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When I was walking from my bus to Fletcher this morning, I was struck by how lovely the campus looks.  We’ve had a hot and dry summer, but this morning was cool and clear — a taste of what September and the fall will bring.

Though the weather and Orientation have us looking toward the fall semester, today I’m going to look back at some of the summer’s news that you may or may not have seen in other Fletcher sources.

I’ll start with something you won’t have read, but it’s pretty cool.  Tufts will have an observer team at the United Nations climate negotiations (COP 22) in Marrakech, Morocco in November, and students were invited to apply to participate.  The team at the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy will submit the nominations for official observer status.

And speaking of CIERP, the crew there is always busy in the summer.  Mieke van der Wansem, F90, associate director for educational programs at CIERP, spent part of her summer with an international group of sustainability professionals at an executive education course organized by the Sustainability Challenge Foundation in the Netherlands.  She co-led the faculty of the International Programme on the Management of Sustainability, which focused on negotiation and consensus building.

Not new CIERP news, but a new wrap up — check out this Tufts Now story on the Paris Climate Conference.

Continuing with the staff/faculty theme, Professor Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church told us about a new blog on corruption in fragile states that, she wrote, touches on many areas of interest to the Fletcher community, including “power analysis, systems thinking, aid ineffectiveness, good governance, fragile states etc.”  She also explained that many of the posts are derived from work that Professor Diana Chigas and she are doing, “looking at the intersection of corruption, justice and legitimacy.”

In news from the Institute for Business in the Global Context, Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti, PhD student Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi, and MALD/PhD graduate Ben Mazzotta, have posed the question, “What countries would benefit most from a cashless world?”  Their answer, which builds on the work of their Digital Evolution Index and the Cost of Cash research, can be found in their Harvard Business Review article that evaluates “the absolute costs of using cash around the globe to find what countries could unlock the most value by moving to a cashless society.”

And now some summer news about alumni.

Christina Sass, F09, is one of four co-founders of the two-year-old startup company, Andela, which is now backed by both Google and the Chan-Zuckerberg Foundation.  So many of our students and alumni work with small organizations, and it’s exciting to see one receive so much love!

Since graduating, Patrick Kabanda, F13, has been busy writing on cultural development for the World Bank, including “Creative Natives in the Digital Age”, “Music for Development in the Digital Age”, “The Arts, Africa and Economic Development: The problem of Intellectual Property Rights,” “Mozart seduces the World Bank and the IMF” (a blog post), and just recently, for the Inter-American Development Bank, “‘The World Sends Us Garbage, We Send Back Music’: Lessons from the Recycled Orchestra in Paraguay.”

And finally, Fletcher has developed a series of video answers to the question, “Why Fletcher?”  This summer, Elise Crane, F11, offered her perspective.

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And just like that, the quiet of summer is a thing of the past and the Hall of Flags is filled with students, newly arrived for Orientation.  They’ve picked up their ID cards, been welcomed by Tufts University’s president and several Fletcher deans, and are currently relaxing over lunch.  We hope the break will fortify them in advance of the afternoon’s briefings on myriad essential topics.

Orientation isn’t all critical-fact gathering — most evenings include a social event.  But it’s a busy week that should leave the newest members of our community with a suitcase of essential background information, along with familiarity with the campus and a bunch of new friends.

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LivesLimboTufts University undergraduates are encouraged to participate in a Common Reading program, which this year features the book Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America, by Roberto G. Gonzales.  Fletcher students are invited to participate, too.  Maybe you’d like to read the book, or maybe you have already read it.  Either way, watch the program page for notices on related activities.  The author will be speaking on campus in October, and the topic of his talk and of the book is relevant to many Fletcher students’ interests.

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In the first phase of returning to the student-filled place that Fletcher usually is, the students taking pre-session classes start their 2016-17 studies today!  Two classes are offered: Strategic Management (required for MIB students, open to all others) and Design and Monitoring of Peacebuilding and Development Programming, which is the first in a three-course Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation series.

Pre-session students are busy.  We won’t find them hanging out much in the Hall of Flags.  But welcoming them is a significant step toward the fall semester.

 

World Elephant DayI’m informed by Ginn Library’s Ellen McDonald that today is World Elephant Day and Tufts is joining the fight to stop poaching and ivory trafficking.  A new initiative, Jumbos for Jumbos, seeks “to achieve tangible outcomes that will advance elephant conservation, as well as educate the university and community at large.”  Ellen also wrote about the challenges faced by elephants for the Fletcher Forum.

With the resources of our veterinary college and with an elephant (Jumbo, of course) as the university mascot, supporting the conservation of elephants is a natural cause for Tufts University.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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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