Undergraduate takes her passion for peacebuilding to new heights at Mason
February 18, 2020 / by Mariam Aburdeineh
Lily Krietzberg has been passionate about interfaith dialogue since high school. After joining a youth group focused on interfaith work, she said she started her own service project, where she promoted dialogue, peace, cooperation and tolerance among middle schoolers.
The New Jersey native who spoke to the middle schoolers at assemblies said she aspires to join the Peace Corps. Her culture’s history motivates her to work toward peaceful solutions, she said.
“There’s so much conflict, especially among the Jewish population and other populations, that I wanted to be a role model,” Krietzberg said. “[I thought], if we can make it work here with these teenagers, we can make it work anywhere.”
While at Mason, Krietzberg is seizing every opportunity to build up experience for a career in international work or peacebuilding.
This semester, Krietzberg is studying abroad in Oxford University to learn about trauma healing for post-genocide communities, and intercultural interpretations of justice and reconciliation. She is also a School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution Ambassador, has been a Peacebuilding Fellow who interned with the nonprofit MetaCulture, and honed her dialogue facilitation skills as a Dialogue and Difference Project internn. Krietzberg also received a Undergraduate Student Travel Fund Grant from Mason’s Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR) to present her research on “Supporting First-Generation American College Students in the Senior-Year Transition” at a 2019 NASPA conference, which connects student affairs administrators in higher education.
“Going outside of your comfort zone is one of the most crucial things that you can do for your own development,” Krietzberg said, adding that this mindset fuels her go-getter attitude.
Each experience has provided tangible skills she can use moving forward, she said, such as learning how to facilitate a dialogue with people who disagree.
And her classroom experiences have been just as rewarding, she said.
“[S-CAR is] one of the best schools for conflict resolution in the country, if not the world,” Krietzberg said. “There have been so many professors who have been mentors and supporters,” she added, such as Thomas Flores and Patricia Maulden.
“The sky’s the limit for a student like Lily,” Flores said. “With her talent and drive, I can envision Lily working in international development, being a real leader for people around her.”
Overall, Krietzberg is grateful for her education.
“Conflict analysis and resolution is one of the most important and crucial things that you can study,” Krietzberg said. “Even if you don’t want to go into peacebuilding, conflict is everywhere, and we need more people who know how to handle it better in the workplace, in families, in divorce courts.”