Johathan Lee-Mars

Becoming a facilitator of global interaction and conflict management

Jonathan Lee-Mars had taken charge of small groups of children and led a college class to complete a project, but he’d never led a detachment of eighty AFROTC cadets before. During his week of command, he coordinated a campus parade in two groups to demonstrate the discipline and prestige of the US Air Force to the students of San Diego State University, hopefully attracting new recruits. He delegated various tasks and worked out meticulous timing. The cadets had to look sharp, but Jonathan felt confident that his efforts would pay off. And then “a certain major” ran over the time allotted for his presentation by an hour, completely throwing off the schedule Jonathan had worked out so carefully. If the cadets looked foolish and disorganized, the PR effort would be a disaster, and Jonathan’s ratings would suffer, coloring the rest of his AFROTC career. He moved swiftly to contact the appropriate people, and hastily modified the schedule. The cadets wound up being unaware there had been a glitch. Jonathan learned he had to be confident to inspire confidence, to be organized, and, especially, to be flexible.

As a cadet, he was quoted as saying, “It may be hard and difficult, but everything worth getting must be earned. Keep your head up, keep it proud, and learn as much as possible.” He learned much from his AFROTC experiences, and Jonathan sees that the world will need new leaders who are willing to take the reins and get things done. He aims to play a role, but the world is changing, and he doesn’t see his personal future with the military.

Jonathan also worked as an assistant in the Student Computer Center at SDSU, helping students with library and computer needs, maintaining printers, and bridging gaps between students and staff. He met a wide variety of people from different cultures and soon realized his suburban limitations. He longed to expand his horizons. In keeping with this vision, he is majoring in political science and government and minoring in Mandarin Chinese. “It’s easy for Americans to forget that we live in a world, not just a country,” Jonathan says, but he sees an outlook that discounts China, India, and the developing international markets as a relic of the past.

He resonated with Thomas Friedman’s concept that the distance between countries is quickly shrinking. “The actions taken by the Iraqis and Chinese and the French will eventually have an effect on my life, directly or indirectly,” Jonathan says, and in a world of so much global interaction, conflicts of interest are inevitable. Therefore the need for international conflict management will become increasingly essential. “Who better for the job than myself?” he asks, going into his senior year at SDSU.

Upon graduation, Jonathan looks ahead to teaching English in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, followed by enrolling at Santa Clara University as a law student where he hopes to specialize in International law and International Taxes.