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Shoe1Shoe2As I still have a large group of people coming over for dinner tonight, I will not join the U.S. tradition of shopping today.  But if you’re looking for shoes (or information about the entrepreneurial activities of Fletcher students), check out this story about second-year MALD student Peter Sacco and his new social enterprise, Adelante Shoe Co., which he is launching this month.  Peter notes that Adelante “is dedicated to making it absolutely effortless for you to buy a socially responsible pair of shoes without compromising on quality, style or affordability.”  His Kickstarter campaign starts today, and if you choose to buy a pair of shoes, you’ll be a member of Adelante’s Founders Club.  Or just check out the website and find out what Adelante is all about.

 

You’ll recall that a group of Fletcher students joined the climate discussions in Morocco earlier this month.  The Tufts Institute of the Environment asked a few of these delegates to write about their experience.  Here are two reports from second-year MALD students.

Fatima Quraishi

FatimaI am a second-year MALD student interested in international environment resource policy and climate change. While at COP22 in Morocco, I had the opportunity to attend several interesting discussions seeking to scale up renewable energy deployment and meet the 2-degree target if not the more ambitious 1.5 degree. This is in no way enough, and should be necessarily supplemented by the controversial phasing out of fossil fuels. The fossil fuel industry is one of the most powerful industries in the world and has an existential stake at COP22. They are also the party that has a huge role to play in workers’ welfare.

At the “Fossil fuel supply and climate policy: Key steps to enhance ambition” side event jointly organised by Stockholm Environment Institute, Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International, the speakers brought to light important research in the field of fossil fuels. They all stressed the importance of immediate action aimed at reducing carbon intensive lifestyles. It was stressed that if efforts are not made now, the world will lock in an even more heavily carbon intensive lifestyle thereby implying that the death of fossil fuels is certain. There is no greening of fossil fuel but only a complete phase out that will affect any change for climate.

Combustion of coal from federal lands accounts for more than 57 percent of all emissions from fossil-fuel production on federal lands. The Obama administration earlier this year ordered a moratorium on new leases for coal mined from federal lands which was heavily criticized by the fossil fuel industry and the Republicans. Expectedly this moratorium will be removed by the new administration.  China also placed a moratorium which most of the analysts believe is due to noncompetitive nature of coal than climate change.

Greg Muttitt, Senior Campaign Advisor, Oil Change International said that it’s necessary to affect a managed decline of fossil fuel which must be complemented by rapid increase in renewable energy production.  What wasn’t discussed was the need to reduce consumption as well. Behavioral change is the toughest to effect but forms an important component for responsible energy use. The Indian pavilion at COP22 can be credited to bring the theme of sustainable lifestyle to the fore. Indian Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Mr. Anil Madhav Dave opined that it’s important to adopt sustainable practices to battle climate change. In another side event organized by India, stress was placed on the importance of education that has a transformative role to play for climate action. Education, formal and informal will form the bedrock of informed choices that consumers will have to take to tackle climate change.

As discussed above, the need is to implement several measures simultaneously at the individual, national and international level to combat this catastrophe. At this point it is crucial to reiterate the need for a just transition because there will be winners and losers and inclusivity demands that nobody is left behind! Transition must take place without crippling development. Brian Kohler, Director for sustainability, Industrial Global Union spoke about the areas to be addressed for just transition from the perspective of workers with a focus on sustainable industrial policy, social protection and labor adjustments.

The road ahead requires robust data on vulnerable workers disaggregated by gender, age, skillsets, personal needs and requirements and education that would prove useful. Important questions need to be posed and answered like what kind of training and education do the workers need to undergo? How will they be trained? Is there chance of displacement? Would just transition conditions delay climate action? How would fossil fuel industry transition? A transitionary program  needs to be implemented to provide the workforce with education, skills, finance and whatever help they need in the interim. Lessons from the reconstruction of Germany after the fall of the Berlin wall could be the starting point of research for a sustainable future for everyone.

And finally addressing the question of whether the fossil fuel interests should be at the heart of the discussion of their future at COP22. In the past fossil fuel interests have lobbied heavily against any productive action against climate action and has also funded researchers and think tanks to come up with a counter discourse. But would that apprehension be enough to cut them off from the discussion? Important lessons were learned when the tobacco industry lobbied against WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The lesson was in the form of Article 5.3 of this Convention that recognized the conflicting interest with tobacco industry and thereby limited its engagement and influence. This Article also prohibited accepting any funds from the tobacco industry. There are a number of opinions online which advocate similar provisions under UNFCCC for the same purpose. Last year, outrage was expressed at COP21 being financed by heavy polluters but the justification was need based as green companies did not have enough capital to fund the conference.

There are conflicting opinions shared by governments and civil societies about their inclusion in the negotiations for reasons of conflict of interest and on the other side openness and transparency.  World Coal Association and many coal oil and gas industries ride the backs of Business Associations and Council to get an entry to many negotiations. Currently their observer status batch does not allow them to attend most of the sensitive negotiations but is that an effective check on the power of these lobbies? Sovereign states are well within their rights to make them a part of their party delegation that gets them access to all negotiations. Saudi Aramco is heavily represented in the Saudi Arabia delegation. Therefore, only time will tell how much cooperation or disruption they cause.

Considering we need a dialogue with all stakeholders to craft solutions for the future, it is important that we refrain from forming an echo chamber where fossil fuel industry is not included. This may prevent them from lobbying to get their way with governments in clandestine way.


Julio Rivera Alejo

JuanAt The Fletcher School I am concentrating in international energy and environmental policy with a special focus on climate policy. Before Fletcher I worked for Sustainlabour, an international foundation that works with trade unions all around the world in sustainable development issues. As part of this work I actively participated at COP20 in Lima, the round of negotiations that laid the foundation for the Paris Agreement next year at COP21. At COP20 we mobilize and worked with Peruvian’s trade unions to take a leading role amongst civil society actors participating at the negotiations in Lima.

During last summer, I worked as an intern for the United Nations Global Compact’s Climate Team in New York. The UN Global Compact climate team closely works with businesses all over the world helping them to take climate action. Today I keep collaborating with them through my Capstone Project at Fletcher. I am producing for them a research paper on the role of the private sector in the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted by the countries in the context of the Paris Agreement.

In this regard, attending COP 22 has constituted a great opportunity for advancing my research. More than closely following the actual negotiations, I was more interested in attending different side events addressing the link between non-state actors climate actions and the NDCs and the Paris Agreement. The presentations by different experts in the field at these side events provided me with insightful and valuable information and direction for my research.  Furthermore, my attending the conference granted me the opportunity to personally interview some of these experts. Interestingly, one of the persons that I ended up interviewing and whose contribution was most valuable for my research was not among my initially targeted experts. I met her by total chance at one of the events I was attending. She was in the public, like me, and I noticed her when she asked a question during the Q&A directly related with my research, a question that I was going to ask!

As for the actual negotiations, COP22 is about implementing the Paris Agreement. Carbon accounting, financing and the facilitative mechanism will be the main issues this. However, more than analyzing the negotiations in detail, I would like to focus on the Global Climate Action Agenda. Previously, COPs have eminently been an intergovernmental process with non-state actors playing an essential observer role. But in Lima, the Global Climate Action Agenda was launched (back then it was known as the Lima-Paris Action Agenda), which main goal was to empower non-state actors as a key player in climate action. At COP22 we can see how the Global Climate Action Agenda has flourished, where many non-state actors attending the conference and presenting their commitments and showing their commitment towards climate action. Personally, seeing this makes me very optimistic about the Paris Agreement. Signed and ratified, it is time for implementation, and non-state actors (cities, businesses, regions, civil society) have a key role to play here.

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It isn’t that I love only the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.  I love the lead-up to it, too.  From the weekend onward, folks can be seen pulling suitcases along the sidewalk on their way to somewhere.  Chatter about the weather gives way to questions about Thanksgiving plans.  Newspapers dedicate space to discussion of how to put together a complicated meal, for those who only do so once each year.

Turkey2Each year before Thanksgiving, I like to pause and thank Admissions Blog readers for giving me a forum to talk about my favorite holiday, as well as more admissions-relevant topics.  I never forget that the decision to attend graduate school is one that our students take seriously and make only after much consideration.  I’m happy that I can play a small role in helping them with their decision making.

TurkeyEarlier this week, students set up a little crafts center and invited the community to make a hand turkey with a comment or wish on it.  Anyone who was in school in the U.S. for preschool or the early grades will recognize these.  Trace your hand and decorate the shape to look like a turkey.  Anyway, the turkey messages in the Hall of Flags were very sweet, as was the very idea of creating an activity that would be silly and fun — a quick distraction from all the academic deliverables that students are getting ready to produce in the roughly four weeks that remain of the semester.  The turkeys were put together on a “Wall of Gratitude,” positioned a short distance from the boxes collecting contributions for the Fletcher Food Drive.

PieSpeaking of deliverables, my task for today is to bake bake bake.  My objective is roughly the same as it was a few years back when I took this photo.  Add an apple pie and swap out a cranberry pie for cranberry ginger cake, and I think that should do it.  We’ll have 14 folks (including a recent Fletcher grad) and one baby over for dinner tomorrow.  And then 17 on Friday!  I won’t need to worry about eating leftovers after that.

Wishing all our readers a happy Thanksgiving, with good food and friends or family!

(The Admissions Office will be closed tomorrow and Friday.  We’ll be back Monday morning, as usual.)

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Student Stories writer McKenzie writes today about an activity with which she’s involved this fall — an activity that you can join in, too!

It seems like just yesterday that we started the fall semester.  Yet here we are, with fewer than 10 days until December and 25 days until the end of the fall semester.

As the saying goes, “time flies when you’re having fun,” and fun I’ve been having!  While Fletcher has no shortage of hectic weeks, it also offers ample opportunities to pursue activities specifically related to my career focus.  With this in mind, I want to take a minute to tell you about a great opportunity to join the Fletcher Social Investment Group (FSIG) team, which competes in the MBA Impact Investing Network and Training (MIINT) competition each year, and ask for your help.

What is MIINT?

The MIINT is an experiential learning program designed to give students at business and graduate schools a hands-on education in impact investing.  As a member of FSIG’s team this year, I’m helping to source, screen, diligence, and ultimately pitch an early-stage social venture to an investment committee in April at the Wharton School.  The winning team’s company will receive up to $50,000 towards a total funding round of $250,000 to $1,000,000.  While preparing for the competition, we also complete a series of eight online learning modules developed by the MIINT’s main sponsors, Bridges Ventures and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative.  It’s a great opportunity to step into the shoes of an impact investor and get first-hand experience identifying and valuing prospective investments.

What kind of companies is this year’s MIINT team looking for?

The MIINT program experience exposes us to the challenges associated with scaling impact investing — specifically, sourcing financially, socially, and environmentally attractive deals.  To do this, our team is leveraging Fletcher’s uniquely international network to identify sustainable business models that efficiently deliver key products or services, and improve quality of life for individuals in emerging markets.  For more information, check out our investment thesis here.

Excited? Here’s how you can help before even getting to Fletcher:

We have just three weeks left to source the best deals possible before identifying a shortlist of companies on which to conduct due diligence.  If you or those in your network know of any companies that meet the investment criteria described on our website, we’d love to consider them for investment.  The website also provides more information about our team.

Tell interested companies to complete our contact form as soon as possible to be considered for funding!

Note: Supporting FSIG’s MIINT team is voluntary and has no bearing on admissions decisions to The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

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Our final post from a new Student Stories writer comes from Mariya, a recipient of a Pickering Fellowship that helps her fund her education in return for a commitment to join the U.S. Foreign Service.

MariyaGreetings from one of my favorite study spaces at The Fletcher School: the ultra-quiet “Hogwarts Room” at Fletcher’s Ginn Library.  I am surrounded by neatly stacked books, brightly lit lamps, students hard at work, and former deans looking down at us — either admiring our dedication or secretly laughing.  I can never tell.

But what I can tell you is who I am and why I am here.  My name is Mariya Ilyas and I am first-year MALD student.  I was born in Pakistan, moved to the United States with my family at age eight, and grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, just seven miles south of the nation’s capital.  The proximity to Washingtonian politics, exposure to diverse people and cultures, and having a dual identity cemented my interest in international affairs from an early age.  I am grateful to the Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship, which will allow me to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a U.S. diplomat and serving my country in a meaningful way.

I am here to share with you my experiences at Fletcher over the next two years.  I enjoy blogging because writing for an audience allows me to process and reflect on my experiences, while also growing from them.  As I navigate my Fletcher journey, my goal is to not just share the immense opportunities that are available at this school, but to also analyze how those opportunities are contributing to my personal growth and preparing me for my career.  I hope that my entries will provide prospective students with another point to consider as they explore graduate school options.  I also hope to look back on these posts in 2018 and reflect on my personal and professional development.

I came to Fletcher with a diverse set of experiences.  I studied mathematics, sociology, and government at Bowdoin College, a small liberal arts college in the town of Brunswick, Maine.  My time at Bowdoin prepared me for many “real world” challenges, including the New England winters — which became particularly handy when I took up a job in Boston after graduation.  As a product analyst for Liberty Mutual Insurance, a fortune-100 company, I analyzed insurance data and implemented projects to increase growth and probability in the state of Kentucky.  After gaining valuable business and financial skills, I switched gears from the corporate world to the public sector.  Last year, I taught English in Antalya, Turkey through the U.S. Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship program.  This nine-month fellowship allowed me to appreciate a different culture, learn a new language, and get a glimpse of what it is like to live abroad.  My extensive travels showed me the rich history of Turkey and the country’s breathtaking beauty, as well as the strength and hospitality of its people.  Lastly, my internships at The White House and the U.S. Department of State (Pakistan Desk) exposed me to my future workplace: a complex federal bureaucracy with humble public servants.

This semester, my classes include Role of Force, International Organizations, Petroleum in the Global Economy, Arts of Communication, and a yearlong EPIIC Colloquium, hosted by the Tufts Institute of Global Leadership.  Although I plan to concentrate in International Security Studies and Global Maritime Studies, my strategy for graduate coursework is to expose myself to as many different disciplines and topics as possible — Foreign Service Officers are generalists, after all.

Outside the classroom, I am involved in activities that push me out of my comfort zone, challenge my assumptions, and help me develop new skills.  I am a member of the Arctic Initiative and the improv group, co-leader of Fletcher Students of Color & Allies, and co-leader of the Fletcher Islamic Society (which I helped re-establish this year).  I am also conducting research for the U.S. State Department’s Diplomacy Lab under Professor Eileen Babbitt and helping fundraise for the Arctic and Energy conferences coming up in February 2017.  In addition to these ongoing activities, I enjoy participating in opportunities that add to my learning.  For example, I was one of 40 students who represented Fletcher at the Arctic Circle Assembly Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland; I played the role of Turkey’s interior minister at this year’s SIMULEX, and I gave a TEDx-style speech about blogging as a way to bridge the academic-policy gap at the Fletcher Idea Exchange.  I’ve also signed up for impromptu activities such as participating in cultural nights, hosting a Fletcher Feast, or attending Professor Hess’s annual picnic.  This might seem like an overwhelming set of commitments — and at times, it can be — but if there’s one thing I have learned at Fletcher, it is that Fletcher students are exceptionally good at juggling their commitments, and that being a part of 15 things simultaneously is the norm rather than the exception.

Mariya2I have been at Fletcher for almost three months now, and I could not be happier.  I remember my uncle, a retired Pakistani bureaucrat, once told me that the Pakistani Government used to send its entire corps of young foreign service officers to Fletcher because of its reputation and approach to the study of international affairs.  I now understand what my uncle meant.  In the short time that I have been here, I feel proud to be a part of a vigorous, yet modest, community of scholars dedicated to solving the world’s most pressing problems through interdisciplinary approaches and an international perspective.  It was not just the world-class reputation that drew me to Fletcher, however; I was also attracted to the School’s flexible curriculum (including cross-registration at Harvard), diverse student body (each of my four roommates represents a different country), and the quality of its alumni network.  But above all, I chose Fletcher for its caring community.

I would like to share an anecdote to illustrate my last point about the caring community.  In April 2015, I was faced with a dilemma: to enroll in graduate school or defer my admission to pursue the Fulbright Scholarship.  I called the Fletcher Admissions Office to seek advice, and spoke with Dean of Admissions Laurie Hurley.  Much to my surprise, she said, “Graduate school will always be here.”  She encouraged me to take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in Turkey because she believed it was the best move for my professional and personal development.  In that moment I realized the Fletcher community was genuinely committed to my success.  Looking back now, deferring my admission was one of the best decisions I made, because teaching in Turkey prepared me for a richer educational experience and world perspective — and I have the Fletcher community itself to thank for that.

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The second post from new Student Stories writers comes from Pulkit, who has taken a multi-step path from an engineering degree to Fletcher.

Pulkit2Hello!  My name is Pulkit Aggrwal and I am a first-year MALD student from India.  I am excited to share my Fletcher journey with all of you.  I am interested in writing for the Admissions Blog because, as I share my story, I will be able to reflect and critically analyze my thoughts during my time at Fletcher.  At the same time, I hope these stories will resonate with readers, who themselves are either trying to discover new fields of study or explore uncharted territories, and I hope that it will give them the confidence to try and experiment.  I also hope that, at the end of two years of my program, when I read these posts and look back at my journey, I will see how much I have learned, how much I have grown as a person, and how far I have come.

I was brought up in Chandigarh, a city north of New Delhi, a capital of two Indian states, and a city designed by the French architect Le Corbusier.  I studied engineering as an undergraduate.  Specifically, I studied electronics and electrical communication engineering.  After graduating, I worked with McKinsey and Company as an analyst in the high tech and telecommunications industry vertical.  I worked for clients across the consumer electronics, telecommunication, software, and IT services value chain.

After McKinsey, I joined a hospital in an administrative capacity, working on business development and strategy.  During this time, I tried to enter into the Indian Civil Services as a foreign service officer.  In order to make a contribution to my community, I volunteered as a teacher with a children’s not-for-profit organization called Make A Difference.  As a teacher, for about four years, I was associated with Ashiana, a shelter home for underprivileged children, where I worked, mentored, and taught children aged six to 18 years.  Later, I was selected as a Global Shaper Under 30 — an initiative of the World Economic Forum — where I worked on community issues related to urban mobility, gender empowerment, and community leadership.  These experiences shaped my interest in international affairs and development.  It is then that I decided to pursue graduate studies, to build an understanding of key international issues and develop a complementary skill set in law and economics.

At Fletcher, I am currently pursuing courses in International Security Studies, International Organizations, Human Security, and Development Economics.  These fields are intricately tied to each other.  I hope to concentrate on two out of the four Fields of Study and bring in key elements from the other two so as to have a complete perspective.  Coming from a physical sciences background, it is huge step for me as I make a transition and pursue studies in social sciences.  It is also a steep learning process as I get introduced to new subjects, terminology and their inter-linkages.

To add an international language to my skill set, I am auditing elementary French at the Olin Language Center here at Tufts.  Outside of class, I am involved in a few activities and societies at Fletcher.  I am a print staff editor for The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs and I volunteer with the Admissions Office.  I am also working on a land rights project with the Harvard Law and International Development Society.

It has been three months since I moved to Boston and started school, and Fletcher has exceeded all my expectations.  More than the curriculum, it is the people I have met and the constructive challenges that I have faced that have made my graduate student life so interesting and enjoyable.  I have just embarked on this journey.  There is so much happening all the time that I feel like I live a lifetime every day.  No day is the same.  I enjoy facing these challenges and tackling them one at a time.  As I gear up for the final month of my first semester at Fletcher, I look forward to sharing more from my learning and experiences.

Scenes from Fletcher Asia Night event

Scenes from Fletcher Asia Night event

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Today, let’s meet Adi, a first-year student in the MIB program who will be writing for the Student Stories feature during his two years at Fletcher.  Adi has roots in both the U.S. and Indonesia and has spent long stretches of time in each.

Adi, 2To be honest, I had never considered Fletcher as my destination for graduate school.  I had barely heard of Fletcher in the social circles I normally operate around.  And yet, here I am, three months into my academic journey as a Master of International Business (MIB) candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and it could not have been any better.

I left my previous job in Indonesia looking for new ways I could bridge the private sector’s involvement in development efforts, beyond the usual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) donations.  Thus, in choosing my graduate school program, I looked into either a Master of Public Policy, where I could design the regulatory environment for business involvement, or a Master of Business Administration, diving right into the innovation system within corporate organizations.  I was even considering a joint MBA-MPP degree.  In the MIB at Fletcher, I found the ability to do both, and so much more.  My daily classes are filled with learning as much about corporate financing and risk of investments as about the political risk of being in a foreign environment.  I haven’t even gotten to the full range of courses that Fletcher has to offer.

MIB pool

The 2018 MIB class

I have attempted to immerse myself in the Fletcher spirit by joining the Fletcher Social Impact Group, advising a start-up team with their market entry strategy into Boston.  I am organizing two separate conferences scheduled for the beginning of 2017, with themes from innovations in international affairs to populism as a political risk.  And, by attending lectures and events, I have interacted with senior managers from Boeing, Deloitte, GAP, and BCG, as well start-up founders.  Sometimes, there are so many events happening that I simply cannot decide which I wish to attend.  The relatively small but tight-knit community, the flexibility of the curriculum, and the wealth of event options have made the past three months very exciting, stressful, and colorful, all at the same time.

All of this excitement has made me wonder, as I reflect back to how I managed to get here: how had I never heard about Fletcher before I actually started applying?  At first, I thought it was a lack of outreach from the School in Indonesia.  Then, I looked at the profile of Indonesian alumni, and I saw former ministers of foreign affairs, heads of national planning, and directors from multi-national banks.  I realized, there must be a Fletcher presence in Indonesia, and a pretty strong one at that.  The alumni network in Indonesia, though small, actually holds key positions and are very influential.  And the best part is that they, too, are proudly part of the Fletcher community.

The strength of the alumni network amazes me.  I have heard about how most universities take pride in the diversity and success of their alumni, but I had never before heard, let alone experienced, how strong this alumni connection can be.  Email any Fletcher graduate whose background you might be interested in, and you will very likely get a quick reply asking how they can help.  In the three months I have been here, I probably have reached out to more than 50 alumni, and they all have responded, even if we needed to work around their schedules.  And the more I am embedded in this community, the more I realize that this culture is not exclusive to alumni, but also current students, staff, and the faculty.

Indonesian students

With Indonesian friends, including one other Fletcher student.

Quite simply, I feel that coming to Fletcher is one of the best decisions I have made.  I cannot wait to see how the rest of my Fletcher journey will turn out.  I can’t claim that I have gotten the full insight into what Fletcher has to offer, but I am definitely excited to see what else is out there.

I know that many Indonesians back home would be interested in joining this community, and will have a lot to add.  And I know that many will benefit from the Fletcher experience, with the flexibility, the events, and the resources, to graduate ready to contribute back to the country.  So here I am, hoping to ensure that people hear more about Fletcher.  Here I am, to ensure that more Indonesians will make Fletcher their next stop.

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Earlier in the fall we caught up with Adnan, McKenzie, and Tatsuo, our three returning writers in the Student Stories feature.  Today I’m excited to introduce you to three new writers, Adi, Mariya, and Pulkit.  Adi joined the MIB program this fall, while Mariya and Pulkit are both first-year MALD students.  Mariya is a Pickering Fellow and Pulkit has a technical background — categories that represent a small but significant portion of each year’s incoming students.  My hope is that applicants will see a little of themselves in the writers and that the writers will open a window for readers to view Fletcher student life.

We’ll kick off the new writers’ contributions tomorrow with Adi’s story of his path from working in Indonesia to joining the MIB program.  I hope you’ll enjoy learning about these three new students.

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It would be much harder and so much less pleasant to do our work if not for the help of our Graduate Assistants (GAs) — Fletcher students who work about ten hours per week in our office.  In the old days (about three years ago) our office still dealt with a lot of paper — recommendations, transcripts, test scores all arrived by mail.  These days, nearly everything is done through our Slate application and the GAs can offer us much more than simply cutting open envelopes.  Today I want to introduce the four GAs working with us this year.  You might meet them if you visit, or chat with them if you call.  And now you’ll know that there’s a real person with the name signed on your email.

But first, the quickest of digressions.  Today is our Early Notification deadline.  I will save the GAs some work if I tell you that submitting an application on November 15 means you should zap it through by 11:59 p.m. EST (UTC-5).  Any later will no longer be November 15.  And now, with no further ado, let’s meet the GAs.

Ashley:
AshleyHello future Fletcherites!  I am a second-year MALD student, pursuing the International Business Relations and International Communications Fields of Study.  Building on undergraduate degrees in both international affairs and photography, I am particularly interested in the impact of visual communication tools (i.e. photo and video) in the global context — especially in media and publishing.  I look forward to pursuing a career in these industries when I graduate, and was fortunate to spend last summer interning with Scholastic Publishing on project management, photo editing, and business analysis.

At Fletcher, I’m regularly involved with The Murrow Center for a Digital World, serve as Managing Web Editor for Fletcher’s oldest student-run foreign policy journal, The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, and am also engaged with groups such as Tech@Fletcher and the International Business Club.  Prior to arriving in the Boston area, I spent four and a half years in Washington, DC, with a non-profit organization focused on global leadership development and U.S. public diplomacy.  I worked primarily with the external affairs team on public programming, fundraising, and communications.  I also had the opportunity to help develop strategic initiatives with the European Union, India, China, and Turkey.  Then and now, I love travel, film, and tennis.  I look forward to connecting with you and answering your questions about Fletcher!

Brooklyn:
BrooklynHi everyone!  I am a first-year MIB student focusing on Strategic Management and International Consultancy, as well as Global Political Economy.  Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, I moved to Washington, DC to attend American University, where I studied international relations, focusing on U.S. foreign policy in Latin America and Spanish language.

After completing my bachelor’s degree in 2012, I started working at Chemonics International as a project management team member.  Six-months into my time there, I moved from the Latin America Regional Business Unit (RBU) to the Asia RBU, where I had the opportunity to learn about the culture and complexities of a region of the world that was new to me.  While working in the Asia region, I was involved in projects spanning from Pakistan to the Pacific Islands that covered topics such as governance, climate change adaptation, combating human-trafficking, and economic growth.  It was my work with the Vietnam Governance for Inclusive Growth project that sparked my interest in the public sector and led me to Fletcher!  In my personal time I love doing Pilates and spin classes, trying new restaurants, and going to the movies.  I look forward to hearing from you in the Admissions Office this year!

Cindy:
CindyHello everyone!  I am a first-year MALD student, concentrating my studies in International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and International Organizations, and pursuing a certificate in Diplomatic Studies.  I grew up in Spring Hill, Florida and later received my BA in political science, anthropology and a minor in Russian at the University of Florida (go Gators!).  I was very fortunate to work with a professor in the political science department on a thesis related to ethnic violence against minorities in the Russian Federation.  This experience sparked my interest in pursuing a degree related to international affairs.

When I graduated, I was accepted into Teach For America as a fifth-grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher in Halifax, North Carolina.  As a teacher I honed my leadership skills, shared my passion for reading and writing with my students, and fostered lifelong relationships with my colleagues.  Through learning about Teach For America’s mission, I became devoted to issues of minority rights and providing quality education to children regardless of their background or zip code.

At Fletcher, I want to focus my research on diplomatic relations between Russia and the United States.  I am also interested in developing knowledge and skills related to international education and international minority rights.  At the moment, I am considering self-designing my own field related to these two areas.  I aspire to one day be working with an international organization that is devoted to advocating for human rights, more specifically minorities, or to within the United States government related to Eurasian or Russian affairs.

I have already become very involved on campus, and there seems to be a club for just about anything!  I recently joined the Ambassachords, Fletcher’s premier a cappella group, and I have even been able to perform in one of our Culture Nights!  In my spare time I love to cook, read, go for walks with my dog Obi, and spend time with my wonderful husband Brian.  I am very excited to be working with the Admissions Team, and I hope that I can bring the spirit I have for this school to both current and prospective students!

Dristy:
DristyNamaste!  I am a second-year MALD student from Kathmandu, Nepal.  I received an International Baccalaureate from the United World College of the American West in New Mexico, and graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont with a major in psychology and double minor in economics and Spanish.  As a native of a developing country, I have always been very interested in understanding and tackling the challenges of development.  After my undergrad, I spent a few years working for various actors in international development in areas ranging from entrepreneurship, to local governance, social accountability, social protection, and capacity building.  Immediately before coming to Fletcher, I worked for AmeriCares, an emergency response and global health international organization, helping them set up in Nepal and supporting their efforts in response to the massive earthquakes that devastated the country in April 2015.

At Fletcher, I am pursuing the Certificate on International Development, with Public & NGO Management and Human Security as my Fields of Study.  This year I also have the pleasure and honor of co-leading the Asia Club and FletcherCares, which have given me more ways to engage with the Fletcher community.  I am excited to be a part of this team at the Office of Admissions again this year and look forward to answering any questions you may have, in order to help you navigate through the graduate school research and application process.

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This is an exciting week for a team of Fletcher students and faculty members who are attending the COP22 international climate negotiations in Marrakech, Morocco, along with others from Tufts.  The Provost’s Office and Fletcher’s Center for International Environment and Resource Policy has provided funding to support the students’ travel to the talks, which will run from November 7 to 18, and where delegates will prepare for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Some of the travelers will be adding posts from Marrakech to a blog maintained by the Tufts Institute of the Environment, and I will also pick up the Fletcher students’ posts here.  Meanwhile, you can follow the delegation at #TuftsCOP22.  A highlight so far: Second-year MALD student from Indonesia, Angga, speaking to an Indonesian contingent.

Angga

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