Currently viewing the category: "About Fletcher"

With our off-site meeting on Monday, I didn’t have time to do justice to the Commencement ceremony and I thought I’d add a few words today.  First, I should explain that the weekend is loaded with events.  On Friday night, many graduating students and alumni on campus for reunion were joined by staff and faculty for a traditional New England clam bake.  Then, on Saturday, we held “Class Day,” which is when the graduating students hear from an outside speaker, as well as an alumnus.  This year, the alum was Dr. Charles Dallara, F75, former Managing Director of the Institute of International Finance.  The invited outside speaker was Dr. Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008-2014, who also received an honorary degree from the University on Sunday.  In addition, several students received awards for scholarship and contributions to the community.

On Sunday, the spotlight and the sun shone on the graduating students.  They started the day with champagne toasts, led by classmates, and then proceeded to the all-University event, where degrees are awarded school-by-school.  The commencement address was given by Dr. Madeline Albright, U.S. Secretary of State from 1997-2001.

All of that occurred before I actually turned up on Sunday.  I arrived as graduating students were crossing over from the all-University ceremony to Blakeley Courtyard, where they would line up by degree program and then alphabetically for the procession into the tent.  This is always the perfect time for me to congratulate students — they’re all “filed” in predictable places.  After some farewells, I headed to the tent.

Dean Stavridis makes only the briefest of speeches before handing the podium to the stars of the day.  The first is the recipient of the James L. Paddock Teaching Award — Prof. Jenny Aker, F97 this year.  As an alumna, Prof. Aker was in a good position to assure all the graduates (and their parents) that they are on their way to exciting work.

Anna 1Prof. Aker was followed by the two student speakers.  Our Admissions pal, Anna McCallie, was up first.  Anna is smart and funny and gave the speech we had hoped for.  Among the themes was a tally of all that our students from Nebraska have accomplished.  This reflected some careful research — even those of us in the audience from Admissions didn’t know everything she had uncovered.

When the first student speech is amazing, it’s a bit of a nail biter as the second student ascends to the podium.  What is it like to follow such a well-received speech?  We needn’t have worried.  From the moment she kicked off her shoes (adjusting her height to the microphone, rather than the microphone to her height), Fern Gray gave a speech that was charming and touching (much wiping of eyes from the audience) and all in that lovely Trinidad and Tobago accent.Fern 1

(An aside: I first met Fern when she visited Fletcher as an applicant.  I was supposed to conduct her evaluative interview, but I ended up with a conflict and instead recruited a student, first pausing to greet Fern and explain the change in personnel.  Fern and the student had a great chat, and the rest is history.)

The graduates were called by degree program and name (thus the crafty arrangements for the procession — everyone was already where they needed to be) and Dean Stavridis closed the event by calling upon the graduates to be “dealers in hope,” as they make their way through their careers and the world.  And with that (and lunch in a separate tent), they were off!

 

The weather and the mood all cooperated for a lovely Commencement Sunday yesterday.  It is always an enjoyable event, marked by enthusiastic participants.  The Hall of Flags is already nearly emptied out, but will grow emptier through the week.  To postpone the subsequent loneliness felt by those of us who will work through the summer, the Admissions staff will be spending the day off-site, planning our summer projects and looking ahead to a new admissions cycle in the fall.  We’ll be back tomorrow (Tuesday).

Tagged with:
 

With fewer than ten days remaining until Commencement, the needed structures are starting to appear.  I took a walk through the heart of the University campus this morning and found the platform and tent that will be used for the main graduation ceremony that precedes Fletcher’s event for the conferring of diplomas.

Tent
All those fences will come down and chairs will be set up on the grass for the thousands of guests who attend.

We’ve enjoyed fantastic weather lately and the warm temperatures have coaxed into bloom the flowers and trees that are running a little behind schedule, due to our crazy winter.

Trees
And there’s a new statue of Jumbo, the Tufts mascot, to greet Commencement guests, too.

Jumbo
The Fletcher exam period ended yesterday, and the Hall of Flags is nearly deserted this morning.  Some students are still completing research papers and may also have exams at other schools where they have cross-registered for classes.  But most first-year students are off to internships and second-year students are starting their “Dis-Orientation” week today.  Dis-Orientation is the official/unofficial student-organized week of social events that is the closing bracket on the Fletcher experience that began with Orientation at the start of their studies.

Tagged with:
 

When Christine and I first talked about having her give us a run-down of April activities at Fletcher, as she had done in March, I had no idea that the list would run for five full pages.  I’m hardly afraid of a long blog post, but five pages is pushing anyone’s limits.  So we decided she would focus on fun events and those, such as conferences, that mark the culmination of a year’s work.  Here’s her carefully selected list of the many events that kept everyone engaged and exhausted last month.

April was a big month at Fletcher.  It is the last full month of the school year and also the most fun! There was plenty going on to keep student’s academic juices flowing as well as fun non-academic traditions as well. While you can view the full April calendar here, below is a quick recap:

April 1:The Ebola Crisis from Outbreak to Stamp Out — Lessons for the Future,” with Anthony Banbury, Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Mission for Emergency Ebola Response.

April 3: Dr. Kamal Bhattacharya, Vice President of IBM Research Africa, leads an intimate session on technology and inclusive innovation.

April 6: The International Business Club, Fletcher Veterans, and Global Women present, “Lead Where you Are: Perspectives from the Private, Public, and Non-Profit Sectors.”

April 7: Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard, U.S. Department of State Diplomat in Resident, spoke on “Diplomatic Tradecraft in Conflict Zones — Practical Skills for Serving in Countries in Crisis.”

April 9-10: Annual Inclusion Forum, presented by IBGC: Inclusion, Inc.

April 14:Shifting Sands in the Middle East: Implications for U.S. Policy,” with Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer.

April 15:Africa Rising: View from the African Union,” with Ambassador Reuben E. Brigety II, as part of the Charles Francis Adams Lecture series.

April 16: Feinstein Center researcher, and 2014 MALD graduate, Roxanne Krystalli: Integrating a Gender Perspective Into Research, presented by Global Women and Gender Initiative.

April 16:Solar 101: A Primer on Solar Energy Technology,” with Michael O’Dougherty, F87.

April 17: IMAGe and Gender Initiatives Speaker Series: Gary Barker, a leading voice on engaging men and boys in achieving gender equality and on ending violence against women globally.

April 18: Americana Night, part of the Fletcher Culture Night series, offering an appreciation of all things American.

April 20: Tufts Marathon Team runs the Boston Marathon!

April 21: The View from Washington: What is the U.S. Department of State Doing to Promote Democracy and Human Rights?” with Virginia Bennet, U.S. Department of State Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

April 27: Fletcher Follies, the annual culmination of another fantastic year at Fletcher, where we learn “where the hell” everyone went!

Underwater Flag

April 28: The Fletcher Ideas Exchange: First Annual Public Speaking Forum.  The event was modeled as a TED-type event and featured speeches by a select group of students, faculty, and alums.  The theme for the inaugural year was technology or media that connect or change the world.

April 28: Yoga in Ginn Library.  Nothing beats a long day of studying like some refreshing (and free) yoga!

April 30: Final Social Hour! Hosted by The Office of Development and Alumni Relations, and always one of the best of the year.

April 30: Therapy dogs in the library! Students got to meet Barkley and his friends and take a break from studying. Who could not love this face?

Barkley

 

In the area?  Here (at very short notice — sorry!) is an event you might like to join us for.  The information that flowed my way said:

Fletcher Ideas Exchange (FIE) is the first annual forum for public speaking at the Fletcher School.  Modeled as a TED-type event, this year FIE will feature engaging speeches around a theme that is relevant and thought provoking: media and technology that connect or change the world (Media/Tech to Change/Connect).

Join us Tuesday, April 28th from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for an exciting display of the ideas of the future, where students and faculty alike will share with the audience how the power of media and technology will connect us all.

The speakers — who include students, faculty, one alum, and a special guest — will deliver short and engaging speeches, eight to 15 minutes each.  The line-up:

Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti: Flying Cars and The Human Condition
Seth Pate (second-year MALD): New Media in Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement
Prof. Daniel Drezner: Pop Culture in International Relations
Rachel Roberts (visiting student): The Value of Learning Communities in Online Education
Prof. Achim Ladwig: Town Hall Meetings of the Future in Europe
Malini Goel, F03: Should Tomorrow Be (Using Video to Inspire and Tell Your Story)
Muralidhar Selvamani (first-year MALD): The Tale of Two Documentaries
Prof. Edward Schumacher-Mathos: A New Vision for IR Schools in the Platformed World
Dean Davis: Sofar (How Social Media Fueled a Global Music Movement)
Grant Bridgman (first-year MALD): What Do You Want to Know? (Spreading Access to Information in Africa)
Prof. Mihir Mankad: Social Change Television

Check these links for  more information:

Website
Speakers
Register

 

I’m sure that you’ve noticed that I refer to the Social List a lot.  It’s both a thread to weave together the student community, and also a glimpse into student life for those of us who stand outside the window looking in.  For the second year, I thought I’d capture and annotate all the messages that circulated on a day.  (This is easy for me to do, as I receive the messages in digest form.)  On March 30, the digest arrived in four email portions, with many messages dedicated to a smaller group of topics.  Please find below the topics of discussion, with the briefest of explanations of the message content.

Social List Digest Table of Contents:

Join us, volunteer and help the community! – Fletcher Cares: Fletcher Cares is a student group that supports both the Fletcher community and groups in the local area.

Dean Stavridis, Ben Affleck, and Bill Gates: Dean Stavridis testified before Congress alongside Ben Affleck and Bill Gates.  A surprising group!

Future Opportunities & Challenges for Evaluation in the UN – April 1, 12:30-1:30pm: Notices of events can be posted on two different lists, one of which is the Social List.

Editing Skills Workshop, Wednesday: Once a year, the Director of the Writing Center holds an editing skills workshop for those who work on the various Fletcher journals and any other community member who might want to sharpen their editing skills.

Continuing the “Food for thought…” Conversation – Wednesday: Previous to this post, a student had raised a question linked to attitudes about race.  Other students created a forum for discussion of the issue.

EVENT THIS WEDNESDAY: Navigating Social Identities in the Workplace:  Another event.

Grant Writing Workshop: Monday: And more writing help, offered by the Humanitarian Action Society

Dandiya Raas/Garba this Friday at Tufts!:  Indian snacks, Bollywood music, and dancing.

New Date for Slow Food Brew Off: I’m not even sure what this was, but food and brew were involved.

Shared taxi from Logan around 1AM?: Transportation shares — a popular Social List topic.

Giveaway: Korean spicy noodles: Too many packets of spicy noodles?  The Social List can help.

Technology and Inclusive Innovation: The IBM Story in Africa: Yet another event.

MONDAY: #RealTalk: All the things about post-Fletcher life you are afraid to ask: Students helping each other as they apprehensively approach the future.

Bringing back an old Fletcher tradition: the thesis-ku: More about this topic soon.  This was the top topic on the day’s Social List digest.

Selling: Printer & Corkboard: Random combination, but just about anything can find a home.

Applications DUE TONIGHT to lead the Fletcher International Migration Group (IMG)!: One generation of Student Group leaders finding the next generation.

A few more female hosts needed for Open House!: Yes, the Admissions Office uses the Social List to connect with students, including when overnight hosts are needed for visitors.

SEEKING: Drums for Cricket World Cup semi finals: This message led to conversations about the drums, cricket, and the World Cup results.

SEEKING: Sewing Kit: Not all needs are as unusual as World Cup drums.

First Years: Don’t Fret: One of my favorite annual themes, in which second-year students reassure first-years that everything (exams, internship search, etc., etc.) will work out.

BFA – Research Associate Apr 1st deadline: Students often hear about, and share, job notices from friends, former employers, or other networks.

SEEKING: Secret dog training talent: After this, it will be secret no longer.

Have you worked in luxury retail?: The message does not reveal the mystery behind this question.

SUMMER SUBLET: Housing is a hot topic throughout the spring.

In total, 82 messages were sent to the Social List between 4:00 on March 29 and 3:59 on March 30, when the digest was compiled.  I haven’t listed all the topics that occurred more than once, but you get the idea.  The Social List is where events are posted, random questions appear, and things/jobs/housing/support are offered/requested, creating conversation and connections between and among students.

Tagged with:
 

Though you wouldn’t guess it from the number of times we scheduled and rescheduled, one of my favorite things to do around here is to grab my trusty co-pilot, Kristen, and head out to the Hall of Flags to chat with students for the blog.  For those who haven’t visited, the Hall of Flags is the main gathering spot at Fletcher, and the best place to catch up with folks.  And that’s what we did last Tuesday.  Because we’re so close to the end of the semester, we asked everyone about a highlight of their year.

As soon as we walked into the HoF, we saw Terry and Stephanie, both of whom were included in the post about last year’s HoF visit.  This time, Stephanie was selling tickets to “Americana Night” and Terry was keeping her company.

Terry (MALD ’15): The highlight of my year is Fletcher Follies, which hasn’t actually happened yet.  Last year’s Follies was my favorite event of my whole Fletcher experience so far.  It’s fun making videos and also seeing how creative people are in terms of their execution of the videos.  And it’s a highlight from a social perspective.  It brings together students, staff, and faculty in a collegial way leading up to finals.  Everyone is very stressed out by that time in the semester, but it’s a fun way for all the students to come together in one room.

Stephanie (MALD ’15): I’m looking forward to Follies as well, but I’m more excited about the Follies videos I’m making.  I’m doing four — a Harry Potter themed one, and a “30 Rock” parody called “160 Pack,” and we also did a “Shining” themed one.

Stephanie probably listed all four, but I appear to have missed one.

Terry and Stephanie

Marie (MALD ’15): The highlight of my year is my class with Prof. Khan, Historian’s Art.  It’s a phenomenal class.  It goes through great moments in history like World War I and the Cuban Missile Crisis.  It assumes we know about the events and Prof. Khan focuses on the time leading up to them and who the key players are.

Marie

Ravi (MIB graduate and IBGC Research Fellow): My highlight was a perfect week when, on Monday, Bloomberg wrote about Mark Zuckerberg’s speech in Barcelona and, in the same paragraph, referenced our Digital Evolution Index, saying that the global investment community agrees with our research findings.  Then, the week ended on Friday with Bill Gates tweeting out the article that Bhaskar (Chakravorti), Rusty (Tunnard), and I wrote in the Harvard Business Review to his 20 million followers, and it got retweeted nearly 5000 times.  It was the most perfect week with the best bookends that one could hope for.

Ravi

Stephen (MA ’15) (camera shy): Last week we did a class trip down to the Naval War College.  We got to see a lot of speakers and visit downtown Newport.  We had a talk on North Korea, Taiwan defense, and Chinese anti-access.

Next we chatted with Morgan, who like Stephanie, was selling tickets — in this case to the Diplomat’s Ball.  Check, cash, or Venmo.

Morgan (MALD ’15):

We had a sending off party for one of our friends who recently got a wonderful job opportunity in Washington, DC.  The energy in the room was incredibly supportive, nurturing and all those good things.  It was a wonderful experience, full of love and light and appreciation for each other.

Morgan
Mary (MALD graduate and current Assistant Director of Student Affairs, who as part of her job responsibilities, attends the social events on campus):
  Africana Night was a highlight.  It has struggled over the years, including once when it was snowed out.  This year’s was the best Africana Night I had ever seen.  It was very high energy and the acts were high quality.

Mary D
Sid (MIB ’15):  For spring break, I went with Fletcher friends, seven of us, to the Bahamas.  We went diving and the instructor asked us where we were from, and we were all from different countries, including Korea, Thailand, India, Japan, U.S., and Nepal.  He was really surprised and asked how we came together.

Sid
When we finished talking to Sid, all system broke down.  We spotted Meg, a PhD student, and went to chat with her.  Then Ben, another PhD student, came along and we pulled him over.  And then we interrupted both of them when Prof. Burgess came along.

Prof. Burgess (Director of the LLM Program): One of my high points was being able to have coffee, along with all the other LLM students, with Judge Joyce Aluoch, (F08) the Vice President of the International Criminal Court.  She joined our group to provide both an overview of the activities of the ICC and to chat informally about current issues facing the court and questions of international law generally.  It’s a special aspect of Fletcher that opportunities like this exist, so that students like our LLM students have an opportunity to meet and interact with very experienced and senior international lawyers.

Prof. Burgess
Then we turned our attention back to Meg and Ben, and the following dialogue resulted:

Them: We’re mentor and mentee.
Us: Which way does it go?  Who’s mentor and who’s mentee?
Them: Exactly.

Meg: Our PhD cohort is the best ever.  Last September, eight of us started.  We have a diverse group.  We just jelled very quickly during Orientation and then we accepted the four internals (who had completed the MALD) into our coven.  We all get along really well, and we fight like brothers and sisters.  We adopted Ben into our cohort.

Ben:  I’m jealous.  Having the large number of external admits last year has broadened the community in an exciting way.

Meg and Ben
Finding two PhD students together in the Hall of Flags is a rare event.  As an additional coincidence, we then bumped into the student whose new job Morgan had been celebrating.

Brionne (MALD ’15): I’m leaving for Washington, DC tomorrow, but today I’m presenting at the Diversity and Inclusiveness Committee about equity inclusion for Fletcher students.  I completed classes in January, and starting next week I’ll be working at USAID as a presidential appointee.  I’ll be serving as a Congressional Liaison Officer, supporting Agency priorities on Africa and democracy, conflict and humanitarian assistance, meaning I’ll be pushing for incentives that President Obama spearheaded, such as the Mandela Washington Fellowship.

Throughout this semester, while waiting for a security clearance, I’ve been embraced by the community and supported as I navigate my transition into the professional world.  The administration has been especially supportive as I completed my capstone.  I’ve continued to build on my relationships with students and also continued to work on ongoing student efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in line with the Fletcher Strategic Plan.

Brionne
By then, an hour had passed and it was time for Kristen and me to return to our day-to-day work.  We only managed one blog trip to the Hall of Flags in 2014-15, but we’ll be back, hopefully more than once, next year.

Tagged with:
 

I don’t always visit the Hall of Flags mezzanine with any frequency, but I was very glad I found myself there this week and discovered the photo exhibit connected with this event.  Beautiful, sad, and powerful.

Young Syrian lenses_Fletcher's Flier (5)

 

With ten days to go, organizers of TEDxTufts are wrapping up the last planning details, and several members of the Fletcher community are polishing their talks.  Alumna Angeli Gianchandani (a 2013 graduate of the GMAP program), current student Jeremy Blaney (second year MIB), and the faculty/staff team of Prof. Sulmaan Khan, Ellen McDonald (Ginn Library), and Elayne Stecher (Center for International Environment and Resource Policy) are all among the scheduled speakers.

Though tickets for the event are sold out, you will (of course) be able to follow some of the action via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

This has been the post-admissions-decision week when I have felt most overwhelmed by the pace of work, made worse by a busy week at home that left no extra time to extend my work day.  Lengthy or detailed blog posts have been one of the casualties.

Today I’m going to share a few sentences that have come my way and that I think capture the nature of Fletcher.  The first comes from Ben Mazzotta, a member of the research staff of the Institute for Business in the Global Context who is also a graduate of the MALD and PhD programs, and who is about to embark on a new adventure on assignment for USAID.  In a note of farewell, Ben wrote:

It has been a privilege to work here, where so many people genuinely come to work in the morning with the belief that we can solve the world’s problems, and then set about doing exactly that.

For students, this is their school, but for faculty and staff, this is our workplace, and Ben has captured the reason why so many of us have dedicated many years to working here.

The second note also came from an alumnus, in this case one who has gone on to become the ambassador from Pakistan to Japan.  After hosting an event for newly admitted students in Tokyo, Ambassador Amil reported back on the brief speech he gave at the event:

My message was that Fletcher has given so much to us in building bridges of understanding and hope, and it is important to maintain that connectivity.  I made friends for life there!

We Admissions staffers are proud of the role we play in building the Fletcher student and alumni communities.  In a busy week, reading these brief but timely notes reminds us of the impact we hope to have.

Tagged with:
 

Spam prevention powered by Akismet