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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!
Tagged with: MIB
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Tagged with: World Peace Foundation
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.
Tagged with: Dean Stavridis
Here’s some news that Kristen sent my way last week. I’ll let Jane Church, a Fletcher MALD student, explain:
We 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.
Fletcher’s Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP) just celebrated a birthday — its 20th! To mark this milestone in the history of environment study at the School, CIERP compiled a list of some of the highlights of its work, which I’m featuring today. Also of note: The Center has a new director. Prof. Kelly Sims Gallagher, a Fletcher alum and current member of the faculty, will lead CIERP as it enters its second 20 years.
CIERP by the Numbers
- CIERP faculty members have published research results in more than 70 refereed journal articles, six books, 62 book chapters, and 70 research reports, conference papers, and other articles.
- Since its inception, CIERP has raised more than $4.6 million in grant funding.
- In 2012, five of Fletcher’s 17 graduating PhDs were IERP students.
- Since 2002, CIERP has funded more than 65 external summer internships and provided $500,000 in tuition and living stipend support to IERP students.
- Since 1992, CIERP has hired more than 300 research assistants and 60 teaching assistants.
- Since 2009, CIERP has hosted four pre-doctoral fellows and eight post-doctoral research scholars — the first ever post-doctoral research fellows at Fletcher.
- Since 2009, CIERP professors have tallied more than 90 media appearances, including interviews and numerous quotations in sources such as Bloomberg, WGBH, USA Today, PRI “The World,” and The Boston Globe, among others.
- In the last year, CIERP has hosted 32 workshops, seminars and conferences on campus.
- Prof. William Moomaw has worked on eight different Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, for which he, along with thousands of other climate scientists around the world, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
- Prof. Kelly Sims Gallagher has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ study group on the Alternative Energy Future, a lead author of the Global Energy Assessment, and was appointed to a panel of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology (PCAST) to make recommendations about U.S. energy innovation.
- Prof. Moomaw and former CIERP Professor Adil Najam, along with students, published “Designing a Forest Financing Mechanism: A Call for Bold, Collaborative & Innovative Thinking” in June 2008, which led to the adoption of a “Portfolio Approach” in the recently negotiated international forest agreement.
- Prof. Moomaw, with colleagues at Purdue University, developed improved means for identifying intervention points for reducing the adverse impacts of reactive nitrogen, which has led the U.S. EPA to reexamine its regulations on nitrogen.
- Prof. Moomaw co-facilitated an off-the-record dialogue to help move forward the negotiations leading up to COP-3 in Kyoto, Japan. The resulting Summary report became the basis for the actual Kyoto negotiations outcome (“A Report of the Schlangenbad Workshop on Climate Change,” Oct. 1997).
My little survey from a few weeks back yielded some very specific questions from incoming students. While I work on the answers, Roxanne is here to give you a big-picture view of what you should be doing and thinking about in the summer before you start your graduate studies.
I am writing these words at 1369 Coffee House, which was one of my favorite spaces when I was a college student in Boston. One of the indulgences of the early days of summer lies in exactly this moment: savoring a drink at a coffee shop, reading for pleasure, and watching the to-do lists temporarily shrink to include only leisurely items.
Therein lies my first piece of advice for the summer before you enroll at Fletcher: Embrace leisure. Allow your mind to rest for a while, and engage in the activities that make you happy. If it is possible, build in a few weeks of relaxation between the time your work commitments end and the time Fletcher obligations kick in. Arriving at Fletcher with a rested mind can make all the difference. While I am soon leaving for my summer work and research, the past two weeks have been full of picnics, tandem bike rides, a trip to Walden Pond, and other favorite Boston-area activities.
Use the summer to reflect on the experience you want to have at Fletcher: What do you wish to learn that you had not previously explored? Which types of skills do you want to build? Are there particular professors whom you would like to get to know? What other opportunities in the Boston area appeal to you? The answers to these questions shift constantly for most of us at Fletcher, and we welcome the evolution of our interests, but arriving here with a sense of goals and learning objectives — however vague and ever-changing — can be helpful in making the most of the experience. The summer is also a good time to talk to past mentors, whether professional or academic ones, and to solicit their advice about how to make the most of your upcoming graduate school experience.
If you are planning on taking the language exams early in the semester, or the economics and quantitative reasoning placement tests, it may be helpful to brush up on some of those skills — but do not let the process stress you. When I look back on my own summer before Fletcher, I wish I had worried less. Yes, it is important to fill out the paperwork Fletcher requires in a timely manner, to set up your email accounts, and to prepare logistically for the semester. Completing these steps will make your arrival here far less stressful, and it will enable you to delve into the community smoothly in August. At the same time, the Fletcher staff is incredibly supportive, these processes are fairly easy, and they need not intimidate or worry you.
Some of you will go through the new course catalog as soon as it becomes available to make a list of courses you would like to take; yet others will arrive in Medford without ever having looked at the course catalog. Let me reassure you that most of us change our minds about our preferred course choices multiple times before the semester begins, so do not feel pressure to make rigid choices. If you are inspired by browsing the offerings, by all means, go ahead! If, on the other hand, you’d rather wait until you get here and can solicit the opinions of your classmates or attend the so-called “Shopping Day” to watch the professors in action, know that many Fletcher students will be joining you.
Finally, I’d like to make some room for the pieces of pre-Fletcher advice that do not fit in the above categories, but reflect how I wish I had spent the summer before Fletcher:
- Read for pleasure. This is what a now-graduated member of the Class of 2013 had advised me, and it was the best piece of advice I received. It was a treat to spend the summer steeped in the literature of my choice without the pressure to highlight or take notes.
- Make some time to say goodbye to the place you have called home. Some of you will be leaving a place far away from your birthplace, while others will be leaving your homeland. Transitions are easier once you have carved out room for goodbyes and nostalgia.
- Relatedly, carve out some time to make Boston a home when you arrive. If you arrive a couple of days before Orientation, take the time to explore your new neighborhood or take the subway to Boston. Give yourself some time to discover what may soon be your new favorite restaurant or café, develop a new running or cycling route, a new morning routine. You will be part of this community before you know it, and there are many of us eagerly waiting to welcome you to the Fletcher family! Until then, have a wonderful summer!
Tagged with: Student Stories
Before I let too much time slip by, I want to bring readers’ attention to two new editions of student-run publications.
First, the editors of Al Nakhlah, Fletcher’s online journal focused on Southwest Asia, introduced its 2013 edition. The announcement noted, “This year’s articles range from an op-ed on contemporary women’s rights in Egypt to the geopolitical significance of religious fundamentalism in Central Asia to the legal implications of drone warfare in Pakistan.” Articles include:
“Equal Rights in Egypt: An Unlikely Opportunity,” by Faiqa Mahmood
“Lost in the Labyrinth: The Green Revolution and the Islamic Republic of Iran,” by Joel Hernandez
“Strange Bedfellows: Religious Fundamentalism and the Death Penalty in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia,” by Julia Brooks
“Mandate Iraq: Imagining a Nation,” by Natalie Bowlus
“The ‘Unmanned’ Conflict in Pakistan,” by Neha Ansari
“Legitimate Threat or Excuse for Repression? The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Central Asian Stability Post-2014,” by Lesley Pories
“Terrorism in Iran: An Analysis of Non-State Militant Organizations in the Islamic Republic,” by Micah Peckarsky
“Navigating U.S.-Egyptian Relations in the Post-Mubarak Era: Strategies for Preserving American Interests,” by Micah Peckarsky
And, if that isn’t enough reading for you, the new editorial team at The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs announced the online launch of this year’s summer edition, noting “Inside you will find insights on former U.S.-Tehran relations from Bruce Reidel, veteran CIA officer and White House advisor, theories on Syrian political strategy from David Wallsh, observations on women’s education in Saudi Arabia from Marcia Grant, a discussion on the challenges faced by South Sudan by Jok Maduk Jok, and many others. This issue also touches on important transnational concerns. We explore these issues through an interview with David Killion, U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO, an article by Raymond Taras on the role of literature in international relations, and a discussion on the controversies surrounding the popularization of development aid, from Erik Shreiner Evans of the fake aid campaign ‘Africa for Norway.’”
Who are those name-tagged people? I wondered when I walked through the Hall of Flags yesterday. A quick check to the schedule reminded me that they are participants in the Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict, which will run through this week. Organized jointly by Fletcher and the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, this is the 8th weeklong seminar held here.
The program’s new website offers links to information and presentations from the 2012 , 2011, and 2010 seminars, as well as (at the bottom of the page) to video statements from past participants about their work. (Super interesting!)
Stay on top of this year’s seminar by following the Twitter feed, or the program blog, or by checking out the details and videos on the ICNC Facebook page. It’s hard to imagine a more timely seminar, given the backdrop throughout the world in 2013. In fact, the more I read while pulling together this post, the more excited I am that this group is meeting at Fletcher this week.
Tents remain in place around campus, but Fletcher and the rest of Tufts have the yearly post-Commencement underpopulated look. By all accounts, Sunday’s ceremony was lovely, and the weather kindly cooperated — sunny all morning, but not too hot. The main Tufts website has photos and a short video to give you a sense of how everything looked.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend Sunday’s ceremony (more on that later this week), but I was at Saturday’s Class Day event where a wonderful alumni address was given by Paulo Bilyk F’92. Awards were then distributed, following which we heard from Dean Bosworth, who shared tales from his long career as a diplomat. Dean Bosworth was also honored on Sunday, when he was named Dean Emeritus of the School. Earlier in the day, Fletcher students cheered him when he conferred their degrees at the All-University phase of Commencement.
I ran into a few students this morning, but I think it’s fair to say that they have mostly moved on. When the tents come down this week, even Commencement, never mind the spring semester, will seem like a distant memory. Good luck and best wishes, Class of 2013!
(Thank you to University photographers, Kevin Ma and Emily Zilm, whose photos I borrowed.)
Tagged with: Commencement
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