Before I let too much time slip by, I want to bring readers’ attention to two new editions of student-run publications.
First, the editors of Al Nakhlah, Fletcher’s online journal focused on Southwest Asia, introduced its 2013 edition. The announcement noted, “This year’s articles range from an op-ed on contemporary women’s rights in Egypt to the geopolitical significance of religious fundamentalism in Central Asia to the legal implications of drone warfare in Pakistan.” Articles include:
“Equal Rights in Egypt: An Unlikely Opportunity,” by Faiqa Mahmood
“Lost in the Labyrinth: The Green Revolution and the Islamic Republic of Iran,” by Joel Hernandez
“Strange Bedfellows: Religious Fundamentalism and the Death Penalty in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia,” by Julia Brooks
“Mandate Iraq: Imagining a Nation,” by Natalie Bowlus
“The ‘Unmanned’ Conflict in Pakistan,” by Neha Ansari
“Legitimate Threat or Excuse for Repression? The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Central Asian Stability Post-2014,” by Lesley Pories
“Terrorism in Iran: An Analysis of Non-State Militant Organizations in the Islamic Republic,” by Micah Peckarsky
“Navigating U.S.-Egyptian Relations in the Post-Mubarak Era: Strategies for Preserving American Interests,” by Micah Peckarsky
And, if that isn’t enough reading for you, the new editorial team at The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs announced the online launch of this year’s summer edition, noting “Inside you will find insights on former U.S.-Tehran relations from Bruce Reidel, veteran CIA officer and White House advisor, theories on Syrian political strategy from David Wallsh, observations on women’s education in Saudi Arabia from Marcia Grant, a discussion on the challenges faced by South Sudan by Jok Maduk Jok, and many others. This issue also touches on important transnational concerns. We explore these issues through an interview with David Killion, U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO, an article by Raymond Taras on the role of literature in international relations, and a discussion on the controversies surrounding the popularization of development aid, from Erik Shreiner Evans of the fake aid campaign ‘Africa for Norway.’”
Who are those name-tagged people? I wondered when I walked through the Hall of Flags yesterday. A quick check to the schedule reminded me that they are participants in the Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict, which will run through this week. Organized jointly by Fletcher and the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, this is the 8th weeklong seminar held here.
The program’s new website offers links to information and presentations from the 2012 , 2011, and 2010 seminars, as well as (at the bottom of the page) to video statements from past participants about their work. (Super interesting!)
Stay on top of this year’s seminar by following the Twitter feed, or the program blog, or by checking out the details and videos on the ICNC Facebook page. It’s hard to imagine a more timely seminar, given the backdrop throughout the world in 2013. In fact, the more I read while pulling together this post, the more excited I am that this group is meeting at Fletcher this week.
Last week I received an email from student blogger Scott, who wrote about the cross-country trip from Oregon to New York, a distance of more than 3,000 miles, that he is undertaking accompanied by a friend. By the time I received the email, Scott had crossed through Oregon and into Idaho. (The photo shows him at his first stop, the Pacific Ocean coast of Oregon.) His message detailed the motivation for the trip:
On May 11th, 2006 tragedy struck one of my best friends and his family. Greg LiCalzi was my roommate freshman year at Union College, and although I was probably not the easiest person to live with at the time, we became great friends. Greg’s twin brother, Michael, was serving our country in the Marines when he died in a tragic tank accident in Iraq.
Two years later, with the support of his family, Greg founded the Ace in the Hole Foundation to remember and honor his brother’s sacrifice. The Foundation provides financial aid and material assistance to charitable organizations and causes. The Foundation’s support is administered directly to deserving recipients or through contributions to charitable organizations with which the Foundation has working partnerships. Through numerous events, fundraisers and corporate partnerships, Ace in the Hole has raised and donated over $300,000.
I have been unable to participate in many of the events for Ace in the Hole Foundation. Because of my previous job I was always out of the country or on assignment. I have been looking for a way to contribute with more than just a donation, and this summer I will have that chance.
Scott is using the trip to raise awareness and funds for the Ace in the Hole Foundation. His goal is to raise $12,000 by the end of his ride.
You can read more about the trip directly from Scott. He’s chronicling it through various media, most notably a Tumblr page and via Twitter. I’ll try to provide occasional updates on his progress throughout the coming weeks, or you can check out his Tumblr and spread the word about his trek for a cause.
Tagged with: Student Stories
The summer break is a time to step back from day-to-day work and think about how we do things. One change for the coming academic year: new and interesting ways for prospective students, even those in the remotest of locations, to Experience Fletcher.
What does that mean? Well, first and mostly unchanged, is that we’ll continue meeting applicants on the road and also offering on-campus Information Sessions and interviews for everyone who has the chance to to visit. Spending a day (or even a few hours) here, with an option to attend a class, remains the best way to get a sense of Fletcher and whether it’s the right place to conduct your graduate studies.
What’s new in the campus visit category is an option that we’ll call a Visit Day. Moving beyond the Visit Days of yore — which were designed solely around the interests of MIB and PhD applicants and which we’ll still offer — the Visit Days category has been expanded to include half-day or evening programs for all applicants. Beyond the simple information session and tour, Visit Days will offer the extra option to attend a student panel discussion and speak informally with current students during lunch or a reception.
What represents a bigger break from the past, and which has us pretty excited, are new offerings that will help us connect with applicants who aren’t able to visit and who aren’t located in one of our travel destinations.
Introducing our new Virtual Offerings to Experience Fletcher! Starting this month, we will offer online Information Sessions. We’ll limit the number of participants so that everyone will have a chance to ask questions, and you can sign up for a date/time that’s convenient for you.
What other Virtual Offerings are there? Like last year, applicants will have the option to record an interview online. We’ve learned a lot from the feedback we collected, and we believe the experience will be even better this time around. Check out the instructions, and note two things: first, that online interviews must be recorded before you submit your application; and second, that setting up the interview requires a little bit of lead time. (To put things less diplomatically, you will not be able to arrange an online interview on the day your application is due.)
We will also continue to offer weekly online office hours and occasional online chats. Want to ask a question at a time we’re not chatting? We’ve got you covered with a new-this-year email address that will put you directly in touch with a current student. We expect that inbox to be humming in just a few months.
As interacting with prospective students is one of the best things about working in Fletcher Admissions, increasing the options for connecting with you should be good for you and fun for us! Looking forward to meeting you on campus, on the road, or virtually!
Yesterday, as I scratched my head and pondered what to write about, I was rescued by a bolt from the blue in the form of an email from Kristen about Coffee Hours. Today I take matters into my own hands by handing the question to you. In particular, I hope to hear what two groups of blog readers — incoming students and future applicants — would like to read about this summer. If you are preparing to join us at Orientation in August, or if you are starting to put your ideas together for an application, please complete this very short two-question survey. Give me some direction for my blog posts through June/July/August. I will be thankful, and you will get the info you need. A win-win!
With many many details yet to be filled in, our list of upcoming Coffee Hours is ready to share! These are informal events, organized by current Fletcher students or recent alums who have volunteered to select a convenient time and location to chat with incoming students, prospective applicants, and others who want to join in. The list includes every city in which plans for a Coffee Hour are in the works. Click on the city nearest you and sign up! Note that, if the city name is not a link to a sign-up page, it means we haven’t yet nailed down details with the Coffee Hour host. In that case, please check back throughout the coming weeks for more information. Our Coffee Hour hosts are looking forward to meeting future students!
Tagged with: Coffee Hours
For the final entry in this series of posts listing suggested reading, I’m not going to try to create an underlying theme. Here is a diverse mix of theoretical and practical works.
Prof. John Burgess — who teaches Fletcher courses on international mergers and acquisitions and international finance, in addition to his day job at a Boston law firm — recommends, “Benn Steil’s The Battle of Bretton Woods, which deftly combines geopolitics, economic theory and practice, and personalities to describe the history of the Bretton Woods Conference and its implications for the post-war world. A great combination of diplomatic history, biography and analysis.”
Prof. Jes Salacuse told me, “One recent book that might be of interest is Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson’s, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty.”
Prof. Bill Martel suggests, “One work I assign in my Decision Making and Public Policy and my Evolution of Grand Strategy, which incoming students would benefit from reading, is Jonah Lehrer’s How We Decide.”
Two professors who followed my instruction to include their own recent work among their suggestions are Prof. Joel Trachtman, who recently published The Future of International Law: Global Government, and Prof. James Forest, who noted that his The Terrorism Lectures, is “good prep for my Modern Terrorism and Counterterrorism class, and an inexpensive book as well.”
A suggestion from Prof. Leila Fawaz came with an apology that she wasn’t supplying more suggestions. She told me to point readers “back to an old but reliable one, Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples.”
Prof. Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church said that “anyone interested in the NGO sector and donors to it” should read Uncharitable by Dan Pallotta, which will connect to NGO Management and to her DME module series.
And, finally, because Fletcher students will all, ultimately, need to go beyond reading and do some writing themselves, Prof. John Perry suggests, Jacques Barzun, Simple and Direct: A Rhetoric for Writers.
Happy reading (and writing) everyone!
Continuing the reading list theme, I would nonetheless be remiss if I didn’t first tell you about the beautiful late spring day we’re experiencing today. The sky is completely cloud free — so beautiful I couldn’t resist snapping a photo. See for yourself:
If I weren’t at work, it would be a perfect day to grab a book and read. Before I go ahead and list more suggestions for your summer reading, I want to take a step back and provide a more complete explanation of why I’m including the faculty book picks in the first place. I generally try not to post information that is relevant only to one subset of blog readers, and the blog is not, in fact, the most efficient way for us to reach incoming students. But some of the people who will be joining us for Orientation in August check the blog, and some of those are interested in a little pre-Fletcher reading. And if you’re not an incoming student this year? Well, you may still want to read something recommended by our professors. So back to the list.
Today’s amazing list comes from a single source. Prof. Bridget Conley-Zilkic, the research director for the World Peace Foundation, offered up at least a season’s worth of options, explaining, “Given that we’re talking about summer reading, I’ll do my best to keep it to the more narrative-focused texts. Granted, many of these are atrocity focused.” Even those who may never interact with the WPF might want to read about these still-relevant international events. Here’s the list:
Chinua Achebe, Girls at War (short stories, Nigerian civil war)
Deborah Scroggins, Emma’s War (non-fiction, Sudan)
Sven Lindquist, Exterminate All the Brutes (non-fiction, colonial Africa)
Kang Chol-Hwan, The Aquariums of Pyongyang (non-fiction, North Korea)
Jason Stearns, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters (non-fiction, DRC)
Sheri Fink, War Hospital (non-fiction, Bosnia)
Clea Koff, The Bone Woman (non-fiction, Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo)
Semezdin Mehmedinovic, Sarajevo Blues (poetry, Bosnia)
Aleksander Hemon, The Question of Bruno (short stories, former Yugoslavia)
Courtney Angela Brkic, The Stone Fields (fiction, Bosnia)
Anything by Slavenka Drakulic (fiction & non-fiction, Croatia)
Bob Shacochis, The Immaculate Invasion (non-fiction, Haiti)
James Dawes, That the World May Know: Bearing Witness to Atrocity (non-fiction, human rights)
Wade Davis, Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest (history, UK, WWI and, obviously, Mt. Everest).
And for anyone who can handle theory by the beach: Judith Butler, Frames of War and Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others (these two are best read together), and just about anything by Hannah Arendt or Jacques Rancière.
As promised, I’m ready today to start a series of posts with suggested materials that an incoming student might want to read. I emphasize “might” because you are not under any obligation to read anything! Still, to get your intellectual juices flowing, you might want to check out a few of the professors’ picks.
I’ll start with the request I sent to the faculty. I pointed them toward past reading lists that can be found in the blog archives (which is a good resource for current readers, as well) and then I asked them to send a suggestion that would fit one of these descriptions.
- A book that you assign for your class and that incoming students might benefit from reading at a leisurely pace in the summer;
- A book that provides good contextual explanation of your field;
- Fiction or popular non-fiction that provides context for your field;
- Articles or blogs that incoming students may not already know about;
- A newly published book of your own that provides general context.
I hope that sharing my request to the professors will make it clear why their suggested books/articles/blogs take many forms. This post will kick off the lists with a couple of picks for the economics folks (actual or aspiring) out there. First, Prof. Michael Klein recommends After the Music Stopped by Alan Blinder, which he thinks is the best book on the economic crisis, and which relates to his classes on International Finance and Finance, Growth and Business Cycles.
For general background, Prof. Dan Richards (whose primary position is in the Economics Department, but who also teaches at Fletcher) says, “They’re both a little older, but either Freakonomics or SuperFreakonomics are still good reads that give a decent presentation of how economists approach problems — if not always the answers that all economists agree on. There is also the Freakonomics blog.”
Read these choices or not, blog friends — it’s totally up to you. More reading suggestions will be coming soon!
Obviously, this has not been a great week for blogging. I had been enjoying a regular almost-every-day writing schedule, but my discipline fell apart this week, along with several other tasks that I had intended but failed to complete. (Feedback requesters: Hang in there! I’m definitely turning to your requests next week.) I wasn’t even able to grab the time to write about my favorite summer blog topic, which is how I spent my weekend in Fletcher’s fun neighborhood.
(Thank you for asking! Last weekend, I went to a play, a movie, a museum, a ballet, an Irish pub, and the beach. Maybe I’ll provide details on a future slow news day.)
I promise to get my act together next week. For starters, I want to share the summer reading suggestions of our professors. I’ll post the first part of the list on Monday. Meanwhile, have a great weekend!
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