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As I’ve often written before, work at Fletcher in the summer has its own rhythms.  The School remains quiet from late May to early August, but we’re not “un-busy.”  We all have a variety of projects going and that’s before we start the serious prepping that precedes the fall semester.  Meanwhile, because admissions folk tend not to take much vacation time from September to May, we’re all in and out of the office.  I’ve been taking Mondays off, which has made a mess of my usual blog patterns.

When I reported back to work yesterday, I heard the quiet hum of voices around the Hall of Flags and near some of the lecture rooms.  While I was enjoying a long weekend, students in the Global Master of Arts Program had arrived!  These GMAPers will be on campus for two weeks completing their yearlong program, including submitting their Capstone Projects.  Then, on July 31, a new GMAP class will arrive for their first two-week residency.

(For those unfamiliar with the GMAP format, students (who are mid-to-senior-level professionals) bracket their program year with two two-week sessions at Fletcher.  In between the sessions, their fall and spring semesters are delivered via internet-mediated instruction, punctuated by an additional two-week residency out in the world.  The photo to the right shows the program in Abu Dhabi in 2014.)

The truth is, GMAP students have little contact with students in Fletcher’s traditional residential programs.  But after they graduate, GMAP alumni forge the relationships with the larger community that characterize the Fletcher family experience.  They join alumni clubs, attend reunions, and have proven to be strong supporters of MALDs, MIBs, etc., creating the connection that didn’t exist as they pursued their degrees on different academic calendars.

For now, it’s nice to have some company in the building, and we’re happy to welcome GMAP!

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I shared some news items last Friday, but here’s one that I missed.  Tufts Collaborates is a program to foster collaboration among professors in different (and sometimes far-flung) areas of the university.  For the coming year, Fletcher faculty members will be involved in three of the projects that received seed grant funding.  The projects are:

EduNet: A Low Cost Communication Infrastructure to Improve Education in Developing Countries: Jenny Aker, Fletcher School, and Fahad Dogar, School of Engineering.

Effect of Climate Change on Household Drinking Water Access in Sub-Saharan Africa: Avery Cohn, Fletcher School, and Amy Pickering, School of Engineering, with Graham Jeffries from Fletcher (Professor Cohn’s research assistant).

Challenging Conceptions: Children Born of Wartime Rape and Sexual Exploitation: Kimberly Theidon, Fletcher School, with Dyan Mazurana, Fletcher School and Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

 

It’s June 30!  Time to wrap up some news, in advance of the long July 4 weekend.  (Long for us, that is.  The Admissions Office will be closed on Monday and Tuesday for the Independence Day holiday.)  In no particular order, here’s a mishmash of stories that caught my eye in the last however many weeks.

Professor Michael Klein is working with colleagues on a website called EconofactHere’s a story about it.

Daily Boston tech world newsletter BostInno highlighted a start-up with Fletcher origins, Blue Water Metrics, which emerged from the Tufts 100K competition in 2016.

Here’s a brief video introducing a compelling story about Arslan Muradi, a 2017 Fletcher graduate.

Aditya Sarkar, a 2016 graduate, worked this past year for the World Peace Foundation.  Two multiple-authored articles on the challenges faced by cities grew out of his research.  This one and this one.

A Fletcher graduate is one of the co-founders of Indivisible.

Dean Stavridis has hit the road with his newest book, Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans.  You can hear his interview with NPR’s Morning Edition on the player below.  (Prefer a transcript?  Here you go.)

 

Some weeks ago, a blog reader named Rumal asked me if I would pull together some information about offerings in Human Rights study at Fletcher.  I’m always happy to run with a good suggestion, but I knew it would require some research.  Fortunately for me, the Admissions Office front desk has received well-educated staffing from a job-hunting new graduate, Rafael.  I asked Rafael to do some digging, and here’s what he reports.

Fletcher’s interdisciplinary curriculum allows students to develop an integrated understanding of global challenges.  For a school of law and diplomacy, though, few issues are as central to the curriculum as international human rights.  Accordingly, there are several courses, most of them offered within Fletcher’s International Law and Organizations Division, which approaches human rights from an international law perspective.  (For students in the LLM program, Human Rights Law and International Justice is one of the four curricular options from which they may choose, if they wish.)

Among our law faculty, Hurst Hannum, Professor of International Law, offered courses in International Human Rights Law, Current Issues in Human Rights, and Nationalism, Self-Determination and Minority Rights during the past academic year.  Students also took courses in International Criminal Justice, Transitional Justice, and International Humanitarian Law, taught by Fletcher professors Cecile Aptel and John Cerone.  In addition, most of our professors are not only teachers, but also scholars and, at times, advisors to organizations such as the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or Amnesty International, so that students are exposed to cutting-edge research and real-world experience.

In addition to courses that explicitly deal with international human rights, seminars that are primarily concerned with other issues often allow students to produce research papers or policy papers in which they can combine multiple areas of interest.  In Memory Politics: Truth, Justice, and Redress, for example, students trace the expansion of, and challenges to, the regime of human rights and international law by focusing on case studies such as Rwanda, South Africa, Colombia, Guatemala, and Peru.  Law and Development, too, requires students to produce a research paper on any one aspect of the emerging field of international development law.  Questions of distributive justice, the rule of law, and informal justice systems are not only of considerable importance to social and economic development, but also important components of the contemporary human rights discourse.

Another opportunity for Fletcher students to follow their interests and develop expertise in a particular area is the Capstone Project, which can be a traditional academic thesis or can take an entirely different form, like a business plan, policy memo, or podcast.  Recent graduates passionate about human rights have researched and written on the negotiation for an international treaty on business and human rights, the role of the international private legal sector in contributing to rule of law, development, access to justice and human rights in the developing world, and child victims of armed conflict.

Following their Fletcher experience, recent graduates have worked for organizations including The Malala Fund, the U.S. Institute for Peace, and the UN, as well as government agencies across the world.

Thanks, Rafael!  By fortunate coincidence, after Rafael had written up his report, we heard from a recent graduate who was active in the Human Rights field, and she offered to add her thoughts on the Human Rights Project, a student organization.  Here’s Natalie’s description of her out-of-the-classroom activities.

The Human Rights Project (HRP) is entirely student run and has two components: public events and a research platform, the Practicum, through which HRP distinguishes itself from other student groups.  The Practicum serves as a collaborative place for research and multidisciplinary projects that are actionable and forward-looking; we work for a variety of clients outside of Tufts — we juggled five projects this year alone with a variety of organizations and research topics such as hate speech, minority rights, CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women), Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 2030), and R2P (Responsibility to Protect).  It’s an inclusive place for students to hone practical skills in research design, teamwork, and project management.  Professor Hannum and Professor Cerone have been the gatekeepers, but will pass the torch to our new human rights professor in the of Fall 2017.

The work requires brain power and teamwork, so every semester HRP looks for incoming students who are critical thinkers and passionate about the future of human rights.  If you are interested in being a leader or member, visit our website for more information to learn how you can get involved.

My thanks to Rafael and Natalie for their perspective on Human Rights study at Fletcher!  As my final word, I’ll refer you to a 2014 Admissions Blog post about the origins of the Human Rights Practicum, which I rediscovered while putting the finishing touches on today’s post.

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So far this week I’ve pointed you toward a student’s suggested summer reading list and a student-run blog.  Today I’d like to highlight the Capstone Projects that students have written and then shared with the Tufts Digital Library.

The current Capstone requirement allows for a final product in many different forms, including a thesis.  Not so many years ago, a traditional thesis was the only option.  As a result, the projects can be found in two places: under Fletcher Capstone and under Fletcher Thesis, with some overlap between the two.  There are many summers worth of reading in there, but of course you can pick and choose.

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Returning to the subject of pre-Fletcher reading, today I’m simply going to share a link to the Gender@Fletcher blog.  Gender@Fletcher is student run and reflects the strong interest in gender issues among Fletcher students.  Check it out!

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I was out of the office yesterday, having made a quick trip to New York on the weekend, which mostly entailed driving both ways in a drenching rainstorm.  When I returned to campus today, the sun was back and everything was in full spring bloom.  And not just the trees and flowers — the graduation tents are springing up, too.  As of this morning, the Fletcher tents are yet to emerge, but others are in place all over campus.  The early forecast is for a beautiful spring Commencement day on Sunday.

Between now and the weekend’s Commencement ceremonies, both graduating and continuing students are participating in the time-honored student-organized tradition of Dis-Orientation, the natural counter-balance to August’s official Orientation week.  Frankly, Dis-O is a lot more fun.  Yesterday alone, activities included paintballing, a FIFA (video game) tournament, a walking tour of Medford (which has a surprisingly rich history), a cricket match (first-year students vs. second years), a trivia competition, karaoke, and (my favorite of all the options) dinner at a Cambodian restaurant and visit to Revere Beach.  (My love of Revere and that particular restaurant has been well chronicled in the blog over the years.)

Naturally, with everyone off doing such fun stuff, it’s pretty quiet around here.  We’ll appreciate the quiet for a few weeks — it’s great for completing projects.  As the summer runs on, though, we’ll begin to look forward to the start of a new semester.  But that’s way in the future.  Now we’re enjoying the occasional encounter with a graduating student and I’m planning to catch up with more of them at graduation.

Since the Fletcher tents aren’t up yet, I thought I’d share a photo from this morning of the Tufts University president’s house — right across the street from here.  There are two tents directly behind it, and blue skies and flowering trees around it.

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Why would anyone put off doing something really enjoyable?  Though that remains one of the great imponderables, the fact is that Kristen and I love hanging out in the Hall of Flags and chatting with the folks who pass by.  And you can be sure that someone will be there, nearly any time of day.  Nonetheless, the entire academic year passed before, on one of the pre-exams “study days,” we finally planted ourselves by the front “welcome desk” and snagged students and professors as they went from A to B.  We asked each of our conversation partners to tell us something great about their year.

On the particular day we were there, we happened to catch a disproportionate number of MIB students.  Also, it was the day when the recipient of the 2016-2017 Paddock Teaching Award had just been announced, and Professor Patrick Schena was on everyone’s mind.

Auyon and Coco, both second-year MIBs

Coco: The most amazing fact about Fletcher life is our access to faculty, for example Bhaskar Chakravorti and Professor Schena.  All the professors are so friendly and so nice and accessible, and I don’t think that’s a kind of experience that I could get elsewhere.

(Note that Coco will soon start a job that resulted from a project she completed in her consulting class.  Also, she has three papers due and Corporate Social Responsibility is the first on the list.)

Auyon: I would echo what Coco said.  For me, it’s also Professor Schena — I took a class with him, he’s the one who helped me get an internship, and he’s my capstone advisor.  I enjoyed Professor Jacque’s classes a lot, as well as Professor Schaffner’s Econometrics class.  I was dreading it at first, but I really appreciate her approach to the material.

Callie, first-year MALD

I live in Blakeley Hall and I’ve made a group of really really amazing friends, and a great community.  I even met my boyfriend, who also lives in Blakeley.

(Callie was taking a break, while writing a paper for her International Communication class.  Blakeley has been identified as a rich source of Fletcher couples.)

 

 


Anurag, mid-career MA student

(Anurag referred us to this page when we asked for a photograph.)

It’s different for us mid-career students because we come in with very substantial experience, in my case 14 to 15 years of experience.  There was a panel that MA students organized last fall, where we spoke about our careers and our collective experience.  The people who attended found it very useful.  Students like us are available and we offer our best advice.  With 15 years of experience in the field, you do learn about life.

I’ve been focused on general management and finance-related courses, both here and at HBS (Harvard Business School).  That’s a wonderful thing about Fletcher, being able to take HBS courses.  I already have an MBA degree, but still I learned a lot here.  At Fletcher, I took Islamic Banking and Finance, and with a world-renowned professor — that’s not something you’ll find in many places.

I have two finals and two papers pending.  One final is in economics.  I’m not an economist, so I’ll do a lot of studying for that.

Faith, first-year MALD

I think the best experience has been to meet and be roommates with people from all over the world, and to be able to go home after school and keep the conversation going.  Not even in terms of country perspective, but also what people study.  We all met a little randomly.  I have a roommate who studies gender and now I realize I don’t know gender, and I need to take a class to be able to understand it.  It’s being able to learn as much when we’re out of class as when we’re in class.

Today I’m preparing a presentation for the government of Estonia, for the consulting class.  I’m meeting with Ali to talk about the presentation for the Estonian government on Friday.

Ali, second-year MIB (here to meet with Faith)

What’s top of my list today is last night’s Fletcher Follies, which is an annual event where students show homemade videos about their experience at Fletcher.  We gather, we watch them together, and then they’re immediately erased from the record.  They were hilarious!

 

 

 

Professor Kimberly Wilson

I’m excited about FSIG (Fletcher Social Investment Group) and we’re discussing incorporating it into my class Market Approaches to Development.  So I’m looking forward to that, both using some of their methods and maybe we can integrate some of the clients in the class, too.

I’ll be working increasingly with refugee and migrant populations in terms of my research.  What we’re trying to do is what Eileen Babbitt calls “building a wider bench.”  We’re trying to be sort of a magnet, trying to create a positioning for Fletcher.

Before heading back to our desks, Kristen and I paused to chat with a group that had gathered and had an unusual number of markers on their table.  You’ll recognize student blogger McKenzie, I’m sure.

Michael (second-year MIB), McKenzie (second-year MIB), Alexandra (first-year MALD), and Ashray (first-year MIB), AKA the Fletcher MIINT Team!

We’re signing a photo from our MIINT win for Professor Schena.  We were talking about bringing him a souvenir from Philly, and our souvenir turned out to be the plaque for the win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And with that, our annual blog foray to the Hall of Flags was over.  We made our annual pledge to spend more time there next year, though it remains to be seen whether we’ll succeed in organizing ourselves to do so.

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The 2017 edition of the traditional year-end “Where the Hell is Fletcher” video is here!  It really needs no further introduction — you’ll figure it out.  Be sure to watch for Admissions’ own Liz at about 3:41, and enjoy!

A clever enhancement to the video comes from almost-PhD-graduate Rizwan, who (having successfully defended his dissertation) took a minute to plot the video locations on a map.

 

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Fletcher is not a huge place, and a year when we add four new faculty members is noteworthy.  I can’t do a better job of describing this process and its results than our academic dean, Steven Block, did, and I’m simply going to share the message he sent to the community.

I’m pleased to announce the addition for four new faculty at Fletcher.

Many of you will already have met Monica Toft, who joined us this semester as a Professor of International Politics.  Monica comes to Fletcher from the University of Oxford, where she was Professor of Government and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government.  She has also been a Professor of Strategy at the Naval War College and a Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.  Since receiving her PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago, she has published widely in the areas of ethnic conflict, civil war, and the politics of religion.  In addition to numerous papers in top journals, Monica’s recent books include:  God’s Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics, and Securing the Peace: The Durable Settlement of Civil Wars.  In addition to her research and teaching in these areas, Monica is establishing and directing the School’s new Center for Strategic Studies.

We have also successfully concluded three faculty searches, the results of which are as follows:

International Criminal and Humanitarian Law

Our new law professor is Tom Dannenbaum.  Tom is currently Lecturer in Human Rights and Director of the MA in Human Rights at University College London.  He has also been a Visiting Lecturer and Human Rights Fellow at Yale Law School, where he received his JD in 2010.  In addition, Tom earned his PhD in Politics from Princeton in 2014.  He has published numerous papers in international law journals, and Tom’s book, Why Aggression is a Crime and Why It Matters, is forthcoming on Cambridge University Press in 2017.

Cybersecurity

Susan Landau joins both The Fletcher School and the Tufts Computer Science Department as a bridge professor of cybersecurity.  Susan has extensive experience in both academia and industry as a cybersecurity policy specialist.  She joins us from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is Professor of Cybersecurity Policy, and from University College London, where she is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Computer Science.  Susan has also been a Visiting Scholar in Computer Science at Harvard, and a senior engineer at both Sun Microsystems and Google.  She received her PhD in Computer Science from MIT, and is widely recognized as a leading expert and prize-winning scholar in the area of cybersecurity policy.  Her books include Surveillance or Security?  The Risks Posed by New Wiretapping Technologies and Privacy on the Line: the Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption.

History of U.S. Foreign Relations

While we can never truly replace Alan Henrikson, we’ve hired Chris Miller to take on the tradition of teaching the history of U.S. foreign relations in Alan’s place.  Chris joins us from Yale University, where he completed his PhD in History in 2015 and then stayed on as Associate Director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy.  Chris’s research focuses on the Russian economy and foreign relations.  His first book, The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy, was published in 2016; his second book, Putinomics: The Price of Power in Russia.  Russia’s Economy from 1999-present, is forthcoming.  I was pleased recently to be able to introduce Chris to Alan, and capture this symbolic passing of the torch.

Credit for the success of these searches goes to Dan Drezner for chairing the history search, Ian Johnstone for chairing the law search, and to Michele Malvesti and Michael Klein for representing Fletcher on the joint cybersecurity search committee.

Cheers,
Steve

 

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