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2013 is a birthday year for Fletcher — 80 years since the school’s founding in 1933.  To mark the occasion, students, staff, faculty, and many alumni will be attending a gala on Saturday evening.  And timed to coincide with the gala, The Fletcher Forum sent this announcement yesterday:

ForumcoverThe Fletcher Forum of World Affairs is pleased to announce the online launch of our brand new issue, Vol. 37:3, “Fletcher at 80.”  The Special Issue celebrates Fletcher’s 80th year with articles written by Fletcher alumni, faculty, and students.

The Special Edition of The Fletcher Forum features articles by Stephen W. Bosworth, Dean Emeritus of The Fletcher School, who shares his reflections on his tenure as Dean.  It also includes a message from current Dean James Stavridis, who suggests key areas of focus for the school in the years ahead, while also reflecting on its cherished history.  Prominent alumni and faculty lend their insights, and we read thoughts from Ambassador William A. Rugh, Richard H. Shultz, Jr., Ambassador Derek J. Mitchell, Hans Binnendijk, Michael Parmly, and many more.  The edition also includes a conversation with Mimi Alemayehou, Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).  Topics covered range from U.S.-Burma relations, to gender analyses in international development, to the challenges facing NATO, to a change in the status quo at Guantánamo Bay.  To view the complete list of articles and abstracts, along with PDF versions of the articles, please visit our website.  Individual PDFs of the articles are also available.

The Forum is run by a staff of forty graduate students here at The Fletcher School, and your support helps us to put out the best product possible each semester.  For further information, please contact The Forum staff.  On behalf of the staff of The Fletcher Forum we thank you for reading and look forward to your comments, feedback, and submissions!

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Fletcher’s Ginn Library reference librarian, Ellen McDonald, and I share something in common: we both have had two Fletcher careers.  In Ellen’s case, both careers (separated by a long gap) were in the library.  I asked her to reflect on the amazing change to the library’s role in the sharing of information from her first career to her second.

Libraries are undergoing rapid change and Fletcher’s Ginn Library is no exception.  Thirty years ago, the central feature of the library’s Reference Room was eight sections of 72-drawer catalog cabinets.  Computers were tucked into a small room which contained four boxy terminals.  Students worked at the Reading Room tables or settled into individually assigned study carrels in the stacks.  The on-duty Reference Librarian could be found seated at a centrally located desk with a phone and small ready-reference book collection at hand.  The general rule of library etiquette was QUIET.

Today, Ginn Library looks and feels very different.  While quiet study space continues to be one of the library’s main attractions, Fletcher students today also require collaborative work space.  One of the major features of a Fletcher education is networking: sharing knowledge and the creation of lifetime bonds.  Changes in technology, research, teaching, and learning have created a very different context for the missions of academic libraries.  As scholarship has grown more interdisciplinary, so has the library’s space evolved to facilitate this transition.  Today, Ginn is filled with furniture and spaces that are easily adapted to changing research and study styles.  The lower stacks area is now a group study lounge, equipped with large screens and whiteboards.  The group project areas are abuzz with students interacting, teaching one another in peer-to-peer workshops and collaborating on group assignments.

Information abundance due to mass digitization means that librarians have more work guiding users to the right sources — scholarly content can get lost in the internet flood.  Increasingly, librarians serve as curators of information, determining what to collect, store and deliver…and what not to collect.  With information-on-demand and instant information gratification the rule of the day, googlized students are less likely to need the fact-checking skills of a Reference Librarian.  Increasingly, students and professors turn primarily to Ginn’s librarians for in-depths consultations about research papers, Capstone Projects, internships, dissertations and field work.  Many of these reference transactions have moved from a reference office and phone to an online chat or e-mail.  Some of our GMAP students prefer the technological synthesis of old and new interactions that Skype offers…a digital “face-to-face” meeting.

Ginn Reading RoomThe impact of digital technology pervades most every library function.  The library’s oak catalog disappeared twenty years ago and large portions of the collection have followed it into the virtual world.  The ability to digitally obtain material via interlibrary loans has exploded the physical limitations of the library’s collection.  Ginn has less need to store large runs of journals, as digital libraries and resource-sharing consortia proliferate.  But walk into the Reading Room, and you’ll be transported back in time to Fletcher’s beginnings when the photograph to the right was taken.  Some things will never change.  The walls here still contain the same treaty collections, state papers and legal treatises.  Portraits of former deans still line the walls.  The library as a physical place continues to be a hub of learning and a connection to our past and shared history.  Despite all that has changed over the decades in Ginn Library, visiting alumni will discover a library space that continues on as the heart of the Fletcher School — a place for connection, collaboration and contemplation.

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In her final post today about the World Peace Foundation, Bridget Conley-Zilkic, the WPF Research Director and Assistant Research Professor at Fletcher, invites Fletcher students to become involved in the work of WPF.  The first post, which described WPF’s history, appeared two weeks ago, and the second post, describing the World Peace Foundation’s current work and mission, appeared last Wednesday.

World Peace Foundation

If you are interested in the work of the World Peace Foundation (WPF), there are a number of ways that you can get involved with us.  You can take our classes — Alex de Waal is teaching a course on African Politics in Fall 2013 and Bridget Conley-Zilkic is teaching on Mass Atrocities in Spring 2014.  Or you can attend our events, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on twitter (@WorldPeaceFoundation), and explore our website.

Access short, insightful essays by WPF staff and other global experts on our areas of thematic concern on our blog, Reinventing Peace.  Among the essays are series on reclaiming activism, ending mass atrocities, conflict mediation, new wars, and more.

The winners of the 2012-2013 Student Seminar Competition were, as pictured at left, Jennifer Ambrose F'14, Casey Hogle F'13, Trisha Taneja F'14, Keren Yohannes F'14.

The winners of the 2012-2013 Student Seminar Competition were, from left to right, Jennifer Ambrose F’14, Casey Hogle F’13, Trisha Taneja F’14, Keren Yohannes F’14.

If you are reading this as an enrolled Fletcher School student (master’s-level or PhD) you can also participate in our annual student seminar competition.  Each year we invite proposals from Fletcher students for a two-day seminar to be held on campus in February 2014.  WPF seminars offer a rare opportunity for leading experts to engage in incisive, collegial, and sustained dialogue on the pressing problems of our day.  The student competition enables Fletcher School students to frame an issue and interact with leading global experts on the topic of their choosing.

Past winning topics include “Western Advocacy in Conflict” (2012-2013) and “Drug Trafficking and Organized International Crime: Re-Framing the Debate.” (2011-2012).

The deadline for submitting a proposal is October 10, 2013.  Full information about the competition is available on our website.

WPF also hires two research assistants to help with our work for each academic year.  While the 2013-2014 positions are filled, look for new opportunities in the coming year.  We also have a number of research projects that you can get involved with.  This Fall 2013, we’ll be continuing our project on mass atrocity endings, which students can work on as an independent study.

Take a closer look at our website for more details, stay in touch with us, and we hope to meet you as the semester begins in September.

My first visit to Cape Cod was not auspicious.  Paul and I were new to the area (and newly married) and we decided to take a long weekend to visit Martha’s Vineyard and the Cape.  Off we went to Hyannis, where we hopped on the ferry.  A beautiful day on the Vineyard awaited us, so we rented bicycles, checked into our B&B, and headed out for a ride.  Half an our later, the skies opened.  Two days later, we gave up and ferried back to Hyannis, toting our bags of rain-soaked clothing.  It took us nearly ten years to commit ourselves again to more than a day on the Cape or the islands.

Bad weather still exists, of course, but I have come to love Cape Cod.  And earlier this month, I had a week of beautiful days in Eastham, gateway to the Cape Cod National Seashore  We were accompanied by a flotilla of relatives from the UK, all here in search of warmth and sun, which we managed to provide in abundance.

Fletcher students are busy people, but I still encourage a little Cape Cod exploration while you’re here.  Reaching the Cape is easy enough by car or public transportation (ferry to Provincetown or train to Hyannis, with an on-Cape network of buses to take you from town to town).  As for what to do when you’re there, you can plan a spring/summer/fall weekend and enjoy a beach and a sunset.

2013-08-07 19.43.41Or you can visit in October, and check out the cranberry harvest.

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There’s something to do on a nice day in any season.  Put it on your mental to-do list for when you’re at Fletcher.

Meanwhile, today marks the end of summer, by at least one definition.  The Admissions staff is wrapping up the quiet days of completing projects in the absence of students, and we’re getting ready for the arrival of 250 (more or less) new Fletcherites on Monday!  Orientation activities will keep them plenty busy for the week while continuing students trickle back into town.  With other offices managing Orientation, we’re needed only for relatively few sessions — a break-in week before we really kick the semester into gear.

Depending on your perspective and your work, summer has several different end dates.  Though I’ll continue to fit summery activities in before autumn officially begins in September, the start of Orientation is when Fletcher abandons summer and gets back to the business of an international affairs professional school.  Time to wrap up my final projects and get ready!


In the second of three posts about the World Peace Foundation, today Bridget Conley-Zilkic, the WPF Research Director and Assistant Research Professor at Fletcher, describes the Foundation’s current work and mission.  The first post described WPF’s history, and the final post will appear next Wednesday.

World Peace Foundation

Understanding that the nature of armed conflicts is today different from what originally challenged peace activists over a hundred years ago when the World Peace Foundation was founded, how can a century-old mandate be relevant today?

The first task is to embrace the historical legacy and recognize that the work of peace is precisely that — the hard work of building coalitions, taking chances, and transforming what was accepted as fact into new possibilities.  What was once called “peace activism” may have new professional life as security studies, peacebuilding, conflict mediation, development, or peacemaking; but at heart, this work shares a common belief that a collective effort can make the world less violent.  And there is evidence that it is working.

Secondly we must ask, how is the work of peace different in our time?  Rarely is war today composed of two national armies facing each other across a well-defined battlefield; and peace is rarely understood as achieved with the ink on paper of a signed agreement.  In fact, defining when a conflict is ended, or ended enough, is a struggle of enormous political import today.  Recognizing that the challenges are different because war itself is different, we must ask, how should we redefine peace for the next hundred years?  Do we have the right concepts and tools?  Are we asking the right questions?

To rise to this challenge, the WPF seeks to provide intellectual leadership for peace in line with its exceptional characteristics:

  • The combination of a century-old history and a commitment to visionary thinking;
  • Intellectual independence and flexibility, not constrained by external funding;
  • Educational mission as manifest in our presence in The Fletcher School, Tufts University;
  • Connectedness to policymakers.

The WPF program rests on three pillars: research, policy and education.  Our research program aims to be innovative and provocative, marrying commitment to rigorous, interdisciplinary research with creative questioning in order to spark new conversations about we might understand and respond to the challenges of armed conflict today.  Methodologically inductive, all of our programs are founded on analysis into the questions of the nature and causes of violent conflicts and mass atrocities, and how they are ended.  We move from evidence and analysis to engagement with policy and theory.  Among our projects are: New Wars, New Peace; How Mass Atrocities End; and How Conflicts End.

The WPF’s policy engagement is integrated with its research, in two senses.  First, our policy engagement provides materials for innovative research.  Second, our policy engagement in turn derives from the research directions of the WPF program.  Leveraging the WPF’s unique access to political leaders and institutions, the programs aim to bring the qualities of innovation and creativity to its support of political processes for peace.  Our focus is on the world’s most difficult places, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Pictured above are, from left to right, WPF executive director Alex de Waal, Suleiman Zakaria, Thabo Mbeki, Ali Haroun in Ain Siro, North Darfur, Sudan (July 2009).

Pictured above are, from left to right, WPF executive director Alex de Waal, Suleiman Zakaria, Thabo Mbeki, Ali Haroun in Ain Siro, North Darfur, Sudan (July 2009).

Given Executive Director Alex de Waal’s extensive ties to the African Union and African leaders, working with these key actors will be a strong focus for the WPF.  We aim to widen our engagement with African peace processes.  Further, the WPF will engage with policies to end mass atrocities, and to increase public advocacy for peace.

An international public intellectual conversation is needed to respond to the challenges of new threats to peace and the requisite new vision of world peace.  The WPF education programs are designed to catalyze such a conversation.  We aim to influence emerging international leaders through the student body of The Fletcher School, engage other institutions across the world working with graduate students in international affairs and peace studies, and disseminate key ideas to the broader public.  The WPF’s educational programs are a long-term investment in the next generation’s leadership.  Our educational efforts combine teaching courses within The Fletcher School and supervising students conducting research, expanding to engage with the wider Tufts community, alongside an externally-focused program of public education using lectures, events, the media and publications, and our blog and social media.

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When I returned from vacation this week,  I was pleasantly surprised to find that staff members are no longer alone in the building (with the occasional visit from a professor and/or the GMAP program).  The MIB pre-session started on Monday and runs for two weeks.  Although the pre-session is part of the MIB core curriculum, incoming and continuing students in other programs are also invited to participate, and some do.  So by the time I walked past the library this morning, I could already see two study groups hard at work.  Like robins in the spring, MIBers are harbingers of a new season to come — in this case, the start of the academic year.

Even more activity awaited the Admissions team when we returned from lunch yesterday.  (Team lunch:  a great idea, contributed by Christine, to get us all out of the office at the same time.)  As we approached the building, we saw a veritable crowd outside the front entrance. Though not Fletcher students, it was good to see the participants from Women2Women.  They must have been here for their session with Prof. Tunnard, who presents a workshop on “Using Social Media for Social Change.”  My daughter, Kayla, participated in W2W two summers ago.  It’s a really interesting program that brings together powerful young women from around the world.

The pre-sessioners will still be here next week, and then orientation starts the following Monday, August 26.  WOW!  I am not happy at how quickly the summer has gone, but I am definitely looking forward to meeting the new students we’ve been working with since we first read their applications!

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Every now and then I see a reference to a Fletcher student or graduate in The Boston Globe and I save the link for a future blog post.  Today I thought I’d mention two stories, both from a Sunday paper, but on different topics and spaced about four months apart.  The first story chronologically was about Mariah Steele, class of 2011, who has melded her Fletcher education with dance in her work as founder of the Quicksilver Dance Company.  And she didn’t make these connections in a haphazard way — she even had it all figured out for her thesis.

More recently, there was the Globe front-page story on Joseph Dunford, class of 1992, who is among the military leaders charged with wrapping up U.S. involvement in Afghanistan in the coming years.

You may have seen mention of these articles previously through other Fletcher communications (also including Twitter, etc.), but I like the effect that’s created by pairing them together.  It’s hard to imagine a master’s-level program that could produce two graduates who go in such dramatically different directions, but that’s what Fletcher is all about!


Sitting in the Admissions Office, it can be difficult to gain real knowledge of all that’s going on at the School.  And whatever I don’t know much about, I usually don’t write about.  So I was lucky that the World Peace Foundation agreed to write a series of blog posts to describe their very interesting work.  Here is the first post, written by Bridget Conley-Zilkic, the WPF Research Director and Assistant Research Professor at Fletcher.  Two more posts will appear on the coming two Wednesdays.

World Peace Foundation

One of the most fragile books on the shelves at Tufts University’s Tisch Library must surely be Jonathon Dymond’s excessively titled piece An Inquiry into the Accordancy of War with the Principles of Christianity and an Examination of the Philosophical Reasoning by Which It is Defended with Observations on the Causes of War and Some of Its Effects (1834), donated to Tufts Library in 1861.  Its cover is a time-worn blue and gold; its pages have already faded from yellow to light brown.  Is it possible that the founder of the World Peace Foundation (WPF), Edwin Ginn, pulled this same book off the shelves when he was a student at Tufts in 1858-1862?  And would Ginn be proud to know that the foundation he created in support of world peace in 1910 came “home” in a manner of speaking to Tufts University’s The Fletcher School in 2011?  For Ginn was not only a Tufts almnus and trustee, his name also graces the library at The Fletcher School, founded by his donation.

A self-made man and publisher of educational textbooks, Ginn was part of an emerging international movement at the turn of the last century that traced its conceptual roots to Immanuel Kant’s notion of “perpetual peace” based upon a “league of nations.”  While not all were pacifists, many participants in the movement believed that advancing international commerce, democracy, law, and diplomacy would provide the building blocks for a definitive era of global peace.

The WPF was established in lines with this approach for the purpose of:

“…educating the people of all nations to the full knowledge of the waste and destructiveness of war and of preparation for war, its evil effects on present social conditions and on the well-being of future generations, and to promote international justice and the brotherhood of man, and generally by every practical means to promote peace and good will among all mankind.”

A poster from The World Peace Foundation archives.

A poster from The World Peace Foundation archives.

Edwin Ginn died on January 21, 1914.  He did not live to witness the horrors of World War I, let alone those of World War II.  But since his time, two of the three pillars of world peace that he identified have been constructed: inter-state cooperation through the United Nations and other bodies, and mechanisms for the lawful and nonviolent resolution of international disputes.  By contrast, his third goal of disarmament has not been achieved.

Meanwhile, especially in the last half century, the number and intensity of violent conflicts has fallen, and their nature has changed.  Today, war is often pursued by non-state actors, including informal globalized networks, and most violence takes place within countries, with blurred boundaries between armed conflict, crime and the enforcement of government will.  These shifts in the trends of warfare deeply challenge the conceptualization and work of peace; a fact that animates the program of the World Peace Foundation today.

Beginning in 2011, with the move to The Fletcher School, Alex de Waal was brought on board as the executive director, and soon thereafter he hired Bridget Conley-Zilkic as research director and Lisa Avery as administrative assistant.  The WPF today aims to provide intellectual leadership on issues of peace, justice and security.  We believe that innovative research and teaching are critical to the challenges of making peace around the world, and should go hand in hand with advocacy and practical engagement with the toughest issues. As the Foundation enters its second century, our underlying theme is reinventing peace for the globalizing world.

In our next blog essay, learn about our on-going projects.

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I’ve just returned from about a week out of the office, so just a quick post today.  First, my thanks to Christine, who kept the blog humming last week with her staff introductions.  You’ll be hearing more from Christine in September, as we’ll be replacing the Dear Ariel feature with a new Q&A column, “Consult Christine.”  It will be fun for me to collaborate with Christine on the column, though we all miss the now-graduated Ariel.

Also new is a blog from Fletcher Dean James Stavridis.  While faculty, staff, students, and alumni are getting to know Dean Stavridis, his writing will also provide us with a window into his thoughts about the School.  Check out his first blog post and video.  Dean Stavridis is well connected through social media, and invites you to engage with him through your preferred platform including blog comments, Twitter or Facebook.

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Here’s some news that Kristen sent my way last week.  I’ll let Jane Church, a Fletcher MALD student, explain:

Net ImpactWe recently found out that Fletcher’s Net Impact chapter earned Gold status this year (up from Silver status), which is a sign of Fletcher’s commitment to Net Impact and also that the issues we talk about are important to students.  A chapter’s standing is based on the level of engagement with students, the number and type of events held, and the engagement of the chapter’s leaders with the wider Net Impact organization.  As Fletcher Net Impact has grown in size and scope, we have become more embedded within the Fletcher community and  our achievement of Gold Status reflects that higher level of engagement with students.

And here are the complete details, in a media release from Net Impact.

Fletcher Net Impact Receives Gold Chapter Standing

(San Francisco, CA) – Net Impact has announced the 2012-2013 Gold and Silver standings for Net Impact chapters, awarding Fletcher the prestigious Gold standing. These standings, based on the chapter’s performance this past academic year, represent the most outstanding chapters in the Net Impact network.  This year, just 24% of over 300 Net Impact chapters worldwide achieved Gold standing.

“Through collaboration, dedication, and a willingness to push boundaries and explore new ideas, this year’s Gold and Silver chapters are leading the way for our global network of impact-makers,” says Net Impact CEO Liz Maw. “These chapters demonstrate just how much can be accomplished when committed individuals decide to make an impact through the work they do.”

Chapters achieve Gold or Silver standing by meeting a rigorous set of requirements based on their activities, programming, and membership reach. This year’s Gold and Silver chapters helped the Net Impact network provide over 2,566 local events worldwide and over 132 programs that allow members to positively impact their community. Gold and Silver chapters also strengthened the overall network by regional collaboration, mentoring other chapters, and sharing successful ideas with their peers. Fletcher Net Impact’s activities this year were led by Presidents Michael Reading and Sarah Ryan, and included the annual Impact Mixer with local Boston professionals and alumni and Mafia Madness, the first ever internal student impact networking event at Fletcher.

We were thrilled to learn of the achievement of Gold Chapter status. This is a great affirmation of highly engaged members, dedicated student Executive Board, and supportive faculty and staff. Fletcher Net Impact believes in using the power of business to make a more socially and environmentally sustainable world and this distinction as a Gold Chapter definitely confirms that commitment.

- Michael Reading, 2012-2013 Fletcher Net Impact Co-President

Gold and Silver chapters are recognized publicly within the Net Impact network through the Net Impact blog, at the Net Impact conference, and in the annual Business as UNusual guide, as well as receiving recognition in their local communities.

The Fletcher Net Impact chapter is already continuing its momentum for the coming year with a fall kick-off mixer planned for September 2013.

About Net Impact

Net Impact is a global community of over 40,000 student and professional leaders creating positive social and environmental change in the workplace and the world. Net Impact is San Francisco-based nonprofit with over 300 chapters worldwide that focuses on providing support, connections, and practical advice to help people in all sectors and job functions create a more just and sustainable future.


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