On Sunday afternoon, a few thousand other Tufts folk and I came up to campus for the Issam M. Fares Lecture by Bill Clinton.  It was a packed house, and the former president spoke at length about global and domestic challenges.

Though not involving former presidents, lectures and other events fill the Fletcher schedule at this midpoint of the semester.  For me, attending a lecture on a Sunday required only a little shifting of my weekend activities.  During the week, I generally have a harder time breaking free, though working in this vibrant environment is a big part of what I value most about my job.  (And I feel safe in saying that it’s an important aspect of what students appreciate about their time here.)  So today, I’d like to tell you about some of the events I will regret being unable to attend this week.

The week started slowly yesterday, and I only missed one event.  If I hadn’t been in a meeting, I could have lunched while listening to a talk by LSE professor Frank-Borge Wietzke, sponsored by the Fletcher Development Seminar, about “The Long Shadow of History: 19th Century Missionaries, Educational Mobility, and School Investments in Madagascar.”  (Madagascar is one of those places I hope to visit some day!)

Today, I have absolutely no excuse for feeling lonely during lunch.  I could be eating with four different groups of people.  There’s the student-run “Our International Lives” brown-bag lunch series (which focuses on “stories from our friends and classmates about their work experience, and what they think are big issues in international development.”  This week’s theme is “security —  or lack thereof,” led by current students who have worked in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Other lunch companions include the folks over at the Global Developmental and Environmental Institute (GDAE), who are also sponsoring a brown-bag lunch talk on “Chinese Mining Investment in Peru” by Amos Irwin, GDAE Research Assistant and MALD candidate.

If I’m not happy with the lunch I brought today and want someone else to provide the food, I can join the International Security Studies Program (ISSP) for a luncheon lecture by Rear Admiral John N. Christenson, the President of the U.S. Naval War College, on “Roles and Missions of the U.S. Naval War College.”

And last, in this overabundance of lunchtime options, the Office of Career Services is sponsoring conversation and lunch with Fletcher alum Tony Banbury, Assistant Secretary General for Field Support, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations.  He will discuss his own career development, and offer advice to those interested in careers in the UN, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding.  Prof. Ian Johnstone has also invited students to attend his class on Peace Operations this morning, at which Tony Banbury will be speaking about the challenges of contemporary peacekeeping.

All those lunch choices are a bit overwhelming, but they’re not the only options for today.  This evening, South Asian Americans Leading Together and the Center for South Asian and Indian Ocean Studies will co-sponsor discussion and dialogue on “Ten Years After 9/11.”

Tomorrow, Wednesday, more lunch(!!), starting with an ISSP luncheon lecture on “Turkey and the Middle East” by H.E. Ambassador Rafet Akgunay, Turkish Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary.  Ambassador Akgunay deals with general political affairs, and has recently been appointed Turkey’s new special envoy in coordinating counterterror efforts.

Those content to bring their own lunch can join a roundtable discussion of “The Arab Revolution as a Second Renaissance,” sponsored by the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, and led by Jean-Pierre Filiu, Associate Professor at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris.

In the evening, the community will mark Veterans Day with a screening and discussion of Restrepo.  Fletcher Senior Military Fellow Colonel William B. Ostlund, former commander of 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), will offer remarks about the film and his time in the Korengal Valley.

Thursday, in this week leading to Veterans Day, I could join in as the Fletcher School celebrates the 236th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps — the celebration being a time-honored tradition wherever Marines are found.  Birthday cake will be served.

On Friday, after such a busy week of attending (or, in my case, missing) so many different events, the University will be closed for the public holiday.  Next week, the times, locations, and themes will be different, but the frenetic and inspiring pace of events will be the same.


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