I work pretty closely with applicants to the PhD program, and I should write more to help them.  The deadline for applications is December 20.  That’s a little less than three months off and, given the requirements of the application, it’s definitely not too late to get started.  There’s only one deadline each year, and only September enrollment is possible.

The PhD application requires all the usual elements (transcripts, test scores, essays, etc.), but applicants must also submit a master’s thesis (or major research paper) and a preliminary dissertation proposal.  While the proposal should be well developed, it’s understood that a student’s ultimate dissertation will reflect learning and growth from three semesters of Fletcher classes.  Though it is not required that applicants contact members of the Fletcher faculty before applying, I can say that nearly all of our successful applicants have done so.  Reaching out to Fletcher professors gives you a chance to confirm that your interests are aligned with theirs.  All admitted PhD students are assigned an advisor, and the expectation is that students will stick with that advisor all the way through.

Beyond that, most successful PhD applicants will include two recommendations from professors who can reflect on their work, and most will be asking professors from their master’s-level work to write the recommendations.

I should pause to note that applying directly to the PhD program requires a master’s degree.  Students without a master’s degree, or those who have a degree that lasted only one year, need to start with the MALD (usually) or MIB (also possible) degree.

We’ll be conducting two virtual information sessions, on October 15 and November 16.  There’s also more information that I can pass along.  If you’re interested, please contact us!

Tagged with:

Angela StentWhile I’m at the Boston Idealist grad school fair tonight, I’ll be missing the fall’s Community Book Talk on The Limits of Partnership: U.S.-Russian Relations in the Twenty-First Century, by Angela Stent.  The event is open to all of us in the community, and copies of the book were provided.  I enjoy these common reading projects, and if last year’s two book talks were any indication, this will be an interesting evening.

Here’s the information we received about Dr. Stent and her book:

Angela Stent is a leading expert on U.S. and European relations with Russia and on Russian Foreign Policy.  She has served as an advisor under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and maintains close ties with key policymakers in both countries.

Dr. Stent is Director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies and Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University.  She is also a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-chairs its Hewett Forum on Post-Soviet Affairs.

The Limits of Partnership, winner of the American Academy of Diplomacy’s Douglas Dillon prize for the best book on the practice of American Diplomacy, offers a riveting narrative on U.S.-Russian relations since the Soviet collapse and on the challenges ahead. It reflects the unique perspective of an insider recognized as a leading expert on this troubled relationship.  American presidents have repeatedly attempted to forge a strong and productive partnership only to be held hostage to the deep mistrust born of the Cold War.  For the United States, Russia remains a priority because of its nuclear weapons arsenal, its strategic location bordering Europe and Asia, and its ability to support — or thwart — American interests.  Why has it been so difficult to move the relationship forward?  What are the prospects for doing so in the future?  Is the effort doomed to fail again and again? Join us for answers to these questions and others.


Our interview program started up yesterday, with the result that a steady stream of applicants and volunteer student interviewers are in and out of the office.  It’s both really nice and also a big increase in the level of background energy, as we try to do our work.  While I’m writing, our very first Skype interview is taking place.  The student interviewer seemed comfortable being the pioneer in this new (but overdue) effort.

Classes have been in session for only three weeks, but I’m already hearing students talk about exams, review sessions, study groups, etc.  And this past Saturday, the first Foreign Language Reading Comprehension exams were offered.  Bright and early on a beautiful fall morning, hundreds of students filed into a nearby building for their exams in the language of their choice.  The options were Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean (from 9:00 a.m. to noon); Bosnian, Hebrew, Hindi, Russian, and Urdu (from 9:15 to 11:15); and French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swahili (from 9:30-11:00).  The time allowed for the exam corresponds (more or less) to language difficulty.  Arrangements can be made for those who wish to test in a different language.  Bi-lingual dictionaries are allowed, including traditional paper dictionaries, electronic dictionaries, and dictionary applications that have been downloaded onto a cell phone.  No internet.  You can find sample exams if you scroll down on this page.

Admissions travel continues!  While Liz tours New England colleges and universities with some of our APSIA peers, I’m doing my own mini-tour.  Kristen and I joined forces yesterday for an information session for Tufts undergraduates (ably assisted by two “Double Jumbos” — Fletcher students who graduated from the undergraduate program at Tufts).  This afternoon, I’m taking part in a panel on international development down the road at Harvard, and tomorrow I’ll be at the Idealist fair in Boston (with a 2015 Fletcher graduate, who will help extend the life of my voice in that noisy setting).

Next week will be the first week since August when I’ll simply be in the office with no travel, visits, holidays, vacation, or other special activities.  I’m looking forward to it!  If nothing else, I’ll have a little more time for the blog.  New posts from our students are coming!


♦  Come up with a plan for fall interviews, including NEW Skype interviews: CHECK
♦  Train students volunteers to conduct interviews: CHECK
♦  Assign students to each of the 35+ interview timeslots each week: CHECK
♦  Dust off the furniture in the interview rooms: CHECK

I guess we’re just about ready to kick-off the fall interview program on Monday.  “Just about” ready, because I haven’t yet identified the inevitable glitches that will occur.  But we’re excited to get started, especially as the interview calendar is filling up nicely!  We were fully booked for the first two Mondays until we added a few extra appointments yesterday.  (Please grab one of those new slots if you were disappointed to have been closed out!)

As I always hasten to say, interviews are an optional part of the application process, but now that applicants have the choice of both on-campus and Skype interviews, I hope that many applications for January or September 2016 enrollment will include an interview report.  It’s a great opportunity for applicants to share a little of their own story.  And through the conversation, they can hear about the experience of their student interviewer, too.


There’s a nice article in Tufts Now (our online university news source) about Rizwan Ladha, F12, and his perspective on the multinational deal around Iran’s nuclear program.  (Rizwan completed the MALD program and is now a Fletcher PhD candidate.)  As you might expect, the deal has been the source of a lot of discussion at Fletcher, both informally and through formal events.  The perspective that Rizwan shares in the article is good background for further discussion.


For the second year, one of our alumni, Rockford Weitz is supporting entrepreneurial students, alumni, and faculty as Fletcher’s Entrepreneur Coach in Residence.  Through planned activities and his scheduled office hours, Rocky is bringing entrepreneurship to the front of student career planning.

Here (from an email to the community) is how Rocky describes his role at Fletcher:

What is Entrepreneurship?

Good question.  Entrepreneurship means different things to different people.  I define entrepreneurship as “problem solving with limited resources and an unclear path forward.”  By this definition, most of you will likely be entrepreneurs at some point during your career.

The entrepreneurial approach works well in many Fletcher career trajectories, including social entrepreneurship, tech-driven entrepreneurship, and intrapreneurship (using entrepreneurship techniques to succeed as a change agent in large organizations in the private, public, non-profit, intergovernmental and academic sectors).

Fletcher students and alumni have launched and scaled numerous enterprises, including non-profits, technology startups, and new offices within larger organizations, such as the United Nations or the U.S. State Department.

Entrepreneur Coaching

As Entrepreneur Coach, I help Fletcher students, faculty, staff and alumni:

  • Connect with potential customers, potential investors and service providers that could help aspiring Fletcher entrepreneurs turn their ideas into viable enterprises.
  • Think through business, social, and policy ideas where entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship could be part of the solution.
  • Create business plans, go-to-market strategies, and presentations to potential customers and investors.

There are two events today linked to entrepreneurship at Fletcher.  First, Rocky will be providing an “Overview of the Tufts and Boston Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.”  He describes it as:

At this event, I will provide an overview of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and support network available at Fletcher, Tufts, and the Greater Boston area.  Topics will include startup prizes (such as Fletcher D-Prize and Tufts $100K), startup accelerators, including those that do not take equity (such as MassChallenge, the world’s largest startup accelerator, located in downtown Boston) and other support resources for aspiring entrepreneurs (such as Demeter, FinTech Sandbox, District Hall, and the Venture Cafe).  Special attention will be given to resources available to aspiring social entrepreneurs and those Fletcherites interested in entrepreneurship/intrapreneurship in emerging markets.

Later in the day, Gerry Ford, F84, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Caffè Nero will speak on “The Journey of an Entrepreneur: From Start-up to Billion Dollar Company.”  Here’s the description of his talk:

Gerry Ford is Chairman and Chief Executive of Caffè Nero Group Limited, Europe’s largest independent coffee house group.  Gerry founded Caffè Nero in 1997.  He later listed Caffè Nero on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in 2001-2007.  In 2005, Dr. Ford was named the UK’s Entrepreneur of the Year by the Financial Times and The London Stock Exchange.  In 2007, Gerry took Caffè Nero private and today he remains the majority shareholder of the company. Currently, Caffè Nero has more than 5,500 employees in 700 stores across seven countries.  The company continues to open at a pace of a new store every four days somewhere in the world. Dr. Ford has a BA from Stanford University, a MALD from The Fletcher School/Tufts University, a MBA from INSEAD and a PhD from Oxford University.  He sits on the boards of several consumer goods businesses throughout Europe and the USA, and is a frequent speaker internationally on the topics of developing consumer brands and entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship is an area that has long interested Fletcher students, many of whom wish to start their own organizations.  Having Rocky Weitz has increased the available resources, both through his time and the activities that result from his residency here.

Tagged with:

Today I want to point blog friends to a site you shouldn’t miss.  The School has been compiling short video stories that answer the question, “Why Fletcher?”  They’re mixed among all the videos on the Fletcher YouTube page, but the easiest way to find them is to check out #whyfletcher on Facebook.  Here’s a sample:


Lost in the whirlwind that characterizes the start of the semester is attention to our applicants for January enrollment.  It just seems impossible that our first application deadline of 2015-16 could be less than a month away.  (I wrote that in mellow lower case, but what’s going through my head is “LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY!!!)

Though most students start their studies in September, there are lots of good reasons to think about January as a good MALD or MIB enrollment option.  The Januarian group tends to be (and remain, throughout their two years) very close.  It’s an instant peer group — far more manageable than the wave that rolls in each September.  The option to take two summers for internships also works well for students who are exploring more than one career path.  If those reasons, as well as the general timing, make sense to you, then it’s time to start your application.

There’s no time like the present, then, to share some tips with the applicants who may be our next crop of Januarians.  Because the application timeframe may creep up on you, just as it has for me, I suggest that you start an application right away, if you haven’t already done so.  You don’t need to do much with it yet, but make sure you know what will be required.  The essays are straightforward, but they may take you some time to perfect.  Don’t wait too much longer to start drafting them.

At last week’s APSIA fair, I was reminded how often we’re asked for our advice on how to put together a good application.  My best, if most basic, advice: Follow the directions.  Yep, if everyone followed this simple advice, we would see a lot more high quality applications.  More advice can be found in a post from last December.  And you should also check out our Application Boot Camp from last fall for more ideas.

Finally, if you hope to include an evaluative interview as part of your application, you need to schedule that now.  The first week of our interview calendar (which starts September 28) is nearly full already.  Whether you’re able to visit campus or you prefer to take advantage of the new Skype option, you’ll want to schedule your interview for before the application deadline of October 15.

We’re looking forward to reading some great applications in October!  As ever, if you have questions, be sure to contact us.

Tagged with:

I apologize for the blog silence this week.  And today I’m still going to let someone else do the talking for me.

Though there isn’t great change semester-to-semester in the Fletcher full-time faculty, we’re nonetheless fortunate to have new people and new ideas coming into the School each year.  Whether we’re bringing someone in to cover for a professor on leave or there’s a newly created position, we welcome several additions to the teaching community every semester.  Our academic dean, Steven Block, recently introduced the new faculty in an email to the School.  The professors are:

Paul Berkman, Professor of Practice in Science Diplomacy.  Paul Berkman is an interdisciplinary scientist with formal training in oceanography and ecology.  He focuses on science-policy interactions in international governance, particularly with regard to the cooperative management of transboundary resources and international spaces that exist beyond national jurisdictions.  His principal activities currently involve the: (1) “North Pole as a pole of peace” with the High Seas in the central Arctic Ocean as an undisputed international space; (2) conceptual development and practical implementation of environmental security in the Arctic Ocean; and (3) science-policy lessons from the first 50 years of the Antarctic Treaty System.  Professor Berkman earned his Ph.D. at the University of Rhode Island.

John Cerone, Visiting Professor of International Law.  John Cerone is returning to Fletcher to teach International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Law.  He has been a fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law and a visiting scholar at the International Criminal Court.  He has also been a Fulbright scholar at both the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

James Fry, Visiting Professor of International Law.  James Fry will be teaching International Organizations.  He is visiting from the University of Hong Kong, where he is Associate Professor of Law and Director of the LLM Program.  Professor Fry has provided legal counsel and expertise to various international organizations throughout the world, including the International Committee for the Red Cross, the International Organization for Migration, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the World Meteorological Organization, and the World Trade Organization, and he has represented the New York City Bar Association in the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law.  His Ph.D. is from the University of Geneva.

Michele Malvesti, Professor of Practice.  A highly experienced practitioner of national security at the most senior levels of government, Professor Malvesti brings a wealth of expertise, including serving two presidential administrations at the White House.  From August 2002 to October 2007, she served in the Office of Combating Terrorism on the National Security Council (NSC) staff, including as the Senior Director for Combating Terrorism Strategy.  In this role, she advised the President and his National Security Advisor and Homeland Security Advisor on U.S. counterterrorism policy and strategy.  She subsequently returned to the White House in 2009 to co-chair the Presidential Study Review that reformed the White House organization for homeland security and counterterrorism on behalf of the Obama Administration.  She arrives in January, for a three-year appointment.  Professor Malvesti earned her Ph.D. at the Fletcher School.

Kingsley Moghalu, Visiting Professor.  Professor Moghalu, a Fletcher graduate, earned his Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics.  He joins us from his position as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, where he was in charge of the Operations Directorate.  He is also the author of three books, most recently Emerging Africa: How the Global Economy’s ‘Last Frontier’ Can Prosper and Matter. This book provides the foundation for his seminar this fall.  Professor Moghalu is a member of the Board of Directors, the Monetary Policy Committee, and the Committee of Governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria, in addition to numerous boards and commissions.

Kimberly Theidon, Henry J. Leir Professor of International Humanitarian Studies.  Professor Theidon is a renowned medical anthropologist who joins us from Harvard University, following an interim year as a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.  Her research interests include political violence, transitional justice, reconciliation, and the politics of post-war reparations.  Professor Theidon will be teaching Memory Politics: Truth, Justice and Redress; Engaging Human Security; and Issues in Global Health.  Her most recent book, Intimate Enemies: Violence and Reconciliation in Peru was awarded the 2013 Honorable Mention from the Washington Office on Latin America-Duke University Libraries Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America, and the 2013 Honorable Mention for the Eileen Basker Prize  from the Society for Medical Anthropology for research  on gender and health.  Her Ph.D. is from University of California, Berkeley.

I join Dean Block in welcoming the new members of Fletcher’s faculty!


Yesterday was my first day at Fletcher following the start of classes and I was reminded what a busy place it is.  Lots of new students stopping by the office to be redirected to the people who could actually solve their problems (Once they have started classes, the answer is rarely found in the Admissions Office.) and lots of continuing students popping in to say hello and catch up after the summer.

The shift from slow summer to fast fall happens so abruptly that it catches me by surprise each year.  Suddenly, we’re in the thick of the travel season.  (Since the NY fair that I attended on Tuesday, we’ve participated in two more APSIA fairs — Laurie staffed the Boston table, and Liz was in Pittsburgh last night.  More coming next week.)  The first applications (for January enrollment) will arrive in just a month.  It’s Admissions time!

Which brings me to this: there are lots of ways to connect with Fletcher Admissions — either on campus or nearer to you.  There are visit events, information sessions, and opportunities to interview on campus.  And we offer online information sessions and interviews via Skype if you’re not able to visit.  The Skype interviews are new this year, as are program-specific online information sessions.  We’ll offer a session for MIB applicants on October 8, for PhD applicants on October 15, and for Map Your Future applicants on October 28.  Check the schedule for general sessions and the November/December calendar.

As ever, we hope to hear from you.  Contact us if you have questions about the School, the admissions process, or opportunities to meet us on campus or on the road.  We look forward to being in contact during the application process.


Spam prevention powered by Akismet