From the monthly archives: April 2010

I subscribe to the email feeds for Johnny’s List of Weird Boston Events, and there’s almost always something that piques my interest.  Johnny definitely has a special take on things.  Even something as straightforward as his list of area beaches includes some off-the-beaten-trail places.  And he always builds free events into his listing — perfect for graduate students!


Continuing my orientation by links, you probably want to get up-to-speed on local news before you arrive, and there are plenty of resources for you.

Boston is a great news town.  There aren’t many cities of Boston’s size that still have two daily newspapers.  We have the broadsheet Boston Globe, and the tabloid-sized (and, sometimes, tabloid-sensibility) Boston Herald.  More local, the Somerville Journal.  Most local of all, the Tufts Daily.

If you want to listen to your news, instead of reading it, we have two good National Public Radio stations:  WBUR and WGBH.  Want to get up to speed on sports-crazy Boston and our beloved teams, check out the new “sports hub.”  The television stations, WHDH and WBZ also have the stories of the hour on their sites.

Connect yourself to these news outlets and you’ll be on your way to chatting with and like the locals!

Yuki Ide, Atsushi Tanizawa, Anne Apuzzo, Jun Tazawa, Frank D'Agnese, Elli Tsiligianni, and Jordan Fabyanzke, in front of the Burj Khalifa, Dubai

Yuki Ide, Atsushi Tanizawa, Anne Apuzzo, Jun Tazawa, Frank D'Agnese, Elli Tsiligianni, and Jordan Fabyanzke, in front of the Burj Khalifa, Dubai

Last summer, I wrote about how, out of the blue, I had heard from Anne, one of our students who was sweating out an internship in sunny Houston.  The topic of her call, a student-organized trip to the UAE, has recently come to fruition.  I asked Sarah Hahn, second-year MALD student and one of Anne’s co-travelers, to tell us about the Spring Break adventure.  Here’s what she wrote:

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be spending spring break in the United Arab Emirates.  But that’s exactly where I was a week ago, with nine other Fletcher students. When the International Business Club started planning a career exploration/learning trip to an emerging market last spring, I was on board.  My geographic interest has mainly been Latin America, and at that point in the planning, Brazil was on the short list for the visit.  Slowly, however, Dubai became our focus.  There was a good case for it – high growth, amazing prospects – and I thought I’d see how the planning went.  After all, I’m not one to turn down an international travel opportunity.

Yuki, Anne, Sarah, Hiba, Viviana, and Elli at the Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Yuki, Anne, Sarah, Hiba, Viviana, and Elli at the Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

In the end, we went to Dubai, but also spent part of our trip in Abu Dhabi.  Abu Dhabi has traditionally been the Second City of the Emirates, and it provided a great contrast to what we saw in Dubai.  And what all did we see?  Everything!  Multinational corporations, government agencies, consulting firms, private equity firms, free trade zones.  We had the privilege of touring Masdar City and a local university, and in our limited free time headed out to the desert.

 Sarah Hahn, Atsushi Tanizawa, Yuki Ide, Frank D'Agnese, Elli Tsiligianni, Anne Apuzzo, Dorothy Orzsulak, and Jun Tazawa - Desert outside Dubai

With such diversity of meetings and tours, it was a very “Fletcher” trip.  Everything came together, primarily thanks to the initiative of a few students and some great Fletcher connections with alumni and other friends of the school.  There’s a lot of talk about the Fletcher network, whatever you want to call it, but it’s real.  And it’s strong in the UAE!

Students gathered at the home of a Fletcher graduate.

Students gathered at the home of a Fletcher graduate.


Check out this nice Boston Globe story about Fletcher PhD candidate Patrick Meier and the Ushahidi-Haiti team.


I’ve been checking in with some of my past posters to see if they have some final words before they graduate.  First up is Joshua Haynes, to whom blog readers were introduced in January 2009, when he was halfway through his first year at Fletcher.  Now he’s eyeing the end of his second year as a pioneer in the first MIB class.  Joshua writes:

Wow.  In two months, our diplomas will signify the end of a wild journey.  Unfathomable. Sure, they say that time flies; but we haven’t flown, we’ve teleported.

Last time I wrote, it was the day before the beginning of our second semester.  I was pondering the busy-ness of the first semester and all that we had accomplished and been exposed to.  It’s now April of the second year, and when I think about all that has transpired over the interim 2.5 semesters, I realize that:  Wow!  I was naïve, ‘cause it’s been wilder than I could have ever imagined.

Classes, extracurriculars, speakers, weekend (and some weeknight) activities, conferences, travels, internships, forums, side jobs and side consultancies, friends, coffees and teas and crumpets and social hours have certainly filled our days.  We study and read sometimes, too.  Sure we’re busy, but over the past almost two years, I’ve come to most appreciate the ability students have at Fletcher to explore and deepen their interests.

I came to Fletcher thinking I was interested in Sino-Arab relations.  That quickly turned into a focus on technology and international development.  Although Fletcher has no courses on technology and international development, per se, I’ve been able to explore my interest using every means possible.  A group of students last year decided we wanted to host a conference on mobile banking in Kenya.  Fletcher was extremely supportive and the conference was very successful.  Through professors and their contacts, I was able to work on projects last summer in Niger, Germany, and Mozambique.  Along with another Fletcher student, I received a Clinton Global Initiative award for a start-up idea, which Fletcher then supported in kind.  We’ve now teamed-up with other Fletcher students and are finalists in the Tufts’ 100K Business Plan Competition.

Research, project follow-ups, and thesis have led me to London, Niger, Haiti (twice) and Barcelona — none of those during the summer.  These are just a few examples of what being at Fletcher has allowed me to do; my fellow Fletcherites — MIB, MALD, LLM, MA, and PhD alike — will certainly corroborate with their own experiences.

It’s the resources, structure and people that allow you to focus on what you want, at the level you want it.  That’s what has has made Fletcher a special and wild journey for me.

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Fletcher students tend to find the workload pretty challenging.  (New students are sometimes surprised by how much harder they work than they expected.)  So, after a long day on campus of reading, writing, and ruminating, many like to head home and crack open a nice cold…

…laptop, and do some extracurricular reading, writing, and ruminating.

Students are making an increasingly broad mark on online publications and forums.  Here are a  few examples, to which the writers themselves referred me:

First-year MALD student Elise Crane’s writing can be found in American Diplomacy, and the Huffington PostTwice!

Tim Ridout (second-year MALD) also writes for the Huffington Post, and for the Christian Science Monitor.

And Adam Welti (second-year MALD) wrote about nuclear energy at

And there are plenty more.  Check out the list of columns and op-eds on the Fletcher News and Media page.

Naturally, not all students want to wait for publications to present their work.  Among the student bloggers are:

Rizwan Ladha (first-year MALD) on IR and nuclear weapons themes.
Carlos Munoz (second-year MALD) on the environment.
Chris Murray
(first-year MALD) on Sino-American relations.

Check the complete list (some updated, others a little less so) on the blog site.

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