity more positively and productively in a world often torn apart by religion. Through this practical learning experience, Ahmad explored the ways in which she can continue to combine theory with application within her own subfield of interfaith peacebuilding.
Enrico E. Manalo is currently researching the impact of equity and inclusion training on the handling of intra-organizational conflict. Manolo attended the summer institute to better understand the connections between workplace diversity and community diversity.
With an interest in conflict resolution theory and practice, Josephine Patterson focuses her graduate school research on the ways people view their identity from a cultural perspective, and studies how that interacts with their professional responses to expanding inclusiveness in communities. This summer, Patterson was able to learn more about what community peacebuilders do for programming that addresses the past, but focuses on a peaceful future.
The David Matz Fellowship Program honors its namesake’s remarkable contributions in building the conflict resolution graduate program and supports students and alumni with scholarships for continuing education and career workshops. In 1986, Professor David Matz established the Graduate Certificate Program in Dispute Resolution at UMass Boston, a curriculum offering negotiation and mediation training and an introduction to conflict theory for mid-career professionals.
David Matz Fellowship students will report on their experiential learning study abroad on Monday, September 18 at 5:30 p.m. in the Campus Center, 3rd Floor, Room 3540.