At Fletcher, we refer to International Security Studies in two ways.  First, as the Field of Study that is among the most commonly pursued by students.  Second, for the International Security Studies Program, which offers extremely robust programming throughout the year.  Despite the important place that Security Studies (in both its meanings) occupies at Fletcher, I have not always done my part in spreading the word.  Making up for that lapse is going to be a focus of my blog work for 2015-16, and there’s no time like the present to start.  To do so, I reached out to my old friends, Prof. Shultz and Prof. Pfaltzgraff to ask for information.  It happened they had just completed a report for one of the organizations that funds their work (and that of many master’s-level and PhD students).  Today, I’m going to share excerpts of that report.  This is a long post, but the extra length is needed to capture the broad scope of ISSP activites.

International Security Studies at The Fletcher School

With the beginning of 2015-16, the International Security Studies Program (ISSP) will enter its 45th year at The Fletcher School, and International Security Studies remains at the cutting edge of The Fletcher School’s multidisciplinary curriculum.  Through its many graduates and other efforts, ISSP has a major impact in shaping strategic thought and analysis in and beyond the political-military affairs community.  Many ISSP graduates have gone on to important positions of responsibility in the United States and abroad, including General Joseph Dunford, incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and currently Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Course Offerings & Curriculum Development

ISSP offers a range of courses that examine conflict and war; strategy and statecraft; crisis management; regional security; intelligence; homeland security; proliferation; national security decision making; and terrorism.  Our courses are theoretical and policy-oriented, as well as historical and contemporary, and reflect and anticipate a rapidly changing security environment, while providing instruction on the basic and timeless issues of strategy, statecraft, conflict, and war.  During the 2014-2015 academic year, seventeen courses were offered in International Security Studies or closely related areas including: The Role of Force in International Politics, International Humanitarian Law; Internal Conflicts and War; Proliferation-Counterproliferation and Homeland Security Issues; The Evolution of Grand Strategy; Foundations of International Cybersecurity; The Strategic Dimensions of China’s Rise; Modern Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism; Peace Operations; Foreign Relations and National Security Law.  In support of our curriculum, ISSP sponsors a high-level guest lecture series, an annual conference, a colloquium series, a crisis simulation exercise, and occasional field trips.

ISSP Student Research Supervision

During the 2014-2015 academic year the Security Studies faculty supervised a large number of student research papers, including seven MA theses and 15 MALD Capstone Projects.  Currently 18 students are working on PhD dissertations under supervision of Security Studies faculty.  Between 1971 and 2015 a total of 201 dissertations in the ISSP were completed and the PhD awarded.  International Security Studies remains among the most popular fields as well as the largest Field of Study at Fletcher.

Military Fellows

During the 2014-2015 academic year nine mid-level officers were assigned to the ISSP in lieu of spending a year at one of the various service War Colleges.  This year’s group included two Air Force, one Navy, four Army, and one National Guard officer, and one senior official from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  The mid-career military fellows, who pursue special research projects at Fletcher, bring an unusual set of experiences, expertise, and knowledge that adds greatly to our curriculum.

“Outside the Classroom” Educational Programs

Beyond its course offerings, the ISSP sponsors various “outside-the-classroom” activities designed to enrich the education of our students by addressing the emerging issues of 21st century international security.

IFPA-Fletcher Conference Series

Central to our programmatic activities are high-level conferences.  These conferences help to publicize the Security Studies field in the broader national security/foreign policy communities.  This year the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA) and ISSP joined together to organize and facilitate “Symposium on New Dynamics in Japanese Security Policy,” a one-day symposium at Fletcher to promote an informed exchange of views on the new dynamics of Japan’s security policy and their implications for U.S.-Japanese strategic cooperation going forward.

The symposium provided a unique opportunity for a select group of Japanese and American policy experts, academics, business leaders, and officials to review and explain in some depth key aspects of the Abe administration’s defense and foreign policy reforms aimed at facilitating Japan’s emergence as a “proactive contributor to peace” at both the regional and global levels.  The Honorable Hideshi Tokuchi, F86, Vice Minister for International Affairs at Japan’s Ministry of Defense, was the keynote speaker for the luncheon.

Crisis Simulation Exercise (SIMULEX)

Simulex1Each year, as part of the seminar on Crisis Management and Complex Emergencies, ISSP includes a weekend crisis simulation exercise.  The 40th anniversary of SIMULEX event was held on November 7-8, 2014 and had more than 160 participants from The Fletcher School and the outside community.  The scenario was entitled “Baltic Crisis and a Chaotic Middle East.”

Speakers Program

Lectures by outside experts on topics related to international security remain an important dimension of ISSP.  These presentations, usually in a luncheon/lecture setting, take place throughout the academic year.  Our objective is to draw speakers from a broad cross-section of the professional civilian and military communities, and to design the lecture format in such a way as to give our students maximum opportunity to meet with such experts.  Among the speakers sponsored by the ISSP during the 2014-2015 academic year were:

Fall Semester:
Major General Yaakov Amidror, former Israeli National Security Advisor: Israel’s Security Challenge.
Dr. Daniel Fine, Research Associate at the Mining and Minerals Resources Institute, MIT: Geopolitics of Russian Oil and Gas: Limits of Sanctions and Counter-Sanctions.
Sigrid Kaag, former Special Coordinator of the joint Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and United Nations mission to eliminate the chemical weapons program of the Syrian Arab Republic: Effective Multilateralism, The Experience of Chemical Weapons Elimination in Syria.
VADM Frank C. Pandolfe, Director for Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5), Joint Staff: Global Trends and International Security.
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DM Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations: The Future of Naval Operations.
Dr. David McKean, Director of Policy Planning at the Department of State: Foreign Policy Challenges in a Changing World.
Dr. Alexander Mirtchev, president of Krull Corp., USA: Rebalancing the Global Security Disequilibrium: Dealing with the Challenges to the Post-Cold War Order in the Universally-Securitized World.
Dr. Hassan Abbas, F02, F08, professor and chair of the Department of Regional and Analytical Studies at National Defense University’s College of International Security Affairs: Taliban and ISIS: A Comparative Analysis and Future Prospects.
Rebecca Ulam Weiner, Director of Intelligence Analysis for the NYPD Intelligence Bureau: Al Qa’eda and ISIS Messaging to the West.

Spring Semester:
Slobodan Djinovic and Srdja Popovic, Chairman and Executive Director respectively of CANVAS (the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies): Strategic Nonviolent Resistance in the 21st Century: Lessons Learned from the Arab Spring, Ukraine, and Hong Kong.
General Joseph Votel, Commanding General of the U.S. Special Operations Command: USSOCOM and the Challenges Associated with Russian Aggression.
General Knud Bartels, current Chairman of the NATO Military Committee: Security Challenges facing NATO.
General Frank Grass, Chief, National Guard Bureau: The Modern Day Minuteman — The National Guard in the 21st Century.
Major General and Professor Isaac Ben-Israel, former Director of Defence R&D in the Israeli Ministry of Defence, and currently professor at the University of Tel-Aviv and Deputy Director of the Hartog School of Government and Policy: The Israeli Cyber Ecosystem: Combining Industry, Government, and Academia.
Lt. General John Nicholson, Commander of Allied Land Command (LANDCOM), NATO: An overview of NATO’s Land Command, its mission and priorities, and Russia’s Impact on NATO.
NATO Parliamentarians Conference, featuring:

Dr. Robert Legvold, Visiting Professor, The Fletcher School, and Marshall D. Shulman Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Columbia University: Perspectives on U.S.Russian Relations.
Dr. Kostas A. Lavdas is Professor of Hellenic and European Studies, The Fletcher School, and Professor of European Politics and Director of the Centre for Political Research and Documentation (KEPET) at the University of Crete: A Transatlantic Relationship for the 21st Century: Advancing Collective Security through Complementarity and Effective Burden Sharing.
Dr. Sung-yoon Lee, F94, F98, is the Kim Koo-Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies, and Assistant Professor, The Fletcher School: Five Myths about North Korea.

Fellowships to ISSP Students

With support from several external foundations and fellowships, during the 2014-2015 academic year, ISSP granted tuition assistance and research support to a total of 39 master’s-level and PhD students, along with support for two student-organized academic activities.

Planned Activities (as of June 2015)

On November 13-14, 2015, ISSP will hold our annual weekend simulation, Simulex 2015.

In 2015-2016, ISSP will host one Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel, one Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel, one Army Lieutenant Colonel, and one Army Colonel as senior research fellows, in lieu of their studies at the Army War College, along with one Navy Federal Executive Fellow.

Faculty

Prof. Shultz and Dean StavridisThe core ISSP faculty is comprised of three professors: Richard Shultz, Director of the ISSP and Professor of International Politics; Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of International Security Studies; and Antonia Chayes, Professor of Practice in International Politics and Law.  In addition, ISSP faculty includes two adjunct professors: Toshi Yoshihara, F04, John A. van Beuren Chair of Asia-Pacific Studies and professor of strategy in the Strategy and Policy Department at the U.S. Naval War College; and James Forest, Director and Professor of Security Studies, University of Massachusetts Lowell.

ISSP has also added to its core faculty a new Professor of Practice, Michelle Malvesti, F00. Professor Malvesti worked for several years in the U.S. Intelligence Community as a Middle East terrorism analyst at the Joint Special Operations Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency.  More recently her government service included Senior Director for Combating Terrorism Strategy for the Directorate for Combating Terrorism in the National Security Council, where she advised President Bush and his administration on US counterterrorism policy and strategy.  During the Obama Administration she co-chaired the Presidential study review that reformed the White House organization for homeland security and counter terrorism.

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Returning once more, probably for the last time in the First-Year Alumni feature, to the Class of 2014, we meet Christina Brown, for whom study at Fletcher was one step in a multi-step career transition.

LahoreThree years ago, I was packing up my classroom after finishing another year of teaching physics, and now I am a few weeks away from beginning a PhD program in economics.  The last three years have been a wonderful period of change and self-discovery, and at Fletcher cases like mine are not unique.  I am one of many classmates who used Fletcher for a career transition — a place to both discover what it is you want to do and then gain the skills to make that career path possible.

Prior to Fletcher, I taught high school in a low-income community outside Boston through Teach for America and in a rural village in Tanzania through One Heart Source, a health and education NGO.  While I loved teaching, my enjoyment was tempered with frustration over the tremendous systemic problems constraining the education market, especially in developing countries.

I wanted to work in the development sector, but I did not know how to break into the field, or for that matter, where.  Did I want to be a program manager?  Evaluator?  Sectoral specialist?  I wasn’t sure where my skills and interests would be a good match.  I chose to attend Fletcher because I wanted the flexibility to explore development from different perspectives, to see where I would fit best.

Coursework in my first year in program evaluation and in development economics helped to solidify my interests, allowing me to gain useful skills for the development sector.  Prof. Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church’s series of monitoring and evaluation courses were particularly useful.  Her approach to evaluation is exceptionally rigorous, and with many of the alumni of her courses now in leadership positions within evaluation departments, her high aspiration for the evaluation field is seeping into many organizations.  This group of former students stays in contact, growing year by year, through an email listserve and yearly gatherings at the American Evaluation Association Conference.

However, it was Prof. Jenny Aker’s coursework that ultimately led me to the path I am currently on.  Like many members of the Fletcher faculty, Prof. Aker has many years of experience as a practitioner, working in West Africa, before returning to academia.  And it showed in every lecture she taught.  Her research was fascinating and thoroughly informed by her work in the field.  There are many opportunities to work closely with professors whose work you are interested in, and I was lucky to serve as both a teaching assistant and research assistant for Prof. Aker.

At heart I am a math nerd, looking for an analytic approach to solve problems.  Fletcher showed me that I could still care about the issues I was interested in — poverty, education, inequality — while approaching them from a quantitative angle.  Seeing academics like Prof. Aker and others who were doing policy-relevant research and were at the forefront of the issues in their field, showed me an academic career need not be divorced from the issues on the ground.  Towards the end of my first year I decided I wanted to do a PhD in economics and become a researcher.  Rather than a light bulb going off, it was a slow, profound realization that this was what I wanted to do with my life.  Luckily, due to Fletcher’s flexibility in coursework and ties to Boston-area schools, I was able to pivot in my second year and take two PhD-level courses at the Harvard School of Public Health and one at the Harvard Kennedy School.

At Fletcher, students are required to do a capstone project, which can take the form of the deliverable that is most useful for the student’s professional development.  I choose to write a paper similar to an economics journal article, as it allowed me to see the research process from start to finish.  I used an econometric strategy I learned during my first year to investigate the impact of an early grade literacy program in Indonesia.  I found the program only had an effect for higher performing students and that this heterogeneity stemmed from differences in the time cost of participation in the program.  These findings were used to inform the program scale-up.  This experience deepened my love of the research process, and the tangible outcomes it produced.

A week after graduation, I began as a Research Fellow at Evidence for Policy Design, the microeconomic division of Harvard’s Center for International Development.  I oversee the implementation, data collection, and analysis for two randomized controlled trials in Pakistan, working closely with our field team and six principal investigators across several universities.  The job was a perfect fit, building off the RA skills I had gained working with Prof. Aker, and, of course, I heard about the job through a fellow Fletcher student.

Throughout the fall I applied to economics PhD programs and, again, Fletcher professors came through to offer advice and support.  I am thrilled to be attending UC Berkeley, which has one of the best programs in the world for development economics, this fall.  I truly would not be here if not for the mentorship I received from Fletcher faculty, opportunities I heard about through Fletcher alumni, and friendship of fellow Fletcher students.

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Though (long ago), I had regular contact with the office of the Tufts University chaplain, I was definitely due for an update on the chaplaincy’s work on campus.  Reverend Greg McGonigle recently provided just such a refresher in a presentation to the Fletcher staff.  We learned (among other things) that Fletcher students are frequently involved in the chaplaincy’s programs and religious services, which cover all the traditional religious traditions and then go far beyond.  One project, in particular, is worth highlighting today.

The chaplaincy is co-sponsoring the University’s Common Reading Program, this year featuring Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation.  In an email, Reverend McGonigle invites members of the community “to read the book and join in the conversation on this year’s theme of religious and philosophical pluralism and interfaith cooperation.”  And Tufts President Anthony Monaco, in his letter to incoming undergraduates, wrote, that Eboo Patel’s “personal story explores important questions of community, compassion, and commitment and resonates strongly with our core values of active citizenship and global engagement.”  The connection to Fletcher students’ interests couldn’t be closer.

I’d like to do my part and encourage incoming (and returning) students to join incoming undergraduates and the broader community in reading (or, at least, becoming familiar with) Acts of Faith.  By doing so, you’ll be best able to appreciate the on-campus talk by author Eboo Patel on Monday, September 21.

Tufts has a good record of selecting interesting, vital, and timely books for this project.  Last summer’s The Other Wes Moore turned out to be an important primer for unfortunate events in the U.S. during the year.  I’ll be adding Acts of Faith to my reading for the remainder of the summer, and I hope many Fletcher students will accept Reverend McGonigle’s invitation to do so, too.

Tufts Common Read 2015_Banner 21

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Our most recent “Tufts Now” summary included links to two stories about Fletcher.

First, a report on Patrick Meier, F12 — a graduate of the PhD program (who spent one year on the Admissions Committee!) — regarding his work on crisis mapping and his new book on the topic.

And next, a story about the Digital Evolution Index, developed by Bhaskar Chakravorti and the Institute for Business in the Global Context team.

Interesting that the work done both by Patrick and by the IBGC team have such a strong technology component.  If you were to look back 15 years, I don’t think you would see the equivalent influence of technology on Fletcher’s coursework and research, but now it seems inevitable.

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The final collection of books that professors suggest incoming students MIGHT want to look at this summer comes from Prof. Shultz and Prof. Pfaltzgraff, the core members of the International Security Studies faculty.  Together, they have selected:

The Revenge of Geography, by Robert D. Kaplan

World Order, by Henry Kissinger

Grand Strategy in Theory and Practice: The need for an Effective American Foreign Policy, by William C. Martel

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement in a Complex World, Stanley McChrystal

“International Security Studies: Looking Back and Looking Ahead,” The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, by Robert L. Pfaltzgraff and Richard H. Shultz, Jr.  (This article in Fletcher’s student-run journal shares the history of the Security Studies program at Fletcher, dating back to 1971.  Good background for incoming students.)

Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know, P.W. Singer and Allan Friedman

The Accidental Admiral: A Sailor Takes Command at NATO, James Stavridis (the dean of The Fletcher School)

And that wraps up the reading list for Summer 2015!  No matter whether you’re an incoming student or someone who stumbled accidentally on the Admissions Blog, I hope you found a book, article, or video that is worth exploring this summer.  And if you want to review all the posts, you can find them here.

I’m coming to the end of the oh-so-optional summer reading list.  Here’s this week’s installment.

Prof. Papa, F03, F10 (a graduate of Fletcher’s PhD program) wrote, “This is a super-exciting time for sustainable development and global governance because of major geopolitical and environmental challenges, which we will cover in my course Sustainable Development Diplomacy.  Two brand new books can put students on the frontiers of the current debates:  Want, Waste or War? The Global Resource Nexus and the Struggle for Land, Energy, Food, Water and Minerals, by Philip Andrews-Speed, Raimund Bleischwitz, Tim Boersma, Corey Johnson, Geoffrey Kemp, and Stacy D. VanDeveer Routledge; and The BRICS and the Future of Global Order, by Oliver Stuenkel.”

For Fletcher’s Processes of International Negotiation course, Prof. Babbitt suggests the classic, Getting to Yes.

Prof. Trachtman, accepting my invitation to make us aware of professors’ own writing, points us to his The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue and Win, which he wrote based on his teaching experience and believes will be “excellent preparation for law courses.”

Prof. Lavdas also pointed us toward a book that he co-authored, the timely Stateness and Sovereign Debt: Greece in the European-Conundrum.

Finally, Prof. Mankad recommends Resonate by Nancy Duarte, as well as This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Womenby Jay Allison and Dan Gediman.

Yesterday you read an update from 2014 graduate Eirik Torsvoll.  I also wanted to share this article that he wrote for the U.S.-Norway Fulbright Foundation, which sponsored his studies.

It was the journalist Edward R. Murrow who observed that in promoting international understandings, what matters most is “the last three feet.”  Incomplete perceptions and attitudes about foreign people are best dispelled by actual personal contact, with individuals engaged in conversation with one another.  And so it was with my Fulbright experience.

I arrived in Medford, Massachusetts in the fall of 2012, to pursue a master’s degree in international relations.  My place of study was the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, which is situated 15 minutes from Boston proper.  I was very excited about this unique opportunity to specialize in the fields of study that interest me the most, namely U.S. foreign policy, security studies, and the Asia-Pacific region.

Fletcher offered an incredible range, depth, and freedom of study that I tried to take advantage of to the fullest.  This involved, for example, a highly meticulous process of deciding which courses to take in a given semester.  The task was not made easier by the fact that Fletcher students can cross-register for graduate courses at Harvard University, which significantly widened the list of available courses.  I was not complaining about the degree of choice, however.  For someone hungry to further his studies it was pure bliss.

For my comprehension of world issues, as important as the courses themselves were my fellow peers.  Fletcher attracts a pool of students, both from the United States and abroad, with an incredibly diverse set of backgrounds and experiences.  This meant that for basically every classroom discussion someone would say something like “I was there when that happened” or “I have been working on that for my government.”  This made the talks so much richer, and my understanding of the issues so much deeper.  Having had the opportunity to discuss world issues with people from around the globe, in the pressure cooker of ideas and perspectives that is Fletcher, was a truly invaluable experience.

I also greatly appreciated the Fletcher faculty’s approach of mixing theory and practice in their teaching.  The school prides itself on being a professional school of international affairs, and the professors place great emphasis on training students to be ready to tackle real-world issues.  A skill I particularly valued training for was the ability to express myself concisely.  I had many opportunities to practice this in writing terse two-page memos, where I had to summarize a problem and propose solutions.  One of my professors’ favorite word was actually “pith,” a topic on which he gave a talk every year.

Beyond the classroom my cultural experience in the United States was greatly enhanced by being a part of the Fulbright network.  I attended various Boston Fulbright mixers, meeting many engaging students from around America and the world.  One of my favorite experiences, though, was the Fulbright enrichment seminar I attended in St. Louis, Missouri.  I went there to learn about America’s westward expansion, but came away with much more.

I fondly remember spending time at a local daycare center in the outskirts of St. Louis.  It was a part of Head Start, a U.S. federal program intended to promote the school readiness for young children from lower-income families.  After being questioned by a little girl on “why I talked so funny,” I tried to explain that I was not from the United States.  I attempted to demonstrate this by using Play-Doh to create two blobs representing North America and Europe.  The lesson might only have been partially successful, but I left with a greater appreciation for how inquisitive young minds are, and how important programs like Head Start are in helping all children reach their full potential.

The Fulbright Program has allowed me to attain an education that I know will help me in my professional and personal life.  But, and perhaps more importantly, Fulbright also gave me the opportunity to walk those last three feet and meet so many people that have expanded my understanding of the world, its issues, and its people.  I would strongly encourage anyone considering becoming a part of this program to do so, the last steps toward someone might be the most important ones you ever take.

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Though our 2014 alumni graduated more than a year ago, I will continuing highlighting their work until the 2015 grads find theirs.  Today, Eirik Torsvoll tells us about his return to Norway and the start of his job.  Note that Eirik wrote his post earlier in the spring.

Jumbo and EirikAlthough I never would have believed it, time during my first year after graduation seems to have moved even faster than when I was a MALD student at Fletcher.  I was therefore a little taken aback when Jessica reminded me in November that it had been six months since graduation, and that she hoped I would still be able to write a blog post in the spring.  Things have now finally settled with moving back to Norway and starting work-life, so this is a good point in time to reflect on the initial post-Fletcher period.

The first few months after graduation were characterized by excitement and a little frustration.  It was exciting because I was eager to start a new chapter in my life and pursue various work opportunities in Norway, and frustrating because there was little actual activity in the job market during the summer months.  However, I took to heart the ever-helpful advice of the Fletcher Office of Career Services and used this time to reach out to interesting people and employers for so-called informational interviews.

Norway in Hall of FlagsThrough these interviews I met some fascinating people with plenty of helpful advice and insights.  Something I found particularly valuable was the recommendation to write and publish whenever I could.  I was told that being able to display an ability to write and communicate would always be appreciated wherever I applied for work, something I have found to be true.  During this period I therefore wrote a couple of op-eds for Norwegian newspapers (here and here), and I also published an article in the Fletcher Forum.

When things finally heated up in the job market I found that a Fletcher education certainly made me competitive.  Particularly, I think it was the breadth and depth of my education that made me stand out in the job market, as I could offer both relevant skills (such as memo writing) and a familiarity with pertinent issues (for example Asia-Pacific affairs).

Sometimes I would be astonished by which aspects of my Fletcher education proved useful.  For example, during one of my job interviews I was asked about how I would relate Carl von Clausewitz’s teachings with the practice of my prospective employer.  Having taken Prof. William Martel’s course on the evolution of grand strategy, I felt I could answer this challenging question adequately.  I obviously had to tell Prof. Martel about this afterwards, and his response — that he was pleased to hear that Clausewitz and grand strategy remained relevant — was the last I heard from him before his truly tragic passing this January.  (For those interested, Jessica wrote a beautiful post about Professor Martel after his departure.)

In the end, though, I ended up in a research position at PluriCourts, an Oslo-based research center for the study of the legitimate roles of the judiciary in the global order.  Much like Fletcher, PluriCourts employs an interdisciplinary approach, using political science, law, and philosophy to study the legitimacy of international courts and tribunals.  Since starting, I have been very thankful for the breadth requirements of my Fletcher education, as this was a field I originally had not expected to work in.  The ILO course on International Organizations, with its focus on the interaction between international law and politics, has been incredibly helpful in understanding the work PluriCourts does.

At GaustatoppenAt PluriCourts, I work closely with our researchers on their various projects, assist in the many workshops and seminars we organize, and everything in between.  The work also involves a bit of traveling, and soon I attended a workshop in Barcelona on the normative aspects of the legitimacy of international courts.  The research project I’m currently working on involves looking at the independence of international courts from states, and this requires a thorough assessment of the various courts based on a series of indicators.  It’s still in the preliminary stages of data collection and coding, and it’s really exciting to be a part of a research project from the very beginning.  This way, I’m able to both witness and be a part of how the project progresses.

All in all, the transition back to work life has been both fun and exciting.  I’m confident that Fletcher has prepared me well for the future challenges ahead, whichever way my career path takes me.

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Yesterday afternoon, students, professors, and staff members joined in a celebration of the decades-long Fletcher career of our registrar, Nora Moser McMillan.  Nora worked first as assistant registrar and then registrar, with a break between the two to teach English in Japan through the JET program.  As all the speakers at the celebration attested, she has made a profound mark on the school’s programs and the paths of our students.  Lucky for us, she’s really not leaving Fletcher just yet.  She’ll continue in a part-time capacity for a while, smoothing the transition to her successor.  Meanwhile, she will also have extra time to enjoy the summer with her adorable son, who joined us for the celebration yesterday.

Mary DulatreAnd today I’d like to introduce our new registrar (technically: registrar and manager of student academic programs), who is well known to us — Mary Dulatre, a 2012 Fletcher graduate.  While she was a MALD student, Mary worked as the student assistant in the Registrar’s Office, so her new post is a type of homecoming.  But for the past three years, she hasn’t been far away, working a few floors above us as assistant director of student affairs.  A happy example of a graduate who found her passion at Fletcher — even if it was a different passion than the one she expected to find.

Before Fletcher, Mary was a Fulbright scholar in the Philippines, a client case worker for AmeriCorps in San Diego, a community development specialist with the Peace Corps in Honduras, and a community outreach specialist for the American Red Cross in San Diego.  We’re looking forward to working with her in her new position, right across the hall from Admissions.

 

It’s Monday, so it must be time for another set of book suggestions from Fletcher faculty members.

From Prof. Conley-Zilkic at the World Peace FoundationRegarding the Pain of Others, by Susan Sontag; The Garden of Evening Mists: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide, by Tan Twan Eng; and The Blood Telegram, by Gary Bass.  With her focus on mass atrocities, Prof. Conley-Zilkic’s suggestions will always be meaningful, but also unsettling.

Prof. Everett wrote, “I would like to suggest The Prize by Daniel Yergin, which is a great read and will introduce students to the long historical connection between the oil industry and geopolitics.”

Prof. Hannum, one of the law professors who provided their picks, suggested The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day, by David J. Hand.

And Prof. Klein notes, “For background reading, I would suggest Alan Blinder’s book on the financial and economic crisis, After the Music Stopped.”

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