With the People’s Climate March having taken place in New York this past weekend, I wanted to share this interview on the subject with Fletcher PhD candidate, Kartikeya Singh.  Kartikeya’s comments particularly focus on what’s at stake for countries like India and the Maldives, as well as his past involvement in negotiations.  For those not familiar, the March took place directly before the UN Summit on Climate Change, at which 120+ heads of state will discuss how their nations will tackle the issue.

Listen to the interview here:

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I had a surprisingly nice quick trip to Toronto.  I arrived yesterday morning, took a long walk around, and figured out where the APSIA fair would be taking place (down the street, behind the construction site — so I was glad I bothered to look).  The first visitors to the fair arrived as I was still setting up, well before the official start time, followed by three solid hours of talking.  Nice to meet some eager 2015 graduates of University of Toronto, as well as professionals in the area!

I was joined at the Fletcher table by an alum, Farrukh Lalani, a 2008 graduate, and she shared her perspective with the visitors interested in the student and alumnus experience.  As the fair wound down, and over tea after the fair ended, we had time to discuss her new start-up venture, Aria Gems, a non-profit that seeks to build a business, and a model that others can follow, in ethical gem mining in Afghanistan.  This led to a long chat about the non-traditional paths taken by many of her 2008 classmates.  Mining/gems/Afghanistan/start-ups are not concepts we usually weave together when we’re telling prospective students about typical Fletcher career paths, but the atypical path is, itself, somewhat typical.

Coincidentally, yesterday I heard from Farrukh’s classmate, Margherita Zuin, who was featured in a Foreign Policy career guide.  In a sense, Margherita’s career path has been typical for a graduate of an international affairs professional school, though perhaps still atypical in its intensity.

So all in all, a good trip — productive participation in the APSIA fair, and a great opportunity to get to know an alum I hadn’t crossed paths with when she was a Fletcher student.

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I didn’t intend for this to be such a slow blog week, but that’s how it has turned out.  Between setting up the interview schedule, attending a few meetings, and I’m not even sure what else, the first half of the week flew by.

The busy pace of September always comes as a bit of a surprise.  We all know it’s going to suddenly turn from August mellow to zany, but the meaning of zany is easily forgotten.  One aspect: by Monday, nearly every Admissions staff member will have been out on the road.  (Me, I’m on my way to Toronto for an APSIA fair.  If you’ll be there, be sure to say hello!)

More, and richer, blog content coming next week, when I hope I’ll have a firmer grip on our schedule.

 

As I walked through the Hall of Flags this morning, I saw that the balcony had been fitted with temporary walls.  On the other side of the walls is a beautiful exhibit of photographs by Jean Mohr.  If you’ll be visiting Fletcher during the next three weeks, I encourage you to reserve a few minutes to view the exhibit.  I know that I’ll be encouraging a visit by the attendees at the midday Information Session that I’m leading today.

The exhibit marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Photo exhibit, September 2014

 

While Fletcher offers admissions Information Sessions every week, we occasionally add in a little extra programming.  This year, we’ll welcome applicants to all programs for a General Visit Day on Monday, October 6 and Monday, November 17.  On these days, in addition to a one-hour info session, we’ll arrange a student panel and a lunch.  You can also schedule yourself for an interview.

For MIB applicants, we’ll offer a special MIB Visit Day on Monday, October 27.  The Information Session will be focused on the MIB program, and you’ll have extra opportunities to interact with current MIB students.  Once you sign up to attend the MIB Visit Day, we’ll contact you to arrange an interview.

Same for the PhD applicants’ Visit Day on Monday, October 20 — a focused Information Session and extra opportunities to meet current PhD students.  Once you indicate that you’d like to schedule an evaluative interview, we’ll contact you with an appointment time.

Regardless of the program you’re interested in, you’re always welcome to visit!  But we also encourage you to take advantage of these extra activities, designed to help you prepare for your application to Fletcher.

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Remember how just last week I noted that I’m often visited (via NPR) by the voices of Fletcher community members?  Well, here are two more examples.  First, Dean Stavridis kept me informed when his interview was broadcast while I cooked dinner.

Somewhat more surprising, I heard a report from a correspondent with a name unique enough that I thought it had to be a Fletcher alum.  Karoun Demirjian graduated from Fletcher in 2006 and is a correspondent in Moscow for The Washington Post.  She also occasionally files a report for NPR, and writes for the NPR website.  I happened to hear one of her reports, but it was only while writing this post that I learned that her main gig is with The Post.

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In the next few weeks, in response to requests from readers, I hope to be able to gather a few posts in which students sum up their internship experiences.  I thought I’d start by pointing you back toward the blog’s July post that collected links to several students’ own blogs.  Not all of the students whose blogs were included wrote a summary post, but a few did, so check them out:

Owen wrapped up his experience in Kenya.

Katerina wrote about her final week in Nepal.

Leon wrote about the people he met during a summer at the Army War College.

And Braden summed up his experience in South Africa.

I’m working on gathering more stories from the summer.  Stay tuned!

P.S. (Quick late afternoon addition): Check out the Fletcher Admissions Facebook page for photos of their internships that students have shared!

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It seems like forever since I last wrote a post about general admissions news, but the new semester has begun and we already feel like we’re deep in the new admissions cycle.  Travel starts next week for several of us (spreading us from DC to Michigan to Toronto and Mexico City) and less than six weeks separates us from our first application deadline (for January admission).  Today I’m meeting with about 20 students who have volunteered to conduct interviews for us.  It will be terrific to have them trained and ready for the start of on-campus interviews on Monday, September 22.  I’d better turn my attention right now to preparing for the training session!

 

While Shopping Day can be said to kick off the semester, Fletcher Convocation is the formal start to the academic year.  It’s a bookend event to Commencement, with professors in their academic finery.  The Convocation Address will be delivered this afternoon by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming, F83, who has served from Zambia to North Korea to the UK and is considered one of China’s foremost experts on the U.S.  But before Ambassador Liu received the special award that preceded his address, there were also presentations from second-year student Pauline Yang and from Prof. Jenny Aker,

Prof. Aker at Convocation
as well as two songs from the Ambassachords.

Ambassachords at Convocation
All in all, an informative and festive event!

 

When she was already in Ghana for her summer internship, Diane sent me this final blog post of 2013-2014.  I held it, thinking that September would be optimal timing.  Current students may want to know about Diane’s search for external scholarships, while applicants may want to know that such a thing is possible.  New posts from continuing student bloggers Diane, Liam, and Mark should return soon, and I’ll be adding new voices from among the first-year students.

For prospective students applying to graduate programs, the question of how to pay for a master’s degree is often a huge part of the decision-making process.

While Fletcher was my number one choice in programs going into the application process, the scholarship aid I received from Fletcher also made my enrollment decision very easy.  Nonetheless, Fletcher scholarships don’t generally cover the full cost of tuition, and certainly don’t include living costs, leaving me to figure out how to cover the rest.

Like many students who worked for a number of years prior to Fletcher, I had some savings, and I knew I would also need to take a loan.  As I did my financial planning, I realized that my savings would be gone by the end of the first year, and I would have to try to find ways to minimize the amount of debt I would be taking on.  This led me to the search for external scholarships.

As I reviewed scholarship opportunities, I found myself in the unfortunate position of being an international student from a developed country, but a country that itself offers very few scholarships for international study.  This left me searching for scholarships that I often couldn’t apply for.  I wasn’t very successful with my applications before starting at Fletcher, and I planned to submit more applications for my second year of study.

Once I was at Fletcher, I found my greatest resource to be my fellow students.  I took the opportunity to chat with other international students about scholarships they knew of, and shared information.  I also utilized the resources around me — in particular, I took advantage of the writing tutor program, to get feedback on my application essays before I sent them in.

This turned out to be a positive process!  I applied for two external scholarships for my second year, and was successful in receiving one of them.  Two of my Fletcher friends who had shared with me the process of applying for external scholarships were also successful.  This highlights one of my favorite things about Fletcher: the spirit of collaboration, and how this often leads to shared success.

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