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You may remember that last August, the World Peace Foundation introduced itself on the blog via three posts by Prof. Bridget Conley-Zilkic, and one of those posts described WPF’s annual student seminar competition.  Well, the competition took place last fall, and the resulting conference will take place this week.

Darfur Village Abandoned after Heavy ClashesUnlearning Violence: Evidence and Policies for Early Childhood Development and Peace” will feature “the best ongoing research in fields related to early childhood development and violence and peace.” It has been organized with the support of the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University (interesting collaboration!) and the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University.  I realize I haven’t given you much advance notice, but you can still register to attend.  Once you read through the agenda, I’m sure you’ll be tempted.

As I mentioned, the conference grew out of the student seminar competition, and two proposals on the same topic were selected.  The two teams of competition winners (with an impressive showing from first-year students!) worked together to create the seminar.  The students are:  Madeeha Ansari (second-year MALD), Jack Berger (first-year MALD), Maria Rita Borba (first-year MALD), Taryn Campbell (second-year MALD), Suh Yonn Kang (second-year MALD), Daniel Orth (second-year MALD), Tina Robiolle-Moul (PhD candidate), and Roberta Sotomaior (first-year MALD).  Congratulations to all of the conference organizers!  It should be a terrific and informative event.

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Cornelia-Schneider1Blog readers who follow Fletcher news through other sources (Facebook, Twitter, the Fletcher website) will already have read that Cornelia (Connie) Schneider F’06 has been selected for the inaugural Fletcher Women’s Leadership Award.  Sometimes I avoid topics that have received thorough attention in other media platforms — there’s not much value added from my comments.  In this case, though, I thought I’d add a few personal reflections.

First, I’m really happy that Fletcher has launched an initiative like this.  Truth be told, the U.S. never makes much of International Women’s Day, and it’s great that Fletcher will play its role in ensuring the day is not ignored.

But more important, there’s a reason why some of us are drawn to continue our work at Fletcher over a long period of time, and that reason is the interactions we have with our fantastic students.  I remember Connie from her time at Fletcher and, though I have not remained in direct contact with her, I hear about her now and then through others.  I consider it a great privilege to play a role (however small) in the career development of the extraordinary students who spend a few years of their life here.  Taking time for a graduate program offers students like Connie, who would have been in her late 20s when she applied, a chance to further their knowledge and consolidate all they have learned through their professional experience.  Reading about Connie’s accomplishments is a mid-admissions-season reminder on why admissions work, which opens the door for these interesting people to have this career-building opportunity, is so satisfying and important.

But back to Connie and the award.  According to the official announcement:  The Fletcher Women’s Leadership Award was established in 2014 by the Fletcher Board of Advisors and the School’s executive leadership to honor outstanding women graduates who are making a meaningful impact in the world in the private, public, and NGO sectors.  Connie currently leads Access to Justice initiatives for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a position she has held since December 2012. Her team works to implement projects that increase access to legal services for victims of sexual violence and seeks to diminish impunity for heinous crimes in the Eastern DRC — one of the most dangerous and troubled regions of the world.

In publications and press releases, Fletcher will often (quite naturally) focus on the alumni who are most prominent in their fields.  I have always thought there is also real benefit to highlighting the day-to-day work of graduates who represent the majority of our alumni — those who go out in the world and make their mark, while not necessarily generating headlines.  The award for Connie Schneider helps correct that imbalance in coverage just a little, and I’m excited to help spread the word about the award and the way it brings well-deserved attention to the extraordinary work that Connie has done throughout the world.

(Photo credit: Raphael Kopper)

 

Having a chance to meet some admitted students was a nice treat yesterday.  It’s fun to reconstitute the paper applicants back into real people.

And speaking of application reading/reviewing, our work continues.  Monday to Thursday, there’s generally a staff member at home, tackling a mountain of applications.  Since we had visitors yesterday, today both Liz and Laurie are reading at home.  On Thursday, both Dan and I will be grabbing files.  We also manage to squeeze in a little in-office reading, though some of us (Dan) are better at that than others (me — perpetually prone to distractions).

So, with everything moving along, I thought I’d share two quick notes today.

The first is that there’s a LinkedIn page for Fletcher that provides some information on careers of our alumni.  Of course, it only reflects the careers of alumni who have linked to it, but it’s still loaded with interesting info.

The second note is that a current student let me know about a blog she has been compiling on India’s upcoming election, which will run from April to May.  Shruti is a second-year MALD student who told me the blog analyzes election data, and she has been using the GIS skills she learned at Fletcher to aid in her analysis.  Read Shruti’s thoughts during the lead-up to the vote on her Indian Election Blog.

 

I never attend as many special lectures as I would want, but it’s always good to know that they’re happening and that students have the opportunity to broaden their education beyond the classroom by attending.  The series developed by the The Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC) for this spring looks particularly interesting.  In announcing the line-up, the folks over at IBGC describe the IBGC Speaker Series as having “provided Fletcher students with substantive networking and recruiting opportunities with relevant global business leaders for the past 12 years.”  Updates to the lineup can be found on Twitter @IBGC_Fletcher.


January 2014

  • Wed. 1/22 – Susan Livingston, Partner, Brown Brothers Harriman
  • Thur. 1/23 ­– Ashish Karamchandani, Partner, Monitor Inclusive Markets, Monitor Deloitte India
  • Wed. 1/29 – Jeff Dodson (GMAP ’12), EVP, Strawn, Arnold & Associates

February 2014

  • Mon. 2/10 – Theodore Forbath, Global VP, FrogDesign
  • Wed. 2/26 – Dr. Mowaffak al Rubaie, Former Iraqi Security Advisor and Statesman in Residence at Fletcher

March 2014

  • Wed. 3/5 – Chip Ray, EVP, Chicago Bridge & Iron
  • Fri. 3/7 – Maria Gordon, F’98, EVP, PIMCO
  • Thurs. 3/13 – Willy Foote, CEO, Root Capital

2014 EVENTS – SAVE THE DATES

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Though between the hours of 8:00 and 5:30, today is a day like any other, the evening will find students scurrying from event to event.  The end-of-semester avalanche of special activities lines up like this:

Winter recital5:30:  Social Hour, hosted by the Ralph Bunche Society, with Cuban food.

6:00:  The annual debate between Professors Moomaw and Everett.  (A previous year’s debate will give you a taste of the likely energy-related content.)

7:15:  The Fletcher Winter Recital, featuring musical students, professors, and alumni.

10:30:  The Los Fletcheros fall gig at Johnny D’s, a club in Davis Square.  The place will be hopping!  (Doors open at 9:00.)

Midnight:  Reality sets in.  Classes are all but over, and exams loom on the near horizon.

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Many Fletcher student clubs and organizations are designed purely with fun in mind.  Case in point:  Fermentation 101.  But most students will also connect with an organization that links to their academic interests.  Today, second-year MALD student, Dara, tells us about her work with an activity that goes beyond the walls of Fletcher.

Like many volunteers, I became involved with the Tufts University Refugee Assistance Program (TU-RAP) in my first year at Fletcher because of my general interest in refugee issues.  TU-RAP pairs newly arrived refugee families in the Boston area with groups of Tufts University students.  The students visit the families’ homes regularly to lend a hand with anything the family members may need to orient themselves to life in the United States.  I learned that this may include assisting with bill paying, helping children with homework, practicing English, or teaching the family how to use public transportation.

TURAP logoAware that refugees can experience a great deal of difficulty assimilating into a new life and culture, I was really excited to join the program as a volunteer.  My group was paired with a small family from Chad: a father (Caleb), mother, and a newly born, beautiful little girl.  While the family spoke very little English, luckily two members of the volunteer group spoke moderate French.  After being cut off from the support of their resettlement agency, and with the father unable to work due to a medical condition, the family was having a hard time meeting their basic needs.  Fortunately, they received government food assistance and were permitted to stay free of charge in an apartment.  All other material necessities such as diapers and transportation fees were hard to obtain, though.

Despite their difficulties, the family did the utmost to welcome us into their home.  Each time we visited, we were provided with fresh fruit, soda and water.  While there was not much we could do to help Caleb find a job, because of his condition, we did what we could.  We practiced English with the family, helped them sort through mail, and brought over a French driving manual in preparation for Caleb’s road test.  Once, we even helped to read and translate documents to enroll the family in health insurance.  Completing the enrollment paperwork took the entire visit, but it was very rewarding to be able to help with something they needed so much.

While I’m sure our assistance really benefited the family, I think we as volunteers gained the most from the experience.  Having a close-up look at the difficulties refugees face gave us an awareness of the gravity of the problem, and helped us to appreciate the conveniences of our own lives.  What really affected me was how this family — completely uprooted from their country, isolated from their relatives, and placed in a foreign country where they neither speak the language nor know the culture — remains positive.  Until this day, I speak often to my Chadian family and am happy to know that they consider me a friend.  For me, TU-RAP has been a life changing experience.  For that reason, I joined TU-RAP leadership this year to ensure that more students and refugees in need benefit from this program.

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With students from around the world, the Fletcher community acts quickly in response to regional disasters.  Since Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda struck the Philippines, students have started to organize fund-raising activities, and I’m sure we’ll have details on their plans this week.

Meanwhile, readers might be interested in the work of a graduate of Fletcher’s PhD program, Patrick Meier.  Through a current student, Patrick sent this message to the community over the weekend:

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs just activated the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN) in response to Typhoon Yolanda, which has already been described as possibly one of the strongest Category 5 storms in history.  The Standby Volunteer Task Force (SBTF) was in turn activated by the DHN to carry out a rapid needs and damage assessment by tagging reports posted to social media.  So colleagues and I have launched MicroMappers in partnership with the SBTF to micro-task the tagging of tweets.  We need all the help we can get given the volume we’ve collected (and are continuing to collect).  This is where you come in!

In short, Patrick is part of team that is calling on individuals to monitor posts to social media as a means of determining where need is greatest in typhoon-struck areas of the Philippines.  He has asked Fletcher students to jump in and help.  Blog readers are also invited to be part of this effort.  Details , as well as a live crisis map, can be found on Patrick’s blog.

 

deanDean Stavridis joined us here at Fletcher just last July, and we’ve all been enjoying getting to know him.  Lucky for us, our opportunities to learn what he thinks extend beyond meetings or occasional interactions in the Hall of Flags.  Here are some sources of info on the Dean:

•  An article in Tufts Magazine that was also featured on the Tufts Now site.
•  His own blog, “To Know the World,” which also includes videos created in October and September.
•  Op-Ed pieces in publications, such as The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading some of Dean Stavridis’s writing or viewing his videos.  For briefer, but more regular, updates, you can also visit his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter.

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Tomorrow and Saturday, many students will be participating in the International Security Studies Program’s Simulex event.  Not only students, in fact, but also experts from U.S. War Colleges, National Defense University, Military Service Academies, and several other local universities.  The flyer announcing Simulex invites students to, “Develop and put your negotiation and crisis management skills to practice and save the (simulated) world!  Test your wits against your fellow students, senior political-military officials, and U.S. Government war gaming experts.”

What to know what the simulation will involve?  You can check out the program details or read the background scenario.

 

Still catching up with some news from the summer (however distant a memory summer might be), I’m happy to shine a light on all that GMAP has been up to.  Thanks to Adeline Wong (GMAP admissions manager) for writing up all the details of their busy summer.

Welcome to our newest Fletcher students, and a big welcome back to returning students, faculty, and staff!  For most of Fletcher, summer is a time of travel, research, and regrouping before the following academic year.  For the Global Master of Arts Program at Fletcher, it is a time of peak excitement and activity.

GMAP is a hybrid, mid-career master’s degree program that combines three two-week residencies with 33 weeks of online instruction.  New classes start each March and July and complete the program one year later.  Because students come together only three times a year, each of these residencies are intense experiences, with classroom sessions from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, supplemented with invited speakers, social events, and of course, great meals and stimulating conversations.

Over the summer, there were three GMAP residencies.  The first was the closing residency for the July Class of 2012-2013.  This was GMAP’s 22nd Commencement exercise.  Traditionally, the program invites a GMAP alumnus to return as Commencement speaker, and this July, GMAP was delighted to welcome back Mark Mullinix (GMAP ’11), First Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The class elected as their Class Speaker Khaled Mansour (GMAP13), an Egyptian journalist and novelist who was, until recently, Director of Communications at UNICEF.  Professor Peter Walker, a member of GMAP’s faculty, provided the farewell from the faculty.

July Class of 2012-13

As GMAP celebrated its newest alumni group, we were also delighted to welcome its newest students, the July Class of 2013-14, who began their first residency on July 29.  This new class of 38 students, representing some 20 different countries, came from the fields of energy, diplomacy, military, non-government organizations, business, finance, and law.  Amidst orientation, classes, meals and speakers, the class also indulged in a long Tufts tradition – cannon painting!  They also met Dean Jim Stavridis during his first few weeks as dean, when he shared his thoughts on returning to Fletcher after his years in the Navy.

July Class of 2013-14

GMAP then had its third residency, this time with our March Class of 2013-14 at their midyear international residency in Berlin, Germany.  Each GMAP class travels to an international location for one of the three residencies, where they immerse themselves in the political, economic and social concerns of the country, especially as it relates to their studies.  In Berlin, GMAPers found themselves in the front row viewing conversations on Germany’s economic and political reality in the European Union.  Staying at a hotel just minutes from the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Wall, the Bundestag, and Checkpoint Charlie, the GMAP students, faculty, and staff also gained a deep appreciation for Germany and Europe’s history.

One of the highlights of the Berlin residency was the interaction that the GMAP Class had with Ambassador Klaus Scharioth — a distinguished Fletcher alumnus who was the former State Secretary of the German Foreign Office and the former German Ambassador to the United States (2006-2011) — and with Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, also an alum and former German Ambassador to the United States (2001-2006).  Ambassador Ischinger invited the GMAP students and Fletcher alumni to an incredible evening at the Allianz Forum, located in the shadows of the Brandenburg Gate.  He also hosted a dinner followed by a discussion with distinguished thinkers: Ambassador Scharioth, Dr. Helmut Anheier, Dean of the Hertie School of Governance, and Dr. Jörg Rocholl, President of the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT).  The conversation delved into Germany’s identity, the European crisis, and transatlantic relations.  You may have seen Dean Deborah Nutter’s interview with the two ambassadors in front of the Brandenburg gate on Dean Stavridis’ blog.

In addition, some 20 GMAP alumni met in Berlin for an Alumni Weekend consisting of continuing education classes, as well as social events which built new networks among the alumni and the students.

The GMAP March Class of 2013-14, in front of the Bundestag

It was a wonderful summer for GMAP, filled with warm welcomes to new students, jubilant congratulations to new alumni, and a renewal of friendships among continuing students.  We could not ask for a better way to start the new academic year!

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