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Though we’re tip-toeing up to their six-year post-graduation mark, I’m happy to introduce another member of the Class of 2011. Philippa Brown completed the one-year mid-career MA program, and is now a consultant specializing in designing and implementing programs focused on counter-terrorism and stabilization, as well as early recovery work in conflict environments. Her bio further says that, “She has just completed a three-year posting to the British Embassy Mogadishu, Somalia, where she covered two thematic areas: leading the multi-disciplinary counter-terrorism team, and designing and delivering the UK’s bilateral stabilization program. Prior to her work in Somalia, she designed and managed the UK’s counter-terrorism program in Pakistan, focused on criminal justice capacity building in Punjab. Philippa also deployed to Afghanistan as part of the UK’s support to the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Helmand 2009-10.”
As one member of the small group of “mid-career” MA students, I had already been working internationally prior to Fletcher. After ten years working in London as a UK civil servant, I was heading the Counter Narcotics Team in the multinational Provincial Reconstruction Team in Helmand. Two weeks later, I found myself at Fletcher Orientation in Medford. It was a bit of a culture shock.
I had heard about the MA program from a work friend who was based in Khandahar, working with the U.S. military. I mentioned my interest in going back to school to study international relations. He said, “You’ve got to go to Fletcher.” I had anticipated studying in the UK but had a look. I was really impressed with the courses available, the professors (How many superstar academics is it possible to have in one school?), and the international mix of the student body. I was further impressed when I met a current Fletcher student visiting Lashkar Gah on his summer internship — everything you hear about the Fletcher community is true!
On arriving, I sat in the auditorium at Fletcher, with hundreds of other students, and felt a sense of awe. It was even more international than I had expected. It was hard to whittle down the list of courses I wanted to take, and I had only one year at Fletcher to complete everything. I tried to cover a mixture, combining Professor Nasr’s Comparative Politics, Professor Maxwell’s Humanitarian Action, Professor Shultz’s Role of Force, Professor Block’s Agricultural Economics, and Professor Scharbatke-Church’s Design Monitoring and Evaluation, which absolutely changed my perspective on how we can deliver better results in the field. Even now, I feel some regret about the classes I didn’t manage to squeeze in — Professor Mazurana’s Gender and Conflict and Professor Drezner’s Classics of International Relations.
It was intense. I found myself working just as hard as I had in Afghanistan, but it was endlessly fascinating. There was just so much going on that I found it really important to be selective in deciding what to take on: I really enjoyed the Security Studies Program lunches, with their fascinating speakers; SIMULEX was a lot of fun; the ski trip was FREEZING but great. And the chance to cross-register for a couple of Harvard courses gave me a chance to widen my circle even further.
After leaving Fletcher, I came back to the UK and left the civil service, deciding to make the leap into consultancy that I’d been considering for a few years. Since then, I have spent almost all my time overseas: first in Pakistan working on criminal justice reform; and then in Somalia, working on counter-terrorism and stabilization. I am currently a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Sussex, as well as consulting on international security issues. I have also continued to enjoy the Fletcher family, catching up with a Fletcher crowd for dinners when transiting Nairobi, and now reconnecting with classmates back in London. I look back on my time in Medford as a bit of a whirlwind: intense, challenging, and a period of real growth. And I use the skills and knowledge I gained from Fletcher every single day.
In March, the foreign service world lost a diplomat with an astounding career. Ambassador Deane R. Hinton, whose many life accomplishments included a degree from Fletcher in 1952, died at the age of 94.
The American Academy of Diplomacy summarized Ambassador Hinton’s 48-year diplomatic career as starting in 1946 with his first assignment as a foreign service officer at the Legation in Damascus, Syria.
He was ambassador to Zaire (1974-75), El Salvador (81-83), Pakistan (83-87), Costa Rica (87-89), and Panama (90-94). He was considered among the foremost Latin American experts in the State Department. He earlier served in other capacities as a Foreign Service Officer: Damascus, Syria (46-49), Mombassa, Kenya (50-52), France, Belgium, Guatemala (67-69), where he directed USAID programs, and Chile (69-71), where he was also director of USAID. In between country ambassadorships to Zaire and El Salvador, he was drawn upon for his expertise in economics, his main area of study, as Representative of the U.S. (Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary) to the European Economic Community in Brussels (76-79), after which he served as Assistant Secretary for Business and Economic Affairs (79-81). He was designated a Career Ambassador in 1987, a rare distinction among foreign service officers.
In its obituary, The New York Times focused on one particular episode of Ambassador Hinton’s career, when he was “rebuffed by the Reagan administration over his accusations of human rights abuses by Salvadoran security forces and right-wing ‘death squads.'” The Times goes on to note:
Leftist Salvadoran guerrillas, emboldened by the Marxist Sandinistas’ success in neighboring Nicaragua, had been trying to overthrow the country’s ruling junta. But Mr. Hinton was determined. He encapsulated his mission this way: “Save the economy, stop the violence, have the elections and ride into the sunset.”
But after an election campaign in which fending off far-right candidates was at least as demanding as subduing leftist insurgents, Mr. Hinton gave a more modest goal: “We were not going to let it become a Marxist totalitarian state.”
In a speech in El Salvador in October 1982, he also delivered an ultimatum, saying El Salvador must make progress “in advancing human rights and in controlling the abuses of some elements of the security forces,” or it would lose American military and economic aid.
He denounced El Salvador’s legal system and far right, which he blamed for thousands of murders.
The speech had been cleared by the State Department but not, apparently, by the White House. Presidential aides were quoted as saying afterward that “the decibel level had risen higher than our policy has allowed in the past.” The administration was particularly uncomfortable with Mr. Hinton’s use of the term “death squads.” He was told to refrain from any further public criticism of rights abuses.
And the Washington Post obituary highlighted yet a different episode.
Mr. Hinton held his first ambassadorship under President Gerald R. Ford, serving as representative to what was then Zaire, where President Mobutu Sese Seko expelled him for an alleged assassination conspiracy. “Total nonsense,” Mr. Hinton said. “If I’d been out to get him, he’d have been dead.”
Ambassador Hinton was born in Missoula, Montana on March 12, 1923 and retired in 1994. He died on March 28, 2017.
Here’s your invitation to join us, from wherever you are, as Dean Stavridis chats with Fletcher alumna Farah Pandith, F95. We’ll be sharing the conversation via Facebook Live on the main Fletcher Facebook page. The conversation will start at 10:40 a.m. EDT (UTC -4), but if you miss it at that time, you can (of course) catch it later on our Facebook page.
And the conversations continue on Thursday (3:00 p.m.), with a second Facebook live conversation between Dean Chakravorti and Christina Sass, F09, cofounder and COO of Andela, Africa’s largest technology talent accelerator, and recipient of the first donation from the Zuckerberg Chan Foundation. Christina will be on campus to receive an award for young Tufts alumni. Again, you’ll find the conversation on the Fletcher Facebook page.
Tagged with: Dean Stavridis
In a week when much of my time has been dedicated to newly admitted students, I’d like to turn to one of our 2011 graduates. Imad Ahmed arrived at Fletcher with a varied set of experiences behind him during the five years after he had completed his undergraduate degree. While in the MIB program at Fletcher, Imad pursued an exchange semester in Paris, and five years out, he’s continuing his education.
My Fletcher MIB taught me International Finance and International Business and Economic and Law. Though I had read economics for my undergrad degree at University of California, Berkeley, my five years prior to Fletcher had nothing to do with either of these fields. I co-ran a successful fundraising office for an unsuccessful U.S. presidential campaign in 2004, documented national and provincial campaigns to encourage women to run for office in Pakistan in 2005, worked as a journalist, and finally worked as an entrepreneur in London, seeking to create jobs in Pakistan.
After Fletcher and my semester at HEC Paris, I returned to London to work in frontier market private equity. I was excited about the jobs we would and did create. I was less excited about extracting value from negotiating hard against an African parastatal. The Rwandan government then recruited me to assist them in negotiating infrastructure with private developers, which I did for four years, as well as serve as a Special Policy Advisor to their Secretary to the Treasury. I served competently, in large thanks to my Fletcher education and subsequent investment associate training. Also in large part due to Fletcher, I was never short of friends in Kigali, where I proudly held our flag and congregated our community. I met 100 Fletcher classmates (sometimes while out dancing after midnight!), student interns and alumni (sometimes on the opposite side of the negotiating table!).
Besides providing me with new skills and networks, Fletcher reoriented my mindset. The uber-travelled student body motivated me to double the countries I’d lived in, and to add a fourth continent to match the class average. (With six countries to my name now that I’m five years out, I might have fallen behind!)
The mature students at Fletcher doing their second master’s degrees brought rich tales and richer philosophies. One of them started work life as a chef, before becoming an international banker. His words about periodically returning to school to sharpen one’s toolkit and to reflect remained with me, and allowed me to think of my own return later. (He himself is now a research director and PhD student at Fletcher.)
The consistent theme to my career has been that I’ve operated as a critical idealist, finding gaps in the value of my work. Following on from my work in Rwanda, I am now pursuing a PhD at University College London. I am assessing how governments can prioritize infrastructure projects for the purpose of most effectively reducing rural poverty.
Just yesterday, I posted a link to a profile of Rizwan, a PhD candidate. And then today, he sent along this fun photo with the explanation below. This strikes me as a great example of an area (nuclear policy) where there’s no specific Field of Study, but nonetheless, there’s a cluster of expertise that enables students to pursue their objectives — true for so many different focus areas. (Plus there’s that special Fletcher family aspect, too.)
Rizwan’s note to me and a few others:
Please find attached a photo of nuclear policy-focused Fletcher students and alumni from across the last 30 years! We are currently gathered in DC for the biannual Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference. From left to right:
Emma Belcher (F04, PhD F10), Director for International Peace and Security at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Chen Kane (PhD F04), Director of the Middle East Nonproliferation Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies
Steve Miller (PhD F88), Director of the International Security Program at the Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School
Mathew Cravens (F18)
Clark Frye (F17)
Rizwan Ladha (F12, PhD F17), Research Fellow at the Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School
Wendin Smith (PhD F01), former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, U.S. Department of Defense
Lami Kim (F13, PhD F18), Research Fellow at the Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School
Travis Wheeler (F15), Research Associate in the South Asia Program at the Stimson Center
Amanda Moodie (F11), Assistant Research Fellow in the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction at the National Defense University
Not pictured, but also attending the conference: Janne Nolan (PhD F83), Research Professor and Chair of the Nuclear Security Working Group at the Elliott School, George Washington University
Is it true that Admissions folks try to make matches among our applicants when we decide to admit them? No, of course not! But I can say that there are folks on this list whom I knew before they knew each other, so I’m more than willing to claim a role in their happiness. Continuing with our Valentine’s week celebration of Fletcher couples, please meet another twelve alumni.
Bria, F12, and Ivan, F12
We met on the first day of Fletcher orientation in 2010. We soon became good friends and often met for lunch in Mugar Café. During our second year, we stopped being shy and went on our first dates. Our favorite memory of that time was dancing away during Africana Night, the last cultural night of our Fletcher experience. We got married in 2015 and have since been living in South Asia, where we both work for the U.S. Foreign Service. Thanks for bringing us together, Fletcher!
Laura, F92, and Mark, F90 (MALD) and F93 (PhD)
Laura was working at Fletcher on a China education program. Mark had finished his PhD orals and needed a job. Mark was hired. Flirting ensued. Engagement six months later. Wedding at Tufts Goddard Chapel in the company of many Fletcher friends. Twenty-five years later, international adventures continue to unfold, including stints living in Hong Kong and Mexico. Mark and Laura now live in Denver, and have two boys, Nathan (21) and Theo (18).
Hammad, F11, and Manny, F12
Hammad and Manny met at the entrance of Blakeley Hall on Admitted Students Day in April 2010. What began as a simple friendship, after Manny enrolled at Fletcher, turned into a long-distance relationship — as those pursuing international careers might know all too well. In spring of 2011, Manny had one year left to complete his MALD program and Hammad was set to join the U.S. Foreign Service upon graduation. With some luck, Hammad’s first post was Washington, DC, paving the way for his frequent return visits to Fletcher. The relationship blossomed into a six-year courtship across five cities: Medford, Washington, Caracas, Tunis, and Mexico City. The couple fondly recall their memories from Medford: joint study sessions on the third floor of Ginn Library, staying up late to work on the demanding but rewarding DME course with Professor Church, and the active social calendars of the Green House (where Hammad lived his second year) and Blakeley Hall (where Manny lived his first year). They now both work for the U.S. State Department, and look forward to more globetrotting adventures together.
Filipa, F11, and Chris, F12
We met on October 9, 2010 during Chris’s first semester and Filipa’s last semester at Fletcher. We know the exact date because we were on our way to a comedy show in downtown Boston (“Arabs Gone Wild”) when we were introduced at a fellow Fletcherite’s house. After the show, we decided to have dinner in Chinatown and meet friends at a house-party in Porter Square. Chris walked Filipa home at the end of the night, and what followed were study sessions in the library and computer lab until we went on our first date, to watch a movie at the Somerville Theater. Filipa moved to New York in the spring, so we quickly got to know the MANY bus routes between New York and Boston. After Chris’s graduation in 2012 and subsequent move to Washington, DC, we continued to take advantage of the east coast buses to visit each other. Chris asked Filipa to marry him in June 2014 on the eve of traveling with Fletcher friends to the World Cup in Brazil. We were married the following year in Evora, Portugal in front of our families, friends, and, of course, our beloved Fletcher family. We have lived in Washington DC since 2013, where we continue to enjoy sports, comedy, movies, and the occasional inter-city bus ride.
Andrew, F12, and Arielle, F12
We were both very fortunate as students to have the opportunity to participate in the Asia Foundation Study Tour in China. During that trip we bonded over our mutual love of gorging on delicious food and exploring new places, both of which we continue to do today! We are currently living in Seoul, South Korea working at the U.S. Embassy. Should any fellow Fletcher grads make it out this way, we would love to grab a bite to eat with you!
Nathan, F13, and Ana, F13
We had common friends at Fletcher, but despite this, during our two years at Fletcher, we never got to know each other well. Nathan, a music-frisbee-development passionate guy. Ana, a zumba-library-Middle East club girl. It was only after graduation that our paths crossed in a strange but amazing way. Nathan found himself house searching and, at the insistence of one of Ana’s roommates — and Nathan’s amazing cookies — Nathan moved into the empty room of an apartment with Ana and her friends. Who would have predicted this was going to change our lives! During our early morning coffees, Ana got ready for work and Nathan would share his job-hunting stories, his latest guitar song, or just the quiet of the early morning summer in Boston. While he was looking for jobs away from Boston, Ana was also making plans — to move away from the U.S. In the meantime, we became good friends and Nathan stayed by Ana’s side during a surgery that summer. While she was recovering, he got a job in Washington, DC and he moved in late in August. And it was then when we both realized how much we meant to each other, and how much we wanted to be in each other’s lives. We skyped, talked, emailed, and saw each other as much as we could, mostly living in different places, adding up to more than 20 different cities around the world. Ana moved to southern Turkey, where we currently both live, in 2014, and Nathan joined in 2015. We got married in August 2016 in Boston, a city that will always have a special place in our lives.
And Nathan and Ana’s photo at the School is a fitting conclusion to our Fletcher Couples feature. I’m already looking forward to Valentine’s Day 2018 to reach out to more married alumni and hear their stories. Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out the photo album on Fletcher Facebook page for more Fletcher couples.
Tagged with: Fletcher couples
I love learning about Fletcher couples! And this year, in time for today’s Valentine’s Day holiday, I’ve been working on a joyful project — seeking out couples among our alumni. I reached out to a few people whom I expected would be good sources, and soon my email was sprinkled with happy photos and the couples’ stories, which I’ve shared below in their own words.
I’ve written now and then about Fletcher couples, but they’ve usually been folks I knew. For this first Valentine’s Special, featured on the blog and the Fletcher Facebook page, recent graduates are a little over-represented. Now that I know how fun it is to gather these stories, I will commit myself to bringing more graduation-year diversity to the feature. But now, let’s meet some of the couples! ♥
Gerardo, F11, and Ana, F12 and current PhD candidate
Our families have been friends for decades. We’ve known each other since we were little. We planned our wedding as we were applying to schools in the U.S. and we went to several Open Houses. We both fell in love with Fletcher, and that is where we ended up having an extended honeymoon!
Jessica, F16, and Abishek, F14
We met during the 2013-2014 academic year while living in Blakeley Hall. We recently celebrated our wedding in Allahabad, India on January 22, 2017.
Chris, F93, and Hilary, F94
We met first in a Tufts Japanese class that we were both taking after returning from Japan on the JET Program, but the romance really happened at the first Blakeley Hall party that same night! Fletcher was a great place to find someone who had the same perspective on life: an understanding of global cultures and a love of adventure! Now, it’s more than 20 years later, and that is what still keeps us together, after years of living and working in Germany, New York, and Japan. Thank you Fletcher!
Gregor, F12, and Jenny, F12
Gregor and Jenny met during their Fletcher Orientation in 2010. They became good friends, and eventually started dating after working in the same econometrics study group in their second semester. As many of the Fletcher family do, they share a passion for exploring the world, and for good quantitative analysis! They both work in the international development field with a focus on monitoring & evaluation. Jenny and Gregor got engaged in Ireland in 2014. Gregor nervously carried a ring through a four-day hike while looking for an opportune place to propose. They were married in September 2015 in Annapolis, MD and currently live in Washington, DC with their dog, Lady.
Maddie, F14, and John, F14
Maddie and John met on the first day of MIB pre-orientation at Fletcher. Maddie sat in the seat directly in front of John in Dean Chakravorti’s Stategic Management course in Mugar 200. So naturally, Maddie talked to nearly every person in the class except for John. John tried to get Maddie’s attention for weeks, but to no avail.
Maddie had signed up for a half-marathon in Salem in the middle of September and, upon a fellow classmate’s suggestion, it just so happened that John signed up, too, despite zero training. Maddie and John ran the entire 13.1 miles together, talking and getting to know each other. Not long after that, they began dating!
After graduation, they moved to Minneapolis, MN (Maddie’s hometown). John proposed to Maddie a year later, in May 2015, on the historic Stone Arch Bridge, in the pouring rain. Their wedding was at the Solar Arts Building in Minneapolis and they were fortunate to have many Fletcher friends alongside them in their celebrations.
Leigh, F06 (MALD) and F11 (PhD) and Geoffrey, F07 (MALD) and F11 (PhD)
Professor Andrew Hess and Bernadette Kelley-Lecesse (former Fletcher staff member) played an important role in bringing us together. There were also some significant upsides to late nights in the Ginn Library.
We’ll meet more couples in tomorrow’s post!
Tagged with: Fletcher couples
Kicking off the updates from the Class of 2011 is Chris Berger, who had a clear focus for his Fletcher studies before he even arrived and who took full advantage of the School’s quantitative offerings.
I graduated from Princeton in 2006 with a degree in history and I really struggled with what I wanted to do next. I was passionate about foreign affairs and international politics, and deeply involved in the national security discourse in the wake of 9/11. I was also, however, fascinated by the booming financial services industry, despite having taken little interest in economics/finance during college.
Determined to explore this path, I took a job at a financial consulting firm in New York that was focused on the bond markets. Shortly thereafter, 2008 reared its ugly head and the financial world went into a tailspin. A series of unanswered questions began to drive my focus: What was the genesis of the financial crisis and how had it metastasized so pervasively across the globe? Were emerging market economies and the so called “BRICs” (Brazil, Russia, India, China) poised to lead to the next wave of global growth? How would economies rebuild and how would government respond to strengthen the core of the global financial system? Fletcher sounded like the perfect place to explore these questions and to further build my understanding of international economics.
I was drawn to Fletcher’s MALD program by the flexibility of the curriculum and by the breadth of course offerings that directly appealed to my interests. I took full advantage of this flexibility by structuring a course load centered around economics, finance, and the global political economy. My work with Professors Klein, Krohn, and Drezner helped me to build a solid foundation in economics while also refining my understanding of the interaction between finance and public policy. Working with Professor Krohn, I wrote my thesis on how emerging markets were, after the financial crisis, poised to decouple from the West and lead the path for GDP growth over the coming years. (FYI — I was wrong.) As I looked to life after Fletcher, I was determined to find a career that straddled the worlds of public policy and finance.
After graduation, I was very lucky to be offered a role at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as part of their Markets Group. The Markets Group is responsible for executing monetary policy on behalf of the Federal Reserve System and I was fortunate to join right before the start of the Fed’s third round of quantitative easing (QE3, the program implemented in the aftermath of the financial crisis to provide the market with liquidity in effort to stimulate growth). As part of my training program I was taught how to effectively analyze and interpret movements across global financial markets and opine on broader themes across global asset classes. My training afforded me the opportunity to lead daily meetings with the Fed Governors and the Treasury Department and allowed me to participate in briefings with the leadership of the Federal Reserve, including Chair Janet Yellen.
After three years with the Markets Group, I left the Fed to assume a private sector position within BlackRock, where I currently work. The group I joined, called the Financial Markets Advisory group (FMA), was formed in the aftermath of the financial crisis and provides consulting services for governments, central banks and global financial institutions. Described by The New York Times as the “go-to SWAT team in financial crises,” I have worked on a number of assignments in the U.S. and abroad, including most recently a longer term project in Frankfurt. During my two years in the group I have been granted exposure to a broad range of issues facing the global financial system in the aftermath of the crisis, allowing me to build on my Fletcher curriculum while keeping me deeply entrenched with some of the key issues that drive my intellectual curiosity.
During the fall, I reached out to members of the Class of 2011 and asked them to report on what they were doing during their first five post-Fletcher years. I’ve now gathered these new Five-Year Updates, and I’ll start sharing them next week.
One could point out that by the time I publish the posts, five years has nearly melted into six, but let’s not quibble. The updates give you a good sense of how the former students put their degrees to work in the early years after they graduated.
My assignment to the alumni is to provide readers a sense of their work before Fletcher, their academic path through Fletcher, and then their professional (and sometimes personal) lives after Fletcher. Beyond that, the content is up to them.
Connecting with these members of the Fletcher family is a treat for me, whether or not I knew them well from their Hall of Flags days. I always look forward to hearing how Fletcher has influenced them, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading their stories, too.
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