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Just a quick post today.  The week has turned out to be busier than I anticipated so I’ll take the opportunity to share a few bits of news.

Professor Joel Trachtman was interviewed in April on our local NPR station on intellectual property theft and what it means for American businesses and citizens.

Fletcher is the host for a blog on corruption in fragile states.

Fletcher was featured in Pacific Standard magazine for our success in integrating gender into our curriculum and classes.

Professor Kelly Sims Gallagher, along with Qi Qi, a research fellow at the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, released a report on the policies governing China’s foreign direct investment.

This semester has been a particularly productive time for faculty publishing.  Three recent publications:

Tom Dannenbaum, assistant professor of international law, argues for institutional reforms that respect the rights and responsibilities of soldiers in The Crime of Aggression, Humanity, and the Soldier (Cambridge University Press).

Alex De Waal, executive director of the World Peace Foundation and a research professor, provides an authoritative history of modern famines in Mass Starvation: The History and Future of Famine (Wiley, 2018).

Chris Miller, assistant professor of international history, looks at the economic policies that underwrote Putin’s two-decades-long rule in Putinomics: Power and Money in Resurgent Russia (University of North Carolina Press).

(Read more about these and other authors in this semester’s Faculty Facts series.)

 

Continuing with this year’s new faculty feature, let’s read about the most recent research and professional activities of Fletcher’s professors.

Dyan Mazurana, Associate Research Professor, Research Director at the Feinstein International Center at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Along with Fletcher doctoral candidate Phoebe Donnelly, I recently published the international report “Stopping Sexual Assault Against Humanitarian and Development Aid Workers,” which has been influencing international discussions in countries around the world.  In the last few months, Phoebe and I have appeared in numerous media outlets, including: the Associated Press, BBC NewsNight, BBC 2 News, BBC News Channel, BBC Online, BBC Radio 5 Live, Belgium Public Television, Canadian Broadcast Corporation, CNN, Devex, France Television 24, The Guardian, International Public Radio, Fox News, Morning Wave Radio in Busan South Korea, NBC, Tufts Now, and more.  I have been consulted by numerous UN agencies and international NGOs providing humanitarian aid on this topic and am now serving as an External Expert for the UK’s Department for International Development on their work to strengthen safeguarding internally and with their partners.

I am also leading an international team of researchers working with lawyers representing over 2,000 victims in the Prosecutor V. Ongwen case currently before the International Criminal Court, at the Hague.  My team and I have been tasked to interview the victims to document they harms they and their households have allegedly suffered due to being a victim of one of three massacres the Lord’s Resistance Commander Dominic Ongwen is alleged to have ordered and participated in northern Uganda.  Our report’s findings cover a range of serious crimes, mental and physical health, food security, nutrition, education, livelihoods, and access to education, health care and water.  The findings will be presented by the team before the International Criminal Court in April 2018, where lawyers for the victims will argue the findings should influence the sentencing of Ongwen and reparations ordered by the court.  I have been carrying out research in northern Uganda since 2001.

Professor Mazurana’s profile.

Abiodun Williams, Professor of the Practice of International Politics

My new co-edited book The UN Secretary-General and the Security Council was recently published by Oxford University Press.

Professor Williams’s profile.

Patrick Schena, Adjunct Assistant Professor of International Business

The focus of my research bridges issues of global finance and public policy.  Most recently, a significant component of that work has involved sovereign and public investment funds.  Currently, my specific interest is on public funds that have a discrete mandate to invest in the national development and transformation of their home economies (often referred to as sovereign development or strategic investment funds).  My engagement includes both my own research and writing, as well as cooperating with multilateral (e.g. The World Bank) and transnational (e.g. the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF)) institutions on research projects and workshops in this area.  My recent publications on this theme include a co-authored article published in March 2017 in World Economics, a law review article published in Vol 4 (December, 2017) of the Wake Forest Law Review, and two forthcoming co-authored articles to appear respectively in Global Policy and the Harvard International Review.  I am also currently organizing a member workshop of the IFSWF in cooperation with the World Bank planned for June 2018 on focused sovereign funds and sustainable development.  My near-term projects extend the scope of this research agenda into the role of sovereign and public funds as responsible, long-term investors.

Professor Schena’s profile.  More information can be found on his SovereigNet page.

Rockford “Rocky” Weitz, Professor of Practice, Entrepreneur Coach, and Director of the Fletcher Maritime Studies Program

My research focuses on the public-private dimensions of maritime security.  Using The Fletcher School’s strength as an interdisciplinary research institution, I focus my energy on finding lessons from the private sector that can influence better public policy decisions and analyze challenges where the public and private spheres intersect.  An example of this is a forthcoming monograph on the lessons the U.S. Navy can learn from the private sector on retaining high-quality talent.  The Fletcher Maritime Studies Program fosters this interdisciplinary engagement among our students through experiential learning.  We sponsored 35 students and alumni to attend the annual Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland in October and bring in guest lecturers for our Global Maritime Affairs and Maritime Security courses.  We also expand our reach outside of academia.  I have been a frequent contributor on maritime issues with Asia Times and China Global Television Network.  Our students and staff are also publishing, including op-eds in hometown newspapers in Portland, Maine and southern New Jersey.

Professor Weitz’s profile.

Diana Chigas, Professor of Practice of International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
and Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church, Professor of Practice in Human Security

Our current joint research focuses on understanding corruption in the criminal justice sector in fragile and conflict-affected states and finding new approaches to combating corruption effectively.  We are particularly interested in the use of systems thinking for analyzing corruption, understanding the role of social norms in sustaining corruption, and integrating this learning into policy and practice.  To develop a new analytic methodology, the project tested the systems-based approach in DRC, Uganda and Central African Republic.  The first version of the resulting analysis methodology is also available complete with interview guides and meeting agendas.

We are currently working on pieces on how to address social norms to fight corruption in fragile and conflict-affected states, and on the connection of corruption to peacebuilding.  We host a learning-focused blog series at the Institute for Human Security to challenge status quo thinking and foster a space for conversation between actors working in the field of anti-corruption in fragile states.  Diana is traveling to Berlin in April to share our research as part of a lab sponsored by the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Center in Norway to design innovative experiments that can help advance the anti-corruption agenda.  Cheyanne will be in Ottawa at Global Affairs Canada in April presenting the methodology as part of a wider training of civil servants on conflict and fragility.

Professor Scharbatke-Church’s profile.  She previously wrote a Faculty Spotlight post.
Professor Chigas’s profile.

David Wirth, Visiting Professor of International Law

Throughout this year, I have written and shared the results of my research widely.

In addition to publications and speaking opportunities, here are some recent media contributions:

Is the Paris Agreement on Climate Change a Legitimate Exercise of the Executive Agreement Power?” Lawfare. Brookings

While Trump Pledges Withdrawal from Paris Agreement on Climate, International Law May Provide a Safety Net,” Lawfare. Brookings.

Referenced in Anna Dubenko, “Right and Left React to the Paris Climate Agreement News,” The New York Times.

Trump’s First Foreign Trip and the Fate of the Paris Agreement: Reading the Tea Leaves from the G7 and NATO Summits,” Lawfare. Brookings.

Fulbright Scholar on Working and Living in Moscow,” Faculty of Law, National Research University Higher School of Economics website.

Professor Wirth’s profile.  More details can be found on his Boston College bio page.

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While I’m thinking (as I did yesterday) of posts I might like new readers to comb through, I should point you back toward the many Faculty Spotlight posts that have run over the years.  While this spring’s Faculty Facts capture the most recent research or other professional work of the faculty, the Spotlight posts allowed professors to write in greater detail about their work and their connection to Fletcher.  Here’s an index (though I realize that the professors are listed in order of their posts, rather than alphabetical order).

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Yesterday we read about research and professional activities that occupy several members of the faculty.  Today we’ll meet some students, a professor, and a member of the staff from whom I’m separated by only a wall.  These Community Introductions were created and compiled by the Fletcher Student Council.  (Credit where credit is due!) 

Karina Peña (second-year MALD)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
Human Security and International Migration

What did you do before Fletcher?
I worked at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC, as a program assistant for their Latin American Program. You know those fancy panel events in DC with free coffee?  I planned a lot of those, and tweeted a lot….

Where are you from?
Miami, FL, but my parents are from Cuba and Nicaragua.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
Nicaragua.  Specifically, the tiny town where my grandparents built their house, Los Cedros.  Just visiting Nicaragua and learning about my heritage has been a joy, but to also experience small town life after a lifetime of living in urban areas was so informative.  When I was younger, it was my first experience with the developing world and extreme poverty.  But over the years, it’s developed a lot (e.g. paved roads, new schools, more internet access), so in my head, it’s almost like a practical study of development, as well as a comforting place to kick back and read a book in my hammock.

Who are your favorite writers?
I forget what it’s like to read for fun, but Jane Austen and Isabel Allende always chill me out.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My grandmother.  She’s endured a ton of hardship throughout her life (civil war, immigrating to the U.S., being the product of a generation that didn’t value education for women, etc.), but she’s the strongest person I know.  She’s also been juicing since before it was cool.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Grad school!  Or more abstractly, being more educated and better positioned than my parents.  They both had to start over in this country, but their hard work paved the way for me to have more opportunities than they did, and that’s certainly one interpretation of the “American Dream.”

Which living person do you most admire?
I already said my grandmother, so….Oprah?  Self-made, intrepid, entrepreneurial, and a fellow [shameless] lover of bread!

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Self-care, and I don’t think we talk about this enough!  We’re all such dedicated, ambitious people, and many of us give more to the community that we give to ourselves.  This semester, I’ve forced myself to make time for some fitness.  It may complicate my schedule a bit, but the satisfaction of a good workout (or whatever self-care may look like for you) goes a long way!

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Fiesta Latina 2017!  It was February, so I was homesick, sad, and cold, but Fiesta Latina warmed up my heart and soul.  It was beautiful to see it come together as a group effort from members of the Fletcher Latin America Group and the broader Fletcher community.  We also mixed in some political commentary and Latino pride during a time when many of us felt personally attacked by anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies.  (This might be a plug for Fiesta Latina 2019.)

Meg Guliford (PhD candidate)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
I’m a PhD student in Comparative Politics and International Security Studies.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I worked in the defense industry for 11 years.

Where are you from?
The south side of Hoisington, KS.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
There is no better place in the world to me than the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota.

Who are your favorite writers?
Beverly Cleary and Wilson Rawls.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
Mel Harmon, my high school custodian.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Relearning to walk after being confined to a wheelchair for several months.

Which living person do you most admire?
Dolly Parton

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Having three close family members die within a two-month period while trying to study for and complete my comprehensive exams.

JB Kelly (first-year MALD)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
Security Studies and… something else?  I am still a first year MALD, so I think maybe it’s okay that I don’t quite know yet.  Right? I’m sure it’ll work out.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I was a U.S. Army Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha (SFODA) Commander and subsequently a Plans Officer (S5) in 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne).  In layman’s terms, I was (and still am) a “Green Beret.”

Where are you from?
Stoneham, which is one town north of Medford.  I’ve lived all over the world at this point, so it’s nice to be home and catch a game at Fenway.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
Hard to pick one place.  I’ve lived a year of my life in Transylvania, so that’s pretty unique I suppose.  My favorite travel experience was the time I spent three weeks living with an ethnically Algerian family in the town of Cagnes sur Mer along Côte d’Azur in France.  I learned some French, but more importantly I got to peek inside the family life of an average, well-integrated, ethnically Algerian, French family.

Who are your favorite writers?
Fiction – Jack Kerouac; Poetry – Billy Collins

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
CSM (Retired) Billy Waugh.  His book, Hunting the Jackal, inspired me to volunteer for more than the average Army career.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Sometimes I wonder how/why I followed through on my application to West Point over 15 years ago now.  It’s a lengthy process, my parents were NOT super-stoked about the prospect of their child joining the U.S. Army in a post-9/11 world, and frankly, I was a goof ball in high school.  Any accomplishment, award, or accolade I have all seem to go back to that shockingly mature decision as a very immature high school junior.

Which living person do you most admire?
General Joseph Dunford.  I met him very briefly in Kunar, Afghanistan while he was ISAF Commander and again when he spoke at Fletcher last semester.  I think every military officer should aspire to his level of professionalism and selflessness.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
I am still working on it, but my biggest personal challenge has always been achieving a work-life balance.  The military life can become all-consuming if one doesn’t actively work on family life or get a hobby.  For example, my fiancé, Amanda, is also an Army officer, but still stationed over in Germany, so it takes some effort to stay connected via FaceTime and plane travel.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
There are too many to count really.  I am truly enjoying just being a guy, in a class, thinking about stuff.  The occasional post-(insert event here) beers at PJ Ryan’s have been pretty great too.

Quick plug: if you’d like to join me in my hobby of brewing beer, join the Fletcher Fermentation Club.

Liz Wagoner (Associate Director of Admissions & Financial Aid)

What do you do at Fletcher?
I’ve worked in the Admissions Office since August 2012.  I read applications, work closely with our admissions ambassadors and do much of our event planning, including the big April Open House.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I worked at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business in their admissions office.  I worked primarily with the health sector and nonprofit MBA programs, so coming to Fletcher was a great fit.  I’m a graduate of Bates College (Go Bobcats!) and went to BU for my master’s in higher education (shout out to my fellow Terriers).

Where are you from?
I’m a little from all over.  I was born out west, spent my early childhood in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, moved around a ton in middle school/high school, mostly around New England, but ultimately, I think of NH as home.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
I’m not sure I’ve been anywhere unique, but in a few weeks, I’m going to Iceland for a few days.  It’s been on my bucket list for a while now and I cannot wait to go!  Fingers crossed I get to see the northern lights!

Who are your favorite writers?
I’m a big fan of comedic writers like David Sedaris and Mindy Kaling and I think JK Rowling is a genius.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My mom.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I was once ranked 18th in the country for squash (juniors).  I had always wanted to crack the top 20, so when I finally did, it was a big deal for me!

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Time.  There’s never enough of it!  And perhaps, securing rooms for events — there’s never enough of those either.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
I’m a huge fan of the Annual Faculty & Staff Wait On You Dinner (AFSWOYD).  I love how the community comes together for a great cause and I get a kick out of the competitiveness of the students while bidding on auction items!  It’s always a great time.

John Burgess (Professor of Practice, Executive Director LL.M. Program)

What do you do at Fletcher?
I teach cross-border mergers and acquisitions and law of the sea.  I also run the LL.M. Program.

What did you do before Fletcher?
37 years at WilmerHale, a large, multinational law firm, with a some time off for work on the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty at the U.S. State Department.

Where are you from?
Waltham, Massachusetts.  I’ve been all over the world, but ultimately didn’t land too far from the tree.  Boston suits me fine.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
Iceland — it’s like a controlled experiment in living, that gods with a sense of humor located in a land where the principal action is all geothermal.

Who are your favorite writers?
Joseph Conrad for introducing us to a globalized world and Stefan Zweig for preserving the lost world of central Europe before the Great War.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My father, who has never encountered anything in the world of science or art that he didn’t find fascinating.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
42 years of marriage, two great daughters and two wonderful grandchildren.  Is it inappropriate to add completing a biathlon in Austria while dressed in business casual and periodically being required to drink a shot of schnapps?

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Adjusting to the rhythms of the academic year.  One minute, the corridors are filled, there are a dozen events to choose from, and exciting projects are being shared.  And a day later, silence.  I have finally figured out when you are supposed to actually do research or prepare a new course.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Aside from drawing on long-lost skills to wait tables once a year for the students with friends and colleagues from the faculty and staff?  Reverse engineering two very different events — AliBaba’s IPO and the Philippines/South China Sea arbitration to share the myriad of legal subtleties that the press never gets around to discussing.

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The Fletcher faculty (and, by extension, the curriculum) are broadly divided into the three Divisions:  Diplomacy, History, and Politics; International Law and Organizations; and Economics and International Business.  As you read the professors’ descriptions of their recent research and professional activities for this Faculty Facts series, you might find it easy or difficult to decide which Division best suits each professor.  That seems about right in a professional school with a multidisciplinary curriculum.  This is the third post highlighting the current activities of the faculty.

Michael Glennon, Professor of International Law

My current research continues to focus on the clash between President Trump and elements of the national security bureaucracy.  On March 5, I gave a luncheon talk here at Fletcher to visitors from the French War College on the 90th anniversary of the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact.  On March 6, I gave the dinner talk at a conference at Fordham University in New York on “Re-Imagining the National Security State.”  June 2, I am giving a lecture at the Academy of Philosophy and Letters in College Park, MD on the threat posed by populism to constitutionalism.

Professor Glennon’s profile.  He previously wrote a Faculty Spotlight post.

Jette Knudsen, Professor of Policy and International Business; Shelby Collum Davis Chair in Sustainability

I focus on public and private regulation to improve labor rights and jobs, and I also study regulations to improve the greening of the maritime supply chain.  Examples of my ongoing projects include:

  • Along with my co-author Jeremy Moon of Copenhagen Business School, I published Visible Hands: Government Regulation of International Corporate Social Responsibility (Cambridge University Press, November 2017).  I have presented the book at several seminars and talks, including at University College London in February 2018.  We are currently working on several papers based on the book.  (Click the photo below to watch Professor Knudsen speak about International Corporate Social Responsibility at UCL.)
  • With three colleagues (Ben Cashore from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Jeremy Moon; Hamish Van Der Ven of McGill University), I organized research workshops (at Yale in January 2018 and at Copenhagen Business School in March 2018) on “Private Authority and Public Regulation.”
  • I am exploring regulatory initiatives to improve the greening of the maritime supply chain along with Beth deSombre of Wellesley College, and I will attend a research workshop focusing on this topic at Copenhagen Business School in May 2018.
  • With Erin Leitheiser from Copenhagen Business School and Jeremy Moon, I have applied for research funding to explore new regulatory initiatives to improve labor rights in Bangladesh.  I will travel to Bangladesh for research in July 2018.
  • I’m working on a new project together with Dorte Sindbjerg Martinsen from Copenhagen University that examines institutional adaptation to labor and service mobility between states in the EU.

Professor Knudsen’s profile.

Michael Klein, William L. Clayton Professor of International Economic Affairs

Throughout this year, I’ve been focusing on EconoFact, a non-partisan publication through which we aim to bring informed analysis to the national debate on economic and social policies.  EconoFact recently marked one year of work.

Professor Klein’s profile.  He previously wrote a Faculty Spotlight post, and recently he sat down with Dean Stavridis to discuss EconoFact.

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To close out this week of discussing and releasing decisions, I’m going to turn to the real heart of Fletcher — our students, staff, and faculty.  In this third post drawn from a student-compiled feature, meet the community!

Yiyi (first-year MALD)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
I’m currently studying negotiation skills, development economics, and how to analyze regional and internal conflicts at Fletcher, while taking Arabic language classes at Tufts.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I taught English in rural Yunnan, China for two years.  I was also actively involved in teachers’ training, and education projects that brought educational resources and activities to campus.

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Changzhou, Jiangsu Province on the east coast of China.  I completed my high school and college degrees in Minnesota, U.S.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
I really loved the national parks in Maine when I visited.

Who are your favorite writers?
Chinese writer Lu Xun; Japanese writer Haruki Murakami.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being a teacher.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Compared to my fellow classmates, I had very limited exposure to international diplomacy, regional politics, and international law.  It’s both a challenge and an opportunity.  My learning curve has quite a good slope. 🙂

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
I love engaging in stimulating conversations with my classmates, and to be able to see the same problem from different perspectives.

Cindy (second-year MALD, and Admissions Graduate Intern!)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
I am concentrating in International Security Studies and International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.  In particular, I am interested in U.S.-Russia relations and U.S. policy towards Russia and Eurasia.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I worked as a 5th grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher in rural eastern North Carolina through Teach For America.  I taught for three years alongside my husband, who is also an alumnus of Teach For America.

Where are you from?
I was born in New York, but moved down to Spring Hill, Florida when I was still a baby.  I grew up in Spring Hill, which is north of Tampa, and I definitely love orange juice and the Florida Gators!

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
When I was traveling to Russia for the first time, I had the opportunity to visit Yasnaya Polyana which is the museum-estate of the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy.  It was surreal to be walking around the estate, especially after having just read War and Peace.

Who are your favorite writers?
My favorite writers are actually children’s novelists, which stems from my time as an elementary school teacher.  I loved Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, and Shel Silverstein as a kid and enjoyed reading from their books to my students.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My husband Brian has been my greatest source of inspiration.  We have been together and have been best friends for the past seven years.  He motivates me to step out of my comfort zone, supports me when I am lacking confidence, and pushes me to achieve my goals.  Having him as a partner has positively changed my perspective on life, and I will always be grateful for him!

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Becoming a Teach For America alumna is my greatest professional achievement.  A personal achievement was when I completed a half-marathon.  (I ran the whole time and didn’t stop!)

Which living person do you most admire?
I know this question asks for a “person,” but I would have to say both of my parents.  They have worked so hard their entire lives to raise five (yes, five) determined, successful, and incredible women.  Their sacrifices for my sisters and me have no bounds, and they are the reason I am pursuing my career goals at Fletcher.  Now that all my siblings and I are finally out of the house, I hope they can get the rest and relaxation they finally deserve!

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
The biggest challenge I have faced during my time at Fletcher has been prioritizing what is important to me.  There are countless guest speakers, book talks, information sessions, club meetings, and library workshops that all tend to overlap.  But then you have to focus on what you came to Fletcher for and make sure you complete your readings, meet with your professors, attend group meetings, and submit assignments.  Finding a balance between what is important to me and what is necessary is a struggle, but I am grateful for the abundance of opportunities at Fletcher.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Some of my most favorite moments at Fletcher have been performing at the Fletcher winter and spring recitals.  It always feels wonderful and gratifying to work hard on a song with a group of friends and see your work pay off during the performance.  It is also beautiful to see the variety of talent that Fletcher has in its faculty, staff, and student body.

Megan (PhD candidate)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
I am a PhD candidate in Development Economics and Econometric Impact Evaluation (self-designed field).

What did you do before Fletcher?
Prior to coming to Fletcher I worked for four years in grassroots development in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, both as a Peace Corps Volunteer and working for a small local non-profit.  I did my MALD in 2010-2012 and then worked as an economist for three years at the World Bank, where I designed and implemented several randomized control trial evaluations on public health and access to justice programs in Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia.

Where are you from?
I grew up in Boston, MA in Roslindale and Dorchester.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
There is a beach within a national park on the Dominican-Haitian Border called Bahia de las Aguilas.  It is a pristine beach formed where a desert meets the Caribbean.  The water is turquoise and the white sand feels like it goes on forever.

Who are your favorite writers?
I mostly read non-fiction, so I don’t have a favorite author, but I love reading about the history of civil disobedience and organizing efforts in the U.S., and also more recently about psychology.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My parents for sure.  Both are social justice activists, my dad in the labor movement as a union organizer and my mother working on a host of social issues in Boston, from public childcare to immigrant and refugee services, all while finding their way to raise a family in the city.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Listening, day in and day out.  I am privileged to be working and researching in international development.  With that privilege comes a deep responsibility to listen and then use the tools I have to make those voices heard.  I do this through large quantitative surveys designed with input from people working on the policies I evaluate.

The other thing I am most proud of is that I really try to bring my values of social justice into all the work I do, whether that is through representing PhD students in the PhD committee here at Fletcher and working for better stipends, or organizing short-term consultants for improved labor conditions at the World Bank.  If we don’t live the values we promote internationally in our own lives, what are we doing?

Which living person do you most admire?
Ecuadorian moms and dads making it happen every day for their families while living in poverty, victims who are brave enough to come forward in Colombia and start to build peace, Haitian entrepreneurs still hopeful despite so much hardship, Dominican families that give meals away even when they don’t have much.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Getting by financially, juggling working and being a student.  The other big challenge has been figuring out what I want to do when I grow up, which I have decided may just be a question that I will always carry with me.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Throughout my time at Fletcher my favorite moments have been sitting in class feeling fully inspired by my female economist professors.  As a MALD student, dancing in Fiesta Latina and playing Fletcher Fútbol were also unforgettable moments with the awesome Fletcher community.

Tom Dannenbaum (Assistant Professor of International Law)

What do you teach at Fletcher?
International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Justice.  I’m currently deciding on the subject for my third course, which will be offered for the first time next year.

What did you do before Fletcher?
Immediately prior to Fletcher, I taught at University College London.

Where are you from?
London, UK.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
As a lawyer, I feel compelled to point out that this question poses grave interpretive difficulties.  In the absence of an overlap between my favorite place and the most unique place I’ve been or visited, it’s tempting to think the question has no answer.  That can’t be what the drafter intended.  There are, of course, ways other than overlapping in which “favorite” and “most unique” could interact in their modification of “place.”  However, the structure of the sentence doesn’t privilege one over the others and they each militate in different directions.

What, then, is the essence of the question?  Read in the context of the project overall, and informed by the nature of the other questions, it seems to be to understand something about me through my relationship to place. Since the “most unique” category says more about the place and the “favorite” category says more about me, I expect that the latter is the dominant request.

For reasons to do with the personal emotions they evoke, my favorite places are the Marin Headlands overlooking San Francisco and the Pacific, Delft in the Netherlands, and Clissold Park in London.

A collateral side effect of this answer is that it should give you an idea of what it’s like to sit through one of my classes.

Who are your favorite writers?
Tim O’Brien, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jhumpa Lahiri, Harold Pinter

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My partner, Keya.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Parenting.  So far (he’s only two).

Which living person do you most admire?
If you were to go over answers to this kind of question from a few years ago, I’d wager that Aung San Suu Kyi would have been among the most popular.  Admiring an individual, rather than admiring an individual’s realization of a specific virtue in a particular context, sets one up for disappointment.

I see friends, family, colleagues, and students exhibit virtues I admire all the time.  Among those that most inspire my admiration are compassion, curiosity, integrity, and resilience.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
The perennial challenge is re-examining an idea or an argument that didn’t work.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
It’s a fantastic feeling when students have grasped a complex idea and are debating its merits from a position of mutual respect.  I’ve been fortunate to have several moments like that in my classes.

Leroy Lefleur (Associate Director of Library Services)

What do you do at Fletcher?
I am the associate director of library services at Fletcher.  In that role I help to provide oversight for reference and instruction services, collection development (selecting and purchasing materials), and access services (circulation and document delivery).  I regularly meet with students and faculty to assist with research projects and teach a variety of workshops on research strategies and library resources.  I also serve on a number of Tufts library-wide committees.

What did you do before Fletcher?
Before Fletcher I held similar roles at other universities.  I came directly to Fletcher from the libraries at the University of Rochester in New York, but prior to that I managed the library for the Schar School of Policy and Government and the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in the Washington, DC area.  I am also an alum from the Schar School.

Where are you from?
I am originally from the “mitten state,” AKA Michigan, but have lived and worked in Chicago, western New York, and Washington, DC over the years.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
Indonesia — more specifically Java.  I traveled around Central Java a number of years ago, and found it to be geographically beautiful with a rich and complex history, amazing people, spectacular art and culture, and incredible food.

Who are your favorite writers?
That’s a long list, but here I’ll mention James Baldwin and Pramoedya Ananta Toer

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
It may be trite to say, but my mother who just passed away last summer.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Parenting is such a difficult yet rewarding task that I’d put it high on my list of greatest achievements.

Which living person do you most admire?
The Dalai Lama

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Time is always a challenge, but there are so many wonderful people at Fletcher that I wish I had the time to get to know better.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
I really enjoy participating in the Annual Faculty and Staff Wait on You Dinner, so I think I’d go with that.  That said, I brought my kids to the Reunion weekend clambake last year and that was a lot of fun, too.

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Members of Fletcher’s faculty are first-and-foremost educators.  They teach, advise students on Capstone Projects and PhD dissertations, provide governance for the School, organize conferences, and do all the other activities that are associated with being a professor.  But it’s also typical for professors to conduct research, write, publish, and maintain associations with professional groups.  While they might teach the same classes for several years in a row, their research and professional activities can change yearly.  As I noted yesterday, I asked the faculty to provide a brief summary of what they are working on and I’ll be sharing their summaries today and weekly until I have published them all.  I’ll also include videos, such as interviews with Dean Stavridis, or other materials you may want to check out, after reading the summaries.

Karen Jacobsen, Henry J. Leir Professor in Global Migration

My current main research is the Refugees in Towns project, which supports towns and urban neighborhoods in becoming immigrant- and refugee-friendly spaces that take full advantage of the benefits brought by refugees, while finding ways to manage the inevitable and long-term challenges of immigrant integration.

Professor Jacobsen’s profile.

Chris Miller, Assistant Professor of International History

My current research examines the past and future of Russian power projection in Asia.  After the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia began what many in Moscow describe as a “turn to the east” — an effort to deepen relations with China and expand Russia’s role in Asia.  Yet this is not the first time Russia has pivoted toward Asia.  The book I am writing studies the history of Russia’s Asian pivots from the early 1800s, when Russia first established a major foothold on the Pacific Ocean, through the present, to understand the roots of the Kremlin’s current effort to bolster its role in Asia.

Professor Miller’s website.  He previously wrote a Faculty Spotlight post.  In the video below, he sits down with Dean Stavridis to discuss U.S. cybersecurity.

Larry Krohn, Adjunct Professor of International Economics

I’m finishing a book, under contract with University of Toronto Press, on the economics of Latin America (an 18-nation universe).  It deals with policy issues experienced over roughly the last thirty years (from the famous Washington Consensus).  This was my area of specialization when I worked as an economist in financial services (1983-2008) and was what first brought me to Fletcher in 2005.  The work is organized around issues, macro and structural, using country experiences as case studies.  Not surprisingly, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina are cited most often.  Many of the issues I deal with are not familiar to students exposed only to the usual micro-cum-macro principles courses taken in nations deemed of high income, and thus with an orientation to the problems of that economic stratum — decidedly not that of Latin America in the period under study.  So I ensure that the basic theoretical notions and vocabulary of each subject area are conveyed to the reader before tackling the strictly Latin manifestations of the problem.

Professor Krohn’s profile.  He previously wrote a Faculty Spotlight post.

Ian Johnstone, Professor of International Law

I am currently engaged in three strands of research.  The first is the most theoretical.  It extends the work I have done on legal interpretive communities by situating it in the growing body of literature in international relations on “communities of practice.”  A question I am exploring is whether a global interpretive community ever exists in a given issue area (for example on the use of force in international law), or whether it makes more sense to speak of multiple interpretive communities from different parts of the world that may or may not intersect.

The second strand of research is on peacekeeping and international law.  I am editing a volume that pulls together the seminal writings on the topic, with an introductory essay that will serve as both a literature review and analysis of the current state of the law.

The third strand, which is more policy-oriented, considers various ways in which global health and global security intersect.  Within that framework, I am currently engaged in research on the practice of inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations that seeks to address the stigmatization of forcibly displaced persons as carriers of infectious disease.

On a separate track, the new Center for International Law and Governance (which I co-direct with Professor Joel Trachtman) is holding an interdisciplinary conference on cyber-security in September 2018.  A series of panels will consider whether international legal mechanisms can and should be developed to address politically-motivated cyber attacks on civilian institutions and infrastructure.  Our plan is to engage policy-makers on the topic with the goal of having a practical impact, as well to produce an edited volume that will contribute to the scholarly literature.

Professor Johnstone’s profile.

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Let’s meet the folks whom the Fletcher Student Council profiled in the second of their community introductions.  You can find the first of the introductions here.

Moriah (first-year Januarian MALD)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
I am studying International Security Studies and International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (for now!).

What did you do before Fletcher?
I spent time in California doing environmental restoration and trail work.  Most recently, I was in Washington, DC working with the Democratic National Committee, managing technology projects.

Where are you from?
I consider myself to be a pan-Southerner.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
All of Bangkok, but the Grand Palace — with its life-size monkey soldiers holding up one of the palace domes — is my favorite.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My grandmother, who came of age in Jim Crow-era Alabama, worked while putting herself through college and raising two children, and was a teacher for over 30 years.  Through it all, she has always maintained a sense of humor and curiosity about what life has to hold.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I once caught a jackrabbit with my bare hands.  It was awesome.

Which living person do you most admire?
I really admire Condoleezza Rice and her story.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Choosing a course out of the many here — four semesters is not enough!

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Shopping day was really fun!  The ability to explore any course you’re interested in is such a great opportunity.

Dylan (second-year Januarian MIB)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
International Business: Strategy and Consulting.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I was a physical commodities trader in Durban, South Africa.

Where are you from?
Durban, South Africa.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
Tough question!  Although I have traveled extensively, Cape Town in South Africa is still my favorite place and the most beautiful city I have ever seen.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My father.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Getting a full scholarship for my undergraduate degree at BYU was a tipping point in my life.

Which living person do you most admire?
Desmond Tutu.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Braving the Boston winter is a daily struggle — I’m getting better at this.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Being a part of the Januarian Class of 2019 is a blast!

Dave (first-year Januarian PhD)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
Security studies, outside intervention into civil wars and humanitarian disasters.

What did you do before Fletcher?
Columbia SIPA, think-tanker in Washington.

Where are you from?
Colorado.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
Crested Butte (one of the last great mountain towns).

Who are your favorite writers?
Lauryn Hill, Steve Coll, Dr. Seuss.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My family.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Staying at home with my new son for the last eight months.

Which living person do you most admire?
My wife.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Trying to sneak out of an event after splitting my pants.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Human rights law (took it many summers ago).

Brad Macomber (Media Services Specialist)

What do you do at Fletcher?
I am a Media Services Specialist.  I help with classroom technology, video conferencing, and events.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I was in a similar role at the New England Institute of Art in Brookline for over a decade.

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Marblehead, MA, up on the north shore, a beautiful little town that I highly recommend visiting!

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
While it’s not the most unique place in New England, my family always went to Lake Megunticook outside of Camden, ME every summer.  It’s the most serene, calming place I can think of.

Who are your favorite writers?
I’m a huge fan of Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, and Ray Bradbury.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My parents.  My father was (he recently retired) a doctor in Marblehead and my mother was the head nurse in their office.  They both dedicated their entire professional careers to making people comfortable and healthy.  I can’t walk through my hometown without people stopping me and telling me a story about something remarkable one of my parents did for them.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’d love to say all the touring I’ve done with my various bands, but my relationship with my wife has been and continues to be my greatest achievement.

Which living person do you most admire?
Again, it would have to be my parents.  They have always provided me with everything I needed and did so (generally) with a smile.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Being one person trying to stay on top of all the requests for assistance (which are sometimes inherently last minute) can be very challenging.  Fortunately, folks within the Fletcher community are very understanding.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Commencement and Convocation are two of my favorite times of year, but this year, I received an American flag that had been flown over the Baghdad Embassy as a thank you from a student who recently got their PhD here.  It was extremely touching and the flag is framed in my workshop now.  Makes me very proud.

Jette Knudsen (Professor of Policy and International Business)

What do you do at Fletcher?
I am interested in government regulation of social welfare.  I define this topic as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities and employment and training policies that focus on low-skilled workers.  My overarching research interest has been to try and understand how governments can contribute to reconciling market pressures with norms of fairness.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I worked as an Assistant Professor at the Copenhagen Business School for a few years and I also worked at the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels.  For four years I then served as the Director of a think tank in Copenhagen that focused on CSR and I worked for Maersk (a large shipping and oil conglomerate) as a CSR expert.  I also worked as a consultant for Deloitte and PwC.  Before coming to Fletcher, I was appointed as a Professor of Political Science at Copenhagen University and I had been on sabbatical for a year at MIT.  I am still affiliated with Copenhagen Business School as a Velux Fellow and remain engaged in various research collaborations with my former colleagues.

Where are you from?
I grew up in Denmark.  I first visited the U.S. when I was 19 years old.  I spent a year at a small liberal arts college called Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin funded by the Scandinavian-American Foundation.  I liked the U.S. very much and later came back and did a PhD at MIT.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
In December 2017, I saw the Nerja Caves near Malaga, Spain.  They were inhabited from about 25,000 BC up until the Bronze Age.  Cave paintings, found on the walls, date back to the Paleolithic and Post-Paleolithic periods and show a culture based upon hunting.  The caves were amazing.

Who are your favorite writers?
One of my favorite books is Memoirs of a Geisha.  I read that book on a plane once coming from France when the engine caught fire and we had to make an emergency landing in Switzerland.  I hardly noticed the problems because the book was so good.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My dad, who has always told me to find my own way in life.  He did so himself and built an amazing naval architecture company that was engaged in improving shipping transportation all over the world.  Another inspiration is Mr. Maersk McKinney Moeller who hired me while I was in graduate school and later to work on sustainability in Maersk.  I have a great card from him where he congratulates me for getting into the political science PhD program, and then adds, “Ms. Knudsen please do not forget to focus on real life.”  I try to remember that.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I have a son who is both smart and kind.  I can’t really say that he is my greatest achievement as he is clearly his own person, but I am proud of him.  He will be attending Tufts next year and I am very pleased.

Which living person do you most admire?
I can’t think of a particular person that I most admire.  But I do think that having “grace under fire” is an admirable trait.  I admire people who face unspeakable tragedy yet are able to carry on.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
I am not very practical and so the Fletcher IT system can sometimes be a challenge, but I want it to work perfectly every time I am in the classroom.  I do not think the students know my limitations because Brad Macomber has always been able to cover for me.  Thanks Brad!

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Getting tenure as a full professor in the fall 2017.

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In December, the Fletcher Student Council launched a new fun initiative to introduce members of the community to each other.  Called “Fletcher Features: Get to Know Your Community,” the monthly-ish Q&A was shared by email and, as soon as it hit my inbox, I reached out to ask if I could borrow it for the blog.  Fortunately, all involved said yes, and I’ll be sharing these posts when I receive them.  I especially like them because the featured community members include students, faculty and staff alike.  I also like all the shout-outs for moms!

Robert (first-year MIB)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
I’m concentrating on International Finance & Banking and International Political Economy.  I’m also involved in the International Business Club, Finance Club, and FSIG.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I worked in client service for an investment management firm in Boston.

Where are you from?
Grew up in Medfield, MA. Went to school at Northeastern University in Boston.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
I’ll give you a few: Barcelona, Spain.  Howth, Ireland.  Brasilito, Costa Rica.

Who are your favorite writers?
Hunter S. Thompson, Malcolm Gladwell and Zach Lowe.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My mom.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Right now. Challenging myself to go to grad school (when I never thought I would).

Which living person do you most admire?
Warren Buffett.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Tough question.  I haven’t been here that long.  Maybe Professor Jacque’s class — that’s challenging.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Africana Night.

Naoko (second-year MIB)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
I’m a second-year MIB and concentrating on “Public Leadership” and International Business and working on a project to create “Lifelong Classrooms” in Japan with a lot of inspiration drawn here.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I’ve worked for the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry in Japan for about six years, where I joined projects such as TPP negotiation between U.S. and Japan on automobile portfolio, hosting G7 Ministerial Meetings in Japan, making a new environmental regulation on the air-conditioning industry, putting economic sanctions on North Korea (and some other countries) and so on.

Where are you from?
Fukuoka, Japan.  (You should visit this wonderful place when you come to Japan, seriously!)

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
Mykonos in Greece and Yakushima in Japan (both islands).

Who are your favorite writers?
Michael Ende, Riku Onda.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My mother.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I took the initiative to make a new policy, which had a big impact on various industries negotiating/communicating with counterparts outside and inside the Ministry, with only two-years of professional experience at that time.

Which living person do you most admire?
Too many to list here… I have so many of them including my family, friends, and professors who amazed and inspired me so much.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
The work I mentioned above as one of my greatest achievements.  Also, working under an awful manager in a very bureaucratic organization.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Hanging out with friends, watching friends’ performances (and participating in some of them) at culture nights.

Zdenka (PhD Candidate)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
I am currently a PhD fellow at the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP), conducting research on energy technology innovation policies.  And I am F15 MALD, too!

What did you do before Fletcher?
I served in Mexico’s Energy Regulatory Commission as an economist, designing the regulation in the basic petrochemicals sector.

Where are you from?
I am from the Czech Republic.  I was born in Prague.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
I loved visiting Iceland.  It was stunning to see the pristine nature and its power, and I really liked that people seemed to respect the nature there, not try to dominate it.  It’s the most northern place I’ve been to and the perspective on the shape of the Earth is quite different from that spot!  The clouds and the sky were on the horizon, and the Earth looked round! 🙂

Another unique place is the region of Chiapas in Mexico – the clock just stopped ticking there.  It was also my first time going to a rainforest.  It’s one of the richest places in the world in terms of the biodiversity of fauna and flora!

Who are your favorite writers?
This has been changing over my life.  But the very classics for me are Vaclav Havel, Jan Werich, Bohumil Hrabal, Jane Austen and William Styron.  I will always love their books.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
The very ancient meaning of the word “inspiration” comes from the root that means “to breathe life into.”  My deepest inspirations are my close friends and my colleagues.  The exchange of ideas with them, planning events together, and wondering about the world truly breathes life into me.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Thanks to Fletcher, I came to a point in my life when I feel centered and aware of the complexity of the world and life, and at the same time motivated and empowered to embrace this complexity and explore it.

Which living person do you most admire?
I admire all those who aim to truly improve people’s lives and for whom glory and power are secondary.  I also admire people who are willing to learn constantly, and those who might have been hurt, but didn’t immediately fight back and instead stayed in the learning mode.  I also admire people who have the courage to go a step further and explore, to prove some status quo needs to be changed.

I really admire my friends – they embody this.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
I think the challenge has been to stay truly focused on daily work while finding space to discover other fields of study/interest as well.  It’s so easy to get distracted with all the interesting ideas and events that are around!

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
I very much enjoyed graduation time at Fletcher.  I did not expect it could be SUCH a joyful time — the students and their families, the faculty — they all seem genuinely happy, ready to celebrate and have fun!  The atmosphere is truly unique.

Lupita Ervin (Administrative Coordinator)

What do you do at Fletcher?
Administrative Coordinator

What did you do before Fletcher?
I was an Administrative Assistant for the Vice President of a construction company; my favorite was when being a 411 information operator for New England Telephone.

Where are you from?
Boston, MA

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
I had the honor of going to Talliores, France and St. Gallen, Switzerland in 2015 for a Fletcher School Global Leadership Program.  Best experience ever.  The picture attached is from my travels

Who are your favorite writers? 
Terry McMillan and Stephen King

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My son

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Purchasing my first home.

Which living person do you most admire?
My mom, she molded me into the person I am today.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
When I took four suitcases for the France/Switzerland trip.  A girl can’t have too many clothes!!

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Receiving the 2017 Tufts University Distinction Award.

Monica Toft (Professor of International Politics)

What do you do at Fletcher?
I am Professor of International Politics and Director, Center for Strategic Studies.  I research and teach on civil wars, intervention, religion, demography in relation to U.S. national security and foreign policy more generally.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I taught at the University of Oxford and prior to that at Harvard’s Kennedy School.  Attended graduate school at University of Chicago, undergrad at UC Santa Barbara, and before all that served in the U.S. Army as a Russian linguist.

Where are you from?
Sayville, New York, on the South shore of Long Island.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
Cinque Terre, Italy, the views, the treks, the food, and the wine!

Who are your favorite writers?
Anton Chekhov, George Orwell, and Ray Carver

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My mother.  She taught me that most of life is a marathon rather than a sprint and what it means to commit to something.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My children.  They are turning out to be interesting and simply wonderful people.

Which living person do you most admire?
Currently Pope Francis.  It is brave of him to try to move the Catholic Church into the 21st Century.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Balancing family and work.  I love both aspects of my life, but just don’t seem to have enough time to enjoy them as fully as I would like.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Meeting the alumni from the class of 1967 at graduation.  They are such an impressive group.  And working as China Control for Simulex 2017; witnessing the Taiwan team give the Chinese team such a hard time.

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Several new professors have joined the Fletcher faculty this year.  Today, I’d like to introduce one of them, Chris Miller, Assistant Professor of International History.  Professor Miller is creating new programming on Russia, and will be teaching U.S. Foreign Policy, 1898-Present, Contemporary Issues in U.S.-Russian Relations, and Russian Foreign Policy from Peter the Great to Putin.  Here he describes the roots of his focus on Russia.

It has never been possible to make sense of international politics without understanding Russia, but the past several years have highlighted the importance of Russia in spheres as diverse as the Middle East to North Korea to cybersecurity.  At Fletcher, I am excited to work as part of a group of faculty who are building up Russian studies via conferences, student exchanges, guest speakers, internships in Russia, and student research projects.

This semester, I taught a course on U.S.-Russian relations that was video-linked with MGIMO (Moscow State Institute of International Relations), a Russian university.  We have a dozen students at Fletcher and a dozen at MGIMO, and we meet once a week to discuss and debate contemporary issues in the U.S.-Russian relationship.  In 2018, in addition to a course on the history of U.S. foreign relations, I’ll also teach a course on Russia and the World, from Peter the Great to Putin.

My own engagement with Russia began with my PhD at Yale in the history of the Cold War.  As part of research on my dissertation, I spent two years digging through Soviet archives in Moscow.  My aim was to understand the demise of the Soviet Union — a period when, in six short years the USSR went from being the world’s largest superpower to a group of 15 separate countries, all of which faced political dissolution and economic collapse.  I wanted to know why, during the 1980s, China succeeded in moving from socialist central planning to a capitalist market economy, but when the Soviet Union tried to make that same transition, it fell apart.

After looking through a number of Russian archives, including in the personal papers of Mikhail Gorbachev, the final leader of the Soviet Union, I wrote a book titled The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy. When I was research and writing the book, I also taught at a university in Moscow, the New Economic School.

I was living in Russia in 2014, when the war with Ukraine began and Russia annexed Crimea.  That same year coincided with a surprise crash in the price of oil, Russia’s largest export.  Low oil prices combined with Western sanctions pushed the Russian economy into a painful recession.  Many Western experts predicted that Russia would face economic collapse and be forced to make political concessions in order to get sanctions lifted.

But this didn’t happen — and it created another puzzle.  Contrary to many initial expectations, Russia faced little difficulty in weathering the economic crisis, and has yet to compromise in exchange for sanctions relief.  It chose this path despite a sharp fall in living standards, particularly in 2015.  It is often argued that rising wages — made possible by high oil prices — underwrote Putin’s popularity in the 2000s, but falling wages and falling oil prices did not seem to dent his popularity after 2015.  To explore the making of Russian economic policy, I’ve just finished a new book Putinomics: Power and Money in Resurgent Russia, which will be published in March 2018.

My next research project will explore the history of Russian diplomacy in Asia, with an eye toward understanding the factors that have repeatedly driven cycles of Russian engagement and disengagement in Asia.  Like the United States, Russia is today “pivoting” toward Asia.  But Russia has historically pivoted toward Asia roughly once a generation.  Will today’s pivot prove more durable or more successful than previous efforts?

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