Posts by: Jessica Daniels

It’s hard to believe that two academic years have passed since I met Mariya after she had volunteered to join our team of Student Stories writers.  Her first post, which already described a busy student, was a hint of the highly involved member of the community she would become.  Today, Mariya shares her thoughts following her graduation.

Dear Readers, today I write to you as an alumna of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy!  On Sunday May 20, I walked across the stage, shook Dean Stavridis’s hand, and received my diploma, officially marking the end of my two years at Fletcher.  I delayed writing this post because I did not want to confront this reality.

Graduation Day was overwhelming.  Like a metaphor for how I was feeling, the cloudy, overcast weather slowly morphed into a sunny, clear day.  I was teary-eyed during the morning champagne breakfast when my peers gave toasts and recalled fun memories.  A few short hours later, I felt electrified by the energy of my classmates as, per tradition, we screamed the loudest during the campus-wide Tufts Commencement on the Jumbo Quad every time Fletcher was called.  As the sun shone brighter and it became humid under the tent, my excitement grew.  Following the advice of distinguished alumna Masha Gordon, F98, who spoke on Class Day, I tried to take it all in and enjoy the moment.  In between hugs and kisses, flowers and balloons, pictures and videos, I soaked up the last precious moments we had together as a class.

If I am being honest, it feels surreal to call myself an alumna.  It feels like yesterday I posed in front of the Fletcher placard and walked into the Hall of Flags for the first day of orientation.  A few days ago, I struck the same pose, except this time in a black gown.  Looking at both photos side by side, I cannot believe how much I have transformed over the past two years.

Fletcher will always be special to me for a number of reasons.  It is not only an academic institution where I gained training, education, and skills, but also a home where my friends are like my family.  It is not only a school that provided me with numerous opportunities, but also a space where I grew as an individual and leader.  As I leave Fletcher, I walk away not only with my diploma but a treasure trove of stories, memories, and experiences that profoundly impacted me.  This journey, of course, would not have been possible without first and foremost the Pickering and Hedges Scholarships, my family who made numerous sacrifices so I could continue to study stress-free, professors who challenged and encouraged me, and friends who cheered me up.

When I woke up on the morning after Commencement, it felt strange to have nothing scheduled on my calendar; no classes, no group meetings, no Social Hours, no lectures from prominent guests.  I imagine this feeling of incredulousness will stay until I physically fly out of Boston to start the next chapter of my life.  Fletcher, readers, you’ve been good to me.  Until next time!

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In the last weeks of the semester, our Student Stories bloggers started wrapping up their posts for the year.  Akshobh traveled to Israel and Palestine with a group of students over the March Spring Break, and he sent me this report.  (Further spring semester posts will be appearing throughout the rest of May and June.)

When it comes to travel, let me facetiously say that I can classify people in two distinct categories.  There are those who travel and then there are those who stay at home, watching the travel channel.

I was definitely in the former bucket.  Since 2010, I had made myself a promise — every year I would visit one place that I hadn’t seen before.  And sure enough, my itchy feet and desire to see the world ensured that promise stayed on course.

Taking a hiatus from the working world and investing your time and money in graduate school creates a lot of challenges, one of them being limited ability to pamper yourself with a fancy holiday.  Fortunately, one of the many alluring aspects of coming to Fletcher are student-led treks.  This past spring break, one had an eclectic mix to choose from: traveling to Russia (on an official Fletcher trip), or on student-led treks to Mexico, or to the Middle East, to visit Israel and Palestine.

The Israel and Palestine trek is the longest running student-led trek at Fletcher, and visiting these regions epitomized why I came to Fletcher in the first place — to get an in-depth understanding of the protracted saga and try and comprehend the viable diplomatic solutions that may exist.  But equally important, it was a treat for history aficionados to tour sites of mythological and archaeological importance.  Visiting Israel was definitely an item to check off the bucket list and, with all needed caveats regarding visas and immigration queries, we found ourselves driving to the holy city of Jerusalem from Tel Aviv airport.  Our tour leaders featured two second-year and two first-year students, a Fletcher PhD graduate now working with the Israeli Government, and our British tour guide, Samuel, who has spent the last seven years in Israel and had hosted three previous Fletcher groups.

Our tour of Israel began in the old city of Jerusalem, a revered place with some of the holiest sites for the three Abrahamic religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism.  Jerusalem has been one of history’s greatest players and it attracts devotees and tourists alike.

In addition to the sacred sites, there are also the souks (traditional Arabic market places) adorned with handicrafts and souvenirs and selling spices that will satiate both your palate and your tourism appetite.

A visit to the holy city would have been incomplete without going to Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Remembrance Center) and hearing first-hand from a Holocaust survivor gave us goosebumps.

You wouldn’t get a fair perspective on relations between Israel and Palestine if you visited only Israel and heard only the Israeli perspective.  On the second day of our visit, we crossed East Jerusalem (the predominantly Arab part of the city) to Ramallah in the Palestinian territories.

Amal Jadou, F09, speaking to us about Israel-Palestine issues.

Our first stop was the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where we met Amal Jadou, who is currently the Assistant Minister on European Affairs for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

To add to her impressive credentials and role, she is also a 2009 Fletcher PhD graduate.  After briefing us on geopolitical affairs pertaining to Israel and Palestine, she fondly reminisced about her Fletcher classmates and her time at Blakeley Hall, and even asked us to pass on her regards to Professor Babbitt and Professor Schultz.

Geopolitics of the region were an important part of our visit to Palestine, but we were especially impressed later in the day when we met social entrepreneurs who, despite the hardships in the region, had created dynamic startups leveraging technology and employing local youth.  Their goal was to add a new chapter to the Palestine story.

During our weeklong excursion, we traversed the Israeli countryside so much that we saw the borders with three of Israel’s four neighbors, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon (but not Egypt).  My personal favorite was being on the banks of the Jordan river, so nonchalantly separating Israel and Jordan.

On the banks of the Jordan River. The people behind me in Jordan, while I remain on the Israeli side of the border.

Our trek was far from being only about serious discourse on Middle Eastern issues.  While we heard from a range of speakers — from the Israeli Defense Forces and Israeli parliamentarians to Palestinian entrepreneurs and government officials to humanitarian aid workers — our trip included the quintessential tourist experience as well.

From floating in the saline waters of the Dead Sea, to driving all-terrain vehicles in the Golan Heights, having a desert party on the Israel-Jordan border, gorging on the various renditions of Israeli hummus, savoring shakshuka, sipping from one of Israel’s finest vineyards, experiencing Tel Aviv nightlife, or just dancing to Israeli music on the bus while driving through the countryside, it’s fair to say that nearly fifty of us “broke bread” (sometimes literally, with hummus) in the finest fashion.

Apart from satiating my appetite with gastronomic delights, this trip also greatly satisfied my intellectual curiosity to travel to a region I had read so much about but never had the chance to experience.

A beautiful windy day with the Tel Aviv skyline behind me.

Even Fletcher’s finest courses on the Middle East couldn’t provide the same holistic perspective without a visit to the region.  As a former journalist, I can say that sometimes the political headlines and op-eds don’t tell you the complete story.  It’s having conversations with the people, experiencing the history, witnessing the culture, and gorging on the smorgasbord of Middle Eastern delicacies that paints a much clearer picture.

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With the newly minted Class of 2018 graduates now out in the world, I’d like to turn back to the Class of 2017 and their reflections on their first year post-Fletcher.  We’ve already heard from Ammar and Sydney; today we’ll hear from Dan, who describes his long path to and through Fletcher.  As a reminder, Map Your Future applicants apply roughly two years before they will officially start Fletcher classes.

My Fletcher journey started several years before I actually enrolled in my first class and will continue for many years to come.  As part of Fletcher’s Map Your Future Program, I was originally admitted to Fletcher in May 2012, shortly before I finished my undergraduate degree.  With the knowledge that I would eventually join the Fletcher Class of 2016, I then worked for several international development firms in Washington, DC, before spending a year working with cocoa farmers in rural Ghana as a Princeton in Africa Fellow.

My time in Ghana also introduced me to just how far the Fletcher alumni network reaches, as, while there, by pure chance, I met one of a small number of Fletcher graduates who had participated in the dual degree program with Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy.  After learning about the exciting opportunity to combine my Fletcher education in development economics with a second master’s program focused on international food policy, I decided to apply to Friedman from abroad.  Upon my acceptance to Friedman, I deferred my official matriculation at Fletcher by an additional year and joined the three-year dual degree program as a member of the Class of 2017.

My three years as a Fletcher/Friedman student were exciting and eye-opening.  Thanks to Fletcher’s interdisciplinary curriculum, I took courses on topics ranging from negotiation theory to humanitarian assistance, many of which have been helpful to me since I graduated.  In addition to working with remarkable professors both in and out of the classroom, my Tufts education offered me the chance to build lasting friendships with classmates from around the world and, eventually, to travel myself as well.

During the two summers between my years at Tufts, I first worked on Feed the Future programs with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and then worked on nutrition-sensitive agriculture programs with Abt Associates in Bethesda, Maryland.  In addition, during my third and final year of graduate school, I had a unique opportunity to conduct research for my capstone project in Bhubaneswar, India, thanks to funding from Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC).  (For more information about my capstone research through IBGC, check out my blog post.)

Following my graduation last May, I began a two-year position with ACDI/VOCA as part of the Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellows Program.  As a Leland Fellow, I have been living in Iringa, Tanzania since October, working on the USAID Tanzania NAFAKA Cereals Market System Development Project.  NAFAKA is a maize and rice value chain project focused on increasing smallholder farmers’ incomes, improving nutritional outcomes, and ensuring market access for vulnerable groups.

From a meeting of community health workers about the benefits of fortified maize flour. Dan is in the back on the left.

While working in Iringa, I have used the skills I gained at Fletcher and Friedman on a daily basis.  In particular, I have directly put tools from courses on market approaches to development, survey research, and econometric impact evaluation into action during the past few months while designing and implementing an impact assessment.  The study is intended to measure the extent to which demonstration plots showcasing improved seeds and fertilizers influence smallholder farmers’ decisions to invest in those improved inputs, and the initial results have been promising.

Throughout the six years since I first decided to join the Fletcher community, I’ve met Fletcher students and alumni all over the world.  I’ve already crossed paths with two fellow Fletcher alumni in 2018 as part of my work here in Tanzania, and I’m sure that I’ll continue to find unexpected and rewarding Fletcher connections wherever my career in international development takes me.

I don’t know exactly why, but yesterday’s commencement seemed especially wonderful.  I walked up the hill, as usual, and enjoyed entering the happiness zone created by graduating students and those there to celebrate with them.  I had been assigned a task — to take a photo of the MA graduates:

And also of the PhD graduates, who here are are partaking of the Fletcher tradition whereby a current PhD candidate sends them on their way with a glass of early-morning sparkling wine.

Job complete, I sat with the PhDs and watched the procession file in.

The All-University Commencement ceremony takes place on the main campus quad, open to whatever weather might come.  The skies threatened but didn’t deliver and everyone made it under the tent for Fletcher’s ceremony, unimpeded by rain.

Then the ceremony began.  Dean Stavridis brought us to order and briskly moved on to the first item, which was (as I mentioned on Friday) to present Kristen with the Administrator of the Year award.  (At this point I was taking photos over the heads of faculty members.)

And then Professor Alnoor Ebrahim received the Paddock Teaching Award.

Two graduating students, Laurance

And our own Student Stories writer, Pulkit, delivered terrific addresses.

Then students streamed up to the stage and collected their diplomas.  At some points, my thoughts went like this:  I met him in the April after he was admitted!  We talked about her foreign language skills — glad she took care of it!  I interviewed him!  I remember her application!  Who is that guy — never met him at all!  On balance, it was a parade of students (now alumni) who, in some way, have made their mark on the community.

The last group to be called up are the PhD graduates and I unexpectedly found myself needing to do the other job I was assigned — to prompt them to head toward the stage, where they received their doctoral hoods.

And then the ceremony was over.  I have to say that Dean Stavridis really kept things moving without making the event feel rushed.  The whole morning was lovely and I feel fortunate to be able to participate in this important moment in the academic lives of our graduates.

Once again, congratulations to the Class of 2018, your families and friends, and everyone at Fletcher who supported them along the way!

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With all the ceremony that a significant academic achievement deserves, Commencement weekend kicks off today.  There’s a lot going on, both at Fletcher and Tufts University as a whole, and also some Tufts events that highlight Fletcher students and alumni.

Starting bright and early this morning, graduating students gathered for breakfast at 8:00, followed by a preparatory meeting and a rehearsal.  This afternoon, the General John R. Galvin Memorial Lecture will be given by Admiral Dennis Blair on “America’s East Asia Security Future: Navigating Rocks and Shoals, Rivalries and Relationships.”

By this evening, events will be designed not only for graduating students and their families, but also for alumni who are back on campus.  Yesterday, Laurie and I shared stories of the reuniting alumni we remember well — there are quite a few people from the Classes of 2013 and 2008 whom I recall interviewing before they applied.

Alumni, grads, family, and lobster-loving members of the staff and faculty will then come together for the annual Commencement weekend “clambake.”

Tomorrow morning, there’s another early start for the alumni, with breakfast for those who graduated 25 and 50 years ago, followed by a welcome from the dean and other topical programming for all.

While the alumni carry on reuniting, the graduating students attend the Class Day ceremony, with a greeting by Masha Gordon, F98, distribution of academic prizes, and an address by Ashton Carter, former U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Sunday features the All-University Commencement Ceremony, where degrees will be awarded by school and Farah Pandith, F95, will receive an honorary degree.  Depending on your area of interest, you might recognize others of the honorary degree recipients.

Back to Fletcher at about 11:00 for the School’s ceremony.  By this time, all the students should be expert at processionals and recessionals and keeping their academic regalia in place.  Every graduating student will proceed to the stage to receive a diploma and PhD students will receive their “hoods” from their advisors.  But first, Dean Stavridis will kick off the event, and the Admissions Office’s own Kristen Zecchi will receive the Administrator of the Year Award.  The prize for excellence in teaching will go to Professor Alnoor Ebrahim, who was on the Admissions Committee in 2016-2017.  Finally, two graduating students will present speeches — including Student Stories writer Pulkit!

Almost every year, I attend the Fletcher ceremony on Sunday, occasionally needing to attend Class Day on Saturday instead.  I’m looking forward to Sunday, to offering congratulatory hugs, meeting family members, and reflecting on the cycles of the academic year.  I’ll be sad to say goodbye to Brooklyn and Cindy, our super Admissions Graduate Assistants, to student members of the Admissions Committee, as well as volunteer interviewers and other folks who hang around the office, and to our bloggers Pulkit, Mariya, Adi, and Prianka.  With the good comes the sad, but knowing they’re heading off to do great stuff is what Fletcher is all about.

Congratulations to the Class of 2018!

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An annual student-led tradition at Fletcher is “Dis-Orientation,” the counter-point to the official Orientation program that takes place before each academic year.  Dating back to 2006 (I first made reference to Dis-O in the blog in 2007, but in 2008, I noted it had been started two years prior), Dis-O has only grown in complexity and grandeur.  A full spreadsheet is now required to keep track of the where and when of events.

Dis-O kicked off last Thursday with a rugby game and a bike ride, but the main attraction was Dip Ball (the Fletcher prom).  Today’s six activities (starting at 9:30 and running into the wee hours) include kayaking and brewery visits.  Overall the week includes plenty of outdoor sports (besides rugby and kayaking, there’s also cricket, soccer, hiking, softball, and golf) and indoor “sports” (a FIFA tournament, board games, and a “massive game of spoons”).  In true Fletcher fashion, there are also a few activities that involve cultural sharing, for example, a “learn about American football” session and, naturally, a Eurovision viewing party.  Rounding out the week are movies, barbecues, improv, an “outdoor jam,” pizza, and several parties.

Once this week of intense bonding is behind them, graduating students will graduate, and continuing students will head off campus for the summer.  It’s already very quiet around here, though I’ve seen clusters of students still congregating in the Hall of Flags.  By next week, it will pretty much just be the staff, and we’ll turn our attention to a summer of planning for the 2018-2019 academic year.

 

Although only three of this year’s Student Stories writers are second-year students, a total of four will graduate on Sunday.  Prianka has completed the requirements for the one-year LLM program and will join Adi, Mariya, and Pulkit at Commencement.  Here is Prianka’s Annotated Curriculum for her year at Fletcher.

Pre-Fletcher Experience
Senior Associate, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan Attorneys, New Delhi, India
Consultant, Ernst & Young LLP, New Delhi, India

Capstone Topic
Enforceability of Transparency Requriements Relating to Trade Remedy Measures

Curriculum Overview

LLM students are required to complete five credits within the International Law and Organization (ILO) division, one from Diplomacy, History and Politics (DHP), and one from Economics and International Business (EIB).  The course requirements are definitely a lot more straightforward than they are for the MALD or MIB program, but it is a rigorous nine months completing eight classes and a capstone.

Semester One

Public International Law
Actors in Global Governance
Legal and Institutional Aspects of International Trade
Process of International Negotiation
Microeconomics (audit)

A challenge in selecting your courses as an LLM student is being fairly certain in the first semester of the courses that you will take in the next semester, too.  Particularly for EIB and ILO, a number of the courses require an introductory course as a prerequisite, meaning that you either take the introductory course in the fall semester with the aim of taking the higher-level course in the spring semester, or you won’t be able to take the higher-level course at all.  With that in mind, I audited an introductory course in economics to be able to take a higher-level course in the spring semester.  Auditing the class also helped me understand whether I would be able to handle the higher-level course.

International law and international trade were two areas of law that I was keen on studying coming into Fletcher.  The course on global governance was a good mix of international relations and law, which was important for me as I had not taken an international relations course during my undergraduate degree.  Looking back, the first semester was definitely a good initiation to being back in school.  I was also involved with The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs as their Legal Staff Editor.

Semester Two

International Treaty Behavior: A Perspective on Globalization
International Investment Law
International Trade and Investment
International Intellectual Property (January term at Harvard Law School)

The second semester was definitely a lot more challenging than my first.  Added to the academic rigor, the fact that the temperature dipped to -18 degrees Celsius (converting it to Fahrenheit makes it seem warmer in my head) made it hard to get out of bed on most mornings!

My second semester started a bit early as I took a January term course on intellectual property at the Harvard Law School.  Two main reasons for taking the course were, first, to reduce my course load during the rest of semester, as the January term starts and ends before the spring semester begins.  Second, the professor who taught the course at Harvard was a well-renowned expert in the field.

International Trade and Investment was my first economics class in over six years, but I’m happy to report that I have officially gotten over my phobia of economics!  Just as my law classes at Fletcher have brought in aspects from other fields, International Trade and Investment was a course on economics against the backdrop of law and policy.

An interesting aspect of the other two law courses that I took in the second semester, was that simulations were part of the curriculum.  In the course on International Investment Law, the class was divided into teams to negotiate an investment treaty.  Similarly, in the course on International Treaty Behavior, we had a simulation in which students were given roles as various countries and organizations with the aim of negotiating a treaty.  This definitely brought an interesting perspective to both classes.

In addition to continuing my role as an editor at The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, I was the team leader for a project with the Harvard Law and International Development Society.  With completing the capstone and coming to terms with the fact that I would soon be done with grad school, it was definitely a jam-packed semester.

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We’re just entering the most bittersweet time of the academic year.  Students completed their exams this week and immediately started peeling away.  Many first-year students who haven’t already gone will leave today or on the weekend, after attending the Diplomat’s Ball last night.  I’ve seen a few photos, and received a report from Mariya, and it sounds like it was a fabulous evening.

The Tufts campus is in full spring mode.  After a snowy March and a cold start to April, the weather shifted suddenly to spring and then to summer (or summer-like temperatures) and then back to spring, bringing all the flowers out and the leaves to the trees.  Apple blossoms, cherry blossoms, lilacs, magnolias, daffodils, tulips — all bringing color to the campus at once.

Yesterday the Admissions team went out for lunch with Cindy and Brooklyn, our graduating Graduate Assistants, so the process of saying good-bye is underway for us.  That’s where the bittersweet feelings come in: we’re so happy to welcome the spring, but with the good weather and the end of the semester comes the departure of graduating students.  We still have another week to look forward to catching up with folks before they head off to their post-Fletcher lives and careers.  And of course, there’s Commencement, when we’ll enjoy a big celebratory farewell.  After that, the quiet days of summer.

 

Continuing to shine a light on the academic experiences of our graduating Student Stories writers, today we’ll look at Mariya‘s Annotated Curriculum.

Pre-Fletcher Experience
I worked as business analyst for Liberty Mutual Insurance in Boston (two years) and taught English in Antalya, Turkey through the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (one year).

Fields of Study
International Security Studies
International Business Relations
Global Maritime Affairs (self-designed)

Capstone Topic
Destruction of Cultural Property During Armed Conflict in Bosnia & Armenia

Post-Fletcher Professional Goals
U.S. Foreign Service

Curriculum Overview

Semester One

The Role of Force in International Politics
International Organizations
Petroleum in the Global Economy
The Arts of Communication
EPIIC Colloquium

Activities:
Fletcher Islamic Society; Fletcher Students of Color & Allies; Fletcher Arctic; Improv Group

Directly before coming to Fletcher, I was teaching English at a Turkish University.  Being in a school setting made my transition to graduate school easier, but I grossly underestimated the rigor of the Fletcher curriculum.  In fact, I was not sure what to expect and I certainly did not know what to study, given my wide interests.  My conversation with Mary Dulatre, F12, the friendly Fletcher Registrar and alumna, gave me comfort.  She helped me decide on two of Fletcher’s most popular classes, the Role of Force (RoF) taught by Professor Richard Shultz and International Organizations (IO) taught by Professor Ian Johnstone, which gave me a foundational introduction to international relations and international law, respectively.  As the core requirement for International Security Studies, RoF piqued my interest in the security field and pushed me to seek Professor Shultz as my thesis advisor.  Petroleum in the Global Economy helped me understand the important role of oil in world affairs while the Arts of Communication sharpened my public speaking skills.  As an ambitious first-year, I also decided to take the EPIIC Colloquium course offered by the Institute of Global Leadership, bringing my course load to 4.5 credits.

Semester Two

Global Maritime Affairs
Maritime Security (1/2 credit)
Selected Issues in Law of the Sea (1/2 credit)
Civil Resistance: Global Implications of Nonviolent Struggles for Rights & Accountability (1/2 credit)
Leadership and Ethics in American Foreign Policy (at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS))
Democracy, the Incomplete Experiment (at Harvard Law School)
Economic Problems of Latin America (Certified Audit)
Current Topics in International Relations (1/2 credit, Unofficial Audit)

Activities:
Fletcher Islamic Society; Fletcher Students of Color & Allies; Fletcher Arctic Conference VI; Tufts Energy Conference; TA, “Law of the Sea” at Fletcher (Professor John Burgess)

My second semester was by far my busiest and most enjoyable.  I took four modules (half-credit courses), two regular classes, a certified audit, and — believe it or not — an unofficial audit.  After attending the Arctic Circle Conference in Iceland in October 2016 with the Fletcher Maritime Program, I became extremely interested in water studies.  Under the supervision of Professor Rockford Weitz, I decided to self-design a field of study in Global Maritime Affairs.  I have enjoyed learning about the role of water in international trade, security, law, human rights, and communication; water essentially touches everything.  I also enjoyed my classes at Harvard.  At the Kennedy School, I took Leadership and Ethics in American Foreign Policy, taught by Professor Joseph Nye.  A paper I wrote for his class examining the role of morality in three presidential legacies was published in the newly-launched student section of The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs.  Similarly, I loved taking a course on American democracy at the Harvard Law School, where we explored topics such as immigration, religion, media, and elections.  The timing of the course was impeccable, given the American political climate at the time. Inspired by the topic of religion in American politics, my classmate and I wrote an opinion piece criticizing the Muslim Ban” that was later published in the Kennedy School Review.

Lastly, when I learned that Professor Monica Toft, the head of the Center for Strategic Studies, would be teaching a course on current topics in IR, I simply could not resist.  Luckily for me, the timing worked out and I was able to squeeze the module in my schedule.  Although I did not receive credit for the course, I thoroughly enjoyed completing all readings and assignments for the seminar.  In fact, the memo on Turkey’s relationship with NATO I wrote as a final exam was published in the Harvard Journal for Middle Eastern Politics & Policy, where I am now a regional editor and regular contributor.  Although this semester was the most rigorous, it really gave me the opportunity to explore a wide range of academic interests.  My coursework this semester exemplifies the flexibility of a Fletcher curriculum.

Summer Internship
Mosaic Taiwan Fellowship (two weeks)
U.S. Embassy Bangkok, Public Affairs Section (10 weeks)

Semester Three

Foundations in Financial Accounting and Corporate Finance
Global Investment Management
National Security Decision-Making: Theory and Practice
Contemporary Issues in U.S.-Russian Relations
Processes of International Negotiation (Certified Audit)

Activities:
CFA Challenge; Women in International Security; Editor, Fletcher Forum of World Affairs; Editor, Harvard Journal for Middle Eastern Politics & Policy; TA,“Peace Through Entrepreneurship” at Tufts University (Professor Steven Koltai, F78)

Whereas semester two kept me happily busy, semester three challenged me in more ways than one.  My course load was quite hefty and I experienced some personal life setbacks.  Corporate Finance, the core requirement for the International Business Relations field, is perhaps the hardest class I have taken at Fletcher.  In addition to class time, we were required to attend review sessions, complete individual problem sets, and prepare case studies in groups.  Professor Laurent Jacque has taught this course to generations of Fletcher students and, looking back, it’s among the classes from which I gained the most practical knowledge.  Although I do not plan to become a private equity analyst anytime soon, it was also useful to learn about strategic investments and product portfolio management in the Global Investment Management course.  In contrast, National Security Decision-Making and U.S.-Russia Relations classes were very relevant to my anticipated diplomatic career.  Both courses gave me a better understanding of history, lessons learned, and techniques to move forward given contemporary challenges.  Another useful course for my career was International Negotiation, which allowed us to practice our negotiation skills during in-class simulations.

Semester Four

Lobbying: Theory, Practice, and Simulations (1/2 credit, January term at HKS)
Econometrics
International Financial Management
Innovation Field Lab: Public Problem Solving in Massachusetts Cities (at HKS)
U.S.-European Relations Since the Fall of the Berlin Wall
International Criminal Justice (Certified Audit)
Power in World Politics (Unofficial Audit)

Activities:
CFA Challenge (Americas Regionals); Women in International Security; Fletcher Arctic Conference VII; Editor, Fletcher Forum of World Affairs; Editor, Harvard Journal for Middle Eastern Politics & Policy; TA, “Public Opinion & Foreign Policy” at Tufts University (Richard Eichenberg)

Selecting courses for my final semester was one of the hardest things I have done at Fletcher.  I went back and forth on a number of classes; in fact, curating my schedule was such a conundrum that I did not finalize it until the add/drop deadline.  My econometrics course, which I am taking to fulfill my EIB requirement, is a very practical one, as it teaches us how to build good research models and be critical of quantitative methodologies; but I wish I had taken it in my first year so that I could have applied those skills in research for my capstone.  Advice to prospective students and first years: do NOT save your core requirements until the last semester!

I decided to take International Financial Management to top off my International Business Relations field of study and also because I think it will be useful for my future career in understanding world markets.  To switch up my quantitative course load, I decided to take Innovation Field Lab at HKS, co-taught by the mayor of Somerville Joe Curtatone.  It’s a unique course in that students act as consultants for city governments to help them solve public challenges.  My team, for example, is working with the City of Lawrence to help the government manage and resolve distressed properties through discovery, design, and delivery.  Last but not least, the U.S.-EU Relations course, as well as my two audits, directly contribute to my professional training at Fletcher.

Looking back, it’s been an exciting yet humbling journey.  I never imagined I would be able to accomplish this much when I first arrived in Medford.  But it’s true what they say: never say never.  I guess the journey continues…

In addition to Adi, three more Student Stories writers will graduate on May 20, and I plan (hope) to share Annotated Curricula for all in these next two weeks.  I’ll start today with Pulkit, who is wrapping up exams for his MALD degree.  Note that while MALD and MIB students are required to complete two Fields of Study, Pulkit has chosen to complete three.

Pre-Fletcher Experience
B.E., Electronics and Electrical Communication Engineering, Punjab Engineering College, India
Research Analyst, McKinsey & Company, Gurgaon, Haryana, India
Executive Director, Phoenix Hospital, Panchkula, Haryana, India
Global Shaper, World Economic Forum

Fields of Study
International Security Studies
Humanitarian Studies
International Organizations

Post-Fletcher Professional Goals
I hope to work in the humanitarian sector or in community development – especially in education or public health.

Curriculum Overview

Semester One

Design and Monitoring for Peacebuilding and Development (½ credit)
The Role of Force in International Relations
International Organizations
Sustainable Development Diplomacy
Health, Human Security and Emerging Pathogens (½ credit)
Varieties of Corruption (½ credit, Certified Audit)
Elementary French I (Audit)

Before coming to Fletcher, I knew I wanted to take a mix of skills-based and academic courses — and to focus on security studies and international organizations law.  I hit the ground running by starting with a pre-session module on Design and Monitoring with Professor Scharbatke-Church.  This module set the tone for me in terms of the rigor and effort professors would expect from their students.  It also helped me set foot in a new academic environment.  During orientation, I passed the economics equivalency exam, so that I could take an advanced economics course in the future.  I took required courses in the International Security Studies and International Organizations Fields of Study, which were basically foundational courses in political science and international law.  I was very motivated in my first semester, and I ended up taking a heavy courseload — with four credits, including two modules, and two audits.  I audited Elementary French at the Olin Center for Language and Cultural Studies, which is a great resource for Fletcher students.  I was also involved in a pro-bono consulting project with Harvard Law and International Development Society (LIDS).  In hindsight, overall, my first semester was very rewarding.

Semester Two

Evaluation of Peacebuilding and Development for Practitioners and Donors (January-term, ½ credit)
International Humanitarian Response
Nuclear Dossiers: U.S. Priorities, Dilemmas and Challenges in a Time of Nuclear Disorder
Non-Proliferation Law and Institutions
Peace Operations
Elementary French II (Audit)

I took a short break of about a week after finishing my first semester requirements, and was back in the classroom for the January module on Evaluation.  In the spring semester, two courses were being offered on nuclear security and policy, and I thought it was a great opportunity for me to study that subject area.  The Non-Proliferation Law and Institutions course was outside my comfort zone, but I still enjoyed learning about international treaties and law on nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.  I also decided to take Peace Operations with Professor Ian Johnstone to learn about international efforts in peacekeeping.  To try something new and different, I took International Humanitarian Response, a course that opened an interest area in humanitarian studies and response.  This course also included a three-day field simulation in Andover, MA.  I continued to audit French at the Olin Center.  By the end of the semester I had finished my field requirements for International Security Studies and International Organizations.

Summer

Teaching Assistant/Research Assistant to Professor Ian Johnstone
Non-resident Research Assistant, Pacific Forum CSIS
International Summer Academy at the Institute for Peace and Dialogue in Baar, Switzerland
Graduate Assistant, Office of Development and Alumni Relations (ODAR), The Fletcher School

My summer was made up many different opportunities and experiences — from being a teaching and research assistant (TA/RA) to Professor Ian Johnstone to traveling to Austria and Switzerland to spending time in Boston.  It was a little unstructured, but very rewarding again.  You can read more about my summer experience here.

Semester Three

Gender, Culture and Conflict in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies
Development Economics: Policy Analysis
International Humanitarian Law
Education in Armed Conflict (at Harvard Graduate School of Education)
Politics of the Korean Peninsula: Foreign & Inter-Korean Relations (Certified Audit)

This semester was probably one of my busiest.  I have detailed my responsibilities for the Fall 2017 semester in this blog post.  Since I had already completed my two field requirements, I decided to explore and pursue the Humanitarian Studies Field of Study.  Before beginning the semester I passed the equivalency exam for the quantitative reasoning requirement.  With an engineering background, I decided that I didn’t want to take a quant course, and wanted to use that saved credit to take something different.  For the economics breadth requirement, Policy Analysis with Professor Julie Schaffner was very rigorous and challenging.

The Gender, Culture, and Conflict and Humanitarian Law courses were exceptional — and gave a theoretical and legal perspective to human security and humanitarian response.  I personally think every student who studies security studies as a field of study should be required to take the Gender class.  Using a gender lens makes one understand and realize the consequences of war — on people, their livelihoods, as well as the political economy of a state.

For my class at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, I worked on a narrative project of a refugee whose education had been disrupted because of conflict.  In addition to the course work, I was a TA for the International Organizations class, managing editor for The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, and on the Student Council.

Semester Four

GIS for International Applications
Corporate Social Responsibility in the Age of Globalization
U.S. Policy in South Asia
Negotiation Workshop (at Harvard Law School)
Forced Migration (½ credit, Audit)

I stayed in Boston over the winter break and it was a particularly cold winter.  At the end of my third semester, I had finished all my field and breadth requirements.  During the fall semester, I had also been accepted for the spring into the Negotiation Workshop at the Harvard Law School — which was a nine-hour class every week.  Including the travel time back and forth to Harvard and the preparation for the class, it was a big time commitment.  After speaking to my peers who had taken this class in the past, I decided to commit to it and build my class schedule around it.  The class was my first foray into the field of negotiation — and the class itself was structured so that we were expected to practice the science of negotiation by means of simulation exercises.  The class was exceptional because it helped me reflect on my own behavior and to learn from others.

I took Corporate Social Responsibility with Professor Jette Knudsen, basically to expand my worldview and take a case-study-based class in the Economics and International Business Division.  The class helped me understand the complex relationship between the private sector and government regulation, and the social responsibilities of privately owned businesses.  I took the U.S. Policy in South Asia class as a supplement to my capstone thesis on non-proliferation law in the context of U.S.-India civilian nuclear agreement.  Over this semester I also finished a non-resident consulting project with the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, based in Geneva, Switzerland.

With a heavy courseload, the extra-curricular activities, and my part-time work responsibilities, I knew I would be stretching myself to finish my capstone.  I was also enjoying my classes and final semester at Fletcher — so, I decided to extend my program and work on my thesis over the summer, while I look for work.  It is amazing to think that we are two weeks away from graduation.  It has been a remarkable and astounding journey of learning.  The diversity of classes and the opportunities I have had at Fletcher have truly exposed me to the field of international relations.  As I prepare to wrap up my assignments, graduate, and transition into the summer, I can honestly say that it has been a blast.

 

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