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The last few weeks have been busy around the school.  Students are seriously engaged in classes/exams/capstones as well as internships/jobs and lectures/conferences.  And then…

…everything shifts as students pack their bags and head south to Washington, DC for the annual Career Trip.  While they are in DC, students can attend information sessions, panels, receptions, networking events, informational interviews, and lunches.  There’s a schedule that requires careful planning for the attendees, lest they create an impossibly manic two-day agenda for themselves.  So they pick and choose, based on their sector and organization interests.  Then most of them will come together for a reception with alumni.

For a taste of one of the Career Trip activities, you can join current PhD students and alumni of the program for a panel discussion at the United States Institute of Peace.  “From Civil Resistance to Peaceful Revolution” will be aired live from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST.  (I will try to update this post with the video of the panel.)

Post-panel update:  Here’s the video of the event.

Meanwhile, as the total list of organizations with which students will connect is way too long to include here, I’ll just provide this partial list of companies, offices, and agencies that will be represented by Fletcher alumni:

Abt Associates, Inc.
Accenture
ACDI/VOCA
Albright Stonebridge Group
American Friends Service Committee
American Petroleum Institute
American Red Cross
American University
AppTek LLC
Association of Climate Change Officers
Atlantic Council
Biotechnology Innovation Organization
Blackdragon
Blue Compass, LLC
BluePath Labs
Bogota Employment Project
Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc.
Boston Consulting Group
Capgemini Government Solutions
Center for Complex Operations, NDU
Chemonics
Clifford Chance US LLP
Coalition for Justice
Comverge
Congressional Research Service
Council on Foreign Relations
Counterpart International
Covington & Burling, LLP
Creative Associates International
Cypress International, Inc.
Defense Nuclear Facility Safety Board
Deloitte Consulting, LLP
Embassy of Antigua and Barbuda
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Financial Integrity Network
FinCEN
FIVS-Abridge
Foreign Policy Magazine
German Marshall Fund
Global Communities
Global Professional Search
Glover Park Group
Goodwin Procter, LLP
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Hudson Institute
Human Rights Campaign
Humanity United
I.D. Inspiring Development GmbH
IMG Rebel
Intellaine LLP
Inter-American Development Bank
International Finance Corporation
IREX
IWANA Energy
JINSA
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) Baltimore
Koltai and Company, LLC
Latin America Working Group
Let’s Split
McLarty Associates
Mercy Corps
Metis Strategy LLC
Mexican Embassy
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
Millennium Challenge Corporation
Miracle Systema
MSI, Tetra Tech Company
National Defense University
National Democratic Institute
National Nuclear Security Administration
NAVAIR
Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance
Office of Management and Budget
Office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Open Government Partnership
Orange Tree, LLC
Organization of American States
Oxfam America
Partners for Development
Paul, Weiss LLP
PeacePlayers International
Population Services International
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Promundo-US
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Regulatory Strategies and Solutions Group
Rocket Media Group
Rudaw Media Company
Save the Children
Search for Common Ground
Seewald Consulting
SEGURA Consulting
Sidar Global Advisors
Social Impact, Inc.
SOS International
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Rec
SSG Advisors
Strategic Capacity Group
Strategy&
Teach For All
Team Red, White and Blue
The Aspen Institute
The Buffalo Group
The Cohen Group
The Hudson Institute
The New York Times
The Scowcroft Group
The Stimson Center
The White House
The World Bank
Thompson Hine LLP
U.S. African Development Foundation
U.S. Codex Office
U.S. Congress
U.S. Department of Defense
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of the Treasury
U.S. Forest Service
U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Navy
U.S. Senate
U.S.-Indonesia Joint Council
Under Armour Inc.
United Nations Foundation
United States Export-Import Bank
United States Institute of Peace
USAID
Valuing Voices at Cekan Consulting, LLC
Viper Analytics, LLC
Washington Metro
Westat
Winrock International
World Environment Center
World Vision International

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Speaking of new activities and energy in the gender field at Fletcher, as I did earlier this week, a conference is taking place this week on “Transforming Violent Masculinities.”  The conference kicked off last night with a panel discussion open to all in the community.  The sessions today and tomorrow were designed for practitioners, with students eligible to request a spot earlier this month.  Sponsored and hosted by the World Peace Foundation, the conference was the winning submission in WPF’s student seminar competition.

Sessions being held today and tomorrow (under Chatham House rules) include:

Transitions to Manhood
Youth in Armed Conflict
Gang Violence in the Americas
Positive Deviance
Identity and Violence in the US
Violent Extremism

You can follow the conference on Twitter.  There is also a Storify wrap-up of the session last night.

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Tucked in the heart of the regular academic year is a six-month diplomatic training program for a group of fifteen Armenian mid-career professionals who arrived in January.  This is the 16th class of Armenian scholars that Fletcher has welcomed to the School, in collaboration with the Tavitian Foundation.  The participants represent government agencies, ministries, legal institutions, as well as the Central Bank of Armenia, and the program is designed to build their skills for future careers in public policy and administration.  A Tufts Now article from a year ago provides details on the Tavitian program.

Tavitian program

 

The last few years have seen a dramatic increase in Fletcher’s offerings related to gender issues, and in student interest in learning about them.  It has been an interesting process, with the growth fueled both from below (students organizing lectures, conferences, and activities related to the topic) and above (with a newly hired professor and classes added to the curriculum, leading to a new Field of Study).  Recently, we received this information from Dean Stavridis about another new initiative:

I am happy to announce the launch of a dedicated website for Gender Analysis and Women’s Leadership.  The website provides information on coursework, opportunities for extra-curricular learning, recent events, student groups, and also includes profiles of students, alumni, and faculty who have embraced gender analysis in their work or research.  Under the Features tab, the site also showcases student, faculty, and alumni research, public events, and initiatives related to gender.

A great deal of thought went into the website.  In addition to Professor Mazurana, one of the forces behind the development of these resources is the Blog’s good friend, Roxanne.   There are a lot of applicants for September enrollment who have indicated an interest in gender  issues.  I hope you’ll find the website helpful as you think about whether Fletcher is a good match for you.

 

There are two things I happen to like: author talks and community reading projects.  The two come together twice each year at Fletcher when we’re invited to pick up a copy of a book, read it, and then join other members of the community for a session with the author.

Eleven DaysThe book for the spring semester was a novel: Eleven Days by Lea Carpenter.  During the talk, moderated by Professor Dyan Mazurana, Ms. Carpenter described the origins of the book and how she conducted her research on Navy SEAL teams.  The discussion was attended by a mix of U.S. and international students, and included many current or former members of the U.S. military.

I expected that, with a diverse audience, there would be numerous different ways of engaging with the book.  I was sure that many people would have been especially drawn to the book’s topics of training and missions, while I connected much more with the story of a mother and her son.  And that’s just how it played out last night.  It was so interesting to hear the questions from the military folk, who were able to relate the plot to their own experience.

But the questions didn’t start and end with the novel’s military theme.  Some questions related directly to the writing process, and there were also a few gender-related questions around the meaning of being a “woman writer” and particularly a woman writing about the military experience, a subject generally tackled by men.

All in all, it was a totally satisfying way to experience the Fletcher community and, as our students often say about their classroom experiences, I learned as much from the audience questions as I did from the author’s answers.  There’s a lot of knowledge resident in the student community and an event like this one puts it on display.

 

The first student-run conference of the spring semester is taking place today.  Over the past few months, The Fletcher Africana Club has organized the 3rd Annual Fletcher Africana Conference, with the theme From Rhetoric to Action: Getting Things Done in Modern Day Africa.  The organizers describe the conference this way:

Africana Conference 2016Join the Africana Club and students and professionals from around the Boston area as we engage in inter-disciplinary discussions around topics such as Illicit Trade, Cross Sector Partnerships for Development, and Social and Political Inclusion.  We also have a fantastic line-up of keynote speakers, including Rosa Whitaker, one of the world’s foremost experts on African trade, investment and business, and our own Kingsley Moghalu, Professor of Practice here at Fletcher and former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

For more information on the terrific conference line-up, check out the agenda and the list of speakers on the conference website.  I’d also encourage readers to take a look at the introductions to the student organizing team, which includes students from African countries, as well as many others who have worked in or studied the region.

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Innovation WeekA winter week is the perfect time to create a celebratory event, which is what Innovate Tufts has done.  Innovation Week, a multi-event conference dedicated to celebrating innovation and cultivating entrepreneurship within our community, started last Friday and continues through this week.  Here’s the lineup:

Friday, January 29: DESIGN THINKING WORKSHOP — Led by Frog Design, a leading strategic design firm.  Learn Human Centered Design.  Understand user needs, identify relevant stakeholders, and fill our walls with post-it notes of your observations, as we ideate with creative solutions to local problems.

Monday, February 1-Thursday, February 3: PANELS — Distinguished speakers and innovators engaging you on:

Innovation and Human Rights

Innovation in Education

Innovation in Action: Mapping the Arc from Insight to Implementation

FinTech Innovation & Entrepreneurship

BlueTech Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Massachusetts and Beyond

Thursday, February 4: DEMO NIGHT — Tufts and Fletcher entrepreneurs pitch their startups and business ideas, followed by a networking event to celebrate the week.

You can learn more about the week at the Innovate Tufts website.

 

I’ve got to admit that I completely lost control of the news flow at the end of the fall semester.  I had planned so many posts that I never managed to write.  But is the winter break an uncrossable boundary that makes fall semester events off limit in the spring?  I think not, so I’ll just take this minute to highlight a Tufts Now article on the Fletcher talk given by Stephen Hadley, former national security advisor.  The Dr. Maurice S. Segal Lecture Series draws prominent individuals to campus.

 

Though many others at Fletcher have offered their thoughts, I haven’t posted anything yet on the passing earlier this month of Stephen Bosworth, the dean of Fletcher from 2001 to 2013.  Readers who want to know more about him could read the University’s report, or this obituary from The Boston Globe, or perhaps this blog post from Fletcher Professor Daniel Drezner.

Dean Bosworth portraitAlthough Fletcher grew significantly and there was a great deal of change during his term as dean, I would still describe Dean Bosworth as a quiet and thoughtful presence around the School.  In that light, it’s particularly interesting to note the scope of people who commented on his death, from Secretary of State John Kerry, to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, to the Ambassador to North Korea’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations.  Dean Bosworth served under two Tufts University presidents, Larry Bacow and Tony Monaco, and was ambassador under three U.S. presidents (Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton), in addition to serving as special representative to North Korea for President Obama.

A new portrait of Dean Bosworth was added to the Ginn Library reading room in October and the gathering was an opportunity for many to share kind words about him.  There will also be a memorial service for Dean Bosworth in February.  His many accomplishments, in so many different settings, will be recognized, I’m sure.

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The Admissions Committee just concluded its first winter meeting of the year.  We’ll meet weekly from now through the beginning of March, with meetings running progressively longer and covering more applications.  For today, a relatively short discussion, fueled by coffee and pastries.

After the meeting we sent our student readers out for an exciting weekend of skiing at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine (or, perhaps, a quiet weekend in town with most classmates away in Maine).  The ski trip is a monumental undertaking, involving hundreds of students, spouses, and even children.  Many of the skiers (or snowboarders) will never have hit the slopes before.  Some of them will never have been in such a cold and snowy place before.  The lead-up to the trip involves several organizational meetings, featuring PowerPoint presentations that emphasize the cold and suggest wearing “hat, goggles, neck-warmer (or scarf), long-underwear (layers!), mittens, another warm layer (fleece jacket/wool sweater, etc), warm socks (NOT COTTON), water-proof/wind-resistant outer layer jacket and pants.”

Cold or not, everyone always reports having a great time.  The organizers of the first trip, not even ten years ago, could hardly have imagined what a community-building institution in would become.

 

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