Today’s Faculty Spotlight introduction comes from a member of a select subset of the Fletcher faculty: professors who also graduated from Fletcher, where Kelly Sims Gallagher received both her MALD and PhD. Prof. Gallagher currently teaches Climate Change and Clean Energy Policy and Innovation for Sustainable Prosperity, and she directs the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy.
My favorite moment from my years as a student at Fletcher (many years ago now) occurred during my Foreign Relations of the People’s Republic of China class. Our deliberate Professor Alan Wachman embarked on his lecture on the Korean War, but got no further than about five minutes into the lecture when a hand was raised. “Yes, General?” he asked. My fellow classmate, a retired Korean general in the MALD program, slowly rose to his feet and announced, “I was there.” He then proceeded to give his own reflections on the war in general, and China’s role specifically. It was a classic Fletcher moment where (1) the global perspective is naturally provided in the classroom, (2) everyone was riveted by the moment, (3) history vividly sprang to life, and (4) the class took on a life of its own.
As a current professor, I try to foster and cultivate such moments in my own classes. Let me provide a couple of examples. In my Climate Change and Clean Energy Policy class, we do a simulation of the international climate negotiations every year, right before the annual conference of parties. Most years, we have actual climate negotiators in the class, but they never get to represent their own countries — instead, I put them into their primary adversary’s role. Most recently, I had an actual Chinese negotiator play the role of the Special Envoy for Climate Change in the United States. He set an amazing tone and forcefully argued his positions until one moment when the color in his face rose until he was bright red with emotion. We all watched with appreciation as he managed to develop an argument that he certainly violently disagreed with personally. Not only did he learn a great deal from being able to sit in the shoes of his opponent, but the rest of the class could not help but appreciate the duality of his situation. Students also got to hear during the debrief about what “really happens” in those informal negotiations in the middle of the night.
In my class this semester on Innovation for Sustainable Prosperity, we have two engineers who have actually worked on technology development, one patent expert, former Intel and Shell employees, an economist, and a dozen others from at least eight different countries who have all engaged in the innovation process somehow, somewhere. This spring, our class has been invited by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs to contribute background briefs on the role of technology in delivering sustainable development for the upcoming first-ever Global Sustainable Development Report. As we march through the theory, we will simultaneously study case studies, and uncover and evaluate the empirical evidence about how innovation can contribute to sustainable prosperity.
Classes at Fletcher don’t stagnate; they are dynamically evolving every day, enriched by professors and students working together in a spirit of engaged, respectful inquiry.
The weeks are speeding by for the Admissions staff, but today I’m going to slow things down to give readers an update on what we’ve been up to.
Like most of the rest of the east coast of the U.S., whatever we’ve been doing, both on the weekend and on weekdays, has been interspersed with snow shoveling. In an unusual reversal, there are areas well south of here that have received more snow than the Boston area (where, though we love to complain about the weather, the fact is that we are having an average snowy winter with an unpleasant snow-laden couple of weeks recently). But I digress…
So, admissions. What’s happening with the process for Fall 2014 applicants? Well, nearly all applications have been read, and most of them have been read at least twice (generally by a student, followed by a staff member, and then sometimes by a professor). With everything else going on, I’ve missed my chance to cajole one of my Admissions friends into writing about a day of reading applications at home. Fortunately, Liz anticipated that I would ask and took some pix of her preferred reading set-up, which seems to involve creating a lovely environment:
keeping herself hydrated
and arranging the applications in some secret order to break up the reading. (We all have our own special way of approaching a stack of files.)
As I said, most of the reading is complete, but the deciding is still in progress. All the admissions committees for the various programs have sessions coming up, and it will still be several weeks before decisions have been made on all applications, and then another few weeks before decisions are announced. (Not to mention that the MIB and LLM programs will receive a small batch of additional applications by the March 1 deadline.) That said, everything is moving along.
A side note, related to Liz’s pile of files. It’s our plan (ardent wish) that this will be the final year when we’ll be working with paper applications. The contract has been signed to develop a new application and review system. Not having to lug home applications will make a big difference to us readers. (“Thank you,” say my shoulders.) Equally important, we think that we’re going to be able to structure the application to be friendlier to our applicants. More on all of that later in the spring, when we have firmer details.
From here, we’ll finish off all of the reading and deciding (on both admission and scholarships) and start the data input process that ultimately results in applicants learning their decision. Frankly, for those of you sitting at the edge of your seat waiting to hear from schools, there’s still a long slog in front of us. But at least I can assure you that, almost surely, someone has “met you” by reading your application, and the end of your waiting will be coming soon.
Though it’s fair to say that Fletcher students are generally focused on their coursework and career development, they certainly don’t shy away from involvement in our surrounding community. About a week ago, Fletcher’s Ralph Bunche Society hosted local high school students for an introduction to international affairs. The Ralph Bunche Society’s mission is “to raise the awareness of the contributions that minorities and people of color have made in the field of international relations, and also to encourage students of color to consider educational and career opportunities in international affairs.” RBS members Ryo and Stéphane sent me this update.
Wait, you didn’t read about this in The Times?
Well, that’s because this decision was the result of an NSC simulation, modeled after Professor Martel’s annual simulations, completed by students in Fletcher’s very own ASEAN Auditorium. In one additional twist, the roles of cabinet secretaries were not filled by a group of bleary-eyed MALDs, but rather 11 ambitious, and somewhat nervous, high school juniors.
This exercise was just one part of the Ralph Bunche Society’s (RBS) three-part program to introduce Match High School students to careers related to international affairs. The students displayed their passion and aptitude during the simulation by not only enthusiastically presenting their positions to the President, a role assumed by Terrence Stinson, 2013-14 Fletcher Military Fellow, but also by the manner in which they tied U.S.-Iran policy decisions to domestic concerns and U.S. commitments in East Asia.
Prior to the simulation exercise, our Diplomat-in-Residence, Evyenia Sidereas, spoke to the students about the U.S. Foreign Service, and provided them with information about scholarship and fellowship opportunities to study foreign languages abroad and international relations in college. Additionally, Fletcher students and RBS members engaged in a brief dialogue with the Match High School students and described their pre-Fletcher experiences in international affairs. Judging by the thank you letter we received from the students’ teacher, we didn’t scare them too much:
The kids had a terrific time, and definitely came away with a much clearer idea about what further study in international relations might look like. Students at Match typically say they want to go into business, nursing, or engineering, so congratulations, because today two of my students told me that they are now considering studying politics. They both described the work as “exciting” and “cool” — no small feat! You were able to ensure the kids had a really eye-opening experience and the event has already had a great impact. I’m sure it will stay with them as they move on to choosing new paths for themselves in their education.
Tagged with: Outside the classroom
Today’s post in our Faculty Spotlight series comes from Joel P. Trachtman, Professor of International Law, who describes his special perspective on his field. Prof. Trachtman currently teaches International Law in International Relations, International Business Transactions, International Investment Law, International Financial and Fiscal Law, and Legal and Institutional Aspects of International Trade.
I first became interested in international law in 1975, when, as a student at the London School of Economics, I had the opportunity to study with Rosalyn Higgins, who later served as a judge on the World Court. After my undergraduate studies, I studied international law and then practiced for nine years in New York and in Hong Kong before joining the Fletcher faculty.
It is great to be a law professor at Fletcher, where law is one of several areas of international public policy study. While the disciplines of history and political science specialize in the study of how and why governments take particular actions, and economics specializes in the study of the consequences of government and private sector actions, law specializes in the implementation and interaction of government policies, and in how businesses interact with governments.
My research has two streams: (i) economic analysis of international law and (ii) international trade law.
First, I have been one of the early adopters of economic methods in the study of international law. The field of law and economics has revolutionized legal study during the past 30 years, but it took a bit longer to get to international law. My 2008 book, The Economic Structure of International Law (Harvard University Press), explored and consolidated some of the ways in which economic analysis helps us to understand the causes and effects of international legal rules, using tools from price theory, public choice, transaction cost economics, and game theory. I’ve been at Fletcher since 1989, and have now been thoroughly Fletcher-ized, so as to see international public policy and business problems as multidimensional issues, requiring interdisciplinary analysis. My 2013 book, The Future of International Law: Global Government (Cambridge University Press), extended this way of thinking to look at changes in globalization, democratization, demography, and technology in order to suggest the ways that these changes would result in increasing demands for international legal solutions to international cooperation problems. That book won the International Studies Association’s prize for best book on international law for 2013.
By placing international law in a social scientific context, I am able to explain it better, and critique it better, in the classroom. Traditional legal analysis and scholarship looks only for consistency and internal logic. A social science-based legal scholarship examines more broadly the links between social ends and legal means, and demands intellectual rigor in critiquing legal rules. For example, my courses in international trade law and international investment law begin with a careful analysis of the economics and political economy, and an analysis of the economic and political roles of law, in these fields.
My second stream of research is international trade law. This is an area of international law in which economics and politics are extremely important. One focus of my work within international trade law has been on the relationship between trade liberalization and national regulatory autonomy. This is the central issue of globalization: how can we attain greater integration for efficiency, while maintaining the maximum ability to achieve local public policy goals? I recently wrote a short paper on this topic for inclusion in a book of recommendations for trade ministries on how to proceed in WTO negotiations after the December 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference and the rather modest agreement it produced. My paper was entitled “Unleashing Recognition in International Trade,” and was included in an e-book entitled Building on Bali: A Work Programme for the WTO, edited by Simon Evenett and Alejandro Jara, former deputy director-general of the World Trade Organization.
I enjoy making the tools of legal analysis and argument available to Fletcher students, and showing how these tools complement and incorporate social scientific and historical argumentation. Based on my experience revealing and explaining these analytical tools and arguments to students at Fletcher for the past 25 years, I recently published a book that succinctly explains how lawyers analyze and argue. It is entitled The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win.
Tagged with: Faculty Spotlight
You may remember that last August, the World Peace Foundation introduced itself on the blog via three posts by Prof. Bridget Conley-Zilkic, and one of those posts described WPF’s annual student seminar competition. Well, the competition took place last fall, and the resulting conference will take place this week.
“Unlearning Violence: Evidence and Policies for Early Childhood Development and Peace” will feature “the best ongoing research in fields related to early childhood development and violence and peace.” It has been organized with the support of the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University (interesting collaboration!) and the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University. I realize I haven’t given you much advance notice, but you can still register to attend. Once you read through the agenda, I’m sure you’ll be tempted.
As I mentioned, the conference grew out of the student seminar competition, and two proposals on the same topic were selected. The two teams of competition winners (with an impressive showing from first-year students!) worked together to create the seminar. The students are: Madeeha Ansari (second-year MALD), Jack Berger (first-year MALD), Maria Rita Borba (first-year MALD), Taryn Campbell (second-year MALD), Suh Yonn Kang (second-year MALD), Daniel Orth (second-year MALD), Tina Robiolle-Moul (PhD candidate), and Roberta Sotomaior (first-year MALD). Congratulations to all of the conference organizers! It should be a terrific and informative event.
Tagged with: World Peace Foundation
Blog readers who follow Fletcher news through other sources (Facebook, Twitter, the Fletcher website) will already have read that Cornelia (Connie) Schneider F’06 has been selected for the inaugural Fletcher Women’s Leadership Award. Sometimes I avoid topics that have received thorough attention in other media platforms — there’s not much value added from my comments. In this case, though, I thought I’d add a few personal reflections.
First, I’m really happy that Fletcher has launched an initiative like this. Truth be told, the U.S. never makes much of International Women’s Day, and it’s great that Fletcher will play its role in ensuring the day is not ignored.
But more important, there’s a reason why some of us are drawn to continue our work at Fletcher over a long period of time, and that reason is the interactions we have with our fantastic students. I remember Connie from her time at Fletcher and, though I have not remained in direct contact with her, I hear about her now and then through others. I consider it a great privilege to play a role (however small) in the career development of the extraordinary students who spend a few years of their life here. Taking time for a graduate program offers students like Connie, who would have been in her late 20s when she applied, a chance to further their knowledge and consolidate all they have learned through their professional experience. Reading about Connie’s accomplishments is a mid-admissions-season reminder on why admissions work, which opens the door for these interesting people to have this career-building opportunity, is so satisfying and important.
But back to Connie and the award. According to the official announcement: The Fletcher Women’s Leadership Award was established in 2014 by the Fletcher Board of Advisors and the School’s executive leadership to honor outstanding women graduates who are making a meaningful impact in the world in the private, public, and NGO sectors. Connie currently leads Access to Justice initiatives for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a position she has held since December 2012. Her team works to implement projects that increase access to legal services for victims of sexual violence and seeks to diminish impunity for heinous crimes in the Eastern DRC — one of the most dangerous and troubled regions of the world.
In publications and press releases, Fletcher will often (quite naturally) focus on the alumni who are most prominent in their fields. I have always thought there is also real benefit to highlighting the day-to-day work of graduates who represent the majority of our alumni — those who go out in the world and make their mark, while not necessarily generating headlines. The award for Connie Schneider helps correct that imbalance in coverage just a little, and I’m excited to help spread the word about the award and the way it brings well-deserved attention to the extraordinary work that Connie has done throughout the world.
(Photo credit: Raphael Kopper)
Our next profile by a Fletcher professor comes from Alex de Waal, who is Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation and a Research Professor at the Fletcher School. In addition to directing the World Peace Foundation, Prof. de Waal currently teaches Conflict in Africa.
An occupational hazard of my job as Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation is that, when I introduce myself, people tend to snicker. In the twenty-first century, apparently, advocates of “world peace” seem to be beauty queens or practitioners of levitation. It wasn’t always so. A hundred years ago, when the World Peace Foundation was established, there was a strong movement for world peace, in America and many other countries. It was perfectly respectable for political leaders to espouse resolving all disputes between nations by negotiation and law, not by force. Fifty years ago, in his commencement address to the American University, President John F. Kennedy chose the theme of world peace, “a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived — yet it is the most important topic on earth.” Our goal at the World Peace Foundation is to make world peace once again a regular topic of public discourse, and an accepted goal of public policy.
I came to the World Peace Foundation after twenty-five years of working as a reflective practitioner, mostly in Africa. I was an advocate for and critic of humanitarian action in famine, an exponent of human rights but a critic of some of the activities pursued in the name of human rights, and most recently an advisor to mediation efforts in Sudan. I was recurrently troubled by the way in which many international efforts to end suffering and promote human wellbeing ended up having unintended and adverse consequences. And I was determined that critically analytic social science, grounded in the lived realities of people in these difficult places, could help remedy these shortcomings.
Political leaders and senior officials in governments and international agencies are rarely critical thinkers — they are simply too busy responding to the next problem to be reflective, analytical and creative. Some years ago, I began to suspect that the key to solving the most intractable public policy problems is not to influence decision makers — who will adjust their actions only at the margin anyway — but to invest in building intellectual capital among young professionals and students, who will go on to change the world. And in turn, I realized that the best way to attract the best students to the problems that concerned me, such as war and famine, is to make these subjects intellectually challenging — to fasten onto the most fascinating debates and dilemmas, and to have the courage of theorizing a complicated reality.
The World Peace Foundation and I joined The Fletcher School at the same time, in 2011. In my twin roles as foundation director and professor, I have been trying to put this philosophy into practice. I teach a class, “Conflict in Africa,” in which I try to make the subject intellectually exciting as well as relevant to the real issues of the day. (For better or worse, the case studies I select seem to hit the news just as they come up in the class schedule.) I also continue with my work as a practitioner, especially with the African Union’s peace and security initiatives. The World Peace Foundation, meanwhile, has a growing array of research and advocacy topics, including the “how mass atrocities end” program (led by WPF Research Director, Prof. Bridget Conley-Zilkic), our “African peace archive” that documents the inner workings of mediation processes, research on the “political marketplace” and “political entrepreneurship,” and a new project on corruption and the global arms business. I see this all as a contribution to making it possible to talk seriously about peace, not just in specific places, but in the whole world.
Mother Nature is up to her wintry wiles again, and the University will be closed today. It’s a heavy snow that is weighing down the little holly bush near my house, and telling me that it’s already time to shovel the paths.
I’m sure that Fletcher students will find a way to enjoy their snowy day, and we’ll all be back tomorrow. Stay warm, East Coasters!
Having a chance to meet some admitted students was a nice treat yesterday. It’s fun to reconstitute the paper applicants back into real people.
And speaking of application reading/reviewing, our work continues. Monday to Thursday, there’s generally a staff member at home, tackling a mountain of applications. Since we had visitors yesterday, today both Liz and Laurie are reading at home. On Thursday, both Dan and I will be grabbing files. We also manage to squeeze in a little in-office reading, though some of us (Dan) are better at that than others (me — perpetually prone to distractions).
So, with everything moving along, I thought I’d share two quick notes today.
The first is that there’s a LinkedIn page for Fletcher that provides some information on careers of our alumni. Of course, it only reflects the careers of alumni who have linked to it, but it’s still loaded with interesting info.
The second note is that a current student let me know about a blog she has been compiling on India’s upcoming election, which will run from April to May. Shruti is a second-year MALD student who told me the blog analyzes election data, and she has been using the GIS skills she learned at Fletcher to aid in her analysis. Read Shruti’s thoughts during the lead-up to the vote on her Indian Election Blog.
We’re holding our Visit Day today for admitted Early Notification applicants. It’s like a mini Open House: many of the same activities we’ll offer to admitted applicants in April, but with much less competition for attention. With fewer than 20 visitors, we have a nice opportunity both to meet some of the people we’ve been reading about and also to ensure they have all the information they need.
Between the visitors and everything else going on, it’s a busy day and I’ll make this a short post. For those who may be looking for a little more content, you can check out Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks at the Munich Security Conference, in which he makes reference to Fletcher. Secretary Kerry knows Fletcher well, having given the commencement speech in 2011, back when he was the long-serving senator from Massachusetts. (If you prefer, you can also read the transcript of his remarks.)
Archives by Date
TagsAdvice Application Book picks Boston Career Classes Coffee Hours Commencement Community Conferences Consult Christine Davis Square deadlines Dear Ariel decisions Early Notification Essays Events Faculty Spotlight Financial Aid Five-Year Updates Fletcher Forum Fletcher Futbol GAMS GMAT GRE Hall of Flags Internships Interviews Language requirement LLM Los Fletcheros MIB Open House Outside the classroom Praxis Recommendations restaurants Scholarship Social List Somerville Student Stories Videos waitlist World Peace Foundation