Posts by: Jessica Daniels
Here’s something a little different. Emeritus Professor William Moomaw participated last month in a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) session about the COP21 climate talks. As Professor Moomaw explains in his AMA intro, in addition to his usual responsibilities during his long Fletcher career, he was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Within the general framework of climate-related topics, the AMA discussion ranged widely, from water issues to nuclear energy to the “clathrate gun” hypothesis. There’s even at least one question from a Fletcher alum. Check it out!
I’ve unintentionally neglected the applicants who applied by our Early Notification deadline but who didn’t receive a final decision from us in December. Part of the application review process this month is to return to those applications. Though I don’t have much to add to the suggestions I made in December regarding any supplemental materials that you might want to submit, I’d like to attach a deadline for you. Thus…if you want to send us updated transcripts, test scores, résumés, or whatever, please plan to submit them by Friday, February 19, roughly a week from now.
Of course, if you don’t take the GRE/GMAT/TOEFL until after the 19th, you should submit the scores whenever you can. For everything else, though, there’s no need to wait any longer. Send us what you’ve got, so that we can take a look.
Tagged with: Early Notification
There are two things I happen to like: author talks and community reading projects. The two come together twice each year at Fletcher when we’re invited to pick up a copy of a book, read it, and then join other members of the community for a session with the author.
The book for the spring semester was a novel: Eleven Days by Lea Carpenter. During the talk, moderated by Professor Dyan Mazurana, Ms. Carpenter described the origins of the book and how she conducted her research on Navy SEAL teams. The discussion was attended by a mix of U.S. and international students, and included many current or former members of the U.S. military.
I expected that, with a diverse audience, there would be numerous different ways of engaging with the book. I was sure that many people would have been especially drawn to the book’s topics of training and missions, while I connected much more with the story of a mother and her son. And that’s just how it played out last night. It was so interesting to hear the questions from the military folk, who were able to relate the plot to their own experience.
But the questions didn’t start and end with the novel’s military theme. Some questions related directly to the writing process, and there were also a few gender-related questions around the meaning of being a “woman writer” and particularly a woman writing about the military experience, a subject generally tackled by men.
All in all, it was a totally satisfying way to experience the Fletcher community and, as our students often say about their classroom experiences, I learned as much from the audience questions as I did from the author’s answers. There’s a lot of knowledge resident in the student community and an event like this one puts it on display.
Professor Jeswald W. Salacuse, the subject of today’s Faculty Spotlight feature, has had a long and varied career at Fletcher, starting in 1986 with eight years as dean, and continuing as he transitioned to a teaching role. Currently, as the Henry J. Braker Professor of Law, Professor Salacuse teaches International Investment Law, Corporate Governance in International Business and Finance, Law and Development, and a new course Negotiating International Leadership, but in his post below, he tells us about one of his out-of-Fletcher activities.
I moonlight as an international judge. For the past several years, while teaching full time at the Fletcher School, I have served as president of an international arbitration tribunal, hearing cases brought against Argentina by foreign investors in that country. The investors have claimed that the Argentine government had not treated them as it had promised in various bilateral investment treaties made with the investors’ home governments. A principal purpose of investment treaties, of which there are now about 3000 in the world, is to protect and promote investment between the countries that sign them. Under these treaties, each country promises, among other things, that it will not expropriate investments from the other country and that it will treat them fairly, provide them with protection and security, and will not discriminate unjustly against them.
Promises are only as good as the mechanisms to enforce them. The enforcement mechanism in investment treaties is international arbitration, a process that allows investors to sue a foreign government before an independent international tribunal, to obtain compensation for injuries caused by that government’s failure to give the investor the treatment promised under the treaty. Granting a private party the right to bring an action against a sovereign state in an international tribunal is a revolutionary innovation that now seems largely taken for granted. Yet its uniqueness and power should not be overlooked. A similar remedy does exist in most other areas of international law. It is this mechanism that gives important, practical significance to an investment treaty, and truly enables investment treaties to afford protection to foreign investment. As a result, aggrieved foreign investors are bringing increasing numbers of arbitration claims when they believe host countries have denied them treaty protection, and in some cases tribunals have awarded them damages in the tens of millions and even hundreds of millions of dollars. Fearful that they may be subjected to “home-town justice” in national courts and will therefore receive prejudicial treatment, investors have preferred to plead their cases before an independent international tribunal rather than take their chances in national courts under the control of the government they are suing.
Most investor-state tribunals consist of three arbitrators, one named by the party bringing the claim, another appointed by the party defending against the claim, and the third, usually, the president or chair of the tribunal, appointed by agreement of the two sides. The tribunal members are not the representatives of the parties but are to exercise their judgment independently. If arbitrators have not maintained their duty of independence, they may be challenged and removed from the tribunal. Each side is represented by lawyers, often major international law firms because of the amount of money at stake, and the whole process functions according to strict rules of procedure and elaborate principles of international law. Many investor-state cases take place under the facilities of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), an independent international organization affiliated with the World Bank and located in Washington, D.C.
Although the United States is a party to almost fifty investment treaties, all of which provide for investor-state arbitration, and though it has even been a defendant in a few cases, public attention suddenly focused on this process only in the past year as a result of projected U. S participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a twelve-nation trade and investment treaty that will provide investor-state arbitration for claims in the event of treaty violations. TPP opponents have railed against investor-state arbitration in particular, expressing fears about lost sovereignty and the machinations of “secret and sinister tribunals.” Much of the opposition to that agreement has been based on unsubstantiated fears and ignorance of the nature of the process and how it functions. The actual record of investor-state arbitration over the past twenty years has been good. As of 2013, 274 investor-state cases had been concluded. Of that number, 42% had been decided in favor of defendant states, 34% had been decided in favor of investors, and 27% were settled by agreement of the parties. The record by no means shows, as some would claim, that tribunals have an investor bias and that investor-state arbitration is a threat to national sovereignty. On the contrary, I would argue that the investor-state arbitration supports the international rule of law. Governments sometimes violate international law. When they do, they should be held accountable. The essence of the rule of law is the ability of a private person to sue a government for violation of the law and obtain a fair hearing.
My experience moonlighting as an international judge has enriched my teaching of Law and Development and International Investment Law at Fletcher, as well as my scholarship in those areas. The tribunal over which I have presided has included Professor Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler, a Swiss national, and Professor Pedro Nikken from Venezuela, both exceptional lawyers who have diligently and knowledgeably worked to render fair decisions on innumerable procedural and substantive issues in the years we have worked together. Far from being a “sinister tribunal,” our association has been most congenial. In support of that proposition, I offer the attached photo of the three of us showing up for work one summer morning as Exhibit A.
Tagged with: Faculty Spotlight
The first student-run conference of the spring semester is taking place today. Over the past few months, The Fletcher Africana Club has organized the 3rd Annual Fletcher Africana Conference, with the theme From Rhetoric to Action: Getting Things Done in Modern Day Africa. The organizers describe the conference this way:
Join the Africana Club and students and professionals from around the Boston area as we engage in inter-disciplinary discussions around topics such as Illicit Trade, Cross Sector Partnerships for Development, and Social and Political Inclusion. We also have a fantastic line-up of keynote speakers, including Rosa Whitaker, one of the world’s foremost experts on African trade, investment and business, and our own Kingsley Moghalu, Professor of Practice here at Fletcher and former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
For more information on the terrific conference line-up, check out the agenda and the list of speakers on the conference website. I’d also encourage readers to take a look at the introductions to the student organizing team, which includes students from African countries, as well as many others who have worked in or studied the region.
Tagged with: Conferences
A winter week is the perfect time to create a celebratory event, which is what Innovate Tufts has done. Innovation Week, a multi-event conference dedicated to celebrating innovation and cultivating entrepreneurship within our community, started last Friday and continues through this week. Here’s the lineup:
Friday, January 29: DESIGN THINKING WORKSHOP — Led by Frog Design, a leading strategic design firm. Learn Human Centered Design. Understand user needs, identify relevant stakeholders, and fill our walls with post-it notes of your observations, as we ideate with creative solutions to local problems.
Monday, February 1-Thursday, February 3: PANELS — Distinguished speakers and innovators engaging you on:
Thursday, February 4: DEMO NIGHT — Tufts and Fletcher entrepreneurs pitch their startups and business ideas, followed by a networking event to celebrate the week.
You can learn more about the week at the Innovate Tufts website.
Technically, Murray is not a member of the Admissions staff. But he is the good friend (and dog) of Dan, who is. Murray has had many opportunities to observe Dan reading applications. Last year and once before, Dan wrote about spending a day with both applications and a dog who might want to be out and about. Today, Murray shares his perspective on a day reading applications.
On a normal day the man lets me out into the backyard when I wake up. He says it’s “to help the grass grow,” but that’s not what I do out there. Then he leaves. I go back to sleep. I usually have a full schedule with a lot of sleeping to take care of, so it’s good for me to get to it early. Today isn’t a normal day. The man is still here. He looks like he has sleep he needs to take care of, too, but he sits at a table with a computer instead. I think it’s probably another way of sleeping because he doesn’t say very much. He hasn’t even licked his hand yet, but I can take care of that. Teamwork.
The man thinks I’m stupid because my brain is the size of a walnut, but I know he’s “reading applications.” I don’t know what that is, though. I DO know that he gets an hour, at most, before he’s taking me outside, whether he likes it or not. Take me outside!
Here’s the thing – I have to wear this embarrassing jacket. If the man is going to make me wear it, we should stay outside for at least six hours, which I think is fair. Look how totally sunny it is! The man can easily “read applications” outside while I smell things, and look at things. And smell things.
But like I said, I have a busy work day. This toy won’t kill itself, so I have to take care of that, which means I probably won’t get all the sleep done I’m supposed to. Sleeping is a core part of my job description, so I have to make time. Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day.
The man has stayed at home like this a few times before, and I’ve heard him say what he looks for on these days are “strong academics,” “international exposure,” “professional experience,” and “a clear sense of interest and goals.” I don’t know what those words mean, but my guess is they’re food. I have to think about the most important foods a lot, too, so it makes sense that the man does the same thing. The things I look for in a day are beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and turkey. And meat. If a day has those things, there’s a good chance I’ll eat them!
Tagged with: readi
I always enjoy the Open House that we put on for applicants admitted through the Early Notification round. Only a small group (fewer than 20) prospective students join us each year, and it’s always a mellow day for us, but a productive day for them. Unlike the April Open House, when visitors add an additional fifty percent to the student body and thus dominate the building, today’s attendees can slip into classrooms in a much more natural way.
One of the best features of the day is the opportunity we have to connect (or possibly reconnect) names and faces. I just finished two one-on-one meetings with folks I had met during the fall — one at a campus visit, and one here at Fletcher. But even more special is that people who were little more than online applications until today are now real people. And meeting these real people reminds us that the applications we’re still slogging through will become real people later in the spring. Sometimes I need that reminder!
The morning’s activities have included breakfast, a session to introduce the School and the degree programs, and choice of a class visit or an informal chat with current students. We’ll all meet up again for lunch, and then more classes, or a student panel/Q&A, or a Fletcher tour. Like I said, a relaxing day, but one that offers admitted students a nice glimpse into an average day at Fletcher.
Let’s close out this week with the next Five Year Update from a 2010 graduate. Rebecca is one of the growing number of Fletcher-trained M&E professionals out in the world, and here she describes her trajectory from before Fletcher to her post-Fletcher career.
After graduating in 2005 from Bates College, where I studied political science, studied abroad in Cape Town, and wrote my honors thesis on the gendered nature of HIV/AIDS in South Africa, I knew I wanted to do something international, but I wasn’t sure exactly what. I decided to move to Washington, DC and see what opportunities I could find there. I ended up at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a foreign policy think tank. It was a great introduction to the world of international policy. While at CSIS, I organized high-level membership meetings and special fundraising events. I got to meet Sandra Day O’Connor and travel to China and I was exposed to the field of policy and decision-making. I knew I needed to gain practitioner skills, and graduate school seemed like the logical next step. Fletcher was my first choice — I loved the close-knit community feeling I got when I visited and also that it was outside of the beltway.
At Fletcher, I studied Development Economics and Global Health Policy (a self-designed Field of Study) and graduated with a certificate in Human Security. During my first semester I signed up for a course on Design, Monitoring and Evaluation. I had never heard of M&E before and didn’t realize it would have such an impact on my career. As I went through the course that semester, something clicked. I loved the idea of using my analytical skills to help development practitioners learn from and improve the work they were doing. During the summer, I traveled to Malawi with three other Fletcher students and designed an M&E framework for a girls’ education organization. For my thesis, I worked with a small global health organization to design an M&E strategy for the organization’s programming. I believe that the combination of education and practical skills in M&E I gained at Fletcher enabled me to get my foot in the door at Oxfam America after I graduated.
I started at the headquarters of Oxfam America in Boston as an intern — I tell every Fletcher student who contacts me for career advice that it’s OK to take an internship after graduating. It’s a great way to test out an organization and you get opportunities that you would not have as someone external to the organization. My internship ultimately turned into a consultancy, which turned into a full-time position. I worked for almost four and a half years in Oxfam’s Campaigns Department, where I was introduced to the wonderful world of policy advocacy monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL). I worked with a variety of campaign teams based in the U.S., supporting them on all things MEL, including developing MEL plans, collecting data, facilitating debriefs and writing evaluation reports. In my last year in the department, I provided campaign MEL support to country teams and led trainings in Nepal and Spain.
My experience in policy advocacy MEL, combined with the program M&E skills I acquired at Fletcher, enabled me to transition to Oxfam’s Regional Programs Department, where I am the MEL Project Officer for domestic programs. I provide technical MEL support and make sure the different programs are effectively monitoring, reporting on, and learning from their work. After working in the international field for almost a decade, it has been rewarding to support programming in my home country. I could not have predicted this career when I first set foot in the Hall of Flags in 2008, but my two years at Fletcher had a profound impact on where I am now, and I am all the better for it.
I’ve got to admit that I completely lost control of the news flow at the end of the fall semester. I had planned so many posts that I never managed to write. But is the winter break an uncrossable boundary that makes fall semester events off limit in the spring? I think not, so I’ll just take this minute to highlight a Tufts Now article on the Fletcher talk given by Stephen Hadley, former national security advisor. The Dr. Maurice S. Segal Lecture Series draws prominent individuals to campus.
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