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Why Candidates With a Peacebuilding Degree Have an Edge in the Job Market

Friday, December 13, 2019

begin quoteThanks in large part to the Master’s in Peace and Justice program, I learned that it is possible to be committed to social justice and global development while also having a great job in San Diego.

The following post was contributed by Marissa Newman ‘16 (MA), the Kroc School's Coordinator of Student Success and an alumna of the Kroc School's Master's in Peace and Justice program.

Marissa Newman at Kroc School graduation
Marissa Newman with other graduates from her Master's in Peace and Justice Cohort in 2016.

I spent my 20s working for a nonprofit where I mentored undergraduate students and directed international internships where the students partnered with INGOs in megacity slums. Through multiple positions with the organization, I saw firsthand the negative impacts of global corporations on people living in global poverty. It kindled in me an even stronger desire to be a force for good in the world.

Though I learned much by walking, talking, eating, and sleeping in the realities that billions of people live in today, I eventually needed to make a vocational change. I longed to learn, think, engage, and wrestle with the big ideas that I had experienced around the world through my travels to countries such as Bosnia and Mexico. I had been posing questions like, why do nearly 2 billion people live in extreme poverty today? What effect has globalization had on developing countries? Is it more helpful or harmful for me to attempt to partner with these INGOs? Am I as powerless as I feel against the tide of injustice?

A desire to find answers led me to the decision to pursue a Master of Arts in Peace and Justice from the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies (Kroc School) at the University of San Diego. As part of their master's program, I had several professors who presented me with new concepts, situations, and opportunities that expanded my understanding of peacebuilding and equipped me with new tools to build peace effectively.

  1. Ami Carpenter’s International Negotiations class taught me to be a more skillful communicator. Specifically, I’ve used the negotiation skills I gained and refined during that semester in many scenarios since then, in both my personal and professional life —including salary negotiation several times! The Kroc School has since introduced the Master’s in Conflict Management and Resolution, which prepares students to become even more effective as negotiators, facilitators and mediators, such that they can transform conflict into positive change. 

  2. I also had the opportunity to learn from Dr. Ev Meade as I participated in human rights workshops in Mexicali, Mexico. I honed my cross-cultural skills as I collaborated with lawyers from the judicial branch of Baja California, leading discussions with them in Spanish about what they think human rights looks like in their communities.

  3. In addition, the environment of University of San Diego taught me how to be a professional – how to engage in workshops and events with active peacebuilders, how to network and communicate effectively in formal business settings, how to present myself, and how to be diplomatic while engaging with people from around the world. I also got paired with a professional mentor who helped me navigate the job scene in San Diego.

In short, it seemed like every class session, every discussion, every homework assignment, every event at the Kroc School was an incredibly rich opportunity for me to hone my professional peacebuilding skills.

A few months after graduating, I secured a position and advanced my career with the National Conflict Resolution Center as their Data and Evaluation Manager. My role entailed managing all data from their conflict resolution trainings, which encompassed a variety of audiences both domestically and internationally, including companies, refugees, nonprofit leaders, HR managers, and others. Thanks in large part to the Master’s in Peace and Justice program, I learned that it is possible to be committed to social justice and global development while also having a great job in San Diego.

I am now happily back at the Kroc School as the Coordinator of Student Success, guiding students in the process of bridging the gap between grad school and the professional peacebuilding world.

Here’s a selection of organizations where our alumni have gone to apply the skills and experience they gained during their time at the Kroc School:

  • World Bank
  • Children’s Peace Initiative Kenya
  • Community Boost
  • Deloitte
  • United Nations Global Compact
  • Global Peace Building Foundation
  • Amani Institute
  • Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
  • Friends of Africa International
  • Project Concern International
  • Joint Mission Analysis Centre, United Nations
  • MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning
  • Office of Senator Dianne Feinstein
  • Rippleworks
  • S. Agency for International Development
  • Center for Creative Leadership
  • Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance
  • Open Society Foundations
  • United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
  • National Conflict Resolution Center
  • United States Navy
  • Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative

At the Kroc School, we are educating for peace and social innovation. Ready to join us? Learn more about the Kroc School and its graduate programs.

Contact:

Justin Prugh
jprugh@sandiego.edu
(619) 260-7573

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies

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