Posts by: Jessica Daniels
Last week, my cousin’s husband, Ian, became a U.S. citizen. When I heard that he had finally (after 20+ years) gone through the citizenship test and other processes, and that the ceremony at which he would take the Naturalization Oath would be sometime in the spring, I immediately booked myself in.
My husband, Paul, became a citizen some years back, and I found the ceremony to be really meaningful. Ian’s ceremony had the advantage of being in a special location — Boston’s Faneuil Hall, with a history dating to 1742, and currently a National Historic site that is still used for public events.
The day started off with a round of paperwork for each of the soon-to-be citizens.
Once all of that was complete, a judge turned up and talked about the meaning of citizenship, before he administered the oath for the new citizens.
Visitors were up in the gallery, with good views of the artwork around the Hall.
The 296 new U.S. citizens came from about 80 nations, ranging alphabetically from Albania to Vietnam. The judge had them stand up as he called the name of their home country. From my vantage point, it appeared the largest cluster was from Brazil, but most of the countries were represented by one or two new citizens. There’s a rich international mix in the Boston area.
There’s even a Fletcher angle to this story. As we walked outside after the ceremony, I heard someone calling my name. It was Byron, a Fletcher alum whom I had recently seen at a reunion event. His wife, originally from the Netherlands, was also sworn in on Thursday.
After two lovely years of working with Roxanne, an amazing writer, I’m sad that her student blogger role is coming to an end. Though I’m hopeful to include her thoughts in the Admissions Blog in the future, the focus will shift to her post-Fletcher activities. Today, Roxanne shares her reflections on two years at Fletcher.
I remember reading the Admissions Blog from across the world and wanting to experience the buzz in Fletcher’s Hall of Flags that Jessica so frequently described. It, therefore, feels surreal to sit at my desk at home — the same desk where I have typed so many words and formatted so many footnotes — to write my closing reflections on this chapter of my Fletcher education. On May 18, I marched in Fletcher’s Commencement ceremonies and was once again moved by the love and care that run so deep in this community. When I look back on two years at Fletcher, I will, indeed, remember compassion, kindness, and care — for the world and for each other. As I had promised Jessica, I would also like to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the other major themes and lessons that have punctuated my time at Fletcher.
- Prepare to be humbled by your peers. Professors, university leaders, staff, and guest speakers are all incredibly inspiring and will give you much to reflect on, but prepare for an immense amount of your learning to come from your peers. Some of my fondest memories of learning and community alike at Fletcher have taken place in the company of what a friend has affectionately dubbed “the Ladies who Law.” Choose your study groups well — those are the individuals who will help you make sense of econometrics or piece together the complex concepts of international law, and who will be entrusted with much of your collective learning. Know that there will be times when you understand concepts less than your peers, and times when you will have to shoulder more of the work or be better prepared. Treat your group work seriously and your peers with respect, and you will find yourself referencing their thoughts and insights just as much as you do those of your professors.
- Advocate for what you care about. I have always been drawn to the intersection of identities: conflict and humanitarian practitioner, scholar and activist. Inhabiting the intersections can be challenging, and clarifying my role in conflict-affected settings requires demarcating how these different identities interact. However, as a student, I was not prepared to cast any of the identities aside. I came to Fletcher to study and learn, but when I noticed that there was an opportunity to think more creatively as an institution about inclusive security, diversity, and analysis of gender and power, I leaped at the chance to facilitate these conversations. Looking back, I cherish the formation, advocacy, and momentum of the Gender Initiative at Fletcher and cannot imagine my time here without channeling my energy towards it. Advocating for what I (and many others!) cared about was not required for my courses. It was not an extra-curricular activity, per se. At the same time, it felt essential to me and it aligned my personal values, professional experience, and sense of what I wanted to give to this community. When you see opportunities to reflect on Fletcher as an institution, and to do so collaboratively and constructively, don’t shy away from them.
- Say yes. In an earlier post with advice to incoming students, I had suggested that you think about what you hope to accomplish at Fletcher prior to arriving. In this post, I suggest carving out some room for surprise. Try a class that is outside your field of expertise — just because it’s interesting, or because you want to learn from that particular professor, or just because you’re curious. Attend a talk that you don’t think is for you. Sign up to learn to dance salsa for the Culture Nights — even if you’ve never danced before. Some of the best learning takes place when you say yes and open yourself up to vulnerability, surprise, and the opportunity to be a novice again.
I am not quite ready to leave Fletcher — but perhaps that is a testament to the community itself: Fletcher inspires in all of us a constant desire to learn, challenge ourselves, and strive — and, at the same time, it sparks such an investment in our shared bonds that we are reluctant to leave the place and its people behind. Graduation has, however, catapulted us into the world and I am looking forward to watching these relationships evolve and reconfigure and to being part of our continued, shared learning. I promise to come visit on the Admissions Blog as an alumna from time to time — until then, thank you for reading, and have a wonderful summer!
Tagged with: Student Stories
Tufts produces an online newsletter roughly weekly, and I often comb through the People Notes to see if there’s any interesting news on Fletcher folk. Here are recent notes about two members of the Fletcher faculty:
William Moomaw, professor emeritus of international environmental policy at The Fletcher School and former director of the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, recently returned from a board meeting of the Climate Group in London. Moomaw is president of the North American board of directors of the Climate Group, which met to celebrate the organization’s 10th anniversary and to develop a strategic plan on joint emissions reduction for the next two to three years. Moomaw co-chaired Fletcher’s third Arctic inquiry, “Warming Arctic: Development, Stewardship and Science,” on March 3–4. Additionally, he chaired the closing panel of the Tufts Energy Conference, “The Great Debate: Renewables vs. Fossil Fuels vs. Development.” The Fletcher Forum launched the 2014 Global Risk Forum on climate change with his article “From Failure to Success: Reframing the Climate Treaty.” Moomaw also headed an advisory team that evaluated the environmental studies program at Bowdoin College.
Joel Trachtman, professor of international law at The Fletcher School, was awarded the International Studies Association’s 2014 award for best book on international law for The Future of International Law: Global Government, published last year by Cambridge University Press. The International Law Book Award recognizes a work that excels in originality, significance, and rigor and represents outstanding contributions to the field of international law.
Some students had the great idea to create a map indicating where they’ll be for the summer. That way, if other students happen to be visiting Rome (for example), they can see who’s there for an internship. Here’s the map:
The list includes some interesting summer work, such as “reporting on the crisis in Syria for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser,” and “Brand Ambassador for Fireball Whiskey Sales & Distribution, Sazerac Company.”
And students will be in A LOT of interesting and distant locations, including:
TY Danjuma Foundation
Wamda Research Lab
Political Section at the U.S. Embassy
FIDP (Frontier Investment and Development Partners)
But the biggest Fletcher crowds this summer will be found in New York at (among other organizations):
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
International Rescue Committee
Center for Human Rights and Global Justice
United Nations Department for Peacekeeping Operations
Federal Reserve Bank of NY
NYC Department of Education
and Washington, DC:
U.S. Dept of State (many!)
House Committee on Ways and Means
Humanity in Action Fellowship
Albright Stonebridge Group
U.S. Dept of Treasury
The Cohen Group
Tagged with: Internships
Despite our summer loneliness in a quiet Fletcher, I still have a few stories and updates from students to share. Emerson Tuttle completed his Fletcher studies in the one-year MA program in 2013, but he is still in the community as he finishes a degree in veterinary medicine. While we often say that no two students pursue the same courses at Fletcher, Emerson has a far stronger claim to uniqueness. He’s sufficiently unusual that the University’s media folks featured his story in a recent newsletter. Here is how Emerson reflects on his Fletcher experience.
As a former MA candidate from the class of 2013, my path to Fletcher was definitively atypical, as are my current pursuits. However, my experience in Medford was one that parallels that of all other Fletcher students in that it included rigorous academic challenges, exposure to a broad range of cultural perspectives, and the development of close bonds to mentors, future colleagues, and life-long friends.
I am a current combined degree student at Tufts with one more year remaining in the curriculum at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine (TCSVM) prior to graduating in the spring of 2015 with both a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and a Fletcher degree. I applied to TCSVM, in hopes of pursuing this underutilized combined program, after investigating the career possibilities available to a veterinarian with a background in international policy. Included in these career paths are veterinarians who work in public health, pandemic preparedness and mitigation, international disease control and trade policy, as well as international development.After spending a summer in Ethiopia researching the effects of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) — the most economically devastating animal disease on the planet that remains endemic in many developing nations — I embarked on a year of study at Fletcher. My aim was to hone my theoretical and analytical abilities in regards to environmental policy, international development, policy analysis, and international trade. Given the breadth of the Fletcher course offerings, two short semesters were hardly enough to absorb all of the potential knowledge the curriculum has to offer, but it was sufficient to open my eyes to new ways of thinking and communicating, and to potential solutions to complex global issues.
For those whose connection to the veterinary profession is limited to bringing pets to their local small animal practitioner, understanding the connection between an international policy degree and the study of animal disease may be difficult. I was concerned that this would make my time at Fletcher challenging, in that I’d need to prove myself to relative experts in the field of international relations. With a BA in biology, my mind had been programmed to think in natural processes, ecosystems, and physiology, rather than law, economics, and diplomacy. I was pleasantly surprised when my classmates were able to grasp the connection between my degrees almost instantly, and welcomed me into what was a foreign environment for my scientific mind. Professors similarly welcomed me into their classrooms with an interest in how their knowledge could augment my own to develop an optimal learning experience for a non-traditional student (if one can say that there even is such a thing at Fletcher). Needless to say, the respect in which I hold classmates and professors alike is unparalleled.
My experiences at both TCSVM and Fletcher helped me secure a temporary position at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations during the summer immediately after my year at Fletcher. There I delved further into FMD control, albeit from an office in Rome as opposed to on the ground in Addis Ababa. The skills and perspective I gained from my studies at Fletcher allowed me to view veterinary questions through a unique lens, one that lent clarity to the socioeconomic issues generating the complex environment in which disease circulates. My work at the FAO gave me the opportunity to see how veterinarians are actively shaping international policies and regulations to mitigate the spread of infectious animal diseases worldwide, and one day I hope to do the same.
I write this post as I prepare myself for a difficult, yet extremely rewarding 15 months of clinical training at TCSVM. My brain has had to shift back to identifying clinical signs and differential diagnoses, as opposed to economic trends and points through which to exert effective policy action. Though the inside of an operating room is currently more familiar to me than the halls of Fletcher, the memories and experiences I carry with me from my time there will continue to open doors for me in the future, and will also continue to shape my life and professional career for the better.
Tagged with: Dual Degrees
Here’s a nice bit of Fletcher news. Two faculty projects are among the nine selected for special attention and funding from the University provost through the “Tufts Innovates!” program, designed to find new ways to enhance learning and teaching across the university. These descriptions reached us this week:
Charting Negotiation, Mediation and Conflict Resolution in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Lessons from Theory and Practice. Students at the Fletcher School will learn to apply negotiation and conflict resolution theories, with emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Presentations by senior-level practitioners and policymakers will be available campus-wide, providing an opportunity for community learning. The principal investigator is Nadim N. Rouhana, professor of international negotiation and conflict studies. Also on the team developing the course is Michael Baskin, Fletcher PhD candidate.
Human Security Core Course Development. Human security is about the well-being of people rather than of the state, as encompassing as the economy, environment and food. Eileen Babbitt, professor of international conflict resolution practice at the Fletcher School, will lead the development of a multidisciplinary course that explores the theories and applications of human security, focused on one country undergoing conflict or transition. The goal is to offer the course in the spring 2015 semester. Also on the team developing the course is Professor Alex de Waal.
Check out the full article for more details on “Tufts Innovates!”
The Spring 2014 issue of the Fletcher Security Review can now be found online. This is the first full issue for the publication, which was launched only last fall and has been building content ever since. Here’s the introduction that the editor, Haider Mullick, a Fletcher PhD candidate, shared with the community:
Managed and edited by students at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the Fletcher Security Review builds on the School’s strong traditions of combining scholarship with practice, fostering close interdisciplinary collaboration, and acting as a vehicle for groundbreaking discussion of international security. We believe that by leveraging these strengths – seeking input from established and up-and-coming scholars, practitioners, and analysts from around the world on topics deserving greater attention – we can promote genuinely unique ways of looking at the future of security.
Each issue of FSR is centered around a broad theme. In this issue, we chose to revisit the rich topic of “Proxy War.” This volume explores the wide variety of ways in which international relations scholars and practitioners define, and understand the role of, proxies. Our contributors consider “traditional” great power conflicts as well as examine the murky and misunderstood impact of sub-national actors such as Mexico’s cartels, Africa’s failing state watchmen and/or predators, and transnational jihadist groups. They encourage us to learn from the proxy conflicts of the past, and they explore the future in their examination of the laws of war and their relevance to cyber clashes.
Also looking to the future of security are two renowned leaders in the field of security praxis. David H. Petraeus discusses the importance of North American cooperation to minimize the impact of global insecurity, and Frances Townsend highlights, in her eyes, the reasons for America’s decline.
Tagged with: Fletcher Security Review
On Saturday I heard about something worth sharing. A current Fletcher student and Admissions volunteer, Deepti, is currently helping out our friends at Educate Lanka, the Sri Lanka-based non-profit headed by Manjula Dissanayake F’12. Here we see Deepti on a panel with other volunteers and in-country staff, interviewing a new batch of Educate Lanka scholars. I need to investigate more — I hadn’t heard that Deepti would be in Sri Lanka this summer. Until I get all the details, here’s the photo, with Deepti in the middle on the left.
Despite the overall post-Commencement feel that has fallen upon Fletcher this week, I’ve been fortunate to connect with a few students as they spent their last minutes here before taking off for new adventures. Of those, several are days away from a flight to a distant locale. Others won’t start said adventures until later in the summer, giving them a nice hiatus — free of both coursework and career searching. And some will be pursuing adventures in the Boston area, meaning we don’t need to say farewell yet.
Nonetheless, the graduation tents have been dismantled one-by-one, and the first of the summer construction teams have moved in. Fletcher will undergo some relatively minor repairs and renovation, but even minor repairs mean that the Office of Career Services is currently working out of Blakeley Hall.
Into the mix came this sweet photo of Dean Stavridis, Symeon Tegos, and Erietta (tiniest graduate) Tegos. Symeon tells me that Erietta is only two and a half months old. (Aww! So sweet!) Her dad was in the one-year MA program, surely making this a year to remember for their family. In fact, in an email to Dean Stavridis that circled around to me, Symeon wrote:
This was an incredible year. The birth of my daughter changed me in ways I considered impossible only weeks ago, while the exposure to Fletcher had an unexpected profound effect on me. I have to express my gratitude for this amazing experience. Soon I will be heading back home where I will do my best to give back what I so generously received. I will never forget Fletcher and your example.
Tagged with: Commencement
Commencement may have passed, but I’m still receiving a few long-promised posts from students and newly-minted alumni. In the category of “Cool Stuff Students Do” comes this description of a new initiative, the Human Rights Practicum.
Hi Admissions Blog readers! We, Amy Tan (MALD 2014) and Luca Urech (MALD 2014), are here to tell you a little bit about human rights activities at Fletcher. For about a year, we have been co-presidents of the Human Rights Project, Fletcher’s student human rights group, and we used our time here at Fletcher to launch a new initiative called the Human Rights Practicum. To provide you with information about the Practicum, we thought to share a short Q&A. If you have follow-up questions, we are happy to continue the conversation in the Blog’s comment section!
What is the Human Rights Practicum?
The Human Rights Practicum is a platform at Fletcher through which students can work with human rights practitioners on substantive, live projects. The Practicum complements the Fletcher student experience with a strong practical component in the field of human rights. The Practicum has grown since its establishment in September 2013, and currently consists of five different projects. In these projects, more than a dozen Fletcher students are working under the supervision of three law professors (Professors Louis Aucoin, John Cerone, and Hurst Hannum) on topics ranging from crafting a policy paper on R2P and Syria for a Geneva-based NGO, to conducting ongoing research on the Universal Periodic Review for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority issues.
Where did the Human Rights Practicum come from?
We might be biased here, but we believe that Fletcher students offer a wealth of experience, expertise, and enthusiasm to make a human rights impact that we considered to be a source of great untapped potential. With this in mind, during the summer of 2013, while Amy was at The Hague Institute for Global Justice in The Netherlands and Luca was with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Tunisia, we put together a concept note for an initiative that would leverage Fletcher’s skills and energy for human rights impact. We sent the note to our professors and they were immediately supportive, offering their guidance and their contacts to set up projects with students.
What is the Practicum up to now?
As the spring semester here at Fletcher came to an end, our student teams also finished up their Practicum projects. While polishing reports and doing final research, everyone here was already looking forward to seeing the impact that their work will have. The Special Rapporteur on minority issues, for example, will transmit the research to which the Fletcher students contributed to the Member States of the UN Human Rights Council and has found significant state interest in the work. Another project partner will leverage a report analyzing transitional justice issues produced by Fletcher students as a basis to lobby policymakers in Washington D.C. It is satisfying to see our work transcending the world of academia and making a real-impact in politics and diplomacy.
What is the future of the Practicum?
As we have just graduated from Fletcher, we have looked for motivated first-year students who can ensure the continuation of the Practicum. Fortunately, three very dedicated students, Kathryn Joyce, Roxana Mullafiroze, and Sarah Collman (all MALD 2015 and former Practicum participants), have stepped up to the plate to continue providing Fletcher students with exciting opportunities to engage in human rights work. At the same time, we have worked closely with the School’s administration to develop a plan that would allow the Practicum to become an important part of what we do at Fletcher. We hope that by building on the foundation established this year, the Practicum will continue to prosper and become an integral part of the Fletcher experience for students interested in human rights.
Tagged with: Cool stuff!
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