A quick return to the topics submitted by Admissions Blog readers on the survey.  Today, I’ll answer a two-part question.

Part One: “I’d like to hear more about the MALD-JD dual degrees.”
There’s pretty complete information on all the dual degrees on the website.  As you’ll see, our two official dual-law-degree relationships are with Harvard Law School and Boalt Hall at UC-Berkeley.  If you scroll down on the page, you’ll also see the explanation of how to arrange an ad hoc dual degree.  With the JD required for anyone wishing to practice law in the U.S., and with only two official partners, a good number of our MALD-JD students have put together their own programs at other law schools.  It’s totally doable!  But getting the maximum benefit of doing the two degrees together (that is, reducing five years of study to four) requires that the law school accept four Fletcher credits.  There are many that will accept transfer/dual-degree credits, but some schools simply insist on students pursuing all their coursework at that school.  Check with their admissions office or registrar for details.

Part Two: “I’d also love to hear about students who have gone on to get a PhD at Fletcher after the MALD.”
Once again, I’m going to let the website do the talking.  The Student Profiles page includes both MALD-to-PhD students and direct-entry students.  Among the former MALDs are:

Ana de Alba, Shahla Al Kli, Neha Ansari, Deborshi Barat, Prisca Benelli, Sarah Detzner, Matthew Herbert, Roxanne Krystalli, Phoebe Donnelly, Torrey Taussig, Andrea Walther-Puri, Jamilah Welch

The key must-do points for students in the MALD (or MIB) program who wish to move on to the PhD are:

  1. Maintain a GPA of 3.6 or higher.
  2. Complete a traditional academic thesis to fulfill the Capstone Project requirement.
  3. Establish strong relationships with members of the faculty who can write your recommendation letters, will agree to serve as your academic advisor, and may chair or serve on your dissertation committee.

Only three simple points, but all of them require effort.  It’s also helpful to attend the information session on applying to the PhD program that is offered every fall.

And those are the basics on the MALD-JD and on getting a PhD at Fletcher!

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Today’s Five-Year Update will be different from the usual because I’ve written it, with details and fact-checking provided by its subject, Manjula Dissanayake, F12.  Back in the spring of 2012, I had long heard about Manjula but I hadn’t actually met him until Kristen and I were staked out in the Hall of Flags one day, snagging students as they went by.  After that, Manjula and I chatted about putting together a post about his path through Fletcher.  Inspired by that experience, I launched the “Student Stories” feature, and included Manjula (then an alumnus) in the mix.

Since his 2012 gradation, Manjula and I have been in semi-regular contact and he’s been kind to include me on his busy schedule when he’s been in the area.  I’ve remained inspired by him and his work.  (Plus, he’s just a very nice guy.)  Today’s post will extend his story from that very first post to this point, five-plus years after his graduation.

While at Fletcher, at the same time as he pursued the standard MALD collection of courses, Manjula also pushed forward the organization he had founded before starting his graduate studies, Educate Lanka, by pursuing business competitions at Tufts University and elsewhere in the Boston area, resulting in funding and mentoring opportunities.  The mission of Educate Lanka is:
“To empower the socioeconomically marginalized children and youth” of Sri Lanka “with enhanced access to quality and equitable education, learning, and employment opportunities,” with a vision of “a Sri Lanka and a world in which opportunities are universal for all.”
This was a natural fit to earn support from the Fletcher community, and Professor Kim Wilson, Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti, and Professor John Hammock are still on the Educate Lanka Board of Advisors.

After Manjula graduated, he returned to the Washington, DC area and to running Educate Lanka full-time.  Each time he and I got together, what was always clear was how challenging it was to build sustainability for the organization.  Educate Lanka was successfully sponsoring students’ education through its unique online platform, but working capital and growth investments were seemingly raised dollar by dollar.  Then, in 2015, a game-changer: Educate Lanka received a Mastercard Foundation Management Grant of $250,000 (facilitated from the foundation side by Reeta Roy, F89), providing the funding stability that Manjula needed to be able to think strategically about Educate Lanka and its mission.  The organization has continued to grow and mature.

Beyond financial stability, the investment from the Mastercard Foundation allowed Educate Lanka to introduce a new social-private partnership model in Sri Lanka (in addition to and to complement the student sponsorship platform), involving major corporate/employer partners such as Deutsche Bank, Mastercard, and SyscoLabs to address the youth skills and exposure gap, making Educate Lanka students more skilled and employable and creating a pathway for an equitable, empathic, and inclusive society.  This video describes the partnership with Sysco Labs (formerly known as Cake Labs).

 

Along the way, Manjula’s work has attracted significant attention.  He was profiled by his undergraduate college, and the Sri Lankan Sunday Times.  He was selected for the Top 99 Under 33 Global Foreign Policy Leaders List; was given the Outstanding Sri Lanka Young Professional Award; was named an American Express Emerging Innovator in the U.S.; and was the winner of Millennial Impact Challenge by Huffington post.  Most recently, Manjula was a member of the U.S. delegation of entrepreneurs who attended the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in November 2017 in Hyderabad and he recently completed his first executive education program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Manjula has also shared his perspective on educating the poor and on international education through his own writing, for the Diplomatic Courier (Future of Work and Global Talent and Non-Profits have Turned a Corner; Philanthropy should Follow) and for the HuffPost, as well as through a TEDx Talk.

Of course, as important as Manjula’s personal achievements are the successes of Educate Lanka.  Since its founding in 2007, Educate Lanka has achieved these milestones:

  • 1200+ students (ages 13-25; 65% female, 35% male) directly supported across 28 communities in all nine Sri Lankan provinces, from all ethnicities and religions;
  • 4500+ years of education funded
  • $500,000+ (around 70 million rupees) in micro-scholarship financing;
  • 450+ alumni with gainful employment.
  • 15 corporate and institutional partnerships
  • 250+ students trained on skills, competencies, and values

This story details an Educate Lanka success, as well as the complexity of the Sri Lankan education system.  It’s the first entry in a “Scholar Stories Series” to highlight the partnership with Mastercard on female empowerment in Sri Lanka.  (Links to future stories will also appear on Educate Lanka’s Facebook page.)

Educate Lanka has also created a global education program (under the private-social partnership model mentioned above).  Among the partners is the St. Mark’s School, right nearby in central Massachusetts, which invites Educate Lanka students to the U.S. every year for its Global Citizenship Institute. (Manjula is a guest lecturer in the program, and the students last year were hosted by the Sri Lankan ambassador to the U.S.)

As for the next five years, Manjula told me, “I plan to focus the next five years on scaling the two interventions (the online sponsorship platform and the social-private partnership model) towards full sustainability and replication. This phase will position me to achieve my long-term goal of reshaping Sri Lanka’s education into a more inclusive, equitable, and relevant system that is capable of producing a workforce and citizenry that could meet the demands and obligations of our future.”

Whew!  Even for five years, that’s a long list of accomplishments and serious ambition.  I hope it’s clear why admire Manjula.  But I’d be giving a misleading impression if I didn’t note that Manjula’s past five years have included the usual post-Fletcher milestones, such as marriage and the addition to the family of an adorable boy, along with active involvement in a DC-area cricket league.

Manjula was a rock star in the Fletcher community and he has nurtured one of the most dynamic organizations with Fletcher roots.  I’ll certainly be staying tuned to Educate Lanka news so that I can follow its, and Manjula’s success.

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While I’m thinking (as I did yesterday) of posts I might like new readers to comb through, I should point you back toward the many Faculty Spotlight posts that have run over the years.  While this spring’s Faculty Facts capture the most recent research or other professional work of the faculty, the Spotlight posts allowed professors to write in greater detail about their work and their connection to Fletcher.  Here’s an index (though I realize that the professors are listed in order of their posts, rather than alphabetical order).

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I know that Admissions Blog readers tune in at different points in the cycle — from the fall for application tips to the spring after decisions are released, and all points in between — and there’s limited time to sift through the archives.  One of my personal favorite features is Fletcher Couples.  If you have a spare minute, I hope you’ll enjoy reading about these folks who discovered their true loves at Fletcher.  ♥ ♥ ♥

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I continue to welcome blog topic suggestions via the two-question survey, and even as I do, I’m working on writing posts in response.  Recently a reader asked about post-Fletcher jobs.  The question was specifically about the LLM program, but I want to point out a few resources that would be useful for anyone.

First, there are reports on both full-time employment and summer internships on the website of the Office of Career Services (OCS).  When you’re on the employment report pages, click on the sectors that interest you for specific employer information.  The online reports compile data from 2011-2016.  More recent data from the class of 2017 will, I’m sure, be available soon.

The list of hiring organizations for LLM graduates overlaps significantly with those for the MALD or other programs, except for the many law firms, which are definitely over-represented relative to MALD/MIB/MA employers.  I heard today that there are several additional LLM employers that will be added to the online list: United Nations Global Compact; United Nations (Associate Political Affairs Officer on Human Rights); HSBC (Financial Crime Risk); U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General Corps; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Korea; and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

While I’m offering degree-specific employment information, there’s a list of employers of PhD graduates by year, and one for MIB graduates by industry/sector.

I’d also like to remind you of the narrative job reports provided by alumni in the blog.  Check out the updates by alumni five years post-Fletcher and one year after graduation.  Several reports from the classes of 2013 and 2017 are sitting in my inbox, just waiting for me to have a chance to publish them, which I’ll try to do very soon.

And, last, a brief summary of how OCS works with students.  During students’ first semester, they participate in the OCS Professional Development Program which sets them up well for the internship search or (in the case of one-year programs) job search that will start soon after PDP concludes.  The role of OCS is as a partner for students in their career exploration and job search.  That is, Fletcher doesn’t place students in internships or jobs, but working with OCS helps students identify opportunities.  Ideally, students keep their professional objectives in mind as they plan out each semester and academic year.  Classes that link to several career directions are suggested here.  I don’t write nearly enough about OCS in the blog, but there’s still a handful of posts that cover key topics.  Scroll back far enough and you’ll find four posts from the sector coaches at OCS in 2010 that are still largely relevant.

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Without a doubt, the April day on which we hold the Open House for newly admitted students is the craziest of the year.  I managed to snap a pic this morning before the crowds arrived.  Here’s the registration table.

Name tags, information packets, and water bottles all lined up.  Sunshine streaming in.  It was all good.  It’s now just after 10:00 a.m. and visitors have had their breakfast, attended a welcome presentation by the dean and two current students, and are now attending either a class or a faculty panel.

Both last night, when we held a reception, and this morning, Kristen and I staffed the registration table — my favorite job during the Open House.  I get to meet lots of people with whom I’ve been corresponding or whose application I read.  And it’s busy!  I like being busy.

In less than an hour, I’ll be meeting with the visiting incoming PhD students.  Other activities scheduled for 11:05 include attending a class or a Career Services presentation, or participating in a roundtable on environment issues or one on security studies.  Then lunch and even more options.

Liz is a masterful Open House organizer.  It’s a jam-packed schedule and we’ll keep the 160+ visitors moving throughout the day.  Then, I imagine, they’re nearly as tired as we are as they leave Fletcher and continue to consider their options for graduate study.

 

Yesterday we read about research and professional activities that occupy several members of the faculty.  Today we’ll meet some students, a professor, and a member of the staff from whom I’m separated by only a wall.  These Community Introductions were created and compiled by the Fletcher Student Council.  (Credit where credit is due!) 

Karina Peña (second-year MALD)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
Human Security and International Migration

What did you do before Fletcher?
I worked at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC, as a program assistant for their Latin American Program. You know those fancy panel events in DC with free coffee?  I planned a lot of those, and tweeted a lot….

Where are you from?
Miami, FL, but my parents are from Cuba and Nicaragua.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
Nicaragua.  Specifically, the tiny town where my grandparents built their house, Los Cedros.  Just visiting Nicaragua and learning about my heritage has been a joy, but to also experience small town life after a lifetime of living in urban areas was so informative.  When I was younger, it was my first experience with the developing world and extreme poverty.  But over the years, it’s developed a lot (e.g. paved roads, new schools, more internet access), so in my head, it’s almost like a practical study of development, as well as a comforting place to kick back and read a book in my hammock.

Who are your favorite writers?
I forget what it’s like to read for fun, but Jane Austen and Isabel Allende always chill me out.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My grandmother.  She’s endured a ton of hardship throughout her life (civil war, immigrating to the U.S., being the product of a generation that didn’t value education for women, etc.), but she’s the strongest person I know.  She’s also been juicing since before it was cool.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Grad school!  Or more abstractly, being more educated and better positioned than my parents.  They both had to start over in this country, but their hard work paved the way for me to have more opportunities than they did, and that’s certainly one interpretation of the “American Dream.”

Which living person do you most admire?
I already said my grandmother, so….Oprah?  Self-made, intrepid, entrepreneurial, and a fellow [shameless] lover of bread!

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Self-care, and I don’t think we talk about this enough!  We’re all such dedicated, ambitious people, and many of us give more to the community that we give to ourselves.  This semester, I’ve forced myself to make time for some fitness.  It may complicate my schedule a bit, but the satisfaction of a good workout (or whatever self-care may look like for you) goes a long way!

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Fiesta Latina 2017!  It was February, so I was homesick, sad, and cold, but Fiesta Latina warmed up my heart and soul.  It was beautiful to see it come together as a group effort from members of the Fletcher Latin America Group and the broader Fletcher community.  We also mixed in some political commentary and Latino pride during a time when many of us felt personally attacked by anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies.  (This might be a plug for Fiesta Latina 2019.)

Meg Guliford (PhD candidate)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
I’m a PhD student in Comparative Politics and International Security Studies.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I worked in the defense industry for 11 years.

Where are you from?
The south side of Hoisington, KS.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
There is no better place in the world to me than the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota.

Who are your favorite writers?
Beverly Cleary and Wilson Rawls.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
Mel Harmon, my high school custodian.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Relearning to walk after being confined to a wheelchair for several months.

Which living person do you most admire?
Dolly Parton

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Having three close family members die within a two-month period while trying to study for and complete my comprehensive exams.

JB Kelly (first-year MALD)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
Security Studies and… something else?  I am still a first year MALD, so I think maybe it’s okay that I don’t quite know yet.  Right? I’m sure it’ll work out.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I was a U.S. Army Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha (SFODA) Commander and subsequently a Plans Officer (S5) in 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne).  In layman’s terms, I was (and still am) a “Green Beret.”

Where are you from?
Stoneham, which is one town north of Medford.  I’ve lived all over the world at this point, so it’s nice to be home and catch a game at Fenway.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
Hard to pick one place.  I’ve lived a year of my life in Transylvania, so that’s pretty unique I suppose.  My favorite travel experience was the time I spent three weeks living with an ethnically Algerian family in the town of Cagnes sur Mer along Côte d’Azur in France.  I learned some French, but more importantly I got to peek inside the family life of an average, well-integrated, ethnically Algerian, French family.

Who are your favorite writers?
Fiction – Jack Kerouac; Poetry – Billy Collins

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
CSM (Retired) Billy Waugh.  His book, Hunting the Jackal, inspired me to volunteer for more than the average Army career.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Sometimes I wonder how/why I followed through on my application to West Point over 15 years ago now.  It’s a lengthy process, my parents were NOT super-stoked about the prospect of their child joining the U.S. Army in a post-9/11 world, and frankly, I was a goof ball in high school.  Any accomplishment, award, or accolade I have all seem to go back to that shockingly mature decision as a very immature high school junior.

Which living person do you most admire?
General Joseph Dunford.  I met him very briefly in Kunar, Afghanistan while he was ISAF Commander and again when he spoke at Fletcher last semester.  I think every military officer should aspire to his level of professionalism and selflessness.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
I am still working on it, but my biggest personal challenge has always been achieving a work-life balance.  The military life can become all-consuming if one doesn’t actively work on family life or get a hobby.  For example, my fiancé, Amanda, is also an Army officer, but still stationed over in Germany, so it takes some effort to stay connected via FaceTime and plane travel.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
There are too many to count really.  I am truly enjoying just being a guy, in a class, thinking about stuff.  The occasional post-(insert event here) beers at PJ Ryan’s have been pretty great too.

Quick plug: if you’d like to join me in my hobby of brewing beer, join the Fletcher Fermentation Club.

Liz Wagoner (Associate Director of Admissions & Financial Aid)

What do you do at Fletcher?
I’ve worked in the Admissions Office since August 2012.  I read applications, work closely with our admissions ambassadors and do much of our event planning, including the big April Open House.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I worked at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business in their admissions office.  I worked primarily with the health sector and nonprofit MBA programs, so coming to Fletcher was a great fit.  I’m a graduate of Bates College (Go Bobcats!) and went to BU for my master’s in higher education (shout out to my fellow Terriers).

Where are you from?
I’m a little from all over.  I was born out west, spent my early childhood in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, moved around a ton in middle school/high school, mostly around New England, but ultimately, I think of NH as home.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
I’m not sure I’ve been anywhere unique, but in a few weeks, I’m going to Iceland for a few days.  It’s been on my bucket list for a while now and I cannot wait to go!  Fingers crossed I get to see the northern lights!

Who are your favorite writers?
I’m a big fan of comedic writers like David Sedaris and Mindy Kaling and I think JK Rowling is a genius.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My mom.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I was once ranked 18th in the country for squash (juniors).  I had always wanted to crack the top 20, so when I finally did, it was a big deal for me!

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Time.  There’s never enough of it!  And perhaps, securing rooms for events — there’s never enough of those either.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
I’m a huge fan of the Annual Faculty & Staff Wait On You Dinner (AFSWOYD).  I love how the community comes together for a great cause and I get a kick out of the competitiveness of the students while bidding on auction items!  It’s always a great time.

John Burgess (Professor of Practice, Executive Director LL.M. Program)

What do you do at Fletcher?
I teach cross-border mergers and acquisitions and law of the sea.  I also run the LL.M. Program.

What did you do before Fletcher?
37 years at WilmerHale, a large, multinational law firm, with a some time off for work on the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty at the U.S. State Department.

Where are you from?
Waltham, Massachusetts.  I’ve been all over the world, but ultimately didn’t land too far from the tree.  Boston suits me fine.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
Iceland — it’s like a controlled experiment in living, that gods with a sense of humor located in a land where the principal action is all geothermal.

Who are your favorite writers?
Joseph Conrad for introducing us to a globalized world and Stefan Zweig for preserving the lost world of central Europe before the Great War.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My father, who has never encountered anything in the world of science or art that he didn’t find fascinating.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
42 years of marriage, two great daughters and two wonderful grandchildren.  Is it inappropriate to add completing a biathlon in Austria while dressed in business casual and periodically being required to drink a shot of schnapps?

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Adjusting to the rhythms of the academic year.  One minute, the corridors are filled, there are a dozen events to choose from, and exciting projects are being shared.  And a day later, silence.  I have finally figured out when you are supposed to actually do research or prepare a new course.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Aside from drawing on long-lost skills to wait tables once a year for the students with friends and colleagues from the faculty and staff?  Reverse engineering two very different events — AliBaba’s IPO and the Philippines/South China Sea arbitration to share the myriad of legal subtleties that the press never gets around to discussing.

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In a professional school with a multidisciplinary curriculum, it’s no surprise that the away-from-Fletcher activities of the faculty take different forms.  Though there’s certainly a common thread of research and writing, the research could be quantitative or qualitative, in the field or from a desk, and the media through which they publish will vary.  This is the fourth post in which we’ll highlight Fletcher professors’ current activities.

Susan Landau, Bridge Professor in the Fletcher School and the School of Engineering, Department of Computer Science, Tufts University

My recent work focuses on communications security and privacy, and my new book, Listening In: Cybersecurity in an Insecure Age, was just published by Yale University Press.  I am participating in a National Academies study on encryption tradeoffs, am a member of the Forum on Cyber Resilience, a National Academies roundtable, and recently served on a National Academies study on bulk signals intelligence collection, Bulk Collection of Signals Intelligence: Technical Options.  I have been a senior staff Privacy Analyst at Google, a Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems, and a faculty member at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Wesleyan University.

(Professor Landau was inducted into the Cybersecurity Hall of Fame in 2015, was a 2012 Guggenheim fellow, a 2010-2011 fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and received the 2008 Women of Vision Social Impact Award.  She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association for Computing Machinery.  She is also Visiting Professor in Computer Science, University College London.)

Professor Landau’s profile.  In the video below, she sits down with Dean Stavridis to discuss U.S. cybersecurity.

Hurst Hannum, Professor of International Law

I am on sabbatical leave in 2017-18, split between Washington, DC, and the Bonavero Instutite of Human Rights at the University of Oxford, during which time I will complete a book on the future of human rights, to be published in 2019 by Cambridge University Press.  My latest publications are the 6th edition of my co-authored International Human Rights: Problems of Law, Practice, and Policy (Aspen 2017); “Reinvigorating Human Rights for the Twenty-first Century,” 16 Human Rights Law Review 409 (2016); “Sovereignty, Self-Determination, and Autonomy,” in The United States, China, and International Law (Jacques de Lisle and William Burke-White eds., forthcoming Oxford University Press 2018); and “Human Rights,” in The Oxford Handbook on International Law in Asia and the Pacific (Simon Chesterman and Ben Saul eds., forthcoming OUP 2018).

Professor Hannum’s profile.

Avery Cohn, William R. Moomaw Assistant Professor of International Environment and Resource Policy

All of my work focuses on global environmental change and what people can do to confront it and cope with it.  I’m currently involved in three main research themes.  The first investigates the business case for protecting tropical ecosystems, given that these ecosystems regulate the local climate and therefore are important for agricultural productivity.  Initially, our focus is the world’s largest agricultural frontier — the Southern fringes of the Brazilian Amazon basin.  The work involves close collaboration with a coalition of businesses and NGOs working to find sustainable pathways for agricultural development in the tropics.  The second theme identifies the ingredients of scalable forest governance.  Here, I’m finding and analyzing cases of how public and private interests have cooperated to help forests achieve their potential.  Finally, I’m quantifying societal costs of climate change and how people can adapt to this emerging threat.  On this theme, I have been constructing profiles of resilient urban and rural households in sub-Saharan Africa, drawing on evidence from detailed agricultural surveys combined with remotely sensed indicators of climate, the environment, and infrastructure.  All of these projects are team affairs, involving many students and other collaborators from Fletcher, Tufts, and beyond.  Have a look here.

Professor Cohn’s profile.

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This will be an exciting day for four teams of Fletcher students who are competing in the Tufts $100K New Ventures Competition.  Four teams out of only 18 to reach the finals, in fact!  The finalist teams will compete in three tracks — Social Impact; MedTech and Life Science; and General and High-Tech — with the pitching going on throughout the day.  The competing teams all include, but aren’t limited to, members of the Tufts community.

The Fletcher teams are:

Edkasa, Winner of the 2018 Fletcher D-Prize with $30,000 in cash and in-kind support services!
Team Members: Sohail Ali, F19; Bakhtawar Ali, F19; Fahad Tanveer; Annum Sadiq
Venture description: Pakistan has 15 million out of school secondary students.  Of those who are in school, nearly half do not graduate.  Using a live, virtual learning platform, EDKASA makes “rock star” teachers accessible to secondary students in Pakistan at an affordable cost.

M-tuma
Team Members: Faith Biegon, F18; Collins Sirmah, A16; Bryson Wong, A17
Venture description: Dukas, “Mom and Pop stores,” play a critical role in Kenya’s economy.  They supply roughly 70 percent of the country’s consumer goods and are often run by women or families.  These shop owners lack information on prices, travel long distances to wholesalers, and incur high transportation costs.  We are building an online system where shopkeepers can view prices and make orders.  We then aggregate orders from multiple shopkeepers and rely on third-party transporters to deliver goods utilizing economies of scale.  Shop keepers now know prices, get goods at their doorsteps, and save on transportation costs.

SunGLOW
Team Members: Jean Damascene Ndabirora, F18; Utsav Malay, F18; Subrahmanyam Pulipaka
Venture description: Sun GLOW provides practical online and offline training and classes for solar company personnel, vocational students, and university students.  These classes and the curriculum are custom designed for the Rwandan context.  Many companies win solar contracts without the correct expertise; this results in improper, inefficient design and faulty construction. SunGLOW provides the right training, understanding of design, as well as knowledge about climate financing the companies/students can access in Rwanda and internationally to launch their products/systems/ideas.  We ensure capacity building in one of the fastest growing sectors in East Africa, renewable energy.

Energeia,
Team Members: Zerin Osho, F18; Aditya Kaushik, F17; Keerthana Chandrashekhar, F16; Sookrit Malik, A17 F18
Venture description: Energeia will enable an affordable clean energy transition which will retrofit India’s inefficient transmission system and diesel generator powered infrastructure into a reliable smart microgrid powered by renewable energy and natural gas.  The company will upgrade the existing diesel generators into natural gas hybrids which are controlled and managed by an industrial IoT platform.  This platform will integrate intermittent sources of renewable energy, map consumption to highlight energy efficiency opportunities, and allow for a smooth integration into emission-trading systems in the future.

The winners will be named tomorrow (Thursday), though the “People’s Choice” winner will be selected today.

If you’d like to know more about Edkasa (the Fletcher D-Prize winner and one of today’s competitors), check out this conversation between Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti and Sohail Ali and Bakhtawar Ali.

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Once upon of time, The Fletcher Forum was Fletcher’s premiere print publication — our twice-yearly journal of international affairs.  These days, The Forum is still Fletcher’s premiere print publication, but with a robust online presence.  And just last week, the editors of The Forum contacted me to share this news.

Some of you may already be aware of The Fletcher Forum, the student-managed journal of international affairs published at Fletcher since 1976.  This year’s editorial team has made a major effort to expand The Forum’s digital media offerings, and we’re happy to highlight the release of the first episode of The Fletcher Forum podcast.  You can find it here or (soon) in iTunes.

This short episode features a behind-the-scenes roundtable with some of the managing editors discussing the production of The Forum’s winter edition, which focused on “dueling narratives and the global battle for truth.”  Released in January, the winter issue features analytical articles from expert contributors as well as interviews with guests such as Lord Michael Dobbs, author of House of Cards.  You can read that interview online and hear more about the conversation on the podcast.  Have a listen, and keep an eye out for future episodes.

Why launch a podcast?  These comments from the editorial staff shed light on the question.

Colin Steele, F18, Managing Editor for Digital Affairs:  “Podcasts are a popular medium for many of us and our peers, and the format allows us to tell new kinds of stories in new ways.  Most of all, they’re a lot of fun to produce.”

Maria Selde, F18, Editor-in-Chief: “Digital media has been a big emphasis for us this year, and podcasting has been an important part of that effort.  I’m proud of our team for bringing this new project to life.”

Maria Ory, F19, Producer: “Producing this podcast was a great way for me to build on my previous work experience and support The Forum‘s digital development.  I’m looking forward to continuing this project through the rest of the spring and into next year.”

The Forum invites participation from incoming students each fall.  With print, web-based, and podcast content, there are ample opportunities for students with a range of interests to get involved.

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