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Debate WatchHere it is, folks.  The final debate of the 2016 presidential election cycle.  And you’re probably thinking that you’d like to connect with Fletcher for the event.  Well, you can.  Several groups have put together a Fletcher Debate Watch.  Once it gets rolling, you can follow along on Twitter at #FletcherDebateWatch

Engage the debateWondering what other debate-related activities are happening at Tufts?  Engage the Debate is a watch party for the general University community.  Featuring Fletcher professor Katrina Burgess, the event kicks off with a panel discussion, which will be available via a live stream.

In fact, the University has a bunch of different election-related events coming up.  Check them out!  And the Tisch College’s JumboVote 2016 site is a great resource for other election news.

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Even if you’ve only been reading the Admissions Blog for a short time, you may have noticed that I have trouble keeping up with everything happening at Fletcher.  Sigh.  Alas, there’s no easy solution to that problem, but I’m always happy to make lemonade out of lemons!  I can help you catch up with the news after it happens!  With that in mind, and in case you missed it, I’m delighted to point you toward the places where you can read up on a couple of big events at Fletcher this month.

Last week, Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context hosted a huge conference, “Greece’s Turn?”  You can catch up with much of the happenings on Twitter at #GreecesTurn.

And earlier this month, Professor Daniel Drezner organized The Ideas Industry conference, which you can also review on Twitter at #FletcherIdeas.  Even better, you can watch many of the sessions.

And now, back to my regular admissions work.  I’m due to present an information session to some of our 50+ participants in today’s Admissions Visit Day!

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While the rest of us enjoy a long weekend in the local area, a group of students, faculty, and staff are in Reykjavik, Iceland for the annual Arctic Circle AssemblyProfessor Rockford Weitz, who heads the Fletcher’s Maritime Studies Program describes the Assembly as “the world’s largest gathering of Arctic-oriented policy makers, business people, and other stakeholders.”

This is the second year that Fletcher has participated, and our students, professors, staff members, and alumni represent the largest non-Icelandic academic delegation at the Assembly.

Here are the details, courtesy of Professor Weitz’s email in which he invited students to apply to participate:

The opening Arctic presents a myriad of interdisciplinary challenges and opportunities that demonstrate the unique value of a Fletcher education.  No other graduate school could prepare you to understand the truly interdisciplinary nature of the geopolitical, diplomatic, scientific, environmental, sustainable development, national security, international law, macroeconomic, global trade, technology, shipping, energy, migration, human security, and international business implications of an opening Arctic.  Here’s the Arctic Circle Assembly’s program.

The Fletcher-organized panels are:

♦  Rethinking Shared Interests in Arctic Oil and Gas: Can We Actually Manage More Effectively?, Professor Bill Moomaw
♦  Reimagining the Arctic as the World’s Data Center, Fletcher Institute for Business In the Global Context Research Fellow Caroline Troein, F14
♦  BlueTech Innovation for a Sustainable Arctic, Fletcher Maritime Studies Program
♦  Status of Earth Observations in the Arctic, Professor Paul Berkman
♦  Arctic High Seas: Building Common Interests in the Arctic Ocean, Professor Paul Berkman

As you can see, Fletcher has deep expertise in Arctic topics.  In addition to Fletcher’s contributions at the Arctic Circle Assembly, Fletcher students will be organizing — for the sixth year in a row — the Fletcher Arctic Conference on Saturday, February 18, 2017.  It’s always a great event and conveniently located right here in Medford.  Please mark your calendars!

I meant to publish this post yesterday (Thursday), but my reward for procrastinating is a photo of the Fletcher delegation, courtesy of second-year MALD Angga.


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It has taken me a while to get to it, but I promised to share details on the questions I was answering at last week’s Idealist Grad School Fair in Washington, DC.  As it happens, not too many discrete themes jumped out at me, but I did answer a lot of questions about studying environment issues at Fletcher.  Quite a few times, I took my business card and scribbled CIERP on the back, before passing the card along with instructions to Google it.

Fletcher has had an international environment program for as long as I can remember and the program has become stronger by the year.  The faculty and staff are regularly getting out there and making important contributions to environment discussions on the international stage.  I encourage everyone to check the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy website for details on recent scholarly works and upcoming special events.

Meanwhile, a recent Tufts Now update provided the following news on CIERP faculty and staff members:

Kelly Sims Gallagher, F00, F03, an associate professor at the Fletcher School, and her team have won a Minerva Award for their study “Rising Power Alliances and the Threat of a Parallel Global Order: Understanding BRICS Mobilization.”  The three-year project will develop a multidisciplinary framework to address the changing definitions and compositions of global alliances and coalitions.  The Minerva Initiative is a Department of Defense-sponsored, university-based social science research initiative focusing on areas of strategic importance to U.S. national security policy.

William R. Moomaw, co-director of the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) and professor emeritus of international environmental policy at the Fletcher School, was lauded for his trailblazing research in global climate change and his influential teaching career at an event at Tufts on Sept. 12.  The event also highlighted the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP), which Moomaw founded in 1992 to advance international environment and resource policy as a field of study at Fletcher.  The celebration concluded with a presentation by Avery Cohn, the inaugural recipient of the William R. Moomaw Professorship of International Environment and Resource Policy, about his research examining how policies can promote sustainable global land use and the natural resiliency of tropical forests.

Mieke van der Wansem, F90, associate director of educational programs at the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP) at the Fletcher School, led a one-day training workshop on “Reaching Sustainable Solutions Through Effective Negotiation” in partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Sustainability Challenge Foundation at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Oahu, Hawaii.  The goal was to help conservation professionals achieve nature conservation goals through effective stakeholder engagement and negotiation with other sectors and neighboring communities.

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In case this passed you by, last Saturday Tufts was the host for a meeting of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the Quintet of Foreign Ministers (from the European Union, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy).  The student-run campus newspaper, the Tufts Daily, covered the event, as did the Fletcher communications team.  And the University’s communications group provided photos.


Plus, there was all the usual tweeting, including from Secretary Kerry (who, I’ll note, was the senator from Massachusetts for many years and still has a home in Boston).

Kerry with students

Some of the people in the photos are Fletcher students who had the opportunity to meet with the six diplomats at the on-campus home of Tufts president Anthony Monaco.  Rafael (second from the left in the back row), a second-year MALD student from Germany, told me that a mix of U.S. and international students with relevant language skills or geographic origins were the ones chosen.

My favorite tweet on the subject came from a student who needed to split her attention between Saturday’s dignitaries and her own foreign language proficiency exam, which was offered for the first time of the year.


I think Kerney’s comment perfectly sums up the time-management challenges that students face every week at Fletcher!  So many exciting events!  But also…school.


I wrote last week about skills workshops that the Ginn Library will offer this fall, and there’s no denying that technology (teaching it, managing it) is a major component of the library staff’s work.  But books remain the defining characteristic of a library, and Ginn Library assistant, Lori Zimmerman, recently shared information about a special new collection.

Late in August, a delivery arrived from Dean Stavridis’s office: a cart filled with books by Fletcher faculty and alumni, most with handwritten dedications from their authors to Dean Stavridis or his predecessor, Dean Stephen Bosworth.  The books have been placed on display outside the reference and technology offices in the library’s main reading room, and the three packed shelves provide a visual representation of the impressive scholarly work by Fletcher faculty members and graduates.

The diverse book cover designs hint at the breadth of the Fletcher community’s areas of interest.  Laurent Jacque’s Global Derivative Debacles: From Theory to Malpractice, its cover showing a digital illustration of a tightrope walker suspended between mountains of numerical data, sits above Leila Tarazi Fawaz’s A Land of Aching Hearts: The Middle East in the Great War, its cover showing an early-twentieth-century photograph.

Thank you to Dean Stavridis for providing this sample of his personal book collection.  We invite anyone to come in and browse through the books; if one piques your interest, it’s likely the library has a copy available to be checked out and read at your leisure.


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FletcherChatYou might have heard that there’s a U.S. presidential election coming up in November.  And also that the first of the debates will take place tonight, Monday.  To help you with your day-after processing of the evening’s discussions, join Fletcher’s Professor Daniel Drezner for post-debate analysis.  You can find him on Twitter tomorrow, Tuesday, at 10:00 a.m. EDT (UTC -4).  Use #FletcherChat to send your questions.

Should you be interested in some background reading, you can check out Professor Drezner’s views on many topics, including but not limited to politics and international affairs, on his Washington Post blog.


Most Fletcher students have multiple academic objectives in mind when they enroll.  At the same time as they’re looking to expand their general understanding of the international affairs world, they also want to build specific skills that will help them in their career.  Beyond the usual in-class opportunities (public speaking, accounting, etc.), there are often out-of-class opportunities to focus on a key area that will support future work.  This morning, Ginn Library sent information about workshops offered cooperatively by Ginn along with the University’s Tisch Library and Data Lab.  Each workshop meets once for about 90 minutes.  Here’s what’s on offer this fall.

Collecting geospatial data using GPS handheld units: GPS is changing the way users collect and manage geographic data.  You will learn how to record locations and other survey variables in the field using GPS handheld units.  This field data can then be used for spatial analysis and visualization in ArcGIS and other open source applications, such as google earth and QGIS.

Collecting geospatial data using Survey 123 (phone app):  You will learn how to record locations and other survey variables in the field using Survey 123 (phone app).  This field data can then be used for spatial analysis and visualization in ArcGIS and other open source applications, such as google earth and QGIS.

An Introduction to Quantum GIS (QGIS): QGIS is a free, open-source software that allows you to create, edit, visualize, analyze and publish geospatial information on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.  More and more NGOs and international organizations are utilizing QGIS for their mapping and data visualization needs.  This workshop is ideal for students who have introductory knowledge of ArcGIS.  During this workshop, you will learn the basics of QGIS, including topics such as projections, selections,  layer styling, and map composition.

Mapping Open Data with R: Know the basics of R already?  Add a few lines of code to create beautiful, visually engaging maps for your next project.  This workshop will walk you through the basics of loading and manipulating open statistical and geospatial data in RStudio to create high-quality maps.  You will create choropleth maps of USA and Massachusetts using American Community Survey (ACS) data, world development indicators from the World Bank, and maps of point density and elevation.  Familiarity with data frames, installation of R packages, and geospatial data (shapefiles, rasters, projections) highly recommended.

These sessions are completely optional, but open to anyone who sees a future use for these skills.

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It’s the second week of classes (the first full week, since last week included a holiday and shopping day), and the calendar of out-of-class events already looks like this:

September 12 calendar

How does that happen?  The community goes from zero to 60 in no time flat.  Our inboxes are suddenly flooded with notices of special events, campus jobs, and administrative announcements.  But now’s also the time when students have a few extra moments to attend a special event, and those events play an important role in building the community.  It’s a challenge to stay on top of everything that’s happening, but it’s a worthy one.

(A simplified calendar of events that may be open to the public can be found on the Fletcher website.)


The launch of a new degree program is a big deal at Fletcher!  After a couple of years of planning, Dean Stavridis recently signed an agreement with the College of Europe in Belgium to launch the Master in Transatlantic Affairs (MTA).  Though similar to a dual degree, in that two schools are involved, the MTA is a unified program that requires study at the two institutions and an internship to earn the degree.  The first MTA students are expected in September 2017.  If you might be interested in the program, please contact us!

You can read Fletcher’s report on the program’s establishment, or check out the details from College of Europe.  Meanwhile, here’s the signing ceremony:

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