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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.

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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.

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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.

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With most graduating students either just done with or still toiling over their Capstone Projects, and with incoming students inquiring about support for research, I thought I would share this notice from last month inviting students to apply for capstone research grants.  I can’t guarantee that this exact opportunity will be available again next year, but students who plan carefully can find sources of support for their research.

The Hitachi Center for Technology and International Affairs at the Fletcher School announces research funding opportunities for Fletcher students.  In accordance with its mission to sponsor research on the role of innovation and technological change, the Hitachi Center seeks to provide funding to advance student research in these fields.

The Center will fund student research projects for current capstones, or research that will be conducted over the summer of 2015 that leads to future capstones, on the role of technology in international affairs.

Research proposals that focus on the following areas will be given priority:

  • Technology and economic development, in particular ICT4D
  • Technology and agriculture, the environment, education, financial services, health, human security, democracy, security and terrorism
  • Global technology industries
  • “Next Generation” Infrastructure: Global trends in the evolution of social infrastructure (infrastructure that supports migration of data/information across platforms, and dependability)

Students must be enrolled in a degree program at The Fletcher School and plan to spend the summer of 2015 engaged in research for a graduate program capstone project, dissertation or the equivalent.  Priority will be given to: 1) projects that are the most closely related to the Center’s areas of interest; and 2) are related to capstone research.  In addition, grantees should be willing to write up a brief summary and do a poster presentation of their research by October 2015, to be shared with the Hitachi Center Board.

Students interesting in applying for this funding should provide:

  • A research proposal of no more than three pages
  • A timeline of the summer research plan
  • A proposed budget (including any other expected or potential sources of funding)
  • A letter of support from a faculty capstone project advisor
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Recently, Paula Armstrong (a second-year MALD student) wrote to tell me about her recent involvement in community diversity-related issues.  She said,”I’m part of a group of students who wrote a memo to Dean Stavridis last December about fostering diversity and inclusion at Fletcher.  Since then, we have been planning a number of events to increase discussion of these issues, as well as of social justice more broadly.”  Today, she’ll describe some of these events, which are open for prospective students who may be visiting the area.

Students come to Fletcher from a wide range of backgrounds and go off to work in all corners of the world after graduating.  As a student body, it’s therefore important for us to think critically about diversity and inclusion.  These topics shape both who we are and the environments we will find ourselves working in.  Three student-planned events in March and April highlight these issues:

Film Screening – The House I Live In, Wednesday, March 4

o   The House I Live In explores the global “war on drugs” and its destructive impact on black Americans.  Approximately 20 Fletcher students attended the screening and participated in the discussion that followed. Facilitated by Seth Lippincott, second-year MALD, this discussion focused on the domestic implications and global impact of the “war on drugs,” as well as on how to engage in a dialogue with other students and professors to connect the issues of race and inequality in the United States to the Fletcher curriculum.  Students also weighed in about the importance of discussing the negative consequences of certain U.S. public policies and linking this discussion back to international work post-Fletcher.

Panel Discussion – Navigating Social Identities in the Workplace, Wednesday, April 1, 7:30 p.m., Mugar 200

o   Hosted by the Ralph Bunche Society for Diversity in International Affairs, Global Women, Fletcher LGBTQA, and the Office of Career Services

o   At Fletcher, we know that who you are and where you come from do not affect your intellectual capabilities.  We also understand, however, that conscious and unconscious biases, based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and other aspects of our social identity, in the U.S. and abroad, can have a profound impact on how we are viewed an​d treated.  This presents both the challenge to manage the negative implications of these biases in our own careers, and the opportunity to be allies in the workforce for colleagues and clients who are targeted or marginalized.  The goal of this panel is to offer a space for Fletcher students to have a dialogue about the opportunities and challenges that they have faced in their work environments, domestically and abroad, associated with their social identities.  Come hear from other Fletcher students who have tackled issues regarding their social identity in the U.S. and abroad.  Also learn more about two Fletcher alumni associations, Global Women and the Fletcher Alumni of Color Association, that offer support navigating your career upon graduation.

Workshop — The Art of Inclusive Leadership, Saturday, April 11, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Cabot 7th Floor

o   Facilitated by Diane Goodman, Ed.D, Diversity and Social Justice Trainer and Consultant

o   Join your fellow Fletcher students in a dynamic, interactive workshop to develop concrete communication, interpersonal, and cultural competence skills to be an inclusive leader.  Students will have the opportunity to explore their leadership attributes, share their experiences, apply concepts to real world scenarios, and gain the skills and knowledge to lead diverse and inclusive programs in domestic and international contexts. Lunch will be provided.

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As admitted applicants make their decision to enroll at Fletcher, they then turn their attention to arranging housing for September.  Our blogger, Diane, lived in Blakeley Hall last year (2013-2014) and gathered some thoughts on living there from her fellow dorm-mates.  I should note that the majority of our students live off-campus, in apartments in surrounding communities, but for some new students, a room in Blakeley is just right.  Also, last summer (2014), the Blakeley kitchen was renovated, expanded, and improved, taking care of some of the issues that existed a year ago.  Here are Diane’s reflections:

blakeleyFor many incoming students, particularly those new to Boston, the question of where to live can be quite daunting.  In my first year at Fletcher, I chose to live in Blakeley Hall, a dormitory specifically for Fletcher students.  Much like any housing situation, living in Blakeley has its advantages and disadvantages.  Blakeley has space for around 80 students.  Each student has a private bedroom within a suite that has a living room shared with one or two other students.  There is one bathroom on each floor, shared between four or five people (two suites).  The kitchen, common room, and laundry room are shared by everyone.  There are seven separate towers, each with its own door, and they do not interconnect.  So what does this mean for a student who chooses to live at Blakeley, and what kind of students decide to live there?  I interviewed a few students who lived there with me last year to capture the different experiences they had.

Eric, Canada:

1) Your favorite thing about living in Blakeley: My favorite things about living in Blakeley were the spontaneous moments of fun that were enabled by living with 80 other Fletcher students: participating in an impromptu cricket match or poker game; sharing a drink or meal with others on a Monday night, just because; and the always lively discussions on topics such as nuclear proliferation, Pakistani politics, or Tibet’s struggle for independence, which were a regular part of a dinner conversation.

2) Your least favorite aspect of living in Blakeley: Sharing a bathroom with four other people, sharing a fridge with 12, and having to go outside to get to the kitchen.

3) Your Blakeley memory: I will remember the kindness and generosity of my fellow Blakeley residents when they offered to share their home-cooked Indian meals, apple pies, and Thanksgiving feasts.

Justin, America:

1) Your favorite thing: The three-minute commute to class.

2) Your least favorite aspect: The towers are not interconnected.

3) Your Blakeley memory: Unexpectedly getting amazing spiced tea from Elba on the way to class in the morning.

Jessica, America:

1) Your favorite thing: My favorite aspect of living at Blakeley was the community.  I got to live and learn with 83 wonderful people.  Whenever I needed a break from studying, I always went to the kitchen to have tea and talk.  There were parties, barbecues, and Game of Thrones evenings.  There were midnight birthday celebrations and snowball fights.  Living at Blakeley helped me make many close friendships, and I am so grateful that I have those people in my life.

2) Your least favorite aspect: The shared kitchen.  So many people in one kitchen: it got rather cozy at times.  I got to try some amazing food, though!

3) Your Blakeley memory: My Blakeley memory is our “Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner” that was held the Sunday before the actual holiday.  Thanksgiving is a big celebration in my family, and I wanted to share the tradition with my friends.  With the help of many Blakeley residents, we made dinner for about 50 people — including two 20-lb turkeys, 15 lbs of mashed potatoes, 10 lbs of apple crisp, salad, stuffing, cornbread, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, brownies, and more.  It was incredible to see how many people pitched in to help with the cooking and the decoration of the common room.  It was a fun night, and it helped distract us from thoughts of our upcoming finals!

Deepti, India:

1) Your favorite thing: It’s the perfect place to get to know your new classmates well and adjust to a new environment or country!

2) Your least favorite aspect: The space constraint.

3) Your Blakeley memory: Impromptu conversations over food in the common kitchen!

Xiaodon, America:

1) Your favorite thing: Being able to duck back home for a coffee break between classes.

2) Your least favorite aspect: Overcrowding in the kitchen.

3) Your Blakeley memory: Too many.  Here’s a random one: epic essay-drafting all-nighter in the common room near exam period with Fedra, Clare, Cilu, Caleb, Juanita, and other sleep-deprived supporting characters.

Sid, India:

1) Your favorite thing: Feeling of community — I made friends from all over the world.  The kitchen was one of my favorite places (also one of the reasons that prompted me to move out) as I got to make new friends.

2) Your least favorite aspect: The kitchen and the laundry room were too far from my room, especially during winters.

3) Your Blakeley memory: FRIENDS!

Paula, America:

1) Your favorite thing: My favorite thing about living in Blakeley was the chance to become good friends with people from all over the world.  I think living in a dorm together inevitably builds a special sense of camaraderie among Blakeley residents that’s otherwise harder to come by in a graduate program.

2) Your least favorite aspect: My least favorite thing about living in Blakeley is having to share a kitchen with 80+ other people.

3) Your Blakeley memory: My favorite Blakeley memory is Thanksgiving 2013 — everyone cooked and ate together and there was truly a feeling of Blakeley being a second family for all of us.

Diane, Australia (that’s me):

1) Your favorite thing: Being able to take a nap between classes.

2) Your least favorite aspect: The kitchen, particularly if you don’t live in a tower that interconnects with it.

3) Your Blakeley memory: The snow day — everyone went to Fletcher Field and had a giant snowball fight, and then we came inside and made pancakes and hot chocolate.

So you can see, living in Blakeley can be lively, convenient, entertaining, and full of fun, but it also has its downsides, particularly if you like to cook a lot on your own.  I am glad I got to experience an American dorm, and was able to live for a year on the Tufts campus, which is beautiful in all seasons.

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Pulling Fletcher events into a list in February inspired us to do the same for the post-Spring Break weeks of March.  Here’s the jam-packed calendar that Christine put together for us, noting that she hoped students returned well enough rested to take advantage of everything going on.

March 23: Charles Francis Adams Lecture by General Knud Bartels, Chairman, NATO Military Committee, NATO: Current and Future Challenges

March 23: 2015 Leontief Prize: Macroeconomics in the Age of Climate Change, to be awarded to Duncan Foley and Lance Taylor for improving our understanding of the relationships between environmental quality and the macroeconomy

March 25: Diplomatic Tradecraft U.S. Department of State Speaker Series featuring Fred M. Boll, deputy director of the Office of International Migration in the Department of State’s Bureau of Populations, Refugees and Migration, Political Reporting Diplomatic Tradecraft – Researching, Analyzing, and Reporting on International Political Events and Trends

March 25: The Future of American Superpower: Implications for Security, Politics, and Markets with Ian Bremmer, founder and president of Eurasia Group, and James Stavridis, Dean of The Fletcher School

March 26: Supply Chains for Relief and Development Converge: Case Study of the Ebola Response in Liberia, with Jarrod Goentzel

March 26: “Markers of Country Fragility” with Professor Nassim Taleb, distinguished professor of Risk Engineering at NYU’s School of Engineering

March 27: Celebrating Bill Martel, a celebration of the life of beloved Fletcher professor

March 30: A conversation with Brian Moynihan, CEO, Bank of America, moderated by James Stavridis, Dean of The Fletcher School

March 31: Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis and the International Security Studies Program present: Symposium on New Dynamics in Japanese Security Policy

March 31: The Military at Home and Out Front: Personal Perspectives from the American military featuring active-duty and reserve Fletcher students and Veterans

March 31: Digital Humanitarians: This talk charts the rise of Digital Humanitarians and describes how their humanity coupled with innovative solutions to Big Data is changing humanitarian response forever.

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