Inside USD

MA Capstones Display KSPS Program’s Strength

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One by one on the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre stage students took their turn at the podium. Equipped with a microphone, a laptop with a PowerPoint presentation and the knowledge acquired in a classroom and in the field over the last 12 months, it was time to share.

Eight students from the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies’ Master of Arts’ Peace and Justice Studies program delivered their respective capstone research presentations on Monday afternoon using all the tools they’d been given since their arrival on the University of San Diego campus in August 2010.

The range of projects studied by Brian Estabrook, Wida Irvany, Ouma Alex Okello, Roosevelt Z. Willie, Aliker David Martin, Stacey Cooper, Ebruke Esike and Jon W. Conroe uniquely showcased what one has come to expect from KSPS students: a richly diverse, mostly international topic that is a thought-provoking body of work. These capstones, given in 10-minute increments and followed by a brief question-and-answer period, signaled the completion of their respective requirements for the master’s degree.

Here’s a short synopsis of each student’s capstone:

Estabrook, who is from Columbus, Ohio, did a case study examining the specifics of land and food insecurity in Mozambique and how the insecurities can be exacerbated and perpetuated by the surge of biofuel production presently and in the future.

Irvany, a native of Jakarta, Indonesia, examined income-generating activities for Palestinian women refugees in Jordan and how it could help put an end to their low quality of life.

Okello, a native of Gulu, Uganda, provided an analysis of the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda, which was created by the Ugandan government shortly after a conflict ended there in 2006. Okello’s specific research was providing a closer examination of the effects of the plan and its implementation.

Willie, a native of Liberia in West Africa, took a close look at the justice system in his home state of Liberia and a need for major judicial reform in the wake of that country’s civil war. Willie examined the Liberia government’s programs and policies, developed with other international partners, to understand how it fit in with the peacebuilding agenda.

Martin, from Gulu, Uganda took an in-depth look at the challenges faced by the use of mato oput in the justice system in Uganda and having it serve as an effective form of justice along with the work of the International Criminal Court.

Cooper, a native of Madison, N.J., used innovative geographic information systems (GIS) technology to study San Diego Gang Prevention. Through the GIS, the data tool helped Cooper (pictured, above, with Conroe and Esike) identify San Diego neighborhoods that are the most vulnerable to gang activity, where kids are most at risk for gang involvement and where prevention programs could have the biggest impact.

Esike, who is from the Agbarha-Otor Kingdom, Delta State, Niger Delta region of Nigeria, utilized his time in the Peace and Justice Studies degree program to enhance his skills and examine conflict and peace initiatives in Irri and Oyede communities in the Delta State of Nigeria. Violence in the Delta is attributed to many deplorable factors and Esike’s research examined the main obstacles to violence prevention and conflict resolution and to then provide recommendations for a solution.

Conroe, a U.S. Navy chaplain and Lutheran minister from Southern California, took a close look at madrasas (schools) in Pakistan and how religion is used in them, how it is interpreted and inculcated. Conroe (pictured, right), who also possesses a Master of Science in Global Leadership (MSGL) from USD, did his case study on the attempts made within the international community, specifically, the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD), to better understand madrasas. According to his research, some of the madrasas in Pakistan are aligned with extremist ideologies and have produced many who have gone on to fight in Kashmir and with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

— Ryan T. Blystone

Click on the links to learn more about the Kroc School of Peace Studies and the MA Peace and Justice Studies program, which offers 12- and 17-month cohort tracks.

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