Spotlight: Ian Nutter, MS Student, Malta Program
November 16, 2017
By Thanos Gatsias, PhD '16
Ian Nutter has always been fascinated with interpersonal relationships and the conflicts that arise from them. Fundamental to his understanding of the world, Ian believes that although they are typically painted in a negative light, conflicts are a necessary under-girder of every single relationship whether it is between individuals, groups, or nations/cultures. There are numerous reasons why conflict is inherent in every relationship such as scarcity of resources, and competition among others. However, in Ian's eyes, conflicts offer an opportunity to improve upon relationships and circumstances, as long each groups path to resolution does not depend on a win-lose situation.
Ian’s road to studying conflict has not necessarily been direct. On every stop along his journey, he has found himself enriched with new understandings of the way the world and its people function. He graduated with a degree in German and Business Administration from Christopher Newport University in 2012 and between then and his current time in Malta, he has worn many different hats. For example, he was an English teacher in Santiago, Chile, then became registrar for the 2015 World Police and Fire Games in Fairfax, Virginia.
In addition to his time in Santiago, Ian also spent his junior year of college studying German in Salzburg, Austria. Through both of these experiences (and arguably growing up in the multi-ethnic/cultural region of Northern Virginia), Ian has held a particular interest in promoting and engaging in intercultural dialogue. Through his own experience of having his own personal assumptions about the world challenged, he sees great value in this process as it shines light on attitudes and beliefs that people carry without realizing why. In having this light shone, he believes it allows for one to have greater objectivity in analyzing these attitudes and beliefs. Furthermore, from the conflict perspective, it allows for greater awareness and understanding of the reasons behind others’ beliefs and attitudes, which in turn can generate greater empathy.
Although his path forward from this dual Master’s degree program is not totally clear, his goal is to work somewhere in this realm of building bridges between differing nations and cultures. However, his interests are not based solely in international matters, but also lie in the promotion of domestic tolerance. To that end, following the contentious US election this past year, Ian became interested in the role social media has played as a vector for political discourse in the United States and will be studying this phenomenon for his thesis project at the conclusion of his coursework. Somewhat merging these two interests, Ian will be interning for the Marshall Center in Garmisch-Partenkirchen this Fall to learn more about Cyber Security as it relates to global stability.