Matthew Macke | February 23, 2021
Q: What drew you to study peace as part of the Master of Global Affairs program?
A: Well, I grew up in a country that experienced conflict—and a lot of post-conflict violence—so what peace means and how to respond with peace is a puzzle I’m still working on. With the Master of Global Affairs focused on international peace studies, I’m trying to respond to the questions I have had my whole life.
Q: What has been your favorite class so far and why?
A: Structural Violence, taught by Prof. Catherine Bolten. Coming from a country with peace accords, one of the things I mentioned in my application was that I didn’t have a lot of faith in peace accords. People usually ask me, ‘Can you talk about the war?’ or ‘Can you talk about the gangs?’ because that’s what they relate with El Salvador. I wanted to focus on structural violence, because, at the end of the day, that is what leads to these other issues.
Q: How does your previous experience as a journalist shape your focus here at the Keough School?
A: I grew up thinking I wanted to be a journalist,because I wanted to speak the truth, but that is a very innocent, naive way to think. As a journalist, I wrote about corruption with a focus on public health, because the system in El Salvador offers services to eighty-five percent of the population. When the government doesn’t invest in those services, that is structural violence. My articles brought me under threat from the minister at the time, so I had to leave El Salvador for a while. I ended up going to Bilbao in Spain to get a master’s degree in journalism. I realized journalists there were facing a very different kind of violence, but still facing violence. When I started working for the Keough School’s Pulte Institute, I got more interested in the diversity of challenges to global development and thought the master’s program would be a good opportunity for me to get more training.
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