Posts by: Jessica Daniels

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

 

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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.

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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.

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Fletcher couples are just the best.  I can’t keep up with all of them, but I love when I’m lucky enough to hear about their weddings.  Recently, Liz told me about a newly married MIB couple.  Fumi, F16, and Ryota, F15, met during her first year and his second year in the program.  Ryota came to Fletcher from the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, to which he has since returned.  After graduating just last May, Fumi has joined the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.  Both Ryota and Fumi were very active members of the Fletcher community, as you might guess from their Fletcher flag cake.

Naturally, Kristen (who, among the Admissions staff, works most closely with MIB applicants and students) takes full credit for bringing them together and their subsequent love story.  The rest of the Admissions Staff simply wishes them all the best in their life together!

Fumi and Ryota

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Unless an additional report surprises me by popping into my inbox, today we’ll close out the updates from the Class of 2015.  The final word comes from Dallin Van Leuven, whose post-Fletcher job didn’t appear immediately after graduation, but was the right opportunity when it did arrive.

Greetings from Beirut!

SONY DSC

Dallin (far left) with fellow Fletcher students/alumni and other friends while in Washington, DC for an interview. (He reports, “I didn’t get the job.”)

The year following my graduation may have taken me halfway across the world, but it has carried my career a lot further.  Granted, the job search was longer and more difficult than I anticipated, but Fletcher was a big help throughout: from helping me leverage the networking I had done while in Boston to find open positions and get interviews; to receiving (at times last-minute) support from the Office of Career Services on my CV, cover letters, interviews, and salary negotiations; to giving me consultancy opportunities while I looked for the right job (or any relevant position, for that matter).

One perfect example of this support would be the continued mentorship of Professor Dyan Mazurana.  We, along with fellow Fletcher alumna Rachel Gordon, finalized our collaboration on a book chapter, “Analysing the Recruitment and Use of Foreign Men and Women in ISIL through a Gender Perspective,” which was published in February in the book Foreign Fighters under International Law and Beyond.  Moreover, Professor Mazurana nominated me for a Visiting Fellowship with the Feinstein International Center.  There, we were able to continue working together on an important issue: conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence in African conflicts.  I will forever be grateful for the support Fletcher’s staff and faculty have given me both during and after my time there.

Most of my last year was spent in my home state of Idaho.  It was a great opportunity to be with family and old friends in a beautiful place while I searched for that elusive first post-Fletcher job.  Before starting my MALD, I worked in education in Egypt.  Not long after I arrived, the Arab Spring came to Egypt, and it cemented in me a desire to work in countries experiencing conflict and transition, focused on alleviating the negative effects of conflict.  Fletcher, for me, was the perfect place to make that adjustment in my career’s trajectory.

With luck and perseverance, I finally found it.  After New Year’s, I moved to Lebanon to begin work with Search for Common Ground, the world’s oldest and largest peacebuilding organization.  Here, I work on projects designed to build a stronger civil society and better social relations across dividing lines.  I research conflict drivers and lessons learned from similar projects, sometimes advising on programs in other countries or on the design of future initiatives.  I love it!

As a testament to the reach of Fletcher’s network, I was able to talk with a Fletcher colleague who interned here last summer to figure out if the office really was a place I would want to work.  I’ve been able to “pay it forward” by helping facilitate a new Fletcher student’s interview; she started her internship here last month.  I run into Fletcher alumni all of the time — through work, at social gatherings, and as they pass through Beirut.  In fact, while standing in the visa line during my first arrival to the city, I ran into someone I graduated with who is also living and working here.  The most remarkable of these meetings was definitely with a very successful alumna who is working for peace here in the region.  She beamed at hearing I was a fellow graduate and happily exclaimed, “Fletcher ruined my life!”  Thanks to her experience as a student, she left a successful career in the private sphere to pursue a successful, but more challenging, career in peacebuilding.

While “ruined” probably isn’t the term I would normally use, I can certainly agree with the sentiment.  Thank you, Fletcher, for “ruining” my life and putting me on the path I am on now!

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One of the opportunities I most value about my job is following students from their application phase, through their time at Fletcher, and then on to their post-Fletcher life.  A good example would be my connection with Diane Broinshtein, whom I first met when I was her application interviewer back in August 2012.  Then, after she had started her Fletcher classes, I reached out to her to write for the blog, and she was a trusty friend of Admissions throughout her two years in the MALD program.  Naturally, I’ve asked her to write an update on her first year post-Fletcher.  Those wondering what classes prepared Diane for her current work might want to read her Annotated Curriculum.

It’s hard to believe that a year has just passed since I finished at Fletcher.  In many ways I feel like I never left, and in other other ways Fletcher feels like a lifetime ago.

Diane in TurkeyIn my last post, shortly after I graduated in 2015, I explained that I was joining GRM International as part of their Young Professionals Program.  I moved from Boston to Brisbane, Australia and began my operations rotation.  On my second day of work, the company rebranded itself as Palladium, in order to unite a number of different brands under a new umbrella.  Because the company now included business areas other than those it did when I was first hired, the reorganization provided with me with some new and interesting opportunities.

In January, I moved to our London office to start a rotation with our Strategy Execution Consulting group. While it is not an area I considered working in prior to Fletcher, I felt the diversity of my Fletcher education prepared me perfectly to jump into the team.  In this role I helped bridge the divide between the international development side of the business and the strategy consulting side.  I found myself constantly going back to skills, knowledge, and coursework I learned at Fletcher to assist me whenever I was confronted with a new and challenging task.

My new rotation has taken me to Bristol, UK to join our Environment and Natural Resources team, working specifically on humanitarian projects.  It’s nice to be working again in a sector I know well and that I concentrated on in my studies.  A year out of Fletcher, three cities and three roles later, I have just begun to test the limits of what Fletcher taught me — I find myself using Fletcher in some way each day.

After Bristol, I am not sure where I will end up, but I know for certain that wherever it is, there will be a Fletcher network to support me.  Being part of the alumni community has been a wonderful experience.  In Brisbane I managed to squeeze in two visits from Fletcher friends, one who was working in Canberra and another working in Papua New Guinea.  But when I moved to London, I was even more connected.  London is a place where people are always passing through, so there were many Fletcher catch-ups over dinner.  I’m already trying to encourage fellow Fletcher grads to visit me in Bristol, but if they don’t come to me, I’ll see them when I travel in Europe.

Diane London

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Even as I noted yesterday how quiet it is at Fletcher this month, there are a few things going on around here.  First, there’s a group of diplomats on campus for a short-term executive program.  And second, there’s a panel in ASEAN Auditorium this evening on women in the environment field.  The panel will be moderated by Professor Barbara Kates-Garnick.  Here are all the details.

“The Business of Getting to Clean Energy & Environment”
July 12, 2016 from 5:00-8:30 p.m.

New England Woman in Energy and the Environment (NEWIEE) is hosting the second-annual Women Shaping the Agenda Panel to share ideas and experience related to the practical and business aspects of our clean energy and environment future.

“NEWIEE’s panel series strives to provide a forum for the constructive and informative discussion of topics of interest today to environmental and energy professionals,” said Beth Barton, NEWIEE Board of Directors President and Partner at Day Pitney LLP.  “NEWIEE’s goal is to bring together experienced and young professionals from across New England for an open conversation about clean energy and environmental issues for our region and beyond.”

Further information and tickets, if still available, can be found on the event page.

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Fletcher’s summer quiet continues, and there’s little of note happening in the Admissions Office, which makes me especially happy that I can still share updates from the Class of 2015.  Today we’ll  hear from Nathaniel Broekman who, like so many of our students, took an unusual path to, through, and beyond Fletcher.

It’s been an odd journey to arrive where I am today.  Seven years ago this month I departed New York City, where I had worked for three years as a musician and audio engineer, to spend the next three years with the Peace Corps in Bulgaria.  I left the music industry to begin a career in international relations, with the hope of finding my way into the field of migration or international development.

Turkish Breakfast

“Eating Turkish breakfast (arguably the world’s best breakfast) on the Asian side of Istanbul in the last days of my Boren Fellowship.”

Contrary to the adage, sometimes the best-laid plans do not go awry.  Which always surprises me.  Just over one year ago, I simultaneously completed a Boren Fellowship in Istanbul and my Fletcher degree.  I then landed in Washington DC, from where I write you today.  One month ago, I was on a detail to the border of Texas and Mexico, interviewing mothers and children who had just completed the harrowing journey from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to request asylum.

I work as an Asylum Officer with the Department of Homeland Security, adjudicating the claims of asylum-seekers who have arrived in the United States.  In doing so, my colleagues and I make the preliminary determination if an applicant is eligible for asylum under U.S. law, if he/she can be found credible, and whether this individual represents a risk to the security of our country and our community.  Although the majority of my interviews are with applicants living in the mid-Atlantic states, the job has to date taken me as far as Atlanta and Texas.  I am now preparing for an international detail to take part in our refugee resettlement efforts overseas, be it in El Salvador, Turkey, Nepal or one of a number of countries where refugees are unable to find a durable solution and hope to be resettled in the United States.

When I began this position, the word “refugee” was not yet gracing the front page of nearly every western newspaper, nearly every day.  I soon found myself in the center of one of the most important challenges of our generation.  There are more displaced persons on the planet today than at any other time since World War II.  Many of them are looking to us for help.

Mine is not an easy job, for almost all the reasons you might imagine.  But putting aside the emotional roller-coaster and the daily frustrations, I feel fortunate to take part in a program that grants the protection of the United States to those who have lost the protection of their own country.  It is an honor to bring these individuals into our community and grant them the refuge they truly need and truly deserve.

The Fletcher School was an integral part of this journey.  Most pointedly, my classwork in conflict resolution with Professors Babbitt, Chigas, and Wilkinson, and forced migration with Professor Jacobsen gave me a firm understanding of the global dynamics that brought us to this point, whereas classwork in various areas of international law with Professor Hannum immersed me in the system that gave us the internationally accepted definition of a refugee — a single paragraph from 1951, which guides our daily practice and determines, in part, the fate of millions of human beings.  I also took advantage of the opportunity to cross-register at the Harvard Law School, to take a course on migration law with Professor Anker, which has had far more impact on my career today than I had imagined it would at the time.  The education I received at Fletcher from these and other courses gave me not only the necessary legal analysis skills to make a proper determination on the merits of a case, but also the political and conflict analysis skills necessary to fully research and understand the dynamics in our applicants’ countries of origin.  Furthermore, a summer internship with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Bosnia-Herzegovina and a seven-month Boren Fellowship in Istanbul, crafting my thesis on Turkish development and humanitarian aid, did not hurt one bit.

Beyond my coursework, Fletcher has brought me into a community that continues to amaze.  I was taken aback at the enthusiasm that alumni have for helping their fellow graduates to develop a career.  This is especially true here in DC, but was just as true while I was searching for work in Istanbul.  Most importantly, many of my closest friends here and across the globe are either fellow classmates from my time in Medford, or alumni from previous years.  We have even created a DC alumni branch of the Fletcher band “Los Fletcheros,” known locally as “Los Fletcheros Federales.”  The only major difficulty has been scheduling rehearsals, considering the travel schedules of seven band members who work in international relations.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that I’m also to blame, but the World Bank keeps sending our guitarist to West Africa at the most inopportune times.

It’s been an odd journey to arrive where I am today.  I am not sure what I was looking for seven years ago when I left New York City, but I seem to have found it.  And for that, I owe The Fletcher School and the Fletcher community a great deal of gratitude.

Mexico City Foreign Ministry

Fletcher students on vacation in Mexico, in front of the Mexican Foreign Ministry.

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Are you a non-native English speaker who will start Fletcher studies in September?  Or even a non-native English speaker who will apply to Fletcher and other graduate schools in the coming year?  Or anyone interested in policy and interesting journalism?  Well, this post is for you.

Just before the end of the spring semester, we asked the student community to suggest podcasts that they particularly enjoy or appreciate.  Since strong listening comprehension skills are very important to success at Fletcher, we’re sharing this list to set you up with material with which to groom your skills.  And if your English doesn’t need grooming, take these as suggested listening for your commute.

With no further ado, and in no particular order, here is the list, including any description that the student recommenders included.

Created at Fletcher:

Investing in Impact Podcast, created by the Fletcher Social Investment Group.

Broadly Fletcher-related:

UN Dispatch — Mark Leon Goldberg, a graduate of the Tufts undergraduate program, produces a highly professional international affairs podcast that is perfect for aspiring Fletcher students.

Council on Foreign Relations, The World Next Week, recommended by several people, offers a great look at international affairs and comes generally in 30 minute soundbites.  And extra points because one co-host is a Fletcher alum!

Foreign Policy Magazine’s The E.R.

Harvard Kennedy School’s Policycast.

War on the Rocks, described by a student as hit or miss, but worth following.

Revolutions, which focuses on the history of several revolutions (such as the English Civil War, and the American, French, and Haitian revolutions) and how they turned out the way they did.

Vox’s The Weeds — a little more wonky and focused primarily on U.S. public policy issues, but interesting analysis of issues nonetheless.

Planet Money

Freakonomics by WNYC Studios – recommended by several people.

Fareed Zakaria GPS by CNN.

BBC Global News Podcast, covers a broad range of international issues.

Start-Up, one of Gimlet Media’s podcasts, and the host Lisa Chow is a Fletcher alum!

Students also recommended many shows available through National Public Radio, including:

Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me — Recommended by several people as a good window into American culture and a great way to work on American colloquial English.

Fresh Air — Conversational, but many topics that will be studied here.

Serial — The presenter is slow and methodical in her interviews. The most recent season focuses on a former POW in Afghanistan.

This American Life

TED Radio Hour

Radiolab

Snap Judgment

And a few others, just for fun:

Stuff You Missed in History Class

Stuff You Should Know

 

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