Being the new person is never easy but newly appointed faculty member Karen Ross seems to be taking it in stride.
Karen Ross has recently joined the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance at the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. With her extensive history and knowledge in conflict resolution and peace building, the opportunity to join UMass Boston seemed like a great fit. Ross earned a PhD in education policy and comparative and international education, a master’s degree in international relations, and a bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern studies. Her focus, both professionally and academically, has always been in conflict resolution and peace building, with her research focusing on issues in Israel and Palestine.
Born in Israel, Professor Ross grew up traveling between the United States and Israel, spending many of her summers and part of her university time in Jerusalem. Having a strong connection with Israel, she remembers spending a year there in high school and feeling much more aware of her surroundings. When she moved back to a racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse suburb outside of New York City, meeting youth with different backgrounds, she was left wondering: “How did I never meet an Arab kid, or even another student that wasn’t Jewish, in Jerusalem, one of the most diverse cities in the world?”
Around this time, Ross began to see the importance of conflict resolution and developed a desire to travel, especially to areas in the Middle East that she has been unable to visit. These two things combined led her to study peace building.
Karen Ross looks forward to future endeavors and opportunities. “I would really like to bring the issue of education into discussions about conflict resolution and peacebuilding,” she said.
“As a lot of my work is geared towards youth and educational programs, I would like to start some conversations about how to integrate peacebuilding into teaching in the department, but also in the Boston community.” She would like to tackle issues like bullying or inter-group relations and to teach community members how to deal with these topics.
Professor Ross is excited to work with the diverse student body at UMass Boston and its wealth of different experiences and backgrounds. “I look forward to dialogues which address cross-cultural differences,” she noted. “These dialogues are essential to bringing information and knowledge to not only the UMass Boston community but to the communities of the city of Boston.”
From a research perspective, Ross wants to do work that is beneficial to the communities with which she works. She is currently working on developing local networks and research partners, but mainly looks forward to getting to know the faculty and graduate students in her new department, within the UMass Boston community, and in the city of Boston.