In May 2014, the alumni attending their five-year reunion were members of the Class of 2009.  Today, Erin Clancy will kick off the Five-Year Updates from her class.  When I reach out to alumni for these updates, I ask them simply to describe their paths, starting before Fletcher and continuing through their graduate studies to their current career, as Erin does below.  I’ll also point out that Erin was included among Diplomatic Courier’s Top 99 Under 33 for 2013, a special honor.

Pre-Fletcher Experience

Prior to coming to Fletcher, I completed my undergraduate studies in political science at Whittier College and received the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, which provided a commission into the Foreign Service upon completion of my studies at Fletcher.  I was drawn to Fletcher’s interdisciplinary take on international affairs, its academic rigor, and its place in history as the first international relations graduate school in the United States and the alma mater of many distinguished public servants from countries near and far.

At Fletcher

It did not take long until I hit my stride at Fletcher after finding my groove in a few Culture Night dance performances.  In the classroom, I reveled in Fletcher’s dynamic course offerings on the political landscapes of the Middle East with Vali Nasr, and the practice of international security — seated in the front row no later than 07:40 in the morning — with Richard Shultz.  I also benefited from the longstanding partnership between Fletcher and the Harvard Kennedy School where I studied national security management and negotiations.  Between my first and second year, I completed a summer internship in 2008 at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria as a political officer covering human rights issues and the domestic political opposition.  While working in Syria I began my thesis research on the unbreakable nature of the political-military alliance between Syria and Iran, and the impact of the Syrian-Iranian alliance on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.  At the end of two wonderful years in Medford, I graduated with concentrations in International Security Studies and Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilization.

Post-Fletcher

After graduation, I accepted my commission into the Foreign Service in August 2009.  I arrived at my first diplomatic assignment as vice consul to U.S. Embassy Damascus, Syria in July 2010, where I witnessed the slow evolution of violent Arab Spring protests until security conditions forced us to close the embassy and evacuate the remainder of our diplomatic personnel in February 2012.  My assignment to Syria was quite an introduction to the Foreign Service and it profoundly shaped my personal and professional life.  From Damascus, I served briefly in U.S. Embassy Amman, Jordan to continue working on Syria, and transitioned to U.S. Embassy Muscat, Oman where I was the political-military officer responsible for counterterrorism, political-military, and Iran sanctions issues during the lead up to the breakthrough interim agreement reached by the P5+1 negotiations to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

These days I am happy to be back home in Washington, DC, working to coordinate U.S. policy on North Africa, Syria, and gender issues in the United Nations Security Council.  The highlight of my current role as a multilateral affairs officer is working closely with fellow Fletcherites throughout the State Department, USAID, and other government agencies.  Interagency policy committee meetings at the White House or working group meetings on Syria or Boko Haram have become informal Fletcher reunions.  Having so many Fletcherites around the table on the important policy issues of the day is a wonderful personal reminder of why this institution is so revered in the international affairs realm — Fletcher truly does create leaders with a global perspective.  Not a single day has passed since graduation and my five years in the Foreign Service when I have not felt the direct positive impact of my Fletcher education, nor been so grateful to find community among the talented and inspirational alumni we have all over the world.

Members of the United States’ delegation to the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, London, UK, Erin Clancy class of 2009 (left) pictured with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, Victoria Holt. June 2014.

Members of the United States’ delegation to the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, London, U.K. Erin Clancy, F09 (left) pictured with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, Victoria Holt. June 2014.

 

 

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I’ve already described my exciting road trips to Boston’s western suburbs and the great state of Maine (which — fun fact! — used to be part of Massachusetts), but I thought you’d want to hear from one of the staffers who traveled a greater distance for Fletcher.  Here’s Liz’s report!

Hello Blog readers!  I recently got back from a great recruiting trip to Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, and Beijing and wanted to share some pictures from my trip!

I arrived in Tokyo first, and had a few hours before I my work obligations.  I really like to see the sights when I visit cities, especially if it means I get a great view.  As such, before I went to work, I decided to try and visit some of Tokyo’s highest structures.  I had already visited the Tokyo Tower, so I wanted to see the new Tokyo Sky Tree!  The Sky Tree boasts heights of 350 and 450 meters, and so it was on my to-do list!  I took the elevator up to the first landing and was greeted with amazing views of all of Tokyo and could even see all the way to Mt. Fuji!  I was thrilled the weather cooperated and gave me a great clear day.

Here you can see me (actually my feet!) standing on the glass floor 350 meters up!

TOkyoAfter the Sky Tree, it was time to get to work!  I headed to our admissions event where I caught up with some of our fantastic Japanese alums.

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After my visit to Japan, it was time to head to Seoul, South Korea where I got to meet some great prospective students and see another terrific Fletcher alum, who helped me represent Fletcher at the admissions fair!

Liz and Han

My time in Seoul was brief, but I did have the opportunity to go out for some delicious Korean BBQ – one of my favorite foods:

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From Seoul I headed to China for visits to Shanghai and Beijing.  I was particularly excited to visit one of our partner schools, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS).  I had a great time touring the CEIBS campus and meeting my counterparts there.CEIBSIn Shanghai I also had the opportunity to have dinner with some colleagues at one of my favorite restaurants — Din Tai Fung.  Though they are a chain and have restaurants all around the world, I still love to go whenever I can!  If you ever have the chance, get the soup dumplings – you won’t regret it!
ShanghaiFrom Shanghai I headed to Beijing to finish up my trip — where we participated in another admissions fair and I also did some interviews.  The highlight however was a group dinner where we had Peking Duck. There were about 30 school representatives from all over the world, so it was really fun to make some new friends and enjoy a Chinese specialty!

picstitchAll in all it was a wonderful trip!  I had a chance to meet really interesting prospective Fletcher students and catch up with some enthusiastic Fletcher alums, and even had time for a little sight-seeing!  If you missed us in Asia this time around, not to worry, we will be back in Seoul and Tokyo in early December.  To see where else we’ll be, feel free to check out our travel calendar.

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A question that comes up regularly in our emails, conversations, meetings, and info sessions regards opportunities for students to find work as research or teaching assistants.  This fall, I snagged several emails publicizing RA/TA opportunities and I thought I’d share them here.  I’ve taken out the specifics — the point is to give you an idea of what professors might be looking for, without implying that these exact positions will be available in any given semester.  I also don’t want to lead you to think that every student has an RA or TA position.  The majority of students who work on campus are supporting office activities.  All of those qualifications aside, these notices may help you imagine what would be available whenever you enroll.

1.  TA needed for international law course
We are looking for a TA to help with organizing and teaching an undergraduate course taught by Fletcher international law faculty.  Ideally, you would have the following qualifications:  1) Background in international law; 2) You would still be at Fletcher next year.  You would be the TA for the course this spring, and next spring, you would be the coordinating instructor with another TA.

Your tasks would include the following:
- preparing discussion questions and leading weekly discussion groups;
- helping to organize a moot court exercise;
- assisting with general logistics of the course, including grading;
- holding half of the office hours.

2.  A Professor announces the availability of five research assistant positions
Positions 1-3 require assisting in a research and writing project on the fusion between religion and nationalism in Israel, India (the Hindutva Movement in particular), Palestine (Hamas in particular), Sri Lanka, and Serbia. The positions require the assistants to conduct research on manifestations of the fusion between religion and nationalism in one (or two) of the above areas and their policy implications, summarize reading materials, and draft short papers. The successful candidates should have relevant academic background and knowledge about one of the above-mentioned areas and good writing skills. Each position requires 8-10 hours per week.

Position 4 requires assisting in the following tasks: a) coordinating a seminar series for the Fletcher Seminar on International Conflict (three to four seminars per semester);  b) preparing the material for a web site page for the INCR program and the various research projects it conducts; c) coordinating the necessary technical steps to design the web site and post the material.  This position requires an average of 8 hours per week.

Position 5 requires assistance in a research and writing project on “new paradigms in conflict resolution.”  The position requires the assistant to conduct research on major issues in the conflict resolution field, summarize reading materials, and copy-edit drafted chapters. The successful candidate should have relevant academic background and should have taken or should be currently taking D223 at Fletcher or an equivalent course in another institution. This position requires an average of 8-10 hours per week.

3.   A research group seeks to hire researchers to complete case study reports as part of its “How Mass Atrocities End” research project.
Project Description:  There is no other phase of mass atrocities that is less studied yet more debated than endings. Individual case study analyses of endings are usually characterized by lament over the enormous losses incurred and a hasty summary of the final moments. Debates in policy, activism, and scholarship often take as their starting point a more ideal ending in which outside forces (usually armed) are able, theoretically, to change the ending next time. Actual endings—discussion of when and how large-scale violence against civilians declines in frequency and scale—are notably absent from the discussion.

This project aims to help fill that gap by creating a dataset that focuses exclusively on the ending of atrocities.  Researchers will be required to select a case study and complete a report.

4.  Researchers needed for Fletcher/ICRC project
This year Fletcher is working with the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) to develop a “Joint Lab” around the issue of conflict migration.  The first set of questions focuses on assessing current humanitarian challenges entailed in conflict migration in the Sahel and North Africa. This segment of the work of the Joint Lab is oriented toward building a firm foundation of knowledge on conflict migration in the region, focusing on gathering and analyzing available data related to migration flows and migrant needs, as well as assessing the current networks of local, regional and international organizations engaged in the response to the humanitarian needs of migrants in the region.  One or two Research Assistants are needed to help put together a desk review on this topic.  We expect a commitment of 6-8 hours a week.

5.  Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Tufts needs Winter Study Group Leaders
The Osher LLI at Tufts is an adult education program for retirees with one important characteristic in common:  a desire for intellectual stimulation in a convivial atmosphere.  Which is exactly what our program offers.  No tests.  No pressure.  No grades. Just learning for the sheer joy of it.  While most of our classes are led by our own members—”seniors teaching seniors”—we generally supplement our offerings with study groups led by Tufts graduate students, often from Fletcher.

We’re currently soliciting proposals for our 8-week spring 2015 program and we’d love to hear from any Fletcher grad students who might be interested in leading a 4- or 8-session study group for us.

 

Today I’d like to introduce the first of our first-year Student Stories bloggers.  Ali is in the MIB program, but her path to Fletcher was not the typical one:  she is one of the very first students who have enrolled after applying via the Map Your Future pathway to admission. 

Ali (in purple) at the center of an MIB student picnic.

Ali (in purple) at the center of an MIB student picnic.

Three years ago, I heard about The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy for the first time.  I was an undergraduate political science major, interning with the U.S. Department of State — an institution loaded with Fletcher alumni — and applying to graduate school seemed like a good next step.  I was disheartened when the Admissions Committee told me that I was a good candidate, but that I needed more professional experience.  I excitedly, but begrudgingly, accepted a place in the school’s first group of students admitted through Map Your Future — a program designed for Fletcher-destined undergraduates who just need a bit more “something,” i.e. professional experience, international travel, language proficiency, etc. — and scheduled myself to begin in August 2014.

Halfway through my first semester at Fletcher now, I can’t imagine not having those two years of work experience at Fulbright Belgium, and life, under my belt.  My classes this semester are Managerial Economics, Corporate Finance, Accounting, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Corporate Management of Environmental Issues — topics I would have never chosen before I managed a program budget and realized the difference that the private sector can make in public and non-profit initiatives.  My friends include classmates who are two to six years older than me and are well-traveled veterans of big name organizations such as Target, Boren Fellowships, and Procter & Gamble.  I try to think about what I could have added to conversations with these people two years ago, and it makes me happy the Admissions Committee forced me to wait.

During the next two years, I’ll be taking a mix of business, policy, and social-impact driven courses to learn the hard skills that will hopefully land me a job in a consulting firm or private company, where I can promote sustainability and social impact from the inside out, and bring people from business, government, and non-profits to the same table.  This happens every day during lunchtime at Fletcher, so hopefully the goal isn’t too big of a stretch.

I got to practice these convening and networking skills at a recent exciting event — a Net Impact conference in Minneapolis, MN, where I met executives from top companies like Southwest Airlines, Brown-Forman, and Starbucks, who already consider their companies’ social impact.  I’ve read cases about their companies’ business decisions in many of my classes already, and it was exciting to discuss the situations with them in person.

Career transitions between sectors are a common story at Fletcher, and I hope that Map Your Future students like me will soon be, too.  I hope you enjoy reading my journey with these experiences over the next two years.  Maybe I’ll meet some of you during your admissions interviews soon!

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The fall semester is speeding along and we’re already down to about three weeks remaining for the on-campus interview program, which wraps up on Friday, December 5.  (Interview appointments still available — book yours now!)

For applicants who can’t visit before December 5 and those who can’t come to campus at all, we offer the option of a video interview.  Let me say at the outset that we are well aware that the video interview is not precisely the same as an in-person interview.  But it still offers applicants a forum for presenting themselves, as well as information that doesn’t otherwise fit in their applications.  The same student volunteers who conduct our on-campus interviews also review the video interviews.

To save you the searching, allow me to point you toward the instruction page, which gives you the details you need to get started.  In particular, note the section that says:

Topics covered in the interview include: why you are interested in The Fletcher School, your previous professional and personal experiences, and your future career goals.

Tip:  Take these clues and turn them into question form; then be prepared to answer.  Second tip:  Follow the suggestion to click the “learn more” option, so that you’re prepared for the video format.

Finally, as has always been the case, Fletcher offers interviews as an opportunity for us to get to know you, and you to get to know us.  They remain strictly optional, if also very helpful for applicants.

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Liam, 2014-2Student blogger, Liam, is a current member of the military.  For his first blog of his second year in the MALD program, he describes Fletcher life for veterans and active duty officers — the perfect topic for today’s Veterans Day holiday.

Veterans at Fletcher, while always a portion of the student body (Dean Stavridis, after all, is both a Fletcher MALD/PhD and a retired Navy admiral), are a small community within the school that has nonetheless grown steadily in recent years.  While the incoming class of 2013 was relatively light on active duty officers, it included many veterans, some remaining in the reserves and others completely transitioned from military service.  The incoming class of 2014 had an even larger veteran (and active duty) contingent, and the presence of veterans — both U.S. and international — at Fletcher helps add to the diversity of an already incredible student body.

From real-world experience and operational background in both training and combat, to advanced leadership and organizational skills, to past experience traveling the world and working with many cultures, the contributions that veterans make at Fletcher are invaluable, especially when combined with all the other incredible members of the Fletcher student body.

When I first arrived at Fletcher, I personally felt that nothing I had done in the military was all that special; all of my peers in the Army had effectively the same experiences and I did not feel I was unique.  Coming to Fletcher, I was amazed by how interested other students were in my experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I was even more amazed to hear other students’ stories of their pre-Fletcher lives in various places and jobs around the world.  I have been blown away by the breadth of conversations and class discussions that will naturally flow when you combine veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, Peace Corps Volunteers who worked in South Sudan, lawyers who worked for the UN, and medical doctors who worked in IDP camps.

Fletcher has a student veterans group, Fletcher Veterans.  The group meets regularly for both social events and also community service projects.  In recent years the group has gotten together for activities ranging from an annual trip to a polo match outside of Boston, to volunteering at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans, to hosting student panels on the state of veterans in America.  This year, in conjunction with other groups at school, the group is looking to expand its presence at Fletcher into the realm of leadership development.  And Fletcher Vets also gets together from time to time for simple social gatherings to tell old war and sea stories over a few drinks.

For veterans or active duty members considering Fletcher, I think it’s important to note that you don’t have to focus on security studies; I would say the majority of veterans at Fletcher focus on other areas, including a very high concentration of MIB candidates.  The openness and diversity of Fletcher’s curriculum make it easy to combine your experience with an amazing breath of academic subjects on a variety of topics.  For those who are interested in security studies, the International Security Studies Program, chaired by Professor Shultz, is a great program and consistently brings in world-class speakers from around the world, as I described in a post last year.  The ISSP fellows — senior military officers attending Fletcher on a one-year fellowship, in lieu of the Army War College or their services’ respective professional military education — add a great deal to both the classroom and student body.  As senior field grade officers who have led operational units, they bring a wealth of knowledge to Fletcher and also serve as exceptional mentors for active duty officers and veterans alike.

Veterans contribute a great deal to the Fletcher community.  If you are a veteran interested in Fletcher and have questions regarding VA benefits, academics, student life, or pretty much anything, please contact me (Liam Walsh) or the co-leaders of Fletcher Veterans, Pat Devane and Joel Tolbirt.

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It’s November 10, five days before our Early Notification deadline.  Only 26 people have submitted applications for September 2015 enrollment so far, but past experience tells us that nearly all of the remaining EN applications will flow in on November 14 and 15.

To help the 26 early birds, and as advance knowledge for everyone else, our application guru Christine has created a handy chart for tracking your application.  Note, especially, the instructions on how to access your Application Status page.  Here’s the chart, minus the hyperlinks (use this PDF for the links):

App tracker, p1

App tracker, p2

 

This week has really been packed with special events, and today and tomorrow there are two of the week’s highlights.

Today:  Many students with an interest in private sector or finance careers are currently in New York on a career trip sponsored by the International Business Club.  Sites to be visited include the Federal Reserve of New York, Global Impact Investing Network, Control Risks, Eurasia Group, Falconhead Capital, Google, Oliver Wyman, Citi, Blackstone Group, Major League Soccer, Morgan Stanley,  Monitor Deloitte, Scholastic, and others!  Some, but not all, of the meetings will be hosted by Fletcher grads.

Later today and tomorrow:  In another curricular area, Fletcher will be running Simulex, the annual international security exercise that this year will simulate a crisis in the Baltic region.  The ISSP organizers tell us:

In the past, there have been as many as 200 students and visitors in attendance.  Several of the Military War Colleges, The National Defense University, Military Service Academies and universities from around the country are represented.  Students are assigned to country teams that make policy decisions for their respective states and experience how these decisions influence future events.

These are those just a few of those opportunities Diane mentioned in her post earlier this week.

 

Today I want to highlight a series of events that concluded last night, when members of the community were invited to participate in the final of three sessions focused on the Ebola virus and the current outbreak.  The sessions have reflected the depth and breadth of knowledge on the subject that could be drawn together at Tufts University and the Boston community.  In an email, Tufts Provost David Harris noted:

The Ebola crisis epitomizes the inextricable linkages between human, animal, and environmental health, an approach referred to as “One Health,” and will require a multinational and multidisciplinary response.  At Tufts, we are uniquely positioned to contribute to a One Health response and research agenda, given the constellation of schools and departments that span the humanities, social sciences, human and veterinary medicine, and environmental sciences.

The agenda for last night was:

Ebola: Mutations, Markets, and the Military
Wednesday, November 5, 6:30pm |ASEAN
Panelists
:
Dr. Gian Luca Burci, Legal counsel to World Health Organization
Dr. Rachel Glennester, Executive Director of J-Pal, IGC Economist-Sierra Leone
Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, Director, Infection Control at NEIDL, Boston University
Benjamin Spatz,  Arms Expert, UN Panel of Experts Liberia, and current Fletcher PhD student
Moderated by Fletcher Academic Dean Ian Johnstone

The prior forums included:

Ebola Outbreak: Causes and Consequences at a Global Scale
Keynote speaker: Dr. Joia Mukherjee, Partners in Health, Chief Medical Officer
Panelists:
Dr. Margaret McMillan, Economics Department, Tufts University
Dr. Elena Naumova, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University
Dr. Rosalind Shaw, Department of Anthropology, Tufts University
Dr. Christopher Whittier, Center for Conservation Medicine, Tufts University

Ethical Considerations of the Ebola Outbreak
Panelists
:
Dr. Richard Glickman-Simon, Physician-ethicist
Dr. Horacio Hojman, Physician-ethicist
Dr. Sheldon Krimsky, Medical ethicist
Dr. Laura Epstein, CDC official
Marcia Boumil, Public health attorney

It’s energizing to be part of a community that can draw together such diverse expertise to shed light on a topic of global importance.

 

Sunday’s weather was rainy/snowy/windy in our local area, but snowy/windy in Maine.  On Monday, I jumped in my car to drive to Colby College for a presentation alongside Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School.  The eight inches of snow that fell on Sunday had mostly packed down or melted on the roadways and paths, but there was still plenty on the grassy areas.

From Colby, we drove on to Bates College for an evening presentation.  Yesterday found us at Bowdoin College, where a lone snowman punctuated the otherwise autumnal scene.

I’m not usually the Fletcher rep who joins our peers out on the road, so this was a good opportunity for me to get to know John Templeton from Princeton, and to hear more about the program at WWS.  And the career office staffs at the three colleges facilitated our conversations with engaged and interested future international affairs professionals.  Today I’m back in town for a beautiful warm day, and I look forward to following up with students I met on my quick road trip.

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