Posts by: Jessica Daniels

In case you missed it, Fletcher compiled a set of videos reflecting the Best of 2013-2014 at the School.  (More specifically, the videos share some highlight moments from the year’s conferences and visitors.)  Check ‘em out!

 

A few pieces of news worth sharing have passed my way recently.

First, Tufts University’s news service recently highlighted the thoughts of two Fletcher faculty members.  In a recent “Tufts Now” newsletter, we read Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti‘s ideas regarding the future of money, and also Prof. Kelly Sims Gallagher‘s views on how the U.S. could take a lesson from China on competing in the clean-energy market.

For that matter, and this is actually BIG news that I have neglected, I should also note that Prof. Gallagher will be on leave from Fletcher in 2014-15 to work in The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  She is serving as Senior Policy Advisor and will be working on climate change and energy policy, as well as international climate policy.  You can read more here.

This week, I heard from two continuing students whose writing has been picked up by major publications.  Emily Cole wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Times about health care for Peace Corps Volunteers, a topic the Times has been covering lately.  Ameya Naik wrote a column for Mint, the Indian edition of the Wall Street Journal.  He pointed out that one hyperlink in the piece (“modern terrorism”) takes you to a Huffington Post column by another continuing student, Tara Dominic.  Ameya also has a blog, which is a combination of his own writing and compiled writing of other people.

 

Remember last spring’s Fletcher D-Prize winners, Andrew Lala and Tommy Galloway?  Well, they’ve successfully converted their concept to a product and they are on the ground in Koudougou, delivering solar lanterns and electricity to rural communities in Burkina Faso!  For updates and details about their products, check out Clair de Lune’s website or follow them on Twitter.  As you read through the website, keep in mind that Andrew and Tommy only graduated in May.  It’s fantastic to see them turn an idea into reality so quickly!  I’m looking forward to reading more as their business gets rolling.

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Blog posts have a short shelf life, and most readers don’t dig too deep into the archives.  For that reason, I thought I’d share some of the most “liked” posts of this past year, as generated by the button below each post.  Click on the photo below to take you to the original blog post or the feature series that it was part of.

Devon ConeFirst, and probably the blog post that has received the greatest number of “likes” ever, was Devon Cone’s report on her five years after Fletcher.  It’s a lovely story that has drawn several particularly warm comments.  If you enjoy reading about Devon’s post-Fletcher path, consider scrolling through all of the Five Year Updates.

 

Michael KleinEach of the posts in the Faculty Spotlight series was well received, and I couldn’t possibly choose among the professors, so I invite you to read all of their self-introductions.  Click on Prof. Klein’s photo to the left, and then scroll through the posts I collected in 2013-2014.  More to come this fall!

 

Roxanne awardIncoming students have told me that they appreciated reading the stories of current students, and everyone was happy for Roxanne when she received the Presidential Award for Citizenship.  To catch up with everything that Roxanne, Mirza, Scott, Diane, Liam, and Mark wrote this year, check out all the Student Stories.

 

Margot ShoreyAlso informative for prospective students have been the updates from students in their first year post-Fletcher.  Given the favorable response, I was proactive this year — I lined up a big bunch of students who graduated in May and who volunteered to write about the post-Fletcher career they hadn’t yet started.  I’ll begin collecting the posts at the end of the fall.  (As I write this, Margot’s post has exactly 100 likes.)

 

Amy Tan and Luca UrechI enjoyed reading the posts students wrote about their activities during the academic year.  I learned about things I had never even heard of!  In addition to the post on the Human Rights Practicum, the one on the International Criminal Court Simulation was particularly well liked, but go ahead and check out the complete collection of Cool Stuff posts.

 

Hovhannes Nikoghosyan Fletcher 2014I also caught up with a few official programs that I had neglected in the past.  Readers especially liked the post on the Tavitian Fellows.

 

 

Finally, there were lots of likes for a few stories about particular students or alumni — posts that weren’t part of a blog feature series.

KamilIn an unusual post about a student who was living like a graduate, we read about Kamil, who will soon be returning to Fletcher after he stopped out for a year with UNICEF in Myanmar.

 

 

Sam and pastry chefThere was this one about Sam Chapple-Sokol, because who doesn’t love reading about cooking?

 

 

 

Glacier - dressed for Arctic conditionsAnd this from Jamie Kraut, one of last summer’s newly minted graduates, who traveled to Norway with some current students.

 

 

Sebastian and MeganI don’t do it too often, but sometimes I can’t resist a nice wedding story.  And with a Fletcher professor officiating at the ceremony, they don’t get much more Fletcherish than Megan and Sebastian’s event last summer.

 

The common element in nearly all these most-liked posts is that they were written by students, alumni, or professors.  The few that I wrote myself tell the stories of students or alumni.  That gives me a strong hint about areas on which to focus blog posts in 2014-2015!

 

Last Sunday, while I was doing a bit of cooking, I had good (and informative) company through the airwaves from Dean Stavridis, who was interviewed on NPR about the crisis in Ukraine.  In any week, the dean can be found in a number of different forums, starting with his own blog and Twitter feed.  He also has a new book coming out this fall.  But the real reason for this short post is to bring your attention to a column he wrote for Time.com about his transition to an academic life.  Among his other observations:  “I went from the crisp efficiency of the U.S. military to what feels like, in comparison, the free-wheeling academic carnival that is higher education.”  One year into his tenure as dean, Dean Stavridis seems to be thoroughly enjoying the “challenge of leading and mentoring young people, helping guide the trajectory of their lives in a positive direction,” despite the “startling shift” in his environment.

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This is a midweek version of one of my “what I did on my weekend” posts.

I was at Fletcher through the early evening last night, attending a farewell event for 11 high school students and one accompanying mentor teacher from Iraq.  They were in the Boston area through the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP), and the organization that arranged their Boston home stays also arranged for them to have the World Peace Foundation offices as their home base.  When it came time to celebrate, I helped them arrange space and a meal at Fletcher.

My family connected itself to IYLEP in 2010, when my daughter was one of the U.S. students who, that year, participated alongside the Iraqis.  We’ve continued as a host family, and Sara, Hiba, and Hadeel, the three students we hosted this month, join our four other Iraqi friends as members of the family.  Along the way, I’ve gathered a volume of knowledge on halal butchers and restaurants in the area (as well as the rules for halal) and Iraqi tastes in food (nothing spicy, please).  We’ve figured out where some potential host/IYLEPer challenges might exist, and we search for new ways to prevent misunderstandings.  The men in my family know to announce themselves before going in the part of the house where women might be relaxing without their hijabs.  The exchange of knowledge definitely goes both ways!  And we also have fun — the beach, the Boston Harbor, the Museum of Fine Arts, two barbeques, trips to Indian/Pakistani and Italian restaurants, Chinese take-out (and many fortune cookies), three rounds of pasta, quesadillas, and quiche — all shared with our new friends.

At the farewell event last night, we started off by hearing the reflections of each of the participants.  If I had to capture the overall theme, I’d say that that they were initially VERY nervous about their home stays, but they quickly found that their fears were misplaced, and now they see the Boston area as their U.S. home.  After the speech-making, we shifted to Fletcher’s Mugar Café for a meal.  When all had eaten, the group cleared a small space and started dancing.  First, traditional Iraqi dancing.  And then…a dozen teens dancing to “Gangnam Style” and doing the “Harlem Shake.”  One of the boys pogoed around on one arm in a dazzling bit of break dancing.  Such random bits of popular culture that have been embraced by Iraqi kids!

And then the event was over, and everyone went home to pack (and for some, repack, if bags were too heavy).  We dropped them off this morning for their flight to the final phase of their stay in the U.S., when they will be in Washington, D.C.

It was such a pleasure to welcome the group and their host families to Fletcher.  They searched out the Iraqi flag in the Hall of Flags, and I pointed out to some the profile of Farah Pandith F’95 — whose work I thought might interest them — in our new Hallway of Fame.  All in all, last night and the two weeks that preceded represent one of those nice times when my work life and my home life fit together like two pieces of a puzzle.

 

Though summer reading is no more required this week than it was last week, I wanted to share some recent books by members of the Fletcher community, both faculty members and graduates.  I can’t ensure that the list is comprehensive, but with topics from brand management to grand strategy, the new publications provide a nice picture of the breadth of interests at Fletcher.

Books by faculty

Kelly Sims Gallagher, The Globalization of Clean Energy Technology

William Martel, Grand Strategy in Theory and Practice: The Need for an Effective American Foreign Policy

Robert Pfaltzgraff (with Jacquelyn K. Davis), Anticipating a Nuclear Iran

Joel Trachtman, The Future of International Law: Global Government

Jeswald Salacuse, Negotiating Life: Secrets for Everyday Diplomacy and Deal Making

Jeswald Salacuse, The Three Laws of International Investment: National, Contractual, and International Frameworks for Foreign Capital

Books recently or soon-to-be published by recent graduates

Benedetta Berti, Armed Political Organizations: From Conflict to Integration

Aiyaz Husain, Mapping the End of Empire: American and British Strategic Visions in the Postwar World

Nathalie Laidler-Kylander, The Brand IDEA: Managing Nonprofit Brands with Integrity, Democracy and Affinity

Alison Lawlor Russell, Cyber Blockades

And two others

Though this news is a little less new, I also wanted to note that MALD graduate Tara Conklin had a novel on The New York Times best seller list — The House Girl.  It debuted at #29, in fact!

Finally, a less recent graduate, Bill Richardson F’71, has published How to Sweet-Talk a Shark: Strategies and Stories from a Master Negotiator.  Prof. Salacuse also wrote a review essay of the book for Negotiation Journal.  Check it out for a nice description of Ambassador Richardson’s career.

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We’ve been hearing that people want to start applying to Fletcher, and they’re asking why we don’t have an application available.  The answer is that we’re still developing our new application system, but we’re on track to make it available in August.

Most of the change that this application will bring is going to be felt by the Admissions Staff.  We’ll be reading applications online for the first time!  But we’re confident that prospective students for 2015 are going to find the new application more friendly.  Among other improvements over our old system:  it will be harder to submit an application that is missing information.  Yep, that’s right — we’re creating an application that will help you avoid errors.  At the same time as we fully intend to kick off the new application in August, we also believe that it will be worth waiting for.

Meanwhile, I’ll point you back about a month to a post in which I provided the essay questions.  Feel free to sharpen up your #2 pencil and start writing.

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In addition to all the usual degree programs, Fletcher — jointly with the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy — also offers the Master of Arts in Humanitarian Assistance (MAHA).  MAHA students complete three mandatory courses at Friedman, three core electives selected from a short list of Friedman and Fletcher options, and two courses of their own choice.  At Commencement, the awarding of MAHA degrees alternates between Fletcher and Friedman.  Because the program is small and the program’s administration is based at Friedman, I don’t write about it much, but I wanted to point to an interesting article about Fazal Karim Najimi, a 2003 MAHA alum who provides his unique perspective on the political situation in Afghanistan.

 

Freed of the obligation to write term papers and exam essays, do students avoid the pen or keyboard during the summer?  No, they do not.  In fact, they create their own writing assignments.  As the semester came to a close, I asked students to send me links to their blogs.  Later, Ameya (a soon-to-be second-year student) sent around a longer list.  The following, for your reading pleasure, are links to the Fletcher student blogs I’ve now learned about.  If the writers told me the objectives for their writing, I have included their notes.  I’ve read some posts on each of the blogs and overall they include a combination of professional and personal observations.

Some of the students are actually alumni now, while others are in the summer between their first and second years of study.  The list is essentially alphabetical, until you reach the bottom.

Madeeha Ansari, writing about (among other things) writing.

Anisha Baghudana is writing about doing e-commerce stuff in Nairobi.

Erik English notes that his blog from Qorax Energy in Somaliland is “semi-work-related.”

Mark Hoover is in Burkina Faso, and provides helpful maps.  Mark had revived a blog that he started during a previous stint in Andorra.

Anna McCallie is in Amsterdam.  She writes about almost everything besides her work, which is more confidential and less blogable.

Cassandra Pagan has been writing about her delayed departure and subsequent experiences in Afghanistan.

Owen Sanderson is with Ushahidi in Nairobi.

Franziska Schwarzmann blogs about “coping with intercultural experiences and learning.”  She wrote primarily in German during her first year, but is now mixing German and English, for the benefit of her Fletcher classmates, so that they “know where I am and learn about Europe and how it feels to be back in Europe after a year in the USA.”  I especially enjoyed her end-of-year post and the video she put together about her first year at Fletcher.

Braden Weinstock told me that he is writing posts for the blog hosted by the Blakeley Foundation, which has supported his internship with a fellowship.  When I checked the front page of the Blakeley Foundation’s blog site, I realized that all the posts there are written by the Fletcher students supported by the Foundation.  Those who identified themselves are Chuck Dukmo, Manisha Basnet, Anisha, Owen Sanderson, and Heather LeMunyon.

Leon Whyte is spending the summer at the U.S. Army War College.  He said he uses the blog “to collect the writings that I have done in class, and to write about international affairs and about what it is like to be a graduate student at Fletcher.”

Two students are writing as part of their internships with the Advocacy Project in Nepal:  Katerina Canyon  and Katie Baczewski.  Ameya pointed out that Fletcher is the only school with two Advocacy Project Fellows!

One student is writing under a pen name, but was still o.k. with having his blog included in this list.  Just know that there isn’t really a student called Seth the Multicoloured Pancake.

Ameya, in his list, also pointed us back toward several favorite blogs.  Regular Admissions Blog readers have surely checked the blog of our writer Roxanne, but if you haven’t done so in a while, you’ll want to check back in.

And another student blog that was previously featured here is Shruti’s analysis of the recent election in India.

Those are the blogs I can point you toward right now.  If I hear of others, I’ll post the links.  Meanwhile, I hope you’ll enjoy this very varied writing about students’ diverse summer experiences.

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