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I often refer to the Social List, which is the student elist that serves as virtual glue for the community.  The list was originally established by the School, but it isn’t managed by, well, anyone.  (There are also managed lists for the staff, faculty, and students.)  Many members of the staff subscribe.  In my case, I subscribed initially because I can’t post on it otherwise, but I receive the message digest and it’s often a good source of ideas for the blog.  Never more so than today, when I had the idea to share the subject lines from yesterday’s digest (in bold), along with my notes.  Here are the topics from yesterday’s Social List emails, more or less in the order they appeared, with responses generally removed:

M&E Position for MSI in Bosnia:  When students learn about a job opportunity, they often share the posting with their peers via the Social List.
Seeking syllabi:  Not sure what this request from a soon-to-graduate student is all about, but the Social List is a good place to seek things.
Wed April 2: Future of Energy with S. Julio Friedmann:  The Social List — great way to publicize events.
Leaving a 1 or 2-bedroom in the area?:  Save time searching for housing by asking graduating students!
FREE PIZZA and MOVIE SCREENING on MICROFINANCE: NOW IN C206:  More events, with upper case letters to show that it’s happening NOW!
Rio contact needed:  Students have contacts throughout the world — why not ask for their help?
Summer in D.C!:  So many students are in Washington over the summer that it’s a non-stop Fletcher social scene.
Somerville permit parking:  From parking permits to aspirin for a thesis writer in the library, the Social List is the source of things to borrow.
Contacts at the IDB?:  Students’ contacts aren’t limited to other geographic areas.  As most students enter Fletcher with prior professional experience, they also bring their professional contacts.
Bangladeshi or love Bangladesh?:  Posted by someone who is definitely not Bangladeshi, so I assume he loves Bangladesh.
SEEKING: Urgent Contact info for HR at Inter-American Development Bank:  More job stuff.
AFSWOYD Nonprofit Announcement and Auction Items!!!!!:  Many exclamation points from the student organizers of the Annual Faculty and Staff Waits on You Dinner.
20th International Development Conference at HKS:  An event at Harvard.  Fletcher students welcome.
Digital Cameras in Ginn:  The library has equipment to lend!  Computers (who hasn’t had a computer emergency?), cameras, and other useful things.
Do you like coffee? – Wagoner, Liz:  This one is from my Admissions pal, Liz.  It’s not a random question — she’s setting up visits with current students for newly admitted students.
Fwd: Interested in urban spaces and inclusion? Intern or volunteer for IBGC’s Inclusive Cities conference:  Drumming up support for an upcoming Fletcher conference.
REMINDER: Internship Funding Application! Empower Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurship:  Summer money$$!
Cab share from Logan at 11pm:  Cab shares, Zip Cars, rides to Trader Joe’s — all part of the weekly Social List traffic.
Vets 101 this Thursday @ 6pm:  Military veterans offering to share their stories with other Fletcher students.
Student Council 2014:  The Student Council updates the community via the Social List.
Job Opportunities with Fletcher’s Office of Communications for 2014-2015 Academic Year:  Notes like this also go out over more official channels.
FOUND: Urgent Contact info for HR at Inter-American Development Bank:  Possibly the person who asked has been overwhelmed by responses.
Don’t Let Me Down – Come buy your AFSWOYD ticket now:  More on the Annual Faculty/Staff Waits on You Dinner.
Do you have experience living/working in Juba?:  Almost surely someone does.  Maybe several people.
Business Development Job Posting / Cargill Ocean:  More jobs.
Mercy Corps Internship info:  And internships.
SUMMER OPPORTUNITY: Google Policy Fellowship Program:  And more jobs.
Did you defer Fletcher?:  A current student trying to help out a newly admitted student who is thinking of deferring enrollment.

So that gives you a sense of what was happening yesterday.  At other times of year there might be more internship/book selling/political argument/course selection/housing messages.  The one consistent fact is that the Social List keeps the school humming.

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With two references to the Diplomat’s Ball fundraiser in yesterday’s post, maybe you’re wondering what choice items are up for bid.  I took a minute to note a few of the options:

Delicious Indian meal
Personal hair style session
Piano lesson from a professional pianist
Lesson on bagel making
Cantonese comfort food
Rock climbing
Consultation on the process leading to U.S. permanent residency
Boston film tour, drinks, and endless Matt Damon facts
Introductory shooting session
Online dating profile consultation
Customized sonnets
Voice lessons
Dance lessons
“Nail Night” (fancy fingernails)
Two homemade apple pies (yum)
Learn Persian slang
Homemade Pakistani foodDSCN1748But then, with the silent auction phase ending, and the live auction scheduled for last night, the Social List was buzzing yesterday with special promotions by those trying to draw bids on their offers.  For example:

Maybe you’re inspired by the Pakistan cricket team’s recent stellar play and want to tap into another sport that Pakistanis dominate….

…Or maybe you want to learn the basics of what has been called the healthiest sport to play

…or maybe you want to get some face time with the Dean

If any of the above are true, you should bid on my squash lessons tonight at the live auction. While I can’t promise the level of dominance that other Pakistanis have been able to enjoy, I can teach you the basics. I will provide the venue, racquet, and ball.

Or then there’s:

Coffee Tour & Serenade:  I will personally take you on a tour of the area’s premier coffee establishments.  I’ll buy you coffee, tell you made-up facts about each place, and generally show you a good time.  I will also sing to you…maybe in the car, maybe on the sidewalk…it’s a surprise.

Alternatively:

If you come to the live auction tonight, you will have the privilege of bidding on a tour of the area’s premier coffee establishments.  As I have recently returned from a tour of a working coffee plantation in Costa Rica, I am clearly the perfect guide for you.

The emailed descriptions only got crazier from that.  But they all displayed the many talents (and some “talents”) of the student community.

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No Faculty Spotlight feature today.  I’m going to take a couple of weeks to collect more entries and load them into the blog format.  Meanwhile, Kristen and I spent a little while in the Hall of Flags on Monday, meeting new friends and catching up with old ones.  For those who haven’t yet been for a visit, the Hall of Flags is the “town square” of Fletcher — everyone goes through there at some point each day.  We reserved ourselves a table (by which I mean I stuck a note on it, saying that Admissions needed the table at 12:15), and we set up.  Kristen was my Wrangler/Photographer.  I asked the questions and took notes.  Keeping things simple and casual, we just asked everyone what they’ve been up to.  It’s a small sample, but it’s clear that students and professors both have a lot going on.

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Kelsey (MALD): We’re both working on the Diplomat’s Ball fundraiser this week.  It’s an activity auction, where students volunteer their skills, and other students bid on them, and it will help reduce Dip Ball costs.  Some of the skills are cooking meals for other people, going rock climbing, and learning about how to drink whiskey.  And then there are midterms.  And my thesis.

Stephanie (MALD):  I need to remember to get a haircut some time in the future.  And I’m going to try to work with a professor for a conference this semester on state failure in Africa.

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Jake (dual MALD and JD): I went skiing last weekend at Killington.  This week I’m doing my problem sets for various classes and working on a Harvard Law and International Development Society project.  This weekend, I’m probably going to the zoo with my 13-month-old daughter.

(Jake explained that the Harvard Law and International Development Society draws students from around the Boston area, including from Fletcher.  Kristen and I noted that it’s not uncommon for the out-of-class activities that students pursue to involve homework.  A happy nerdiness.)

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Becca (MA): I just found out that we’re moving to Japan for three years.  I’m a little bit overwhelmed right now, finishing up all my academic requirements.  And I have two children.  I’ll receive my orders, pack it all up, and move over there.

(Here, Kristen, who is organizing a move of her own, but only across town, commiserated, and shared some of her own move-induced anxiety.)

Becca:  You can’t control everything.  (Becca is in the Marine Corps.)

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Peter (MALD):  I just got off a call from our client for the consulting class, and we have a contact we’re supposed to reach out to this week.  And we have a deliverable due on Friday.

Terrell (MALD): On Thursday, I organized an LGBT event with BU, BC, Harvard, MIT, and Tufts.  We expected 40, and 130 turned up — it was a happy hour.  Everyone was very excited – it hasn’t been done in a few years, and it’s going to be a great way to build community and make connections.

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Prof. Chakravorti: Last week was an interesting week because in one day, I got a sense of the full span of Fletcher.  In the afternoon I was talking to Dr. Mowaffak al Rubaie, the Fletcher Statesman-in-Residence and a former Iraqi National Security Advisor, about establishing a chain of KFCs in Baghdad.  The broader topic was examining business as a stabilizing force in post conflict zones.  Then I spoke with Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen from Google on how the new digital age is spreading power to the periphery of society, where everyone has power in their hands in the form of their smartphones, and what this digital rebalancing of power is going to mean.

(Eric Schmidt is the chairman of Google, and Jared Cohen is the director of Google Ideas.)

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Laura (MALD):  Here’s what my day looks like.  Wake up at 7 a.m. for a call to Nairobi; help organize a silent auction for the Diplomat’s Ball; study for my class on education and armed conflict; bake a birthday cake for a military fellow; turn in an econometrics problem set; attend a fund raiser for the Fletcher Marathon Team; and read my Strategy and Innovation business cases.DSCN1745Prof. Drezner:  I’m finishing the second edition of my zombie book.  (Prof. Gallagher, who indulged us in a previous Hall of Flags visit, then hurried him along to some event that had them both looking pretty spiffy.)

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Michael (dual MA-MD): The Social List has been boring this year, so I instigated some arguments about the situation in Ukraine, and I think we had some positive outcomes.  I asked, why is it really in our interest to care about this?  People got upset, they wrote back.  As an aspiring doctor, I feel you have to be realistic about the options you have, and if you don’t understand your options, you’re not qualified to handle the job.

Anna (MIB):  It’s very nice to be in a place where you can have many different points of view, especially very extreme views, because it’s through discussion that you better understand complex topics.

And with that, Kristen and I headed back to our respective corners.  I always enjoy my HoF sessions.  Maybe there’s still time for one more later this spring.

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The Tufts Energy Conference is still coming up this weekend, and the spring semester is always loaded with activities that were planned throughout the academic year.  Today (sticking with the environment theme), there’s “Fletcher’s Warming Arctic Conference,” which will start off in the Aidekman Arts Center.  Why the Arts Center?  Because Aidekman is the host of a timely exhibit, Seeing Glacial Time: Climate Change in the Arctic.  I haven’t been over there to check out the exhibit yet, but I plan to visit one afternoon.  (The exhibit was among the Boston Globe‘s picks of the week a little while back.)

Shifting gears to a warmer part of the world, and looking ahead about a month, Fletcher will host “Turkey’s Turn?” on April 10 and 11.   The timing is right for admitted applicants to include the conference during an exploratory trip to Fletcher.  Keep it in the back of your mind, or go ahead and reserve a spot.

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It isn’t true that every time I turn around there’s another update about something exciting happening in the environment field here at Fletcher, but it feels that way.  Just this spring, here’s some of what we’ve heard:

First, we received an update from Prof. Gallagher, whom you read about on the blog just last week.  She wrote:

Dear colleagues, students, and friends of Fletcher,

I am pleased to announce some exciting changes in the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP).

Last fall, I invited a number of faculty members from around Fletcher to join CIERP as Faculty Research Affiliates.  These faculty members will be working in one or more of our five research programs.  From Fletcher we are delighted to have Prof. Jenny Aker, an expert on development and agriculture.  From the Economics Department at Tufts, Prof. Gilbert Metcalf, Prof. Kelsey Jack, and Prof. Ujjayant Chakravorty.  From Political Science, we welcome Prof. Kent Portney who has agreed to direct our water and oceans program and who is an expert on water policy and sustainable cities, among other topics.  We look forward to deepening our research collaborations with these outstanding faculty members at Tufts.  As was already announced, we also look forward to having Prof. Avery Cohn in residence for the next academic year as our new professor of environment and resource policy.  Avery will lead our Agriculture and Forests program.

Mieke van der Wansem, a long-standing staff member and Fletcher alumna, becomes the new Associate Director of Educational Programs.  In this new role, she will enhance the overall effectiveness of CIERP in meeting its educational mission.  She will work to expand and sustain executive education, help guide the development and implementation of environment and natural resource policy education initiatives inside and outside the classroom, and manage some of our research projects as appropriate.

Best,
Kelly Sims Gallagher

Then we learned that Prof. Gallagher and Prof. Portney had submitted a proposal to the Tufts University provost to create a new “bridge professor” position in the field of water security.  Here’s their description:

The Water Security Bridge Professor would work in the interdisciplinary area of international environmental security, covering issues of political sovereignty, human rights, regional security, and sustainable development. It might also include a focus on the policies and mechanisms, military and nonmilitary, nations use in their efforts to gain and protect access to water. A regional focus could be both possible and desirable, for example, in Southeast Asia, the Arctic, and the states of the former Soviet Union.

As blogger, I should have the answer to the question of when the bridge professor will join us.  I have to admit that I’m not sure, but I believe it will be for September 2015.

And then, there’s the annual Tufts Energy Conference coming up next weekend, March 8-9.  As the conference website says:

The Tufts Energy Conference (TEC) is a two-day energy conference that brings together experts from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors with students and professionals to discuss critical global energy issues. The conference is entirely organized by students from a broad range of  backgrounds in engineering, international affairs, urban planning, and economics. From a two-panel event in 2006, TEC has grown into one of the largest entirely student-run energy conferences in the region.

Experts from the private, public and nonprofit sectors, students, and professionals are all invited to attend TEC 2014 on March 8-9, 2014 (Saturday and Sunday), which will focus on Shifting Dynamics in Emerging Markets.

The conference agenda looks terrific!  Come on over!

Last (or at least, the last piece of news I’ve been able to keep track of), there’s the 2014 Tufts Energy Competition, with a prize of $3,000 to jump-start an energy idea, and with a new-this-year solar competition:

Working on a project on energy or sustainability that can be transformed into a winning proposal?  The Tufts Energy Competition is looking for your ideas.  This competition is a celebration of innovative, student-driven solutions to energy challenges.  The goal of the Tufts Energy Competition is ultimately to implement projects that explore solutions to key energy issues.  The winning team will receive up to $3000 to implement their project and the runner-up team will receive $2000.  Every Tufts student is eligible to apply, including engineering students, undergraduates, medical students, Fletcher students, and more.

Previous finalists and winners include:

•  A Split Junction Solar Concentrator for More Efficient Electricity Generation
•  Giving Students the Chance to Choose Their Energy
•  Efficient Hygiene Initiatives: Bringing Ecological Sanitation to Thottiypatti
•  Solar-Powered Uninterruptible Power Systems
•  Ocean-Based Algae Energy
•  Wind Turbines and Solar Cookers in Zimbabwe
•  High Voltage Lithium Ion Battery Management System

The winner will be announced next weekend at the Tufts Energy Conference.

So that’s the round-up of a semester’s news for the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy and generally in the field.  And it’s news that assures us that next year will be exciting, too!

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Sometimes I take a look at my “to-do list” and all creativity leaves the building.  On those days, I’m glad to be able to point you toward other Fletcher writers, and there’s a bounty of material to share!

Hot off the wire this morning is an op-ed by Haider Mullick, a Fletcher PhD candidate.

Also timely, this article from Foreign Affairs, co-authored by second-year MIB students, Jianwei Dong and Kate Fedosova, along with Dean Chakravorti (about whom you’ll be reading more in the blog on Wednesday).

And then there’s this update from The Fletcher Forum.

Dear Fletcher students, faculty, and staff,

We hope you’ve been following The Fletcher Forum’s ongoing conversation on Climate Change as part of the 2014 Global Risk Forum.  These past two weeks, we’ve had some very interesting articles on how we might approach and mitigate this global risk.

Professor William Moomaw opened the conversation arguing that Restorative Development — meeting our needs while allowing nature to do its job — is an essential element of any strategy for tackling climate change.  Fletcher PhD candidate Laura Kuhl responded by arguing that while Restorative Development may be a helpful approach to integrate mitigation, adaptation, and development goals, we should remain cautiously optimistic, since so much depends on how such an approach is implemented on the ground.

We then heard from Dr. Richard Houghton, the Acting President and senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts.  Dr. Houghton argued for an alternative strategy: forest management, which he thinks can play an important role in reducing carbon emissions. But it is not a permanent strategy, he argues, and the window of opportunity may be closing.

Next, Fletcher MALD student Caroline Ott responded that by focusing on the risks posed by the current fragility of climate negotiations, we are investing too heavily in a process whose outcome is not essential to the goals of emissions reductions and climate adaptation.  Rather than looking to climate negotiations as the finish line for a climate treaty, she argues, we should be using these talks to incite action from a range of bilateral and philanthropic institutions.

We are very pleased with the intellectual caliber of these perspectives and ideas about how to mitigate one of the critical global risks we are facing as an international community.  We hope you’ll continue reading these conversations and submit your own responses to web.editor@fletcherforum.org.  You can also engage with us on social media, follow us on twitter @FletcherForum, and tweet using #2014RiskForum.

Outside of our Global Risk conversations, we have additional recent content that may interest you as well — ranging from the role of Hezbollah in the Middle East to the impact of Artificial Intelligence technology on state power.

You can read more of our recent content here:

Metastasizing Menace: Hezbollah as a Regional Player, by Massaab Al-Aloosy

On Artificial Intelligence and Meta-Geopolitics, by Nayef Al-Rodhan

Reevaluating Ethopian-Saudi Ties Amid Migrant Worker Crackdown, by Alemayehu Weldemariam

Happy reading!
-The Fletcher Forum Online

I trust that all these articles and op-eds will more than take the place of whatever I might have written today.  I’ll do my best to create some interesting content for tomorrow.

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You may remember that last August, the World Peace Foundation introduced itself on the blog via three posts by Prof. Bridget Conley-Zilkic, and one of those posts described WPF’s annual student seminar competition.  Well, the competition took place last fall, and the resulting conference will take place this week.

Darfur Village Abandoned after Heavy ClashesUnlearning Violence: Evidence and Policies for Early Childhood Development and Peace” will feature “the best ongoing research in fields related to early childhood development and violence and peace.” It has been organized with the support of the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University (interesting collaboration!) and the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University.  I realize I haven’t given you much advance notice, but you can still register to attend.  Once you read through the agenda, I’m sure you’ll be tempted.

As I mentioned, the conference grew out of the student seminar competition, and two proposals on the same topic were selected.  The two teams of competition winners (with an impressive showing from first-year students!) worked together to create the seminar.  The students are:  Madeeha Ansari (second-year MALD), Jack Berger (first-year MALD), Maria Rita Borba (first-year MALD), Taryn Campbell (second-year MALD), Suh Yonn Kang (second-year MALD), Daniel Orth (second-year MALD), Tina Robiolle-Moul (PhD candidate), and Roberta Sotomaior (first-year MALD).  Congratulations to all of the conference organizers!  It should be a terrific and informative event.

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Cornelia-Schneider1Blog readers who follow Fletcher news through other sources (Facebook, Twitter, the Fletcher website) will already have read that Cornelia (Connie) Schneider F’06 has been selected for the inaugural Fletcher Women’s Leadership Award.  Sometimes I avoid topics that have received thorough attention in other media platforms — there’s not much value added from my comments.  In this case, though, I thought I’d add a few personal reflections.

First, I’m really happy that Fletcher has launched an initiative like this.  Truth be told, the U.S. never makes much of International Women’s Day, and it’s great that Fletcher will play its role in ensuring the day is not ignored.

But more important, there’s a reason why some of us are drawn to continue our work at Fletcher over a long period of time, and that reason is the interactions we have with our fantastic students.  I remember Connie from her time at Fletcher and, though I have not remained in direct contact with her, I hear about her now and then through others.  I consider it a great privilege to play a role (however small) in the career development of the extraordinary students who spend a few years of their life here.  Taking time for a graduate program offers students like Connie, who would have been in her late 20s when she applied, a chance to further their knowledge and consolidate all they have learned through their professional experience.  Reading about Connie’s accomplishments is a mid-admissions-season reminder on why admissions work, which opens the door for these interesting people to have this career-building opportunity, is so satisfying and important.

But back to Connie and the award.  According to the official announcement:  The Fletcher Women’s Leadership Award was established in 2014 by the Fletcher Board of Advisors and the School’s executive leadership to honor outstanding women graduates who are making a meaningful impact in the world in the private, public, and NGO sectors.  Connie currently leads Access to Justice initiatives for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a position she has held since December 2012. Her team works to implement projects that increase access to legal services for victims of sexual violence and seeks to diminish impunity for heinous crimes in the Eastern DRC — one of the most dangerous and troubled regions of the world.

In publications and press releases, Fletcher will often (quite naturally) focus on the alumni who are most prominent in their fields.  I have always thought there is also real benefit to highlighting the day-to-day work of graduates who represent the majority of our alumni — those who go out in the world and make their mark, while not necessarily generating headlines.  The award for Connie Schneider helps correct that imbalance in coverage just a little, and I’m excited to help spread the word about the award and the way it brings well-deserved attention to the extraordinary work that Connie has done throughout the world.

(Photo credit: Raphael Kopper)

 

Having a chance to meet some admitted students was a nice treat yesterday.  It’s fun to reconstitute the paper applicants back into real people.

And speaking of application reading/reviewing, our work continues.  Monday to Thursday, there’s generally a staff member at home, tackling a mountain of applications.  Since we had visitors yesterday, today both Liz and Laurie are reading at home.  On Thursday, both Dan and I will be grabbing files.  We also manage to squeeze in a little in-office reading, though some of us (Dan) are better at that than others (me — perpetually prone to distractions).

So, with everything moving along, I thought I’d share two quick notes today.

The first is that there’s a LinkedIn page for Fletcher that provides some information on careers of our alumni.  Of course, it only reflects the careers of alumni who have linked to it, but it’s still loaded with interesting info.

The second note is that a current student let me know about a blog she has been compiling on India’s upcoming election, which will run from April to May.  Shruti is a second-year MALD student who told me the blog analyzes election data, and she has been using the GIS skills she learned at Fletcher to aid in her analysis.  Read Shruti’s thoughts during the lead-up to the vote on her Indian Election Blog.

 

I never attend as many special lectures as I would want, but it’s always good to know that they’re happening and that students have the opportunity to broaden their education beyond the classroom by attending.  The series developed by the The Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC) for this spring looks particularly interesting.  In announcing the line-up, the folks over at IBGC describe the IBGC Speaker Series as having “provided Fletcher students with substantive networking and recruiting opportunities with relevant global business leaders for the past 12 years.”  Updates to the lineup can be found on Twitter @IBGC_Fletcher.


January 2014

  • Wed. 1/22 – Susan Livingston, Partner, Brown Brothers Harriman
  • Thur. 1/23 ­– Ashish Karamchandani, Partner, Monitor Inclusive Markets, Monitor Deloitte India
  • Wed. 1/29 – Jeff Dodson (GMAP ’12), EVP, Strawn, Arnold & Associates

February 2014

  • Mon. 2/10 – Theodore Forbath, Global VP, FrogDesign
  • Wed. 2/26 – Dr. Mowaffak al Rubaie, Former Iraqi Security Advisor and Statesman in Residence at Fletcher

March 2014

  • Wed. 3/5 – Chip Ray, EVP, Chicago Bridge & Iron
  • Fri. 3/7 – Maria Gordon, F’98, EVP, PIMCO
  • Thurs. 3/13 – Willy Foote, CEO, Root Capital

2014 EVENTS – SAVE THE DATES

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