Summer is when I like to ask my Admissions pals to share a little about themselves on the blog.  Naturally, when we’re writing in the summer, we lean toward writing about the summer.  My assignment for the team, then, was to describe a favorite summer activity — one that incoming students might pursue next summer, or even in the spring and fall.

First up, Liz, who has written about what is likely to be my own activity this evening.

ShakespeareOne of my favorite things to do each summer is attend one of the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s free performances of Shakespeare on the Common.  Shakespeare on the Common, taking place in the historic park at the heart of the city, has been a Boston summer tradition since 1996, and has featured many different plays.  It’s a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy some culture with friends.  You can simply pull up a blanket or beach chair, bring your own picnic, and enjoy a fantastic evening of theater!  Moreover, I really like the mission of the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, which is “dedicated to performing the works of William Shakespeare in vital and contemporary productions that are presented free of charge to Boston’s diverse communities, and to educating Boston’s youth not only about Shakespeare but also about their own potential for creativity.”  If you have the opportunity, definitely check it out!  This summer’s production is King Lear, which will run from July 22-August 9.

Next, Laurie suggests another option for area theater lovers.

If you love musical theater, here is something to consider in the Boston area.  My family has had season tickets to the North Shore Music Theatre (NSMT) for many, many years.  There are small regional theaters of very high quality all over New England and the North Shore Music Theatre is one of the best!  NSMT is located in Beverly, Massachusetts — 23 miles north of Tufts and approximately a 30-40 minute drive.  It has been around since 1955 and has a great reputation.  Plus, ticket prices are reasonable (and parking is free!).  Renovated in 2005, the theater is round with a center stage and has 1500 seats — there’s not a bad seat in the house!  In addition, the actors make use of the entire space so you really feel part of the show.  The 2015 season started off with Dream Girls — always a crowd pleaser!  The rest of the 2015-16 season includes Saturday Night Fever the Musical, Billy Elliot, and Sister Act.  Each summer NSMT produces a great family show as well.  This year it was Shrek the Musical.  I took my four-year-old nephew, who was able to sit still through the entire show!  The NSMT season always ends with an amazing production of A Christmas Carol, a great show that coincides with the end of Fletcher’s fall semester.  Check it out!

 

Despite Fletcher’s underpopulated summer feel, there are several groups in regular attendance in the building:

Staff, of course.  Unless we’re taking vacation days, nearly all of us work through the summer.

Faculty, in small numbers.  Many professors like to use their offices for their summer research or course preparation, and they can be found crossing the Hall of Flags in their casual summer attire.

Workers, many in hardhats.  Each summer, there’s sure to be some maintenance or construction activity that is best done when the building is quiet.  This year, the fire alarm system is being upgraded — an important improvement that, like most infrastructure projects, is unlikely to draw much attention from students.

And, finally:

GMAP students!  With a one-week gap, GMAP hosted the final two-week residency for one class group and, today, welcomes a new group.  They’ll be on campus for the next two weeks and then again to graduate in July 2016.  In January, the class will meet in a special international location.  I haven’t heard yet where that will be, but I know that the group that started its year of studies in March will be gathering in Brussels next month for their midterm residency.

The GMAP residency is fairly intensive and GMAP students, who are generally well-along in their careers, aren’t often found hanging around in the Hall of Flags.  But their presence in the building is clear and it’s nice to add them to our summer mix.

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Recently, news reached my inbox of the cool result of a student’s work.  Michael Caster (soon to be a second-year MALD) filled me in on how he came to be the author of a chapter in a report from the Minority Rights Group, a London-based NGO.  Regarding the report, he wrote:

On July 2, the Minority Rights Group published their annual report “State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples.”  As part of Fletcher’s Human Rights Project student organization and through Professor Hannum’s contact, the organization reached out to interested Fletcher students to apply to contribute to an unspecified project.  I applied and they asked me to assist with the publication, which soon turned into being a chapter author.  I wrote the section on East Asia, covering China, Japan, and Mongolia.  Having spent close to five years working on human rights issues in and around China it was a perfect fit.

You can follow more about Michael’s work via his blog and Twitter, as well as his writing for Open Democracy and past pieces on Waging Nonviolence.  Finally, he told me that this summer, “I am spending the summer between Thailand and Myanmar interning with the International Commission of Jurists, a Geneva-based international human rights organization.  In addition, I am researching human rights defender strategy with the support of a Topol Scholarship in Nonviolent Resistance, a new program started at Fletcher this year.  The summer spent in Southeast Asia will also be constructive for my capstone on the Rohingya crisis.”

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When Diane first introduced herself nearly two years ago, she detailed her pre-Fletcher experience and her path from her home country of Australia to graduate school in the U.S.  Today, having graduated from the MALD program in May, Diane describes her path back home to Australia — though she may not be there for long.

It’s now two months since graduation, and where has the time gone?  Those last months at Fletcher were certainly fast and furious, with a mixture of finals, fun events, Dis-O, friends visiting, day trips around Massachusetts, graduation, and many sad farewells.

I decided to base myself near campus in Somerville during my job search.  It was really lovely to experience Boston in warmer weather.  Yes, it was much quieter than during the semester, but a walk past Fletcher always guaranteed running into another student I knew.  My job search seemed to be pointing me towards home, so I decided to book my flight back to Australia, and to hope everything would work out quickly.

I had come up with a strategy for my job search at the beginning of spring semester: given that time is always limited at Fletcher, I decided to apply for any fellowships or year-long programs where you rotate around the organization’s different divisions for training, as many of these companies only recruit once a year.  I left the bulk of my applications for individual job postings for after graduation.  I was lucky enough to progress past the first round of a number of the programs I applied for, which meant I spent a bit of time each week doing online testing and interviews through Skype.  This certainly helped to keep me motivated.

A few weeks before leaving Boston I received a job offer from GRM International to be part of their Young Professionals Program, allowing me to rotate around the company through different divisions and offices during the next couple of years.  This role felt like a really good fit, and allowed me to return to Australia for my first rotation.  Through the process of applying, interviewing, and accepting this role, I utilized the Office of Career Services on many occasions, which is another great advantage of being a student or graduate of The Fletcher School.

I planned some travel before heading home, visiting friends in Los Angeles and Idaho, including a trip to Yellowstone National Park. I was lucky enough to meet up with some Fletcher folks along the way who were home for the summer.

Coming home has been an adjustment, not only because it is winter here.  But after two years away, it is rather nice to be around friends and family again.

I am so looking forward to my next phase in life, after spending two wonderful years at Fletcher.

Diane and Dallin in Grand Teton National Park. Photo by Dallin Van Leuven, F15.

Diane and MALD graduate, Dallin, in Grand Teton National Park. Photo by Dallin Van Leuven, F15.

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Today I’m going to share the writing of others.  Tufts has several publications — online and traditional — and two recent stories about Fletcher caught my eye.

The first (which I saw on the online TuftsNow site) was written by Elliot Ackerman, F03, who shares his belief that universities should recruit more veterans.  Elliot was a writer-in-residence (our first!) at Fletcher this past spring, coinciding with the publication of his novel, Green on Blue.  He is also a decorated veteran, who enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps after completing the dual BA/MALD degree.

The second story appeared in “Blueprint,” the publication of the University’s development office.  It describes the origin of the new Topol Fellowship and the additional funds that Sid Topol donated to expand Fletcher’s “long-standing commitment to the study of nonviolent resistance.”  You can also see the article on page 6 of the Blueprint down below.

Finally, not from a Tufts publication, but related to the story on the Topol Fellowship, comes this blog post from Benjamin Naimark-Rowse, a PhD candidate and the first recipient of the Topol Fellowship.  He notes that his piece, “The Founding Myth of the United States of America,” is “about how nonviolent resistance is at the heart of the story of our independence struggle, or at least it should be.”

 

Among the other projects I’m working on this summer is the overdue launch of evaluative interviews via Skype.  Up to now, the great majority of our evaluative interviews have been on campus and face-to-face between the applicant and interviewer.  We also offered the opportunity to record an interview online, but the resulting videos, though still helpful in the application review process, couldn’t measure up to the more natural and interactive format.  We all had a voice whispering in our ears that the time had come to offer Skype interviews, but we needed to be sure we had all the pieces in place to do so successfully.  Now we think we do.

The new Skype interviews will capture many of the features of our on-campus interviews.  Evaluative interviews are offered to interested applicants from mid-September through early December.  (That is, usually before applications are submitted.)  Interviewers will generally be current students.  There will be plenty of opportunity for the applicant to ask questions.  And whether on campus or via Skype, interviews (however helpful they are for interviewers and the Admissions Committee) remain optional.

We’re still ironing out one wrinkle in the registration process, but we should have that settled next week.  (It could be settled in half an hour, but vacation schedules rarely put us all in the same place at once.)  When the registration question is decided, the early set-up work will be complete and we’ll share a link to the interview registration page.  Note that the Skype interviews are really intended for applicants outside the Boston area, and we will ask you to share your résumé and Skype user name before the interview.  Though there are bound to be some bumps in the process, we’re excited to be able to extend the face-to-face interview opportunity to applicants who aren’t able to visit campus.

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Though September/October/November is when the Admissions team is most likely to be on the road for recruitment travel, we also make occasional trips in the spring and summer.  On the schedule this time of year is “Summerfest,” an evening reception and information session activity cooperatively organized by us and our friends at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA); Georgetown University, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service; Johns Hopkins University, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS); Princeton University, The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Summerfest events are held in New York City and Washington, DC, and the New York event is tonight, July 16!  If you’re interested in attending the New York reception, you can sign up here.

Two DC events were scheduled for the summer, and the second is coming up on Tuesday, July 21.  If you’d like to attend the DC reception, sign up here.

We’ll have a member of the Admissions staff and alumni or students at each event, and we hope to see you there!

 

This is the week when our summer Coffee Hours with current students really get going, and from now through the end of the summer there will be several events each week.  Our students have all volunteered for the opportunity to chat, and I hope you’ll take advantage of this chance to meet them if you’re in one of these cities where a coffee hour is scheduled.

Amman, Jordan
Atlanta, GA, USA
Bangalore, India
Chicago, IL USA
Dili, Timor-Leste
Geneva, Switzerland
Guadalajara, Mexico
Hanoi, Vietnam
Honolulu, HI, USA
Jerusalem
Johannesburg, South Africa
Kuwait City, Kuwait
Lima, Peru 
Louisville, KY, USA
Mexico City, Mexico
Moscow, Russia
Mumbai, India
Nairobi, Kenya
New York City – focus on international organizations
New York City – focus on security studies
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
San Francisco, CA, USA
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Seattle, WA, USA
Seoul, Korea
Taipei, Taiwan
Tehran, Iran

 

In the summer, I enjoy writing about my own weekends as a way of describing our great neighborhood.  But this past weekend was anything but typical.  On Saturday, all of us in Admissions were together to celebrate the wedding of our own Christine to her true love, Eric.  It was a lovely ceremony and a great party, and we all had a fun time.  Plus, of course, it’s such an honor to witness a marriage.

We don’t often manage to capture a photo of the full staff, but here we are.  Theresa, Kristen, Laurie, Christine (of course), Liz, Dan, and me.  (Sunglasses courtesy of Christine and Eric for use during the cocktail reception around the roof-top pool.)Wedding-1

 

 

At Fletcher, we refer to International Security Studies in two ways.  First, as the Field of Study that is among the most commonly pursued by students.  Second, for the International Security Studies Program, which offers extremely robust programming throughout the year.  Despite the important place that Security Studies (in both its meanings) occupies at Fletcher, I have not always done my part in spreading the word.  Making up for that lapse is going to be a focus of my blog work for 2015-16, and there’s no time like the present to start.  To do so, I reached out to my old friends, Prof. Shultz and Prof. Pfaltzgraff to ask for information.  It happened they had just completed a report for one of the organizations that funds their work (and that of many master’s-level and PhD students).  Today, I’m going to share excerpts of that report.  This is a long post, but the extra length is needed to capture the broad scope of ISSP activites.

International Security Studies at The Fletcher School

With the beginning of 2015-16, the International Security Studies Program (ISSP) will enter its 45th year at The Fletcher School, and International Security Studies remains at the cutting edge of The Fletcher School’s multidisciplinary curriculum.  Through its many graduates and other efforts, ISSP has a major impact in shaping strategic thought and analysis in and beyond the political-military affairs community.  Many ISSP graduates have gone on to important positions of responsibility in the United States and abroad, including General Joseph Dunford, incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and currently Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Course Offerings & Curriculum Development

ISSP offers a range of courses that examine conflict and war; strategy and statecraft; crisis management; regional security; intelligence; homeland security; proliferation; national security decision making; and terrorism.  Our courses are theoretical and policy-oriented, as well as historical and contemporary, and reflect and anticipate a rapidly changing security environment, while providing instruction on the basic and timeless issues of strategy, statecraft, conflict, and war.  During the 2014-2015 academic year, seventeen courses were offered in International Security Studies or closely related areas including: The Role of Force in International Politics, International Humanitarian Law; Internal Conflicts and War; Proliferation-Counterproliferation and Homeland Security Issues; The Evolution of Grand Strategy; Foundations of International Cybersecurity; The Strategic Dimensions of China’s Rise; Modern Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism; Peace Operations; Foreign Relations and National Security Law.  In support of our curriculum, ISSP sponsors a high-level guest lecture series, an annual conference, a colloquium series, a crisis simulation exercise, and occasional field trips.

ISSP Student Research Supervision

During the 2014-2015 academic year the Security Studies faculty supervised a large number of student research papers, including seven MA theses and 15 MALD Capstone Projects.  Currently 18 students are working on PhD dissertations under supervision of Security Studies faculty.  Between 1971 and 2015 a total of 201 dissertations in the ISSP were completed and the PhD awarded.  International Security Studies remains among the most popular fields as well as the largest Field of Study at Fletcher.

Military Fellows

During the 2014-2015 academic year nine mid-level officers were assigned to the ISSP in lieu of spending a year at one of the various service War Colleges.  This year’s group included two Air Force, one Navy, four Army, and one National Guard officer, and one senior official from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  The mid-career military fellows, who pursue special research projects at Fletcher, bring an unusual set of experiences, expertise, and knowledge that adds greatly to our curriculum.

“Outside the Classroom” Educational Programs

Beyond its course offerings, the ISSP sponsors various “outside-the-classroom” activities designed to enrich the education of our students by addressing the emerging issues of 21st century international security.

IFPA-Fletcher Conference Series

Central to our programmatic activities are high-level conferences.  These conferences help to publicize the Security Studies field in the broader national security/foreign policy communities.  This year the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA) and ISSP joined together to organize and facilitate “Symposium on New Dynamics in Japanese Security Policy,” a one-day symposium at Fletcher to promote an informed exchange of views on the new dynamics of Japan’s security policy and their implications for U.S.-Japanese strategic cooperation going forward.

The symposium provided a unique opportunity for a select group of Japanese and American policy experts, academics, business leaders, and officials to review and explain in some depth key aspects of the Abe administration’s defense and foreign policy reforms aimed at facilitating Japan’s emergence as a “proactive contributor to peace” at both the regional and global levels.  The Honorable Hideshi Tokuchi, F86, Vice Minister for International Affairs at Japan’s Ministry of Defense, was the keynote speaker for the luncheon.

Crisis Simulation Exercise (SIMULEX)

Simulex1Each year, as part of the seminar on Crisis Management and Complex Emergencies, ISSP includes a weekend crisis simulation exercise.  The 40th anniversary of SIMULEX event was held on November 7-8, 2014 and had more than 160 participants from The Fletcher School and the outside community.  The scenario was entitled “Baltic Crisis and a Chaotic Middle East.”

Speakers Program

Lectures by outside experts on topics related to international security remain an important dimension of ISSP.  These presentations, usually in a luncheon/lecture setting, take place throughout the academic year.  Our objective is to draw speakers from a broad cross-section of the professional civilian and military communities, and to design the lecture format in such a way as to give our students maximum opportunity to meet with such experts.  Among the speakers sponsored by the ISSP during the 2014-2015 academic year were:

Fall Semester:
Major General Yaakov Amidror, former Israeli National Security Advisor: Israel’s Security Challenge.
Dr. Daniel Fine, Research Associate at the Mining and Minerals Resources Institute, MIT: Geopolitics of Russian Oil and Gas: Limits of Sanctions and Counter-Sanctions.
Sigrid Kaag, former Special Coordinator of the joint Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and United Nations mission to eliminate the chemical weapons program of the Syrian Arab Republic: Effective Multilateralism, The Experience of Chemical Weapons Elimination in Syria.
VADM Frank C. Pandolfe, Director for Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5), Joint Staff: Global Trends and International Security.
A
DM Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations: The Future of Naval Operations.
Dr. David McKean, Director of Policy Planning at the Department of State: Foreign Policy Challenges in a Changing World.
Dr. Alexander Mirtchev, president of Krull Corp., USA: Rebalancing the Global Security Disequilibrium: Dealing with the Challenges to the Post-Cold War Order in the Universally-Securitized World.
Dr. Hassan Abbas, F02, F08, professor and chair of the Department of Regional and Analytical Studies at National Defense University’s College of International Security Affairs: Taliban and ISIS: A Comparative Analysis and Future Prospects.
Rebecca Ulam Weiner, Director of Intelligence Analysis for the NYPD Intelligence Bureau: Al Qa’eda and ISIS Messaging to the West.

Spring Semester:
Slobodan Djinovic and Srdja Popovic, Chairman and Executive Director respectively of CANVAS (the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies): Strategic Nonviolent Resistance in the 21st Century: Lessons Learned from the Arab Spring, Ukraine, and Hong Kong.
General Joseph Votel, Commanding General of the U.S. Special Operations Command: USSOCOM and the Challenges Associated with Russian Aggression.
General Knud Bartels, current Chairman of the NATO Military Committee: Security Challenges facing NATO.
General Frank Grass, Chief, National Guard Bureau: The Modern Day Minuteman — The National Guard in the 21st Century.
Major General and Professor Isaac Ben-Israel, former Director of Defence R&D in the Israeli Ministry of Defence, and currently professor at the University of Tel-Aviv and Deputy Director of the Hartog School of Government and Policy: The Israeli Cyber Ecosystem: Combining Industry, Government, and Academia.
Lt. General John Nicholson, Commander of Allied Land Command (LANDCOM), NATO: An overview of NATO’s Land Command, its mission and priorities, and Russia’s Impact on NATO.
NATO Parliamentarians Conference, featuring:

Dr. Robert Legvold, Visiting Professor, The Fletcher School, and Marshall D. Shulman Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Columbia University: Perspectives on U.S.Russian Relations.
Dr. Kostas A. Lavdas is Professor of Hellenic and European Studies, The Fletcher School, and Professor of European Politics and Director of the Centre for Political Research and Documentation (KEPET) at the University of Crete: A Transatlantic Relationship for the 21st Century: Advancing Collective Security through Complementarity and Effective Burden Sharing.
Dr. Sung-yoon Lee, F94, F98, is the Kim Koo-Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies, and Assistant Professor, The Fletcher School: Five Myths about North Korea.

Fellowships to ISSP Students

With support from several external foundations and fellowships, during the 2014-2015 academic year, ISSP granted tuition assistance and research support to a total of 39 master’s-level and PhD students, along with support for two student-organized academic activities.

Planned Activities (as of June 2015)

On November 13-14, 2015, ISSP will hold our annual weekend simulation, Simulex 2015.

In 2015-2016, ISSP will host one Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel, one Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel, one Army Lieutenant Colonel, and one Army Colonel as senior research fellows, in lieu of their studies at the Army War College, along with one Navy Federal Executive Fellow.

Faculty

Prof. Shultz and Dean StavridisThe core ISSP faculty is comprised of three professors: Richard Shultz, Director of the ISSP and Professor of International Politics; Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of International Security Studies; and Antonia Chayes, Professor of Practice in International Politics and Law.  In addition, ISSP faculty includes two adjunct professors: Toshi Yoshihara, F04, John A. van Beuren Chair of Asia-Pacific Studies and professor of strategy in the Strategy and Policy Department at the U.S. Naval War College; and James Forest, Director and Professor of Security Studies, University of Massachusetts Lowell.

ISSP has also added to its core faculty a new Professor of Practice, Michelle Malvesti, F00. Professor Malvesti worked for several years in the U.S. Intelligence Community as a Middle East terrorism analyst at the Joint Special Operations Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency.  More recently her government service included Senior Director for Combating Terrorism Strategy for the Directorate for Combating Terrorism in the National Security Council, where she advised President Bush and his administration on US counterterrorism policy and strategy.  During the Obama Administration she co-chaired the Presidential study review that reformed the White House organization for homeland security and counter terrorism.

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