As a public service for admitted students, with the enrollment decision deadline approaching, I want to run through the Admissions Office schedule for the next few days.

Today, Wednesday, April 16:  Office open normal hours (9:00-5:00 EDT (GMT-4))

Tomorrow, Thursday, April 17:  Office open normal hours (9:00-5:00 EDT (GMT-4))

Friday, April 18:  Office open normal hours (9:00-5:00 EDT (GMT-4))

Saturday and Sunday, April 19 and 20:  Office closed for the weekend

Monday, April 21:  Office closed for the Patriot’s Day holiday

Tuesday, April 22:  Office reopens for normal hours

Note that enrollment decisions are due on Sunday, April 20, no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT.  And even though the office will be closed, the GAMS system cannot accept enrollment decisions after the deadline.  Do yourself a favor and make your final decision a few minutes before the deadline, so that you don’t need to worry about being locked out of the system.

Questions?  We’re here!!  Please take advantage of a staffed office today, tomorrow, and Friday to contact us with your questions and concerns.

 

Our next five-year update, and probably the last word from the Class of 2008, comes from Margherita Zuin, who was co-chair of the student Migration Group and conducted interviews for the Admissions Office during her time at Fletcher.  (I can still picture her coming in and out of the office.)  Here’s her update which, like the résumé of anyone working for the United Nations, is loaded with acronyms.

During my years in high school, migration from Africa started to become a common phenomenon in Italy.  It generated a myriad of political and legal debates and cultural challenges, not only in my country, but also in my head.  This is what initially triggered my interest in international law and pushed me, as a student, to volunteer for an NGO assisting migrants from North Africa.

After law school, my passion to see and understand more about the world led me to Ecuador to provide assistance to Colombian refugees and to fight violence against women in Quito for Amnesty International.  I then interned with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with a focus on Italy’s role within the United Nations and development cooperation in Asia and Latin America.  As a paid trainee at the European Commission in Brussels, I focused on food security in African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries before traveling to Jordan for my first assignment with the United Nations.  I joined UNIFEM (the United Nations Development Fund for Women) in Amman, where I implemented programs to support the elections and constitution-making process in Iraq.

These experiences made me realize that I wanted to keep working in international affairs, but also that I wanted to further my understanding of the complex approaches and strategies needed to address them.  I had heard of Fletcher from alumni and, after having an informal interview with Laurie Hurley, the School’s director of admissions, I realized that Fletcher was the perfect place for me.  The combination of academic- and professional-oriented courses was exactly what I was looking for.

Margherita2
My classes and professors at Fletcher taught me skills that I have put into practice since graduation.  My Fields of Study were Human Security, Humanitarian Studies, and Law and Development.  I still refer back to the impressive professional experiences shared in class by Professors Sarkin and Aucoin.  From Professor Church, I learned the importance of always asking the “So what?” question, and I continue to use the gender lens analysis taught in Professor Mazurana’s course.  My summer internship conducting research on formal and informal justice systems in Central Somalia, as well as the fascinating discussions in Professor Johnstone’s “Peace Operations” class on the political, legal, technical, and logistical challenges to deploy and work in conflict and post-conflict situations, were fundamental to my career choice.

Since graduating in 2008, I have been working for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations of the United Nations.  For 2.5 years, I served in UNAMID (African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur) as Associate Gender Officer working on the political process, gender justice, and capacity-building of national institutions.  In 2011, I joined the Standing Police Capacity of the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI), a rapidly deployable team of experts based in Brindisi (Italy), tasked to start up new operations or assist existing ones.  In my capacity as Legal Officer, I deployed to UNMISS (United Nations Mission in South Sudan) to help with the establishment of the Mission’s Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office.  My work focused on addressing prolonged, arbitrary detention, and ensuring coordination of the various United Nations and national actors of the justice chain.

Since May 2012, I have been based at United Nations Headquarters in New York, first as a Judicial Affairs Officer in the Criminal Law and Judicial Advisory Service (CLJAS) of OROLSI, and then as a Political Affairs Officer in the Front Office of the Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions.  The work at Headquarters has allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the political dynamics and decision-making processes in the rule of law area in particular, but also of the United Nations system as a whole.  In the near future, I hope to serve again in the field.

I use the academic knowledge and professional skills acquired at Fletcher every single day.  I can also see the strength of the Fletcher community, not only because so many Fletcher alumni work in the United Nations, but also because creating  partnerships, being committed to make a contribution, and building a sense of community have been essential aspects of my life in peacekeeping, especially in my field assignments.

Tagged with:
 

Today’s post comes from Leila Fawaz, Issam M. Fares Professor of Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean Studies.  Prof. Fawaz holds a dual appointment between Fletcher and the Department of History at Tufts.  She currently teaches The Arabs and their Neighbors and War and Society in the Middle East in Historical Perspective.

Leila FawazWhen I started my teaching career in the early 1980s, I used to tell my students that Turkey was not a Thanksgiving dinner, but a country of great importance.  Today, I do not need to worry about our students knowing where Turkey or other countries of that region are.  The Middle East is at the center of world affairs and every high school student, and certainly any advanced student, knows of its crucial importance to the United States and to the rest of the world.  It is unfortunate that perennial conflicts have triggered much of our current awareness of the interdependence of all parts of the globe, yet I find it deeply rewarding to teach at The Fletcher School, where students and faculty are committed to global awareness, and where we can pursue further knowledge at the highest level of scholarship.

I love Fletcher because of its openness to different viewpoints and its commitment to internationalism.  Faculty and staff are aware that our students, who come from all over the world, are our most prized charge.  Students learn from one another, expose one another to different cultures and ways of thinking, and learn to respect viewpoints that they do not necessarily agree with.  All of us at Fletcher are exposed to diverse cultures on a daily basis and are better teachers, and people, for it.  We, the faculty, come from different disciplines, which adds a rare and important intellectual dimension to our ability to communicate with colleagues who, at other schools and institutions, are dispersed throughout departments and do not have the privilege of working together closely, on a continuous basis, as we do.

Not that I ever thought I would devote my career to education.  I came to the United States in the 1970s to complete my graduate education, as so many people from other countries do, fully expecting to return to my home country of Lebanon.  I never planned to have a career, and there was no pressure on me to get more education.  Very simply, I loved to read and continued to do so until I found myself with the highest degree I could possibly get, a Ph.D.  After that, I discovered that research continued to fascinate me and teaching energized me, so I forged forward, a bit haphazardly, in a wonderful career that brought me many rewards.  The primary reward is the privilege of getting to know students who are as international and as challenging as ours are.

In graduate school, I sometimes thought that what I had to say was not important enough to express loudly, only to hear the student next to me express similar ideas with confidence.  I learned that we cannot wait for perfection to get involved and that the best way to improve oneself and others is to do just that, by following one’s passions.  Do not worry about taking “practical” courses that will improve your career.  Study what you love; you will excel, and then you can learn how to acquire any additional skills you need.  By studying at Fletcher, you’ll learn to follow your passion intellectually in a rich and energizing community, united in its love of the School and its trust in your future.

Tagged with:
 

I often say that I would feel a lot more intelligent if I didn’t work at Fletcher, where everyone else is so smart!  But as brainy as our students are, the fact is that everyone can use a little help sometimes.  In addition to a generally supportive environment, there are several options that students can draw upon to maximize their academic success.

For many years now, Fletcher has offered a writing program, through which students can schedule appointments with peer tutors.  The program invites students to “Make the semester less stressful by meeting with the writing tutors.  Use tutoring appointments to make big papers more manageable — set personal interim deadlines with the tutors to discuss your outline, partial drafts, structure, argumentation, etc.”  The program director also provides helpful worksheets on peer editing (“Swapping papers with a friend is a smart strategy because everyone’s work benefits from an editor!  Plus, editing others’ papers will make you a better writer.”) and reverse outlining (“Because drafted papers often need to be restructured to be more persuasive and logical.  Reverse outlining helps you take the content you’ve already created and organize it more effectively.”).

A newer support offering is Presentation Tutors.  Inviting students to sign up, our Assistant Director of Student Affairs, Mary, notes, “Developing strong public speaking and presentation skills is an essential part of your Fletcher education. Whether you are preparing for a class presentation, a panel discussion, or a guest lecture, your ability to express yourself clearly and articulately will be vital to your success.”  The Presentation Tutors program provides one-to-one support for students who would like to:

  • Create, practice or polish an oral presentation
  • Learn techniques to strengthen their personal speaking style (body and voice)
  • Learn how to use PowerPoint effectively in presentations
  • Overcome fears, gain personal confidence, and develop a smooth, polished speaking style

Ultimately, success at Fletcher depends on good preparation and command of course material, but the opportunity to find help when needed in writing or presentations is of great value for our diverse community of students.

 

Winners of two different competitions were announced this week, and one Fletcher team was successful in both!  This exciting news calls for two Cool Stuff blog entries in two days.  Here’s an announcement from Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti:

Tommy and AndrewPlease join me in congratulating Andrew Lala, F’14 and Tommy Galloway, F’14 as the winners of the inaugural Fletcher D-Prize: Poverty Solutions Venture Competition.  Andrew and Tommy will receive $15,000 (and tens of thousands more in non-monetary advice and networks) to help them pilot their Clair de Lune – Solar Light Distributor Platform, which uses existing bus infrastructure and cultural remittance practices to reach the rural poor in Sub-Saharan Africa.  This summer, Andrew and Tommy will bring this “poverty solution venture” to 400 families in Burkina Faso.  Fletcher D-Prize judges believe that, in two years, Andrew and Tommy will have an impact on the world by proving that you can provide energy to over 100,000 families living on less than a few dollars a day.

We hope that this award, and the competition among a large number of very strong proposals, signals that Fletcher prepares leaders adept not only at crossing borders of all kinds – disciplinary and geographic – but also with the ability to jump across the border of knowledge into entrepreneurial action.  We aspire to develop and facilitate international ninjas, if you will.  Andrew and Tommy are two terrific examples of such international ninjas. A family that buys a solar lamp saves money on energy expenses and is more productive outside of daylight hours.  Household incomes often increase 15-30%.  Study hours for children rise by two hours. Solar lamps also erase the far too common dangers that come with kerosene lanterns.

The award will be presented to Andrew and Tommy today, only two days after they received an “audience choice” award at the Tufts $100K New Ventures Competition, at which they were finalists (shown in photo above).

This is the 10th anniversary for the Tufts $100K, which prompted a look back.  BostInno selected Educate Lanka as one of the top six ventures to come out of the Tufts $100K competition.  Congratulations to our good blog friend Manjula!

Tagged with:
 

Today we have a short description of one of the best activities I learned about when I asked students to tell me what they’ve been doing this academic year.  Erin provides the details, along with a photo I love.  (Doesn’t everyone pack a Fletcher flag when they travel to Europe?)

From March 26-31, eight other Fletcher students and I participated in an International Criminal Court simulation in Krzyzowa, Poland.  I first heard about this opportunity from another Fletcher student who had connections with the organization, and she put us all in contact with the program’s organizer.  Through this Fletcher connection, we had the opportunity to fly to Poland and join a multinational team of individuals studying international affairs and law from countries all around the world, including Poland, Germany, Serbia, Myanmar, and Georgia.  Through the simulation, we worked to prosecute, defend, and judge cases concerning genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.  The program was organized by the German Kreisau-Initiative and the Polish Krzyzowa Foundation for Mutual Understanding in Europe and it generously provided funding for our accommodations and transportation to Poland.  As a first-year MALD student focusing on human rights and international organizations, this opportunity is a perfect complement to my current coursework which includes International Criminal Justice and Understanding Mass Atrocities.

Poland group with flag

Tagged with:
 

Well, we finished off yesterday’s Open House in fine style, waving off a few of the last visitors (and their luggage) at about 6:00.  Each of us Admissions folk agreed that the sessions we attended went very well.  Adding it all up, we consider the day to have been a success.

Poking around the blog last week, I found a few posts that I had forgotten about, and that might be helpful for admitted students (and future admitted students) who didn’t attend the careers sessions at the Open House.  In 2010, I asked the Office of Career Services staff to describe their work.  Each member of the OCS staff focuses on a sector that is a typical objective for Fletcher students.  Though there are new names attached to some of the sectors, Phillip, the OCS director (and a participant in Admissions Committee meetings) confirms that the structure of responsibilities is the same.  So, below, please find links to past blog posts on OCS’s approach to sector coaching.

Of course, 2010 employment statistics aren’t very relevant now.  To round out the picture, you’ll want to check more recent career reports.

Tagged with:
 

Open House balloonsWe’re hosting our newly admitted students today and the place is jumpin’.  It’s only about 11:45, and we’ve already had an alumni panel and reception (o.k., those were last night), a welcome session, and break-out sessions for each of the degree programs.  Visitors are currently either grabbing some lunch, attending a panel discussion with current students, hearing from the Office of Career Services, or engaging in a roundtable discussion with the folks from the International Environment and Resource Policy or with Students in Security Studies.  And so it will go, for the rest of the afternoon.  Liz did an amazing job of organizing roughly one bazillion sessions for the day.  And balloons.  She also organized the balloons.

I have just these few minutes to write this post, check my email, etc.  Then I’m off to a lunch discussion on international economics.  I fully intend to learn something while I’m there.  (A perk of the job.)  This is an annual event that, while exhausting, gives meaning to our work throughout the winter and early spring.  It’s such a treat to put together names and faces!

Tagged with:
 

Whether on paper or online, reading the newspaper is nothing new to Fletcher, but the MIB program has recently given new meaning to the phrase.  Kristen tells us more.

This academic year, the MIB program has launched a new lecture series called Fletcher Reads the Newspaper.  The series gathers Fletcher faculty and guests to debate, from an interdisciplinary perspective, several sides of a recent business-connected news item. Topics this year ranged from the Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh to Edward Snowden’s impact on Google.

The goal of Fletcher Reads the Newspaper is to bring the faculty’s multiple viewpoints together for students in a way that doesn’t always happen in a classroom setting.  Once the professors have established the context for the problem, Dean Chakravorti runs a case-style discussion through which student attendees solve a problem related to the challenge.  These sessions give students the opportunity to be analytical and thoughtful about the headlines we see every day.

You can read more about recent sessions, including full event reports, on our website.

Tagged with:
 

When I put out my call for students to tell me about the cool stuff they’re doing, I learned about several new or fledgling student organizations.  Today, Katherine tells us about Fletcher Cares.

Taking it to the Streets: Fletcher’s Newest Student Organization Redefines the Call to Serve

Fletcher students are well known for their commitment to making the world a better place, and many enter their first year with impressive international experiences in public service.  Some have served in the Peace Corps or as Fulbright English Teaching Assistants, while others have volunteered or worked for the United Nations, Amnesty International, MercyCorps, Médecins Sans Frontières, or other NGOs in the public service sector.  While service at the international level is certainly nothing new for the Fletcher community, this spring the School welcomed its first official public service student organization, Fletcher Cares.  Created by a motley crew of first-year MALDs, Fletcher Cares aims to connect the Fletcher community to service opportunities in its own backyard, including Somerville, Medford, and the greater Boston area.

Fletcher carees 3Fletcher Cares began last fall as an informal effort by students who sought to galvanize collective action and awareness around the death, displacement, and destruction wrought by Typhoon Haiyan.  Known then as “Fletcher for the Philippines,” this small group of concerned students collaborated with established campus organizations and partnered with local businesses to fundraise for the World Food Programme, which worked with the Philippine government to launch a massive typhoon relief operation.  In a matter of days, Fletcher Cares successfully obtained donation commitments from two restaurants in Somerville: Diva Indian Bistro and Johnny D’s Uptown Restaurant and Music Club.  These donations, in addition to funds raised on campus, helped ensure that families and children in the Philippines received nutritious food during this tragic emergency.

Fletcher Cares has since received official club status and has plans for service opportunities that will engage the larger student body. In addition to its Fall fundraising efforts, Fletcher Cares has participated in various service projects, including a Somerville music festival dedicated to raising funds for the Philippines, and a holiday clothing drive benefiting homeless veterans in the Boston area.   For the remainder of the academic year, Fletcher Cares plans to support runners at the Boston Marathon and to lead literacy, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), and citizenship classes for the Haitian Coalition of Somerville.

Fletcher caresIn hopes of creating a sustainable and long-lasting public service model, Fletcher Cares board members reached out to their counterparts at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Student Public Service Collaborative.  The SPSC leaders graciously offered their insights to the Fletcher Cares team, emphasizing the need to coordinate local, achievable projects that make service a regular part of the graduate student experience.  After a fruitful discussion, the two groups laid the groundwork for future collaboration on service projects in Cambridge and Boston.  Fletcher Cares has also adopted a mission statement: Fletcher Cares provides The Fletcher School with opportunities to connect their academic experiences with volunteerism that promotes a just and sustainable world through service, scholarship, and community partnerships.

As a budding organization, Fletcher Cares has much growing and learning to do.  But the exciting first step has been taken, paving the way for The Fletcher School to be known for the good works its students, faculty, and staff do on the local level, in addition to on the international level.

For more information about Fletcher Cares, please contact us.

Tagged with:
 

Spam prevention powered by Akismet