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Angela StentWhile I’m at the Boston Idealist grad school fair tonight, I’ll be missing the fall’s Community Book Talk on The Limits of Partnership: U.S.-Russian Relations in the Twenty-First Century, by Angela Stent.  The event is open to all of us in the community, and copies of the book were provided.  I enjoy these common reading projects, and if last year’s two book talks were any indication, this will be an interesting evening.

Here’s the information we received about Dr. Stent and her book:

Angela Stent is a leading expert on U.S. and European relations with Russia and on Russian Foreign Policy.  She has served as an advisor under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and maintains close ties with key policymakers in both countries.

Dr. Stent is Director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies and Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University.  She is also a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-chairs its Hewett Forum on Post-Soviet Affairs.

The Limits of Partnership, winner of the American Academy of Diplomacy’s Douglas Dillon prize for the best book on the practice of American Diplomacy, offers a riveting narrative on U.S.-Russian relations since the Soviet collapse and on the challenges ahead. It reflects the unique perspective of an insider recognized as a leading expert on this troubled relationship.  American presidents have repeatedly attempted to forge a strong and productive partnership only to be held hostage to the deep mistrust born of the Cold War.  For the United States, Russia remains a priority because of its nuclear weapons arsenal, its strategic location bordering Europe and Asia, and its ability to support — or thwart — American interests.  Why has it been so difficult to move the relationship forward?  What are the prospects for doing so in the future?  Is the effort doomed to fail again and again? Join us for answers to these questions and others.


Our interview program started up yesterday, with the result that a steady stream of applicants and volunteer student interviewers are in and out of the office.  It’s both really nice and also a big increase in the level of background energy, as we try to do our work.  While I’m writing, our very first Skype interview is taking place.  The student interviewer seemed comfortable being the pioneer in this new (but overdue) effort.

Classes have been in session for only three weeks, but I’m already hearing students talk about exams, review sessions, study groups, etc.  And this past Saturday, the first Foreign Language Reading Comprehension exams were offered.  Bright and early on a beautiful fall morning, hundreds of students filed into a nearby building for their exams in the language of their choice.  The options were Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean (from 9:00 a.m. to noon); Bosnian, Hebrew, Hindi, Russian, and Urdu (from 9:15 to 11:15); and French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swahili (from 9:30-11:00).  The time allowed for the exam corresponds (more or less) to language difficulty.  Arrangements can be made for those who wish to test in a different language.  Bi-lingual dictionaries are allowed, including traditional paper dictionaries, electronic dictionaries, and dictionary applications that have been downloaded onto a cell phone.  No internet.  You can find sample exams if you scroll down on this page.

Admissions travel continues!  While Liz tours New England colleges and universities with some of our APSIA peers, I’m doing my own mini-tour.  Kristen and I joined forces yesterday for an information session for Tufts undergraduates (ably assisted by two “Double Jumbos” — Fletcher students who graduated from the undergraduate program at Tufts).  This afternoon, I’m taking part in a panel on international development down the road at Harvard, and tomorrow I’ll be at the Idealist fair in Boston (with a 2015 Fletcher graduate, who will help extend the life of my voice in that noisy setting).

Next week will be the first week since August when I’ll simply be in the office with no travel, visits, holidays, vacation, or other special activities.  I’m looking forward to it!  If nothing else, I’ll have a little more time for the blog.  New posts from our students are coming!


There’s a nice article in Tufts Now (our online university news source) about Rizwan Ladha, F12, and his perspective on the multinational deal around Iran’s nuclear program.  (Rizwan completed the MALD program and is now a Fletcher PhD candidate.)  As you might expect, the deal has been the source of a lot of discussion at Fletcher, both informally and through formal events.  The perspective that Rizwan shares in the article is good background for further discussion.


For the second year, one of our alumni, Rockford Weitz is supporting entrepreneurial students, alumni, and faculty as Fletcher’s Entrepreneur Coach in Residence.  Through planned activities and his scheduled office hours, Rocky is bringing entrepreneurship to the front of student career planning.

Here (from an email to the community) is how Rocky describes his role at Fletcher:

What is Entrepreneurship?

Good question.  Entrepreneurship means different things to different people.  I define entrepreneurship as “problem solving with limited resources and an unclear path forward.”  By this definition, most of you will likely be entrepreneurs at some point during your career.

The entrepreneurial approach works well in many Fletcher career trajectories, including social entrepreneurship, tech-driven entrepreneurship, and intrapreneurship (using entrepreneurship techniques to succeed as a change agent in large organizations in the private, public, non-profit, intergovernmental and academic sectors).

Fletcher students and alumni have launched and scaled numerous enterprises, including non-profits, technology startups, and new offices within larger organizations, such as the United Nations or the U.S. State Department.

Entrepreneur Coaching

As Entrepreneur Coach, I help Fletcher students, faculty, staff and alumni:

  • Connect with potential customers, potential investors and service providers that could help aspiring Fletcher entrepreneurs turn their ideas into viable enterprises.
  • Think through business, social, and policy ideas where entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship could be part of the solution.
  • Create business plans, go-to-market strategies, and presentations to potential customers and investors.

There are two events today linked to entrepreneurship at Fletcher.  First, Rocky will be providing an “Overview of the Tufts and Boston Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.”  He describes it as:

At this event, I will provide an overview of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and support network available at Fletcher, Tufts, and the Greater Boston area.  Topics will include startup prizes (such as Fletcher D-Prize and Tufts $100K), startup accelerators, including those that do not take equity (such as MassChallenge, the world’s largest startup accelerator, located in downtown Boston) and other support resources for aspiring entrepreneurs (such as Demeter, FinTech Sandbox, District Hall, and the Venture Cafe).  Special attention will be given to resources available to aspiring social entrepreneurs and those Fletcherites interested in entrepreneurship/intrapreneurship in emerging markets.

Later in the day, Gerry Ford, F84, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Caffè Nero will speak on “The Journey of an Entrepreneur: From Start-up to Billion Dollar Company.”  Here’s the description of his talk:

Gerry Ford is Chairman and Chief Executive of Caffè Nero Group Limited, Europe’s largest independent coffee house group.  Gerry founded Caffè Nero in 1997.  He later listed Caffè Nero on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in 2001-2007.  In 2005, Dr. Ford was named the UK’s Entrepreneur of the Year by the Financial Times and The London Stock Exchange.  In 2007, Gerry took Caffè Nero private and today he remains the majority shareholder of the company. Currently, Caffè Nero has more than 5,500 employees in 700 stores across seven countries.  The company continues to open at a pace of a new store every four days somewhere in the world. Dr. Ford has a BA from Stanford University, a MALD from The Fletcher School/Tufts University, a MBA from INSEAD and a PhD from Oxford University.  He sits on the boards of several consumer goods businesses throughout Europe and the USA, and is a frequent speaker internationally on the topics of developing consumer brands and entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship is an area that has long interested Fletcher students, many of whom wish to start their own organizations.  Having Rocky Weitz has increased the available resources, both through his time and the activities that result from his residency here.

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Today I want to point blog friends to a site you shouldn’t miss.  The School has been compiling short video stories that answer the question, “Why Fletcher?”  They’re mixed among all the videos on the Fletcher YouTube page, but the easiest way to find them is to check out #whyfletcher on Facebook.  Here’s a sample:


I apologize for the blog silence this week.  And today I’m still going to let someone else do the talking for me.

Though there isn’t great change semester-to-semester in the Fletcher full-time faculty, we’re nonetheless fortunate to have new people and new ideas coming into the School each year.  Whether we’re bringing someone in to cover for a professor on leave or there’s a newly created position, we welcome several additions to the teaching community every semester.  Our academic dean, Steven Block, recently introduced the new faculty in an email to the School.  The professors are:

Paul Berkman, Professor of Practice in Science Diplomacy.  Paul Berkman is an interdisciplinary scientist with formal training in oceanography and ecology.  He focuses on science-policy interactions in international governance, particularly with regard to the cooperative management of transboundary resources and international spaces that exist beyond national jurisdictions.  His principal activities currently involve the: (1) “North Pole as a pole of peace” with the High Seas in the central Arctic Ocean as an undisputed international space; (2) conceptual development and practical implementation of environmental security in the Arctic Ocean; and (3) science-policy lessons from the first 50 years of the Antarctic Treaty System.  Professor Berkman earned his Ph.D. at the University of Rhode Island.

John Cerone, Visiting Professor of International Law.  John Cerone is returning to Fletcher to teach International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Law.  He has been a fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law and a visiting scholar at the International Criminal Court.  He has also been a Fulbright scholar at both the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

James Fry, Visiting Professor of International Law.  James Fry will be teaching International Organizations.  He is visiting from the University of Hong Kong, where he is Associate Professor of Law and Director of the LLM Program.  Professor Fry has provided legal counsel and expertise to various international organizations throughout the world, including the International Committee for the Red Cross, the International Organization for Migration, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the World Meteorological Organization, and the World Trade Organization, and he has represented the New York City Bar Association in the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law.  His Ph.D. is from the University of Geneva.

Michele Malvesti, Professor of Practice.  A highly experienced practitioner of national security at the most senior levels of government, Professor Malvesti brings a wealth of expertise, including serving two presidential administrations at the White House.  From August 2002 to October 2007, she served in the Office of Combating Terrorism on the National Security Council (NSC) staff, including as the Senior Director for Combating Terrorism Strategy.  In this role, she advised the President and his National Security Advisor and Homeland Security Advisor on U.S. counterterrorism policy and strategy.  She subsequently returned to the White House in 2009 to co-chair the Presidential Study Review that reformed the White House organization for homeland security and counterterrorism on behalf of the Obama Administration.  She arrives in January, for a three-year appointment.  Professor Malvesti earned her Ph.D. at the Fletcher School.

Kingsley Moghalu, Visiting Professor.  Professor Moghalu, a Fletcher graduate, earned his Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics.  He joins us from his position as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, where he was in charge of the Operations Directorate.  He is also the author of three books, most recently Emerging Africa: How the Global Economy’s ‘Last Frontier’ Can Prosper and Matter. This book provides the foundation for his seminar this fall.  Professor Moghalu is a member of the Board of Directors, the Monetary Policy Committee, and the Committee of Governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria, in addition to numerous boards and commissions.

Kimberly Theidon, Henry J. Leir Professor of International Humanitarian Studies.  Professor Theidon is a renowned medical anthropologist who joins us from Harvard University, following an interim year as a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.  Her research interests include political violence, transitional justice, reconciliation, and the politics of post-war reparations.  Professor Theidon will be teaching Memory Politics: Truth, Justice and Redress; Engaging Human Security; and Issues in Global Health.  Her most recent book, Intimate Enemies: Violence and Reconciliation in Peru was awarded the 2013 Honorable Mention from the Washington Office on Latin America-Duke University Libraries Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America, and the 2013 Honorable Mention for the Eileen Basker Prize  from the Society for Medical Anthropology for research  on gender and health.  Her Ph.D. is from University of California, Berkeley.

I join Dean Block in welcoming the new members of Fletcher’s faculty!


Today is the first day of the 2015-2016 academic year.  Orientation wrapped up last Friday, and on the agenda today is Shopping Day, during which faculty can share information about their classes and students can gather details that help them decide which classes to register for.  The Shopping Day schedule is glued in below.  Note that the emphasis is on new or revised classes — not every class is included on the Shopping Day calendar — and students can attend two presentations during each time slot.  Learn more about the different classes here.

The start of the new academic year is also what I consider to be opening day for the blog.  So…welcome, all!  I encourage you to check out some of the blog’s features, such as the Student Stories and Faculty Spotlight, as well as alumni posts from graduates one year and five years post-Fletcher.  We’ve had an Admissions blog since September 2006 (WOW!) and it has changed over time.  These days, I try to balance straightforward admissions news and tips with posts that describe the rich Fletcher student experience.  Consider subscribing for email delivery of each blog post, or simply check in often.  If the content of one day’s post doesn’t interest you, the next day’s probably will.

And today marks Day One for the Admissions travel schedule.  From now through November, one or more staffers will be on the road just about every day.  This week, three of us are attending three different APSIA fairs, with more next week.  Surprisingly, I’m the first to head out.  I’m not the staff member with the busiest travel schedule, which makes it unusual that I should be the first to hit the road, but I’m in NY for tonight’s APSIA event.  If you’ll be there, please plan to say hello.  An alum with lots of admissions experience will be with me.

And that’s the wrap-up for the day — first day of the academic year, the blog year, and the travel calendar.

Shopping Day, Sept 8



Here’s a nice bit of news about the life of a project.  Harvard Business Review recently created a video about the Digital Evolution Index that was developed by Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context last spring.  The project manager is Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi, F12, a graduate of the MIB program, whom the blog caught in the Hall of Flags in April.  More recently, Dean Stavridis conducted an interview with Ravi, which you can find below.  (The HBR video can be found here.)  It’s exciting to observe the Digital Evolution Index receiving attention throughout the region and the world.

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HoF OrientationGreeting me when I returned to work after a few days of vacation was a whole new incoming class!  Before I even reached Fletcher on my walk from the bus, I had run into a student whom I met last September at an APSIA fair, and when we went into the Hall of Flags, the place was buzzing with students picking up materials, grabbing breakfast, and generally getting ready for a busy Orientation week.  (A warm week, too!  August may end today, but the summer weather continues.)

Students in all of the degree programs attend Orientation together and participate in a combination of briefings on the School, the University, and the academic program, along with social events designed to bring everyone together.  Naturally, there’s a lot of self-orientation and shared exploration happening, too.  (Where can I pick up groceries for the week?  What’s the best route from my apartment to the School?  Where’s the best place to grab a cup of coffee?)  I reckon that there are moments when the information gathering feels pretty overwhelming, but by the time classes begin next week, everyone is ready to jump into the semester.

Orientation in ASEANThough the routine for Orientation doesn’t change much from year to year, it still never gets old.  The students are about to meet people who will be their friends forever.  A few will even meet their future spouse!  More fundamentally — they will lay the academic groundwork to move forward in their careers, or transition to new careers.  And they will always have the Fletcher family to rely on as they move through their studies and beyond.


In case you missed it, the coming academic year will be the first for a new partnership between Fletcher and the Atlantic Council, designed to foster scholarly exchange and public outreach initiatives.

In a spring email to the community, Dean Stavridis wrote:

For many reasons, the Atlantic Council is an ideal partner for The Fletcher School.  A leading non-partisan think tank in the field of international affairs, the Council shares Fletcher’s commitment to fostering a more secure and prosperous world through multidisciplinary approaches.  Its headquarters provide an ideal location for convening conferences, workshops and events that resonate throughout the policy community, offering rich new opportunity for faculty and students.  Its scholars and leadership — many Fletcher alumni among them — are among the world’s top thinkers, analysts and creative problem solvers.

And the press release announcing the partnership said:

This ambitious partnership matches one of the most creative and forward-thinking foreign policy think tanks with one of the world’s premier graduate institutions for international affairs. The Fletcher School will work with the Atlantic Council to further expand both organizations’ missions of catalyzing smart solutions to some of today’s most pressing global challenges.

 “The Fletcher School is at the top of its game in cultivating innovative problem solvers who are fluent across disciplines and producing superior scholarship on major international trends and challenges,” said Atlantic Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe.  “This partnership offers both of our organizations the chance to magnify our impact through work that draws upon our shared beliefs in democracy, freedom, trade, and openness.”

“This partnership is a perfect synergy of expertise and resources, harnessing the intellectual fire power of both institutions toward solving complex international issues,” said Admiral James Stavridis, Dean of The Fletcher School and former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO.  “Our combined global networks, anchored by headquarters in DC and Boston, can more effectively move that knowledge into the public sphere, where it will have the biggest impact.”

It will be exciting to see what the partnership will bring throughout the year.


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