Declan Tomlinson '22

Declan Tomlinson grad photo sacred heart chapel

Majors: International Relations, Economics
Next Step: Economic Development Facilitator, Peace Corps

Growing up in Eagle, Idaho, Declan Tomlinson ’22 made tons of short films with his brothers. It was his love for movies that initially drew Tomlinson to Los Angeles, but it was in the LMU Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts (BCLA) that Tomlinson uncovered his true passion for studying critical global issues. As an international relations and economics double major, Tomlinson was able to delve into the complexities of these issues in an effort to better understand the roles of individuals, governments, and NGOs in promoting sustainable development and positive change.

“The majors work so well together,” said Tomlinson. “I primarily focused on economic development courses for economics, which allowed me to mix my coursework with humanitarian aid and UN politics from the international relations major.”

Tomlinson, who was recognized as the International Relations Program Scholar, was also a member of the Political Science and International Relations Department Honors Program. One of its requirements is for students to complete an original research or creative thesis under faculty mentorship. Tomlinson saw this as a unique opportunity to combine his interest in film/production with his academic background in international relations and economics. His thesis film “Code Red: An Exploration of Degrowth Economics,” explores the growing discourse of degrowth economics, which critiques the current status quo of economic thought.

“When I found out I could do a film for my honors thesis, I immediately chose to do that, and the idea came pretty naturally,” said Tomlinson. “It was a challenge since I was all on my own. I used Adobe After Effects and interviewed lots of scholars around the world who are currently studying different aspects of this diverse school of thought.”

The LMU Global Policy Institute, where Tomlinson served as a fellow, premiered the film. Tomlinson plans to make some refinements and additions before submitting it to several student festivals. Tomlinson’s filmmaking and podcasting skills were also a huge asset to the Global Policy Institute, which hosts high profile speakers and special panel presentations to engage the LMU community and beyond in conversation about emerging issues of global concern.

“The Global Policy Institute has been an incredible part of my undergraduate experience,” said Tomlinson. “I have had the opportunity to engage with top scholars and policymakers and even attend events like the Hilton Humanitarian Awards in 2019 where I saw some pretty famous people and was inspired by all of the changemakers in the room.”

Participating in campus ministry has also been personally transformative for Tomlinson. “I feel the pursuit of justice through faith is really what drives me to keep learning about these pressing topics and to keep helping the most vulnerable.”

For the next two years, Tomlinson will serve as an economic development facilitator in the Peace Corps. He’ll work with local communities to help grow business and social/community projects and hopes to be able to bring these practices back to his own community. His longer-term goals include advancing social change through video journalism and continuing his work with USAID in Washington D.C.