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Sarah Rose-Jensen, Conflict Analysis and Resolution

By Lindsay Bernhards, BA '18 on November 26, 2018

As a former anti-war organizer and nonviolence trainer during the Iraq War, Sarah Rose-Jensen’s decision to enroll in Mason’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution to study social mobilization against forced evictions in Cambodia was personal.

Sarah Rose-Jensen Photo by Ron Aira

In her previous work with the Iraq War, Rose-Jensen learned about the same anti-war tactics and methodologies that her mother was taught when she was an anti-Vietnam War protestor. Realizing that the field had undergone few changes since the 1970s, Rose-Jensen decided to return to Mason for her PhD.

“I came back to graduate school in large part to study social mobilization and how to innovate these tactics,” she says.

Under the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, one of the most prestigious grants offered in the United States, Rose-Jensen conducted a two-year ethnographic study of urban and rural communities in Cambodia. She found that by participating in social mobilization, community members in Cambodia developed a stronger identity of who they were as citizens and the role of government in an organized society.

“When the government is not performing its role and fulfilling its responsibilities, the communities I am looking at are organizing to demand changes,” says Rose-Jensen.

As part of her work in Cambodia, Rose-Jensen observed the communities and conducted in-depth interviews with the members. She has published several academic papers on the subject and presented at conferences in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Rose-Jensen recalls her time in Cambodia as some of the most impactful of her academic career. “Conducting research in Cambodia was an intense experience,” she says. “Personally, I still feel very close to the country and the friends I made there.”

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