Timothy Law was our Winter 2017 PCJ-Mosaic Intern, and is working with us to develop proposals for future initiatives. Below, Timothy reflects on his time with us.
Having had the opportunity to work at the Mosaic Institute for the past two and a half months, I have learned much in concern to both academically related subject matter, especially surrounding the Institute’s focus on diversity, as well as practical and professional experience in working with a NGO think-tank. In summarizing all the lessons learned during my internship, one specific experience concerning the usage and importance of language comes to mind.
What is meant by the usage and importance of language is the inherent influence that language has over society and the development of various narratives within society. Although my studies in Peace, Conflict, and Justice Studies investigate the importance of language and the construction of narratives, such as the deconstruction of peace between “negative” and “positive”, and the deconstruction of conflict between “new” and “old”, the inherent power of such language remains sidelined by a focus on the ideas underlying these terms and the justification of such ideas. Resultantly, within academic essays or articles, the focus on the underlying framework and justification of academic lexicon dominates analysis, and thus it is this underlying analysis which provides substance or justification to the term itself.
In contrast to an academic setting, a professional setting heavily emphasizes a sense of brevity and simplicity which resultantly accentuates the power of language. As writing in a professional environment requires a certain clarity and brevity so as to be accessible by a large audience, every word must convey a sense of purpose and meaning. The clarity of such writing requires each term or word to be seen as being fully utilized, and encapsulating a certain idea or framework. Unlike the emphasis on justifications and critical analyses of different lexicon in academic writing, professional writing, exemplified in reports, briefings or advisory posts, emphasizes a focus on the brevity of conveying a message as a whole. Consequently, the focus rests not on a critical analysis, but rather on the conglomeration of different terms and facts utilized to develop a clear and brief framework or argument.
As I currently finish my internship and conclude my work with the Mosaic Institute, my views towards language in relation to my study of PCJ have certainly evolved. As my understanding of the professional setting of PCJ comes to be further influenced by my experience with Mosaic, this explicit importance in recognizing the nuances of language can be representative of my general view of the differences between the academia and professional worlds. Appropriately, as my last piece of work, I was assigned to create a short Mosaic glossary of terms. Ranging from terms such as “peace”, “immigration” and “democracy”, the glossary contains the development of a nuanced definition applicable for use by the institute. Consequently, this final piece clearly demonstrates the continued emphasis on the nuance of language and the power of words, and thus aptly fits as a symbolic end to this fruitful internship.
Timothy Law, Winter 2017 PCJ-Mosaic Intern
Timothy is an Alumnus of the University of Toronto, having studied International Relations and Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies and is currently pursuing a JD at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. Timothy has served previously with academic journals and events, specifically the Peace Conflict and Justice Studies Undergraduate Conference and Synergy: The Journal for Contemporary Asian Affairs, in addition to work experience in an investment firm in Hong Kong and with the Federal Government in Canada. Having interests in East Asian Affairs, International Relations, International Development and Transnational Justice, Timothy hopes to utilize and apply his experience and knowledge in his future academic and legal studies.