Posts by: Jessica Daniels

Like Tatsuo’s post from last week, this one, from Adnan, has been awaiting action from me for a little while.  But at the same time as Adnan describes wrapping up his own first year, his focus in the post is to offer suggestions for incoming students, and I decided to hold it until closer to the arrival of the newest members of our community.  With that said, I’ll let Adnan take us back two months to Commencement at the end of May.

One of the great things about sticking around in Somerville after finals ended was getting to attend Commencement weekend.  It was wonderful to celebrate with members of the Class of 2016, many of whom I’m not just good friends with, but had also learned to rely on for all sorts of advice as I navigated my way through my first year.  Saying goodbye is never fun, and thinking about how quickly time had flown bummed me out a little.  Listening to Commencement speeches by Dean Stavridis, Arianna Huffington, Fletcher alumna Susan Livingston, Professor Schaffner and the graduates themselves, however, was quite uplifting.  It reminded me of everything that makes Fletcher amazing, and left me feeling grateful that I have one whole year to go.  Officially “half a master of law and diplomacy” now, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned so far, and hope it helps new students make the most of your limited time here.

First, prepare to be swamped.  Between readings, assignments, papers, extra-curricular activities, events, part-time jobs, and trying to build a social life, you’ll wonder how to juggle time.  It’ll often feel overwhelming, sometimes even unmanageable.  And you know what will make it worse?  Stressing about it.  The sooner you learn to take it easy, the happier and more productive you’ll be.  That does not mean sitting back and letting Fletcher pass you by.  Rather, remind yourself that you’ve got what it takes, and you’re not here only to do as much as you can, but also to have fun while doing it.

Adnan at graduationPerhaps the single most important thing you can do in preparation for Fletcher — and life — is to know yourself.  You’ll have a dizzying number of options.  Picking what’s best for you will require having a clear idea of your interests and goals, one you should revisit and refresh frequently.  Furthermore, the more clarity you have about what you want, the easier it will be for your professors and peers to guide you.  For every class you enroll in, think about what you’ll take from it and how it will help you reach your goal.  Be strategic about complementing fields of study with the right extra curricular activities.  Think about the professional and personal narrative you are building.  Have a roadmap — a sense of your bigger picture — and know that what works for someone else may not be the best for you.  Every Fletcher student is unique.  That being said, it’s equally important to be flexible and open to trying new things.  If you’ve discovered a new interest, which you probably will, dare to pursue it.  It’s all about finding the right balance, and that’s always easier said than done.

When you get caught up with Fletcher life, you may not always remember all the resources available to you, but it’s important to use them!  One that I’ve found to be particularly helpful is Fletcher’s alumni network.  Fletcher graduates are doing great things, and as a student, you have access to them.  Look up alums working in areas you wish to join and reach out to them.  In my experience, they’re always happy to provide guidance and help.  Don’t miss the chance to meet them during the New York and Washington DC career trips, and other alumni networking events.  Also, visit the Office of Career Services frequently.  Make an appointment to review your resume, or practice your interview skills.  The OCS also arranges events and workshops that you want to keep an eye out for.  And don’t forget that you have the option to cross-register at Harvard and can also access classes at MIT.  Use this opportunity to experience what they have to offer and tap into their networks.

Lastly, always stay on top of your game.  Manage your time well, and hustle.  Don’t let things pile up, and keep clearing your plate as you go.  So take those equivalency exams before classes start, get your second language proficiency requirement out of the way as soon as you can, and go to PDP.  Plan ahead to the best of your ability.  Try to get a head start on your capstone project so you can use your summer to travel and do field work for it, if necessary.  Start applying for summer internships as early as you can.  The more effectively you manage your time, the more of it you’ll have to spend with your friends and have fun.  And you’ll want a lot of that, because, in my experience, those moments are the ones you’ll cherish the most.

Tagged with:
 

The Tufts Digital Library each year collects and catalogues Fletcher students’ capstone projects, which can then be found from the research section of the Fletcher web site.  Each year I see the call for capstones, but fail to note when they are available online.  So with considerable delay, let me point you toward the capstones for the class of 2015 and earlier.  With topics ranging from South-South Technology Cooperation to Terrorism and Freedom of Expression: An Econometric Analysis, the titles provide a nice picture of the scope of interests among Fletcher students.

I’ll try to link to the most recent capstones as soon as they’re available later this fall.

Tagged with:
 

Due to a little disorganization on my part, I’m only now sharing a wrap-up of the spring semester that Tatsuo sent me in June.  With apologies for my delay, let’s revisit Tatsuo’s extremely busy semester.

My second semester at Fletcher is over and half of my study in Medford/Somerville has quickly passed.  I realize that the phrase “time flies” is true.

Many friends in the MA and LLM programs and second-years in the MALD have left the School.  I was a little surprised that few first-year students were at commencement.  In my home country, first-years would also attend such an event to say goodbye to students who are leaving.  Maybe Americans like more casual opportunities to say goodbye to their friends and they think formal events like commencement are mainly for families.  On the other hand, we Japanese (and other East Asians?), think that formal events such as commencement are good opportunities to say farewell to each other.  For our families, we like more casual settings.

Looking back, this semester was very fruitful for me.

My first Field of Study is Law and Development; however, I am also interested in another area of international relations, Maritime Affairs.  The economic and cultural prosperity of Japan largely depends on the sea surrounding our country.  The ministry that I work for is also responsible for the vast area of maritime issues, from the shipping industry to marine leisure to maritime security conflicts.

Unfortunately, Fletcher does not offer a Field of Study in Maritime Studies, even though the school has some highly experienced professors in the area.  Fortunately, the School allows students to design their own Field of Study.  Thus, I combined some relevant courses and designed my tailor-made Field of Study, “Modern Maritime Issues and American Foreign Policy.”

I took four and half a credits this semester: Global Maritime Affairs, which was the core of my self-designed Field of Study; Science Diplomacy, another course for my Maritime Studies Field; The Foreign Relations of the United States Since 1917, which was the last class for Professor Henrikson; International Investment Law; and Islamic World (0.5 credit).  I took the last two courses for my interest in development studies.

For non-native English speakers, especially Japanese students who were accustomed to a more passive style of study in our college and high school education, it’s difficult to join the discussion in large classes (although at Fletcher, “large” means only 20 to 30 students in a class), so I try to take at least one small discussion class each semester.  Science Diplomacy, led by Professor Berkman, had only around ten students, and the lectures and discussions were friendly and easy to join.  The class focused on issues concerning the Arctic Ocean and the relationship between science and diplomacy.

Fletcher offers a lot of courses dealing with diplomacy or negotiation, but Science Diplomacy was unique for two reasons.  First, the course dealt with scientific results and methods to use them in diplomatic negotiations.  Most of us at Fletcher are not scientists and do not have science backgrounds.  At least in my country of Japan, we (political or legal professionals) tend to think that scientists live in a different world.  When I was a college student, I was interested in connecting people and studies in the arts and sciences.  I helped to organize a forum on outer space development that gathered many researchers and students with different backgrounds, to improve exchange among them.  The perspectives in Science Diplomacy at Fletcher awoke that interest again.

Mock Arctic conference

A mock Arctic Council conference in the Science Diplomacy class.

Additionally, Science Diplomacy focused on “common interests” for all the participants.  In most diplomacy case studies, we have to define certain interests for each participant in the negotiations, even if these negotiations are not zero-sum games.  However, this course provided another perspective on participants’ interests, by introducing the context of science.  It was thought provoking for those of us struggling over global issues with many deeply intertwined interests.

Outside of classes, I joined a project led by Harvard Law School’s Law and International Development Society (LIDS).  For the project, our team drafted policy guidelines for local stakeholders in Afghanistan seeking to promote community development in resource-rich areas cooperating with local government and mining companies.  It was a very interesting practical opportunity to learn how we could use legal skills to tackle issues of international development.  Thanks to the instruction and support of CLDP, the U.S. agency that provided the project to LIDS, I learned a lot, from Afghanistan’s unique practices to global issues for mining-community development.  On the other hand, I was afraid that our work could deprive Afghan stakeholders of an opportunity to develop legal and policy skills.  When I was a young officer of the Japanese Government, I drafted a lot of policy papers and guidelines.  I could not complete the work alone because of my inexperience, and I had to draw on support from my boss and colleagues.  As a result, over time, I acquired the skills I needed to be effective in my work.  With that history in mind, the project was a very thought provoking opportunity for me.

For recreation between studies, I took part in a Fletcher student activity, Fletcher Strategic Simulation Society (FS3), where we mainly enjoyed playing board games.  In Japan, most board games are for family parties. especially including small children, and the rules tend to be simple.  When I asked my Japanese classmates to join FS3, they worried it would be a little childish.  But in the U.S., college students enjoy many board games and the rules can be very complex, requiring strategy to win.  This cultural difference is the mirror image of the perspective on manga or anime.  Many Americans think that comics and cartoons are not appropriate for intellectual adults.  By contrast, in Japan, even old or well-educated people like manga and anime, because many are very literary and include social satire.

I like to play strategic simulation games with Fletcher’s future diplomats, officers, and negotiators.  In particular, I was very excited to play “Diplomacy,” which is a classic game dealing with World War I.  Players negotiated, allied, and deceived each other, posing as great powers of the era.  It took more than four hours to complete a game, but I truly enjoyed playing “Diplomacy” with the people of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Also outside of classes, I tried to organize a Japanese Table.  At Fletcher, there are many language and culture tables, and I wanted to make my contribution to the cultural diversity of Fletcher.  Additionally, I wanted to find people who are interested in Japanese language and culture, and to increase the number of interested students.  One of the reasons is that I work for Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism.  I regretted that I could not organize the table too many times.  The number of students who participated was not too large — except when we served Japanese cuisines and drinks!  On the other hand, I realized that there are a good number of Fletcher students who are learning Japanese, although the Japanese presence in the U.S. has been dramatically decreasing over the past few decades, compared with that of China and other emerging countries.  I think one of the reasons that it continues as an interest at Fletcher is that many students are focused on security studies.

Japanese table

We also have Japanese students at the School, and most of us have worked for the government.  I think it should be our role to build, strengthen, and deepen the community to benefit both our country and international society, by staying connected to people from other countries who are interested in our culture.

Tagged with:
 

Guys!  Finally some useful admissions-related news!  As of today, if you look at the interview schedule page, you will see our complete interview offerings for September to December.  And here are the details you’ll need:

  • Interviews are optional, but evaluative.
  • The Admissions Committee does not invite you to come interview.  You make that decision for yourself.
  • You should schedule your interview early.  Do not wait until you have submitted your application.
  • Even if you don’t want to have your interview until December 1, you can schedule a time now.  That way you’re sure of being able to grab the appointment when you want it.
  • Interviews will wrap up at the end of the fall semester — Friday, December 9.

We only started offering interviews by Skype last year, but they were so popular that for this fall we’ve increased the number of sessions each week.  At the same time, we really want people to visit the School, so we have preserved on-campus appointments, especially on Monday and Friday, when we also offer Information Sessions.

Need more details?  Read my post from last year, or contact us.

Tagged with:
 

PicnicI received a lovely note the other day from Clare, a newly graduated MALD, telling me about the “Left Behind Group,” which she described as “a mix of the graduating class, rising second years, PhD students, and other Fletcher affiliated folk in the area over the summer.”

The Left Behind Group has been gathering weekly for the “Fletcher Picnic Series” organized by Molly, another new alum.  They’ve picnicked in a variety of local spots, both on campus — the roof of Tisch Library — and off — Nathan Tufts Park at nearby Powderhouse Circle, and wanted to spread the word to incoming students.  I was happy to share the details with folks I know are in the area, and I’m equally happy for blog readers to know that the Fletcher community adapts to new circumstances and locations, and always finds a way to come together.

 

With the second of the two U.S. major-party political conventions having concluded last night, it seems like a good time to mention a Tufts initiative for this year.  Here’s information we’ve received about JumboVote.

Tufts University has launched JumboVote 2016 as a multifaceted, university-wide initiative to boost political learning, engagement, and voting in this year’s presidential election—and beyond.  Spearheaded by Tisch College with support from the Office of the Provost, there are JumboVote 2016 representatives in every Tufts school and major administrative department, as well as among the student body.  The student-driven initiative is working to facilitate voter registration, tackle barriers for Tufts students to vote in local communities, increase voter education, and support events and programs that foster political engagement.  To learn more, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter, check out our web site, and/or join our email list and share event ideas here.  Funding will be available for student-run events, and we want to engage undergraduates and graduate students at all Tufts campuses.  In addition, all members of the Tufts community may use tufts.turbovote.org to register to vote (in Massachusetts or your home state), request an absentee ballot, and/or sign up for text and email reminders.

JumboVote fits nicely into the Tufts philosophy of promoting active citizenship.  Although it may appear geared to U.S. students, JumboVote also represents an excellent opportunity for international students to learn more about the U.S. political system through the lens of the November 2016 election.

Tagged with:
 

I’ve decided to focus much more of my energy on finding Fletcher couples.  My long-term goal will be to have a lovely collection to share on Valentine’s Day.  Shorter term, I’m just delighted to hear from folks whose relationships formed on campus.

Hanneke + AndrewWe first read about Hanneke when she told us how she heard about her admission to Fletcher.  More recently, she reported on her first year post-Fletcher.  And today, I’m so happy to tell you about her wedding last spring to Andrew, a fellow MALD student.  Although Andrew started his Fletcher studies one year after Hanneke, they both graduated in 2014 because she took an extra year to complete a dual degree with The Friedman School.  Hanneke was a multi-year friend of Admissions — volunteer interviewer, member of the Admissions Committee — and one of these students we are sorry to say goodbye to.  But we’ve kept in touch and I couldn’t be happier that she and Andrew (whom I regret I didn’t get to know) met here!

Some details from their story that Hanneke provided:

  • At the April 2012 Admitted Students Open House, Andrew sat in on a student panel.  Hanneke was one of the presenting students.  He mentioned this to her when they re-met in fall 2012.
  • They started dating in fall 2013, during her third year and his second year, largely helped along by time spent together with Fletcher Runners.
  • They got engaged in Johannesburg in 2015 while she was living in Malawi.
  • Their wedding was in Austin, Texas, at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  (Note the beautiful wildflowers in their photo.)
  • Fletcher was very well represented at the wedding and on the dance floor.
  • The tie that Andrew and his groomsmen wore is from their classmate Dan’s Corridor NYC clothing line.

Hanneke is currently working with the World Food Programme in their Siem Reap, Cambodia office, as part of the Leland International Hunger Fellows program.  Andrew has been conducting research remotely for a U.S. based organization.  Soon, they will be moving to Phnom Penh, where they will stay for another year.

And here’s the Fletcher contingent.  So many familiar faces — I love Fletcher weddings!

Hanneke + Andrew, Fletcher guests

 

Tagged with:
 

The beginning of this week finds me in meetings a lot.  Nearly all day yesterday.  Nearly all day tomorrow.  And a chunk of today.  What’s a blogger to do?  Write about summer in the city, naturally.

This weekend, my favorite beach town (city, actually) of Revere hosted its annual sand sculpture contest and festival.  The one I liked best, and the winner of first prize, was this one:

Sand sculpture 2016
You can see more here.  Revere is easy to reach by public transportation from the Tufts campus.  While you’re there, do as we did and visit Thmor Da, a sweet little family owned Cambodian restaurant.  The food is delicious and they’re so nice there!  (The truth is, we were there twice this past weekend — one planned visit for dinner, and a second spontaneous decision to grab lunch.)

Dinner on Saturday was at Lord Hobo, a brew pub with a second brewery location.  Like many U.S. cities, the Boston area has a crazy, and growing, number of boutique breweries, including several in Tufts’ host town, Somerville.

And on Sunday, we meandered over to the new Harvard Art Museum, which is just the right size for a study-break length visit, and easily reached by subway from Davis Square.

I’ll be back later this week with the usual type of information or news — so long as my meetings allow me the time to write.

 

A couple of summers ago, I was lucky to be able to share a list of students’ blogs and for-public-consumption Twitter feeds (not all still active) that a student had collected.  I tried to accomplish the same thing this year, but, alas, did not persevere enough to accumulate much of a list.  Still, I’d like to share what I have.

MALD student, Sydney, is writing about her summer as part of the Blakeley Fellowship program.  As Sydney notes, she’s spending her “summer in the winter,” in Santiago, Chile.  You can read introductions to all of the 2015 (last summer’s) Blakeley Fellows here.

Another MALD student, Laura, notes that she’s at UN Women in New York and she tweets “periodically about UN Women’s work as chair of the Global Migration Group.”

And last, three students are Advocacy Project Peace Fellows.  You can access blogs by all of the Peace Fellows, or go directly to the pages for Allyson (who is in Jordan), Megan (in Nepal), and Mattea (in Greece).  Poking through the list of past Peace Fellows will tell you what other Fletcher/Tufts students have done in their work.  Fletcher’s relationship with the Advocacy Project goes back to 2004.

Tagged with:
 

We’re more than halfway through the summer stretch between Commencement and Orientation and this week has been noteworthy for a sudden flurry of semester-like activity!  Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but there are two groups of students passing this way and that through the Hall of Flags.  The first is the GMAP class of July 2016, which is midway through its final residency and will graduate this Saturday, July 23.  But first, the group of 37 students needs to complete coursework and defend theses.

Also on campus now are 30 officials from the Greek Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs who are participating in the Leadership Program in Advanced Diplomacy and Defense, offered in partnership with with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.  The participants arrived last week and will be here for four weeks in all.  The focus of the program is to provide strategic level thinking on major global shifts, as well as an opportunity to strengthen essential skills for diplomacy. They will be at Fletcher through August 5.

And spending their days at Tufts, but not in Fletcher, are incoming MALD, MIB, and LLM students who are polishing up their academic English skills.  They do meet weekly for a conversation and orientation class at Fletcher, but the majority of their time is spent in classrooms elsewhere on campus.

There’s one last group who will be at Fletcher this summer, and that’s the new GMAP class that will start their program on August 1 and continue until their own graduation in July 2017.  In addition to the distance learning they will do throughout the year, they will also meet in Malta in January.

Finally, my Social List “digest” today consisted of two messages containing 30 community emails.  That’s about four times as many emails as have been turning up in the digests lately.  What woke everyone up?  First was a spirited discussion of the U.S. presidential election.  And second was a student’s sharing of an article that says the lawyer representing the Philippines in a recent maritime law case against China was a Tufts graduate.  Much informative discussion of the nature of courts, as well as of trying cases where only one side is represented, ensued.

All together, the increase in activity makes us less lonely, but also makes me think it will be nice to have the students back next month.

Tagged with:
 

Spam prevention powered by Akismet