For some years now, many Fletcher students have been incorporating GIS (Geographic Information System) projects into their curricula. They can access support and needed hardware/software through the GIS Center that is run by the Technology Services folks. Tomorrow, over 30 of our students will be among the 130 Tufts students and faculty who present at a campus-wide GIS Poster Exposition.
While I regret that I don’t have a way to capture all of the achievements of and honors received by our students and alumni, a few nice ones have recently passed by me. First, Anna McCallie, second-year MALD (which, at this time of year, means soon to graduate and leave us), received the University’s Presidential Award for Citizenship. In the type of supportive message I love to see, her friend and classmate Ali shared news of Anna’s award with the community, writing:
This award recognizes outstanding community service and leadership achievements. This should come as no surprise to those of us who have benefited from her dedication in putting together this year’s Tufts Energy Conference, her virtuosity in making the Culture Nights what we’ve all enjoyed, and her beaming presence around campus.
Nice! Over the weekend, I received a note from alumna Margot Shorey, informing me (and others included on the message) that she has recently published an article.
I would like to share this article Chad: a Precarious Counterterrorism Partner that I co-wrote with my colleague Dr. Benjamin Nickels, which has been published in the April edition of the CTC Sentinel. I thought you might find the subject and our analysis interesting.
Although the title says most of it, here’s a teaser: Chad has been building a reputation as a strong and reliable counterterrorism partner in an increasingly difficult region of Africa. International partners are funding Chad’s military to fight high profile non-state actors such as Boko Haram and AQIM, but there are multiple internal and external vulnerabilities that could render this regional power broker a broken power. On the edge of your seat to find out what these vulnerabilities are…..? Read more here.
If you have comments, you can reach Margot via Twitter at @margots02.
And then, I learned that one of our first-year MALD students, Katherine Trujillo, is one of the 2015-16 recipients of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. Others at Fletcher had already heard the news, but I’m not sorry that I first found out about it when I saw her smiling in the announcement in The New York Times.
Our next post from the Class of 2009 comes from Jelena Lukic. While at Fletcher, Jelena served as a member of the Admissions Committee, and I remember well how much I enjoyed working with her. I’m so pleased that she agreed to provide an update on her post-Fletcher life.
My journey to Fletcher started while I was working on governance and youth programs in Iraq. As a native of Serbia, prior to Iraq I had spent most of my early career working with civil society organizations in the Balkans on youth leadership and reconciliation issues. Working in a complex environment such as Iraq helped me realize that I needed to augment my degree in psychology with graduate studies in international affairs.
I chose Fletcher because its multidisciplinary and flexible curriculum enabled me to design an educational experience that would strengthen my existing technical skills and, at the same time, build a new set of professional competencies that I needed to make a career change. To marry my background in non-profit work and my growing interest in the role that the private sector can play in fragile environments, I decided to focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues during my time at Fletcher.
I chose International Negotiations and Conflict Resolution and International Business Relations as my Fields of Study. The diversity and flexibility of the Fletcher curriculum allowed me to explore a broad range of CSR issues, such as through Prof. Everett’s petroleum industry class and a clean energy course with Prof. Moomaw. Knowing that the CSR efforts of many companies include health initiatives, I took a global health course. I also benefited from the opportunity to take a CSR course at Harvard Business School. In my work, I still use the analytical approaches I learned in the negotiations course with Prof. Babbitt. Appreciating that two years at Fletcher was a precious time to explore personal interests, I took courses on Iran with Prof. Nasr and oceanic history with Prof. Perry.
At the end of the day, it’s not the classes that made my Fletcher experience so special, but the lifelong friendships I developed. Step practice for the Africa Culture Night was a great getaway from number-crunching lessons. Being a student member of the Admissions Committee was one of the best jobs I ever had, and memories of the weekend on Cape Cod during “Dis-Orientation” week still make me laugh.
My Fletcher experiences led me to develop a clear goal to work on community engagement issues in the oil, gas, and mining industries. My thesis, which analyzed why the relationships with local communities are often tense, despite the many investments that oil, gas, and mining companies make in local development, helped me land a job with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group that is devoted to the private sector in developing countries.
At IFC I worked for more than three years as a Social Investment Specialist, helping oil, gas, and mining companies develop strategic community investments to enhance benefits to local communities. I was a member of the team that developed the Financial Valuation Tool for Sustainability Investments, an innovative tool that quantifies the financial return back to the company from community investments, and helps build a business case for investing in local development and communities. I also worked on developing the Water, Mining, and Communities Framework, which guides mining companies in how to effectively address social risk around water and deliver positive development outcomes.
Working at IFC, I strengthened my expertise in social sustainability. As a next career step, I wanted to experience how the public sector tackles sustainability issues. So, for the past two years, I have been working as a Social Development Specialist at the World Bank, focusing on the application of environmental and social standards in investment lending projects.
Despite having an interesting career, I don’t let my job define me. Through a Fletcher classmate, I discovered sailing as a passion in my life. Obtaining a boat-cruising certificate is one of my biggest accomplishments since graduating from Fletcher. And, of course, the Fletcher crowd joins me in annual sailing trips in the Mediterranean.
As a Fletcher staffer, there are the events I attend, the events I wish I could attend but don’t have time for, and the events that, let’s be honest, are really designed for students, not staff. That would include the Culture Nights, where students share music, dance, and other performances from their native Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Mediterranean Region, and just have a great time. The newest of the Culture Nights is Americana Night, which I have asked Admissions pal and soon-to-graduate MALD student, Anna, to describe.
Fact: There are 50 states in America!
Fact: The colors of the American Flag are red, white, and blue!
Fact: Beyoncé is our greatest national treasure!
These are just three of the “facts” that students who attended this month’s Americana Night learned. I had the honor of being the co-host in both my years at Fletcher, and it is quite a night. There might not be a lot of learning going on, but there is a whole lot of fun.
Americana Night started as a Fletcher Follies sketch a few years ago — it was a tongue-in-cheek parody of all of the other (amazing) Culture Nights at Fletcher. But then some students decided they wanted to make it a real thing, so here we are!
This year, we had a truly incredible display of talent. Many different genres of American music were represented, from a bluegrass quartet singing Johnny Cash to “Fletallica,” a metal band covering some of the greatest headbangers in the canon. The fashion show theme was “America Through The Decades,” and Fletcherites strutted their stuff to hits ranging from Chubby Checker to Mariah Carey. One student performed some of Robin Williams’s greatest stand-up routines as a tribute to the comedian, while another recited original poetry that he had penned for the occasion. And, of course, there was Beyoncé. Well, a Beyoncé dance, that is — we reached out to the legend herself, but she couldn’t squeeze Americana Night into her busy schedule. Next year, Bey!
Despite the night’s star-spangled theme, students from all over the world performed in the acts. Jamaica, Mexico, Venezuela, South Korea, Ghana… as with everything at Fletcher, this was a truly international gathering. We even had a nice tribute to the frozen north as our brothers and sisters from Canada sang their national anthem at the top of the show.
Hosting and organizing Americana Night was definitely the highlight of my Fletcher career. The Culture Nights as a whole represent the very best of Fletcher. We’re a group of internationally minded people who love nothing more than to get together with some good food, good spirits, and good friends, to better know the world.
One of our 2014 graduates, Jennifer Ambrose, contributed a post to WhyDev, a blog she edits that focuses on improving development and international aid. In the post, she answers the question on many of our minds — how we can help Nepal. Her key point:
Do not go volunteer in a crisis. Do not send stuff (pillowcase dresses, ski jackets, stuffed animals, old medical equipment, notebooks, yoga mats…) to a disaster zone. DO donate money! Choose an established professional organization, one that works in disaster response and has experience in Nepal — the likes of CARE, Mercy Corps, the Red Cross or MSF.
Her post includes a Storify, compiling Twitter posts of advice from development experts on how to help. And how not to.
In the area? Here (at very short notice — sorry!) is an event you might like to join us for. The information that flowed my way said:
Fletcher Ideas Exchange (FIE) is the first annual forum for public speaking at the Fletcher School. Modeled as a TED-type event, this year FIE will feature engaging speeches around a theme that is relevant and thought provoking: media and technology that connect or change the world (Media/Tech to Change/Connect).
Join us Tuesday, April 28th from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for an exciting display of the ideas of the future, where students and faculty alike will share with the audience how the power of media and technology will connect us all.
The speakers — who include students, faculty, one alum, and a special guest — will deliver short and engaging speeches, eight to 15 minutes each. The line-up:
Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti: Flying Cars and The Human Condition
Seth Pate (second-year MALD): New Media in Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement
Prof. Daniel Drezner: Pop Culture in International Relations
Rachel Roberts (visiting student): The Value of Learning Communities in Online Education
Prof. Achim Ladwig: Town Hall Meetings of the Future in Europe
Malini Goel, F03: Should Tomorrow Be (Using Video to Inspire and Tell Your Story)
Muralidhar Selvamani (first-year MALD): The Tale of Two Documentaries
Prof. Edward Schumacher-Mathos: A New Vision for IR Schools in the Platformed World
Dean Davis: Sofar (How Social Media Fueled a Global Music Movement)
Grant Bridgman (first-year MALD): What Do You Want to Know? (Spreading Access to Information in Africa)
Prof. Mihir Mankad: Social Change Television
Check these links for more information:
Catching up with an event from earlier this month, I’m happy to be able to share links to results and findings from Lean Lab, co-hosted by Fletcher, the Feinstein International Center, and MIT’s D-Lab. The Lean Lab was a gathering that grew out of Lean Research to discuss a rigorous, relevant, ethical approach to research in vulnerable settings. Key players in Lean Lab include Prof. Kim Wilson, as well as our old blog friend, Roxanne Krystalli. Roxanne shared these links with the community:
- Key insights from the day can be browsed here.
- A draft of the Lean Research working paper, as well as a framework of questions to ask ourselves when designing and implementing field research, are available halfway down the page here.
- Follow @Lean_Research on Twitter for more.
Besides Prof. Wilson and Roxanne, another Fletcher graduate Rachel Gordon F12, worked on the implementation of the event, as did several current Fletcher students.
We’re rapidly approaching the one-year post-Fletcher mark for the graduates in the Class of 2014. Today we meet Julia Leis, whose path from pre-Fletcher to her current location involved several countries on three continents. Julia used her time at Fletcher to develop her interests and explore new areas, resulting in the perfect job that weaves everything together.
While working at an agricultural school for Burmese youth in northern Thailand in March 2011, I confronted two major decisions: 1) which career/life path to choose; and 2) whether to return to the U.S. that August. I knew I wanted to continue my education and, while my undergraduate studies at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service had prepared me well in international relations, picking the right graduate program was a challenge.
The decision was complicated because I felt I had too many interests. Urban planning, social enterprise, natural resource management, and public policy all fascinated me, as each area incorporated my previous work experience and passions. In addition to these interests, I knew I wanted a graduate school with an international focus on development. Thanks to mentors and supportive family back home in Chicago — and a Fletcher student, who I found through the Fletcher Admissions Blog and who Skyped with me while I was in Thailand — I found the ideal place, where I would have the flexibility and support to pursue multiple avenues of interest: The Fletcher School.
Now, four years after I considered my future plans, I can happily report that enrolling at Fletcher was the best decision I ever could have made. Not only did I find an incredible group of friends and peers at Fletcher, but I was able to pursue all of my interests in various capacities through courses, by organizing conferences, and in research assistant positions.
The sense of community that I found at Fletcher from the first day was unparalleled. The first weeks of school were both exciting and overwhelming, as I struggled to find the right balance between building off my previous background and exploring new subject areas. By the end of my first year, while I knew I wanted to pursue a career abroad, I did not know in what capacity.
In between my first and my second year at Fletcher, I was able to pursue an internship with Millennium Challenge Corporation in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, working on agricultural development, M&E, and land tenure reform projects, which allowed me to broaden my development skill set while working in a French-speaking context.
In my second year at Fletcher, I cross-registered for a course at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, under Visiting Professor David Sanderson, called Design for Urban Disaster. This course, along with Field Studies in Global Consulting with Prof. Rusty Tunnard, reignited my interests in complex urban issues, resilience, and human-centered design, and I considered more seriously pursuing a career in humanitarian response. With the support of Prof. Tunnard, I also self-designed a Field of Study in international urban planning and development. In January 2014, I joined a graduate school field trip with Prof. Sanderson to Léogâne, Haiti, to conduct a participatory evaluation on transitional shelters.
In preparing for life post-Fletcher, I attended an Office of Career Services information session with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in the fall semester of my second year, and I decided to apply to their International Development Fellows Program (IDFP). My interest in the IDFP was further solidified by courses such as Essentials of Humanitarian Action and Gender, Culture, and Conflict in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies with Prof. Dyan Mazurana and Prof. Elizabeth Stites.
CRS selects approximately 20 IDFP fellows each year, and places them across CRS country programs in Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia, and Central America. I discovered that at least one Fletcher student had done the IDFP each year prior to me in places such as Haiti, Kenya, and Jerusalem/West Bank/Gaza. I was able to connect with these talented alumni, who highlighted what an excellent opportunity the IDFP offered to pursue a humanitarian career abroad, as a majority of fellows will, after nine to ten months, transition to program manager positions within CRS. I knew that the IDFP would allow me the chance to work closely with communities and partners at the local level, and with an organization I deeply respected. I was fortunate to be selected and offered a position with the CRS Philippines country program in early May, and my posting was scheduled to begin in September 2014.
As I graduated in May 2014, I needed to find summer employment to get me through to September. Again, Fletcher provided me and other students with an excellent opportunity to conduct field research related to topics that interested us. I joined my phenomenally talented research partner Anisha Baghudana (MIB ’15) in Nairobi, Kenya as Junior Research Fellows with the Institute for Business in the Global Context and MasterCard Worldwide. We completed a qualitative study on how digital innovation is improving urban mobility in Nairobi. Connecting with Nairobi’s tech and start-up community provided an exciting glimpse into how entrepreneurs are creating solutions to solve some of Nairobi’s biggest urban transport challenges, including traffic congestion, poor road quality, and safety and security for passengers and pedestrians.
In my current position as a CRS fellow in the Philippines, where CRS has been working since 1945, I have worked with exceptionally talented Filipino and international colleagues in Manila, Davao, and Tacloban City. In Eastern Leyte and Samar, CRS is responding with Shelter, WASH, and Livelihoods programming after Super Typhoon Yolanda devastated the area in November 2013. I’ve supported multiple projects, including an urban disaster risk reduction program called SUCCESS (Strengthening Urban Communities Capacity to Endure Severe Shocks) in Metro Manila, and the December 2014 Typhoon Hagupit emergency response in Eastern Samar. My training from the class on Essentials of Humanitarian Action proved extremely useful and applicable, as I helped with shelter and WASH kit distribution in affected communities, wrote situation reports, and attended coordination meetings with local government agencies and UNOCHA.
Like Hanneke, while I dearly miss my family back in Chicago and my Fletcher family, I never cease to be amazed at how close we remain. Despite being in vastly distant locations now, such as South Sudan, Washington, DC, Uganda, Nepal, Guatemala, and Boston, we support each other in any way we can, especially as the transition after grad school is not always a smooth one. They have supported me through countless Skype calls, and even with a month-long visit to the Philippines. It is this unique network of support that so attracted me to Fletcher in the first place, and I know that it will remain with me for years to come.
I’m sure that you’ve noticed that I refer to the Social List a lot. It’s both a thread to weave together the student community, and also a glimpse into student life for those of us who stand outside the window looking in. For the second year, I thought I’d capture and annotate all the messages that circulated on a day. (This is easy for me to do, as I receive the messages in digest form.) On March 30, the digest arrived in four email portions, with many messages dedicated to a smaller group of topics. Please find below the topics of discussion, with the briefest of explanations of the message content.
Social List Digest Table of Contents:
Join us, volunteer and help the community! – Fletcher Cares: Fletcher Cares is a student group that supports both the Fletcher community and groups in the local area.
Dean Stavridis, Ben Affleck, and Bill Gates: Dean Stavridis testified before Congress alongside Ben Affleck and Bill Gates. A surprising group!
Future Opportunities & Challenges for Evaluation in the UN – April 1, 12:30-1:30pm: Notices of events can be posted on two different lists, one of which is the Social List.
Editing Skills Workshop, Wednesday: Once a year, the Director of the Writing Center holds an editing skills workshop for those who work on the various Fletcher journals and any other community member who might want to sharpen their editing skills.
Continuing the “Food for thought…” Conversation – Wednesday: Previous to this post, a student had raised a question linked to attitudes about race. Other students created a forum for discussion of the issue.
EVENT THIS WEDNESDAY: Navigating Social Identities in the Workplace: Another event.
Grant Writing Workshop: Monday: And more writing help, offered by the Humanitarian Action Society
Dandiya Raas/Garba this Friday at Tufts!: Indian snacks, Bollywood music, and dancing.
New Date for Slow Food Brew Off: I’m not even sure what this was, but food and brew were involved.
Shared taxi from Logan around 1AM?: Transportation shares — a popular Social List topic.
Giveaway: Korean spicy noodles: Too many packets of spicy noodles? The Social List can help.
Technology and Inclusive Innovation: The IBM Story in Africa: Yet another event.
MONDAY: #RealTalk: All the things about post-Fletcher life you are afraid to ask: Students helping each other as they apprehensively approach the future.
Bringing back an old Fletcher tradition: the thesis-ku: More about this topic soon. This was the top topic on the day’s Social List digest.
Selling: Printer & Corkboard: Random combination, but just about anything can find a home.
Applications DUE TONIGHT to lead the Fletcher International Migration Group (IMG)!: One generation of Student Group leaders finding the next generation.
A few more female hosts needed for Open House!: Yes, the Admissions Office uses the Social List to connect with students, including when overnight hosts are needed for visitors.
SEEKING: Drums for Cricket World Cup semi finals: This message led to conversations about the drums, cricket, and the World Cup results.
SEEKING: Sewing Kit: Not all needs are as unusual as World Cup drums.
First Years: Don’t Fret: One of my favorite annual themes, in which second-year students reassure first-years that everything (exams, internship search, etc., etc.) will work out.
BFA – Research Associate Apr 1st deadline: Students often hear about, and share, job notices from friends, former employers, or other networks.
SEEKING: Secret dog training talent: After this, it will be secret no longer.
Have you worked in luxury retail?: The message does not reveal the mystery behind this question.
SUMMER SUBLET: Housing is a hot topic throughout the spring.
In total, 82 messages were sent to the Social List between 4:00 on March 29 and 3:59 on March 30, when the digest was compiled. I haven’t listed all the topics that occurred more than once, but you get the idea. The Social List is where events are posted, random questions appear, and things/jobs/housing/support are offered/requested, creating conversation and connections between and among students.
Tagged with: Social List
Though you wouldn’t guess it from the number of times we scheduled and rescheduled, one of my favorite things to do around here is to grab my trusty co-pilot, Kristen, and head out to the Hall of Flags to chat with students for the blog. For those who haven’t visited, the Hall of Flags is the main gathering spot at Fletcher, and the best place to catch up with folks. And that’s what we did last Tuesday. Because we’re so close to the end of the semester, we asked everyone about a highlight of their year.
As soon as we walked into the HoF, we saw Terry and Stephanie, both of whom were included in the post about last year’s HoF visit. This time, Stephanie was selling tickets to “Americana Night” and Terry was keeping her company.
Terry (MALD ’15): The highlight of my year is Fletcher Follies, which hasn’t actually happened yet. Last year’s Follies was my favorite event of my whole Fletcher experience so far. It’s fun making videos and also seeing how creative people are in terms of their execution of the videos. And it’s a highlight from a social perspective. It brings together students, staff, and faculty in a collegial way leading up to finals. Everyone is very stressed out by that time in the semester, but it’s a fun way for all the students to come together in one room.
Stephanie (MALD ’15): I’m looking forward to Follies as well, but I’m more excited about the Follies videos I’m making. I’m doing four — a Harry Potter themed one, and a “30 Rock” parody called “160 Pack,” and we also did a “Shining” themed one.
Stephanie probably listed all four, but I appear to have missed one.
Marie (MALD ’15): The highlight of my year is my class with Prof. Khan, Historian’s Art. It’s a phenomenal class. It goes through great moments in history like World War I and the Cuban Missile Crisis. It assumes we know about the events and Prof. Khan focuses on the time leading up to them and who the key players are.
Ravi (MIB graduate and IBGC Research Fellow): My highlight was a perfect week when, on Monday, Bloomberg wrote about Mark Zuckerberg’s speech in Barcelona and, in the same paragraph, referenced our Digital Evolution Index, saying that the global investment community agrees with our research findings. Then, the week ended on Friday with Bill Gates tweeting out the article that Bhaskar (Chakravorti), Rusty (Tunnard), and I wrote in the Harvard Business Review to his 20 million followers, and it got retweeted nearly 5000 times. It was the most perfect week with the best bookends that one could hope for.
Stephen (MA ’15) (camera shy): Last week we did a class trip down to the Naval War College. We got to see a lot of speakers and visit downtown Newport. We had a talk on North Korea, Taiwan defense, and Chinese anti-access.
Next we chatted with Morgan, who like Stephanie, was selling tickets — in this case to the Diplomat’s Ball. Check, cash, or Venmo.
Morgan (MALD ’15):
We had a sending off party for one of our friends who recently got a wonderful job opportunity in Washington, DC. The energy in the room was incredibly supportive, nurturing and all those good things. It was a wonderful experience, full of love and light and appreciation for each other.
Mary (MALD graduate and current Assistant Director of Student Affairs, who as part of her job responsibilities, attends the social events on campus): Africana Night was a highlight. It has struggled over the years, including once when it was snowed out. This year’s was the best Africana Night I had ever seen. It was very high energy and the acts were high quality.
Sid (MIB ’15): For spring break, I went with Fletcher friends, seven of us, to the Bahamas. We went diving and the instructor asked us where we were from, and we were all from different countries, including Korea, Thailand, India, Japan, U.S., and Nepal. He was really surprised and asked how we came together.
When we finished talking to Sid, all system broke down. We spotted Meg, a PhD student, and went to chat with her. Then Ben, another PhD student, came along and we pulled him over. And then we interrupted both of them when Prof. Burgess came along.
Prof. Burgess (Director of the LLM Program): One of my high points was being able to have coffee, along with all the other LLM students, with Judge Joyce Aluoch, (F08) the Vice President of the International Criminal Court. She joined our group to provide both an overview of the activities of the ICC and to chat informally about current issues facing the court and questions of international law generally. It’s a special aspect of Fletcher that opportunities like this exist, so that students like our LLM students have an opportunity to meet and interact with very experienced and senior international lawyers.
Them: We’re mentor and mentee.
Us: Which way does it go? Who’s mentor and who’s mentee?
Meg: Our PhD cohort is the best ever. Last September, eight of us started. We have a diverse group. We just jelled very quickly during Orientation and then we accepted the four internals (who had completed the MALD) into our coven. We all get along really well, and we fight like brothers and sisters. We adopted Ben into our cohort.
Ben: I’m jealous. Having the large number of external admits last year has broadened the community in an exciting way.
Brionne (MALD ’15): I’m leaving for Washington, DC tomorrow, but today I’m presenting at the Diversity and Inclusiveness Committee about equity inclusion for Fletcher students. I completed classes in January, and starting next week I’ll be working at USAID as a presidential appointee. I’ll be serving as a Congressional Liaison Officer, supporting Agency priorities on Africa and democracy, conflict and humanitarian assistance, meaning I’ll be pushing for incentives that President Obama spearheaded, such as the Mandela Washington Fellowship.
Throughout this semester, while waiting for a security clearance, I’ve been embraced by the community and supported as I navigate my transition into the professional world. The administration has been especially supportive as I completed my capstone. I’ve continued to build on my relationships with students and also continued to work on ongoing student efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in line with the Fletcher Strategic Plan.
By then, an hour had passed and it was time for Kristen and me to return to our day-to-day work. We only managed one blog trip to the Hall of Flags in 2014-15, but we’ll be back, hopefully more than once, next year.
Tagged with: Hall of Flags
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