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A couple of weeks ago, I noticed the second in a series of event announcements, each of which invited students to come and chat, over coffee, with a professor or fellow student. Great idea! So I contacted the organizer, Ameya, for details. Ameya told me:
The idea for these chats came about from a conversation early last year between some of us who had Prof. Chayes as our faculty adviser. She has, as you know, a wealth of experience; we were all interested in learning more about her career and interests, but it was hard to do this in ten-to-fifteen minute office hour conversations, plus it was repetitive for Prof. Chayes, as well. So we set up a combined chat for an hour or so, which all her advisees attended, and it was a tremendously valuable and informative experience.
Based off that, I started setting up similar chats — maybe once a month — with other professors. At some point, it also became clear there were students and alumni with valuable experience in specific areas, so this year I’ve started alternating between faculty and student/alumni speakers. I’ve consistently found the sessions both valuable, as well as reassuring, in that everyone has had a roundabout path to where they currently are in their careers.
I really love this idea, especially the conversations with students, which formalizes the commonly stated opinion that there’s much to be learned from one’s peers here. Plus, it’s an example of how a student can create a new Fletcher tradition, and I hope that Ameya’s idea will be carried forward even after he has graduated.
Earlier this year, the Institute for Business in a Global Context took a look back at what it has accomplished in its first three years (and what it currently does) in pursuit of its mission to focus “on the interplay between global business and the key forces that shape the context in which enterprises operate.” The result was a nice publication! Take a look!
This week has really been packed with special events, and today and tomorrow there are two of the week’s highlights.
Today: Many students with an interest in private sector or finance careers are currently in New York on a career trip sponsored by the International Business Club. Sites to be visited include the Federal Reserve of New York, Global Impact Investing Network, Control Risks, Eurasia Group, Falconhead Capital, Google, Oliver Wyman, Citi, Blackstone Group, Major League Soccer, Morgan Stanley, Monitor Deloitte, Scholastic, and others! Some, but not all, of the meetings will be hosted by Fletcher grads.
Later today and tomorrow: In another curricular area, Fletcher will be running Simulex, the annual international security exercise that this year will simulate a crisis in the Baltic region. The ISSP organizers tell us:
In the past, there have been as many as 200 students and visitors in attendance. Several of the Military War Colleges, The National Defense University, Military Service Academies and universities from around the country are represented. Students are assigned to country teams that make policy decisions for their respective states and experience how these decisions influence future events.
These are those just a few of those opportunities Diane mentioned in her post earlier this week.
Today I want to highlight a series of events that concluded last night, when members of the community were invited to participate in the final of three sessions focused on the Ebola virus and the current outbreak. The sessions have reflected the depth and breadth of knowledge on the subject that could be drawn together at Tufts University and the Boston community. In an email, Tufts Provost David Harris noted:
The Ebola crisis epitomizes the inextricable linkages between human, animal, and environmental health, an approach referred to as “One Health,” and will require a multinational and multidisciplinary response. At Tufts, we are uniquely positioned to contribute to a One Health response and research agenda, given the constellation of schools and departments that span the humanities, social sciences, human and veterinary medicine, and environmental sciences.
The agenda for last night was:
Ebola: Mutations, Markets, and the Military
Wednesday, November 5, 6:30pm |ASEAN
Dr. Gian Luca Burci, Legal counsel to World Health Organization
Dr. Rachel Glennester, Executive Director of J-Pal, IGC Economist-Sierra Leone
Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, Director, Infection Control at NEIDL, Boston University
Benjamin Spatz, Arms Expert, UN Panel of Experts Liberia, and current Fletcher PhD student
Moderated by Fletcher Academic Dean Ian Johnstone
The prior forums included:
Ebola Outbreak: Causes and Consequences at a Global Scale
Keynote speaker: Dr. Joia Mukherjee, Partners in Health, Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Margaret McMillan, Economics Department, Tufts University
Dr. Elena Naumova, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University
Dr. Rosalind Shaw, Department of Anthropology, Tufts University
Dr. Christopher Whittier, Center for Conservation Medicine, Tufts University
Ethical Considerations of the Ebola Outbreak
Dr. Richard Glickman-Simon, Physician-ethicist
Dr. Horacio Hojman, Physician-ethicist
Dr. Sheldon Krimsky, Medical ethicist
Dr. Laura Epstein, CDC official
Marcia Boumil, Public health attorney
It’s energizing to be part of a community that can draw together such diverse expertise to shed light on a topic of global importance.
Although Fletcher is its own unit of Tufts University, it can also be seen as the graduate program for the University’s International Relations department. IR is one of the most commonly chosen majors for Tufts undergraduates and, because the major involves a relatively large number of requirements, the undergrad IR folks are pretty serious people.
Despite the occasional (o.k., annual) griping over undergraduates in Ginn Library, Fletcher students are genuinely supportive of their younger peers. Here are two examples.
Last night, the Ralph Bunche Society (RBS) at Fletcher invited undergrads to learn about their experiences in the IR field. RBS seeks to shine a light on the contributions that minorities and people of color have made in the field of international relations, and also to encourage students of color to consider educational and career opportunities in international affairs, which means this event was tied directly tied to the RBS mission. The RBS Facebook page provides some nice descriptions of the presenters, who sought through their comments to pave the way for the undergraduates to follow in their footsteps.
On an ongoing basis, Fletcher students also guide undergraduates via the “Fletcher Mentors” program. The program matches IR majors with Fletcher students who share similar academic or career objectives, in order to help the undergraduates develop their interests. They might have one-on-one meetings, or attend group networking events, and there is an online discussion group.
Of course, having a robust undergraduate IR program also opens opportunities for Fletcher students to work as teaching or research assistants, and to attend relevant events sponsored by other units of the University.
Recently two new (first-year) MALD students, Aditi Patel and Miranda Bogen, contacted me to ask if they might write about their interest in technology fields and their decision to attend Fletcher. Today I’m sharing their great introduction to the field at Fletcher. I should note briefly that while Aditi and Miranda are writing about their experience as MALD students, the opportunity to build in technology content is available to all students, especially those in the MIB and PhD programs.
We came to Fletcher because it is one of the leading schools of international affairs — but we also chose Fletcher because of its forward-thinking attitude toward technology, and its willingness to adapt its curriculum and resources to a changing world.
For us, it was critical to find a school that recognized the importance of technology in international affairs; from policy decision making, to crisis mapping, to the facilitation of international business. It is almost certain that at some point in our careers, we will need the skills and vocabulary to communicate with both engineers and clients to ensure that technology is deployed correctly, regardless of whether these clients are governments, non-profits, or businesses.
Fletcher has ample opportunities for students interested in technology in international affairs. Having recently created Tech @ Fletcher, the student club of the Hitachi Center for Technology and International Affairs, we decided to help students uncover those opportunities by gathering together some of the tech-related resources that we’ve discovered in our own application process and in our first few months on campus.
Fletcher’s flexible curriculum is ideal for “Tech MALDs” — students who are interested in focusing on technology. Students can choose to complete one or both Fields of Study in a related discipline (International Information & Communications is a good place to start), you can focus on a different primary Field of Study with a technology angle by petitioning for tech-related coursework to count for your Fields (or using them as electives), or you can petition to create your own field of study.
Courses that have a significant technology component include International Communication (which includes a heavy dose of internet infrastructure and governance, digital media, and intellectual property), Social Networks in Organizations (this is hard-core social network analysis, not Facebook 101), GIS for International Applications (mapping technology), Foundations of International Cybersecurity, Innovation for Sustainable Prosperity, Financial Inclusion – A Method for Development, and others that are added from semester to semester depending on visiting faculty.
Fletcher students can also cross-register for courses at Harvard Business School like Launching Technology Ventures, Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovations in Education, and Strategy and Technology, or take advantage of the proximity to MIT with courses such as Corporate Entrepreneurship: Strategies for Technology-Based New Business Development or Fundamentals of Digital Business Strategy.
At Fletcher, we’re lucky to have the Hitachi Center for Technology in International Affairs, which acts as a hub for tech-related events and resources. The center is very responsive to student involvement and will happily support student-proposed events that have something to do with technology. The Hitachi Center hosts lectures, film screenings and even brought Google’s Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen to discuss “The New Digital Age” last spring. The Hitachi Center also offers summer funding for students and faculty researching topics related to technology, which is a great resource for students looking to write their capstone on a topic in the field.
We were overwhelmed by the support we received from our professors and the administration to think about technology in the field of international affairs. Professor Carolyn Gideon, who teaches International Communications and manages the Hitachi Center, focuses on information and telecommunications policy; Professor Jenny Aker is the deputy director of the Hitachi Center and studies the impact of information/information technology on development outcomes; and Dean Stavridis even moderated a panel of Fletcher alumni at the South by Southwest conference on “Foreign Policy in the Digital Age.”
All of our fellow students we’ve met have slightly different interests (technology and governance, cybersecurity, ICT4D) and we are excited to be bringing these quickly-evolving issues into the wider Fletcher community. Over the rest of the year, we plan to use Tech @ Fletcher as a platform to create a curriculum guide for students hoping to create their own field or simply to build a solid foundation in tech as a part of other fields, work with the Office of Career Services to create more resources for students interested in a career involving technology, provide workshops and discussions on the tools we will need to manage technology-related issues in our future jobs, and communicate with our classmates and professors about the importance of technology, no matter what their main fields of study.
We both came to graduate school because we were convinced that we needed to better understand the implications of technology in our areas of study. With all the support and encouragement we have received from Fletcher, we know we made a great choice in picking a school that meets these needs!
There’s fresh information on the Office of Career Services page of the website with details about the internships that students pursued in summer 2014. The headline: 161 internships in 51 countries! Of those, 19% were with the U.S. government. Students provided the information directly via a survey.
It isn’t only the Admissions Office that is busy this time of year. Even while students are feeling the midterm heat, the daily parade of speakers and meetings continues, and community members manage to squeeze out the time to attend. Most recently, two conferences bracketed this week. The first, on Tuesday, “Thinking About Think Tanks,” was put together by Prof. Daniel Drezner, and my sources tell me it was a great success. The site includes the Twitter conversation, which will give you a sense of the atmosphere.
Closing out the week is today’s PhD conference. Organized by PhD program students, who also present papers or act as panel discussants, the annual event is this year entitled “Critical Perspectives: Contemporary Issues in International Relations.” More details can be found on the day’s schedule. This is the eighth PhD conference, and proceedings from previous events can be found on the conference website.
It isn’t like this is the one week of the semester offering a discussion-oriented event to enhance in-class learning. Next Friday, the community is invited to the inaugural presentation of the Initiative on Mass Atrocities and Genocide (IMAGe), a new collaborative effort between Fletcher and the broader Tufts community. This first event will feature four professors, each bringing a different lens to the topic of how we manage memories of violence. Details can be found here.
And while I’m linking to the calendar, I should point you to this newly useful resource. While we may, in the past, have been (ahem) relaxed about ensuring that every event was listed, you’ll now be able to learn about nearly everything happening outside the classroom every day.
I was chatting with a student last week, and she said something about her “180″ meeting. I had the vaguest sense that I had heard of this 180 thing before, but I needed to dig through my email to find information.
Having done the digging, I can report that Tufts is one of a small number of U.S. universities hosting 180 Degrees Consulting. Students from throughout the University were invited to apply to join as student consultants and team leaders. 180 Degrees Consulting emphasizes social impact, making the program a great fit for the Tufts group, which was especially interested in Fletcher students to serve as team leaders. Here’s some additional information from the group’s email to students:
What is 180 Degrees Consulting?
180 Degrees Consulting is the world’s largest pro-bono student consultancy. 180 Degrees Consultants work with nonprofit organizations and social venture to maximize their social impact. Groups of University students identify and overcome organizations specific challenges, developing innovative, practical and sustainable solutions.
Across the world 180 Degrees Consulting has worked with over 2,000 highly achieving youth consultants working in teams to overcome hundreds or challenges facing real organizations each year. 180 offers a broad range of consultant services, including strategic planning, financial management, communications and social impact analysis.
180 Degrees recognizes that while raising revenue is crucial for not-for-profits, developing strategies to utilize existing resources most efficiently is equally important. This is why students at 180 Degrees apply management consulting principles to the not-for-profit industry and develop business solutions to social problems. Many organizations, constrained by a lack of resources, are unable to utilize for-profit consulting services. At the same time, many high caliber university students are willing and able to develop solutions to challenges many organizations’ face. 180 Degrees Consulting strives to connect this source of untapped potential to the organizations that need it most.
How it works
At 180 Degrees, the mission is to create value for both the organizations and students consultants. 180 Degrees selects the most talented and socially conscious university students across each of our branches. Students are given specialized training from a leading international management consultancy before being assigned to a project aligned with their knowledge and expertise. Teams of five — plus a team leader — work closely with key stakeholders in the organization to define the deliverables, understand the organization’s specific challenges and create final recommendations over the course of a semester.
At Tufts, 180 Degree Consulting’s mission is to strengthen the ability of nonprofit organizations in the Greater Boston Area to achieve high impact social outcomes through the development of innovative, practical and sustainable solutions. We hope to provide a transformational experience for Tufts University students as you gain invaluable real world consulting experience by delivering free consulting services to worthwhile organizations.
Today I thought I’d highlight a book by a member of the Fletcher community. Prof. Ayesha Jalal is the Mary Richardson Professor of History at Fletcher and the School of Arts and Sciences. She’s also a friend of Fletcher Admissions, and has served many years on the Admissions Committee, always enthusiastically. Her insightful comments are the sort that are still present around the table two years after her last stint with us.
And now, Prof. Jalal has a new book, The Struggle for Pakistan, about which she was interviewed for Tufts Now. A timely addition to the scholarship on Pakistan, and the culmination of Prof. Jalal’s lifelong connection to the country.
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