Professor Jennifer Ramos Bridges Borders in Pursuit of Peace

Political science professor and Director of LMU’s International Relations major, Jennifer Ramos, is a firm believer in academic exploration beyond the classroom – even if that means traveling halfway around the world.

Last spring, Ramos journeyed with students to Northern Ireland as part of her “Peace and Reconciliation” class, focused specifically on how two communities divided by civil war are learning to build bridges. Students had the chance to meet with religious leaders, politicians and former combatants, among others, in order to learn about the different tools of peace-building – a key theme of Ramos’ classes and her own research.

“I love LMU’s mission of social justice,” Ramos said. “I love the idea that here, staff, faculty and students can live out the mission of being men and women for others – not just saying it, but living it – and it has become a part of who I am.”

Originally from Portland, Ore., Ramos received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of California Davis and has spent the past nine years at LMU. She teaches courses such as International Security and Introduction to International Relations. Her teaching pedagogy is a healthy mix of experiential learning, hands-on experience, lively discussion and debates and community-based learning out and about in Los Angeles.

Ramos says that a particular highlight of her LMU career thus far has been the chance to mentor students through a variety of ways, including the Fulbright program, Honors Thesis Political Science program and the McNair program.

“I had this one McNair mentee who has this incredibly curious and intellectual mind,” Ramos said. “We would have these really great high-level conversations and she was just a total joy to be around. In the end, I really learned as much from her as she did from me. The whole experience challenged me to be a better scholar, and she is getting accepted into all the top-notch PhD programs.”

The recipient of the International Studies Association’s 2015 Innovative Teaching Award, Ramos is currently working on a book-length project about peace-building. In it, she is exploring the keys to peace-building as well as what ethics should be considered in post-conflict societies, heeding special attention to minority groups, and women in particular.

Most recently, she published an edited volume on preventive force that explores the different aspects of armed drones and their ethical and legal dimensions in warfare. She concluded that depending on how drones are used, they can be useful in foreign policy situations.

Looking to the future, Ramos says she plans to stay working on the bluff, citing the amazing students, staff and faculty. As for future class trips abroad, she would love to venture to Cyprus, as they are on the brink of a peace deal.

“There are so many exciting things to be apart of at LMU,” Ramos said. “Especially with our president’s global vision for the university’s future.”