Will Moss, ’15, was in third grade when the planes struck, the towers fell and images of chaos and conflict were burned in the collective memory of the nation.
Growing up after Sept. 11 shaped the Massachusetts native’s life goals and academic interests. He is drawn to international relations, conflict resolution and “the art of negotiation.”
The leadership studies major is learning more about the practical application of these skills during a summer internship with Beyond Conflict, an organization that works with leaders in societies struggling with conflict, reconciliation and change.
“The United States has been at war for over half my life,” says Moss. “I was really interested in working with Beyond Conflict because its approach to conflict resolution is to bring leaders from countries that have successfully transitioned from violence to meet with leaders from countries currently undergoing that same transition.”
The organization counts among its achievements working with leaders in Kosovo to help them prepare for negotiations and independence and helping to foster peaceful negotiations among leaders in Northern Ireland and Central America. According to its website, it is involved in more than 70 initiatives in 22 countries.
“Witnessing firsthand how a small NGO based in Boston could play a role in that delicate but imperative process taking place around the globe is empowering,” says Moss, a recipient of the Robert L. Burrus Jr. Fellowship. The fellowship supports Jepson School students who are interning with government, education or nonprofit organizations.
His responsibilities include producing and editing videos, working with social media and writing a piece on leadership and international affairs that he is hoping to have published.
“They allowed me to come up with my own idea for the piece, but also offered guidance along the way,” says Moss. “I would definitely be too intimated to try to get it published by myself.”
The piece focuses on the role of leadership in addressing global issues such as climate change, terrorism and extremism. “Confronting these problems is going to take leaders who are able to adopt and consolidate multiple viewpoints and perspectives into a plan for action,” he says.
He is taking valuable lessons from the internship. “To paraphrase Margaret Mead, I have learned not to underestimate the power of a small group of determined people to change the world,” says Moss.
To make the most of his senior year, he is planning to take classes and attend events that focus on conflict, conflict resolution and negotiation. The 2014-15 Jepson Leadership Forum focuses on global perspectives on conflict. Students and the community will have an opportunity to interact with national and international leaders and scholars at events.
Certain classes are also a draw.“After seeing the practical side of conflict resolution on the international stage, I’m interested in taking Dr. Tony Kong’s conflict management class,” says Moss. “I think it will be interesting to see if the organization uses any of the same techniques being taught at Richmond.”