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I tend to let National Public Radio keep me company in the morning, with the result that a member of the Fletcher community frequently joins me while I eat breakfast or commute to work. This week, my cup of tea was accompanied by the voices of two graduates.
Yesterday I was visited by Vali Nasr, F84 — a double Jumbo (alumnus of Tufts undergraduate and Fletcher) who happens now to be the dean at Johns Hopkins-SAIS, having previously taught at Fletcher — talking about Saudi Arabia, Iran, and this year’s hajj.
And then today, it was R.D. Sahl, F95, a graduate of the one-year MA program, who will be delivering reports for a new app that makes it easy to follow politics, in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential election.
Whether it’s an alum, a professor, or Dean Stavridis, hearing their stories and analysis over the radio is a welcome reminder that I’m part of a terrifically interesting and knowledgeable community.
This has been a very strange and sad week in the Boston area, but I was determined to close out the week on a positive note. Tomorrow is the deadline for making enrollment decisions for most of our admitted students, which means that we’ll soon welcome a new class to Fletcher (YAY!), but also say goodbye to many applicants who have made the decision to pursue another opportunity. (We wish you all the best in your future studies!)
But even as we try to answer the last minute questions of applicants making their final decision, our work is interrupted by the events of the week. Tufts University is closed today while law enforcement officials pursue suspects in Monday’s crime. Admissions staffers will try to keep up with your questions by email.
I want to revisit the terrific positive spirit that usually surrounds the Boston Marathon. Our two-year Admissions intern and friend, Hillary, took pictures from the post where she and other Boston-area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers distribute water at each year’s event. Here’s a photo that another RPCV took of Hillary.
And then there’s the spirit that accompanied the unexpected events of the day. This article features Brennan Mullaney, MALD student. Maybe Brennan was your interviewer if you visited last fall!
In such a strange week, I’m grateful for my long connection to Fletcher and all the fantastic students, such as Brennan and Hillary, who make every day interesting. As Dean Bosworth wrote to the community earlier this week:
Yesterday’s events remind us, in an all too poignant and tragic fashion, of the important work that lies ahead for all of you (and us) in advancing Fletcher’s mission of understanding and mutual respect, and making our interdependent world more safe and secure.
We look forward to resuming Fletcher’s mission on Monday.
I’m writing at about 10:30, the time when Fletcher starts to buzz each day. There were students in Mugar Café when I grabbed my coffee at 10, and I’ve already met with a visitor. In other words, Fletcher is back to normal. But it’s hard for me to have the blog ignore what happened yesterday and carry on as usual. I think I’ll hold off one more day before returning to more admissions-ish topics.
For now, I’ll acknowledge that yesterday was a sad day indeed. Patriots’ Day, with the annual running of the Boston Marathon, is generally a happy day. Whether we know someone running the race or not, we celebrate this long-lived event and its annual demonstration of athleticism, perseverance, and strength of will.
Today, while we keep those wounded by the attack in mind, for most of us it’s a sunny day like many others, at least at the surface. Our lovely Boston, and its surrounding cities such as Somerville and Medford, is the home of a million people and the temporary home of thousands and thousands of students. Yesterday we experienced a temporary discontinuity in our easy love of this beautiful city. Today, we’re back to express our affection for our interesting, historical, international, diverse, intellectual, technological, fun home. Those of you who live nearby know that Boston is already moving forward. Those of you who are farther away should know that this is a strong place that will not be defined by a single event, however sad.
Finally, a word about the University’s response. With a large number of runners in the Tufts Marathon Team, there was an intense effort to ensure the well-being of all students and members of the community. Two students, not from Fletcher, were injured but are reported to be recovering. The University arranged transportation from Boston to the Medford campus, and notified us of its availability through the excellent emergency notification system that has been in place for several years. Fletcher students, many having experienced emergencies in other locations, quickly established a mechanism to account for each other. An interfaith gathering took place on campus last night, and students and staff have learned of the availability of counseling. All in all, a quick and thorough response to the events, which makes us proud to be part of Tufts.
What started out as a lovely cool and sunny marathon day has ended with sadness. Blog readers might want to know that all Fletcher runners have been heard from. Students established a google doc on which they reported back about themselves or on classmates they have heard from. The Tufts University Medical Center is attending to many of the wounded, and the University is working to contact all Tufts runners.
Thank you to friends around the world who are thinking of Boston right now.
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