The Tufts Energy Conference is still coming up this weekend, and the spring semester is always loaded with activities that were planned throughout the academic year.  Today (sticking with the environment theme), there’s “Fletcher’s Warming Arctic Conference,” which will start off in the Aidekman Arts Center.  Why the Arts Center?  Because Aidekman is the host of a timely exhibit, Seeing Glacial Time: Climate Change in the Arctic.  I haven’t been over there to check out the exhibit yet, but I plan to visit one afternoon.  (The exhibit was among the Boston Globe‘s picks of the week a little while back.)

Shifting gears to a warmer part of the world, and looking ahead about a month, Fletcher will host “Turkey’s Turn?” on April 10 and 11.   The timing is right for admitted applicants to include the conference during an exploratory trip to Fletcher.  Keep it in the back of your mind, or go ahead and reserve a spot.

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It isn’t true that every time I turn around there’s another update about something exciting happening in the environment field here at Fletcher, but it feels that way.  Just this spring, here’s some of what we’ve heard:

First, we received an update from Prof. Gallagher, whom you read about on the blog just last week.  She wrote:

Dear colleagues, students, and friends of Fletcher,

I am pleased to announce some exciting changes in the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP).

Last fall, I invited a number of faculty members from around Fletcher to join CIERP as Faculty Research Affiliates.  These faculty members will be working in one or more of our five research programs.  From Fletcher we are delighted to have Prof. Jenny Aker, an expert on development and agriculture.  From the Economics Department at Tufts, Prof. Gilbert Metcalf, Prof. Kelsey Jack, and Prof. Ujjayant Chakravorty.  From Political Science, we welcome Prof. Kent Portney who has agreed to direct our water and oceans program and who is an expert on water policy and sustainable cities, among other topics.  We look forward to deepening our research collaborations with these outstanding faculty members at Tufts.  As was already announced, we also look forward to having Prof. Avery Cohn in residence for the next academic year as our new professor of environment and resource policy.  Avery will lead our Agriculture and Forests program.

Mieke van der Wansem, a long-standing staff member and Fletcher alumna, becomes the new Associate Director of Educational Programs.  In this new role, she will enhance the overall effectiveness of CIERP in meeting its educational mission.  She will work to expand and sustain executive education, help guide the development and implementation of environment and natural resource policy education initiatives inside and outside the classroom, and manage some of our research projects as appropriate.

Best,
Kelly Sims Gallagher

Then we learned that Prof. Gallagher and Prof. Portney had submitted a proposal to the Tufts University provost to create a new “bridge professor” position in the field of water security.  Here’s their description:

The Water Security Bridge Professor would work in the interdisciplinary area of international environmental security, covering issues of political sovereignty, human rights, regional security, and sustainable development. It might also include a focus on the policies and mechanisms, military and nonmilitary, nations use in their efforts to gain and protect access to water. A regional focus could be both possible and desirable, for example, in Southeast Asia, the Arctic, and the states of the former Soviet Union.

As blogger, I should have the answer to the question of when the bridge professor will join us.  I have to admit that I’m not sure, but I believe it will be for September 2015.

And then, there’s the annual Tufts Energy Conference coming up next weekend, March 8-9.  As the conference website says:

The Tufts Energy Conference (TEC) is a two-day energy conference that brings together experts from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors with students and professionals to discuss critical global energy issues. The conference is entirely organized by students from a broad range of  backgrounds in engineering, international affairs, urban planning, and economics. From a two-panel event in 2006, TEC has grown into one of the largest entirely student-run energy conferences in the region.

Experts from the private, public and nonprofit sectors, students, and professionals are all invited to attend TEC 2014 on March 8-9, 2014 (Saturday and Sunday), which will focus on Shifting Dynamics in Emerging Markets.

The conference agenda looks terrific!  Come on over!

Last (or at least, the last piece of news I’ve been able to keep track of), there’s the 2014 Tufts Energy Competition, with a prize of $3,000 to jump-start an energy idea, and with a new-this-year solar competition:

Working on a project on energy or sustainability that can be transformed into a winning proposal?  The Tufts Energy Competition is looking for your ideas.  This competition is a celebration of innovative, student-driven solutions to energy challenges.  The goal of the Tufts Energy Competition is ultimately to implement projects that explore solutions to key energy issues.  The winning team will receive up to $3000 to implement their project and the runner-up team will receive $2000.  Every Tufts student is eligible to apply, including engineering students, undergraduates, medical students, Fletcher students, and more.

Previous finalists and winners include:

•  A Split Junction Solar Concentrator for More Efficient Electricity Generation
•  Giving Students the Chance to Choose Their Energy
•  Efficient Hygiene Initiatives: Bringing Ecological Sanitation to Thottiypatti
•  Solar-Powered Uninterruptible Power Systems
•  Ocean-Based Algae Energy
•  Wind Turbines and Solar Cookers in Zimbabwe
•  High Voltage Lithium Ion Battery Management System

The winner will be announced next weekend at the Tufts Energy Conference.

So that’s the round-up of a semester’s news for the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy and generally in the field.  And it’s news that assures us that next year will be exciting, too!

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This entry in the Faculty Spotlight feature comes from Bhaskar Chakravorti, Fletcher’s Senior Associate Dean of International Business and Finance, and the founding Executive Director of Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context. He is the author of The Slow Pace of Fast Change.  He currently teaches Strategy and Innovation in the Evolving Context of International Business and Strategic Management, a module offered during the August pre-session attended by all students in the Master of International Business program.  Dean Chakravorti here describes his real-world business education and his perspective on contextual intelligence that resulted.

chakravortiFrom 1994 to 1995, I was traveling across Africa, exploring interest among various governments and telecommunications service companies in investment in the continent’s first undersea fiber-optic network.  This would be a breakthrough communication technology, with the power of connecting an excluded and fragmented continent with itself, with the world, and to this newly emerging phenomenon — that none of us quite understood at the time — called the Internet.

Given its economic heft, South Africa was among my first ports of call.  Those were exciting times for the country.  The ANC had just assumed power and Nelson Mandela had made history as the country’s first black president.  The world was suddenly considering how to connect to this hitherto isolated country and embracing a potential economic and political powerhouse.

I made what I thought was a brilliant presentation to senior bureaucrats and technologists.  In my view, I had quite convincingly made the case for South Africa to be the key anchor for a fiber-optic ring that would encircle the continent with branches taking off toward other continents.

Turns out, my case wasn’t as rock solid as I had imagined.  A senior minister took me aside the next day and asked if we could scrap the plans for a ring around Africa and just do a single cable that linked South Africa to …. Malaysia.  That’s it.  Just Malaysia.  But that makes no business sense whatsoever, I protested.  The minister explained that Mandela had visited Malaysia the previous year and had struck up a close friendship with Prime Minister Mahathir.  The two had agreed on cooperation on many fronts.  Most significantly, Malaysia had pledged help in providing voter education to South Africa, a country where nearly 18 million out of the 20 million citizens would cast their ballots for the first time, with half of the 18 million illiterate.  And now, post-election, it was critical that the bonds be strengthened further.

“But consider the economics,” I continued.  “A single link to Malaysia would be frightfully expensive and would not have the traffic to justify it.  You would forgo the chance to connect with the rest of Africa.”

The minister politely, but firmly, let me know that while I seemed smart enough, I was not as clever as I thought I was.  “You do not argue with Nelson Mandela,” he said.

Trained as an economist, this was my first small step toward an appreciation for contextual intelligence.  The linear logic of business and all its analysis could not — and should not — ignore the momentum of emerging geopolitical alliances.  Malaysia was already among the first of South Africa’s allies; there was a stronger relationship to be built.  Mandela had personally asked for this cable as a symbol and a conduit.

Still frustrated, I walked the corridors of South Africa Telkom and ran into the old guard.  These were engineers and network planners; surely, they understood economics and net present value analysis.  I told them my story.  They agreed that the Mandela proposal was nonsense.  What was needed was a fiber-optic link directly connecting South Africa to Northern Europe.  “What about connectivity to the rest of Africa?” I asked.

“Who cares about the rest of Africa?” was the universal opinion.

This was my second lesson in contextual intelligence.  The old guard was all white.  They were frightened about what was going to come next as their secluded reality had come to an end.  While their argument was couched in business terms (after all, Northern Europe was where the business would be), their real reason was history: They desperately wanted a conduit back to the old days and to some semblance of a world that they had known all their lives.  They were ready to make a “business” argument that was, in reality, an agenda that harkened back to a colonial legacy.

Yes, I was there at a true inflection point, armed with the finest analysis possible, elaborate layers of spreadsheets, and well-crafted presentations.  However, real decisions are based on myriad other factors.  In this case, there was, first, a big future envisioned by a master politician — and already a living legend — who could imagine the unimaginable.  And second, there was a past that, while it had become politically irrelevant, still had the technocratic expertise to exert a pull in an opposite direction.  If South Africa was to develop, it could not afford to ignore the technocrats entirely.

I redid the analysis.  We modeled-in the geo-political assumptions, accounted for different connectivity scenarios and their socio-political ramifications as well as economic impact.  We resumed the debate in a more holistic manner.  Context is, indeed, king.  You should embrace it, understand it, and make it central to your business model analysis; most importantly, you should not ignore or fight it.

I have taken this lesson to heart, so much so that I now run Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context.  Many students arrive at Fletcher with deep life experience that guides their understanding of centrality of context, but they aim to strengthen their business skills.  Others have rich business and technical skills, and they seek to develop their contextual intelligence.  Together, we are building a new approach to international business, one that factors in how business decisions connect with non-business factors, such as politics, history, and the human condition.

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As I mentioned last week, nearly all applications have been read twice now, which means they’re hurtling down the track toward final decision-making and processing.  For now, I’ll need to stay annoyingly cagey on when decisions will be released, but we know it will be around the middle of March.  We’re not quite close enough to give a specific date, and we have also been plagued with technical problems through much of this year so we want to leave ourselves some wriggle room.  (Happily, most of the technical troubles have resolved in the last few months, and we’re optimistic that all will go smoothly.)

An applicant asked me recently about the reading process.  I think that each of our Committee readers has a slightly different approach toward an application file, but that ultimately most of us read from front to back.  We arrange each application in a standard way (application form, résumé, transcripts, test scores, essays, recommendations, correspondence, interview report), and it’s just easiest to go through the pages one-by-one.  That said, there’s a lot of flipping back and forth.

What have we been looking for?  The bottom line is always that applicants need to be able to succeed in the classroom.  In some cases, there’s perfect confluence between undergraduate transcripts, test scores, and recommendations.  In other cases, a student may have slipped up a bit as an undergrad, and we’ll rely a little more heavily on the test scores and recommendations.  Or an applicant may be a poor test taker, and we may set aside the test scores, in favor of the transcript.  In any event, we’re looking hard at all the data.

Beyond that, we want to admit students for whom Fletcher is a good match and who, with the benefit of their Fletcher education, are likely to achieve their goals.  For this information, we’re looking at the essays, recommendations, past professional experience, and even the academic record.  (Some applicants travel a linear road from undergraduate studies, through professional experience, to Fletcher and beyond.)  Of course, we also look to bring into our community people who will add to the richness of the student and alumni groups.

None of this information is new, of course, and I’ve written about it before.  What’s new, instead, are the blog’s readers (applicants).  If there’s a message that I’d want you to take away from this post, it’s simply that we look carefully through all the materials in an application.  For some of us (who are bad with names), your identity will be more tied to your experience than what others generally call you.   (As in “remember that guy who went to Tufts undergrad and then did Peace Corps in Ecuador?”)

I know that the decision process remains a mystery to most applicants, so I hope this post at least reassures you that every application is reviewed thoroughly and carefully.

 

Sometimes I take a look at my “to-do list” and all creativity leaves the building.  On those days, I’m glad to be able to point you toward other Fletcher writers, and there’s a bounty of material to share!

Hot off the wire this morning is an op-ed by Haider Mullick, a Fletcher PhD candidate.

Also timely, this article from Foreign Affairs, co-authored by second-year MIB students, Jianwei Dong and Kate Fedosova, along with Dean Chakravorti (about whom you’ll be reading more in the blog on Wednesday).

And then there’s this update from The Fletcher Forum.

Dear Fletcher students, faculty, and staff,

We hope you’ve been following The Fletcher Forum’s ongoing conversation on Climate Change as part of the 2014 Global Risk Forum.  These past two weeks, we’ve had some very interesting articles on how we might approach and mitigate this global risk.

Professor William Moomaw opened the conversation arguing that Restorative Development — meeting our needs while allowing nature to do its job — is an essential element of any strategy for tackling climate change.  Fletcher PhD candidate Laura Kuhl responded by arguing that while Restorative Development may be a helpful approach to integrate mitigation, adaptation, and development goals, we should remain cautiously optimistic, since so much depends on how such an approach is implemented on the ground.

We then heard from Dr. Richard Houghton, the Acting President and senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts.  Dr. Houghton argued for an alternative strategy: forest management, which he thinks can play an important role in reducing carbon emissions. But it is not a permanent strategy, he argues, and the window of opportunity may be closing.

Next, Fletcher MALD student Caroline Ott responded that by focusing on the risks posed by the current fragility of climate negotiations, we are investing too heavily in a process whose outcome is not essential to the goals of emissions reductions and climate adaptation.  Rather than looking to climate negotiations as the finish line for a climate treaty, she argues, we should be using these talks to incite action from a range of bilateral and philanthropic institutions.

We are very pleased with the intellectual caliber of these perspectives and ideas about how to mitigate one of the critical global risks we are facing as an international community.  We hope you’ll continue reading these conversations and submit your own responses to web.editor@fletcherforum.org.  You can also engage with us on social media, follow us on twitter @FletcherForum, and tweet using #2014RiskForum.

Outside of our Global Risk conversations, we have additional recent content that may interest you as well — ranging from the role of Hezbollah in the Middle East to the impact of Artificial Intelligence technology on state power.

You can read more of our recent content here:

Metastasizing Menace: Hezbollah as a Regional Player, by Massaab Al-Aloosy

On Artificial Intelligence and Meta-Geopolitics, by Nayef Al-Rodhan

Reevaluating Ethopian-Saudi Ties Amid Migrant Worker Crackdown, by Alemayehu Weldemariam

Happy reading!
-The Fletcher Forum Online

I trust that all these articles and op-eds will more than take the place of whatever I might have written today.  I’ll do my best to create some interesting content for tomorrow.

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The School is super quiet today — there are no classes because many students are in Washington, DC on the career trip organized by our Office of Career Services.  And one of the DC travelers is student blogger Diane.  Last month, Diane joined the annual New York career trip, and she recently sent along this report.  I’ve been slow to prompt the student bloggers to write lately, and I’m glad that Diane is kicking off the spring semester for us.

In typical Fletcher fashion, the start of my second semester at Fletcher was extremely busy.  After returning from winter break, when I spent three weeks in Montreal practicing my French and training for a Boston winter (it reached minus 27 degrees Celsius in Montreal), I returned to Fletcher early to prepare for the semester ahead.  However, before the official start to Spring Semester, there was one more event to attend.

Among the best known aspects of Fletcher are its strong alumni community and the strength of the Office of Career Services (OCS).  OCS organizes a number of networking events for its current students throughout the year, and the New York career trip was scheduled for the weekend right before classes began.  I went to New York a couple of days early so that I could visit friends and meet up with old colleagues from the UN.  I don’t need much of an excuse to go and visit, and I was really excited to be back in town for a few days.

The career trip was a whirlwind.  I had booked myself for a full day of events and meetings, starting with two career panels in the morning.  These panels were a great opportunity to meet and hear from a number of alumni who work in my area of interest, humanitarian affairs, about the transition from Fletcher to the working world, as well as the different directions their careers have taken.

Next, along with two other students, I had an intimate lunch with a Fletcher graduate who now works at Smile Train.  It was a really interesting organization to visit, and the passion of this small non-profit was clearly evident by how much they are achieving with such a small staff.

After lunch, I rushed off to a site visit with One Acre Fund.  This was one of my favorite meetings, as this organization is so young and has such a special way of operating.  It really made me reevaluate what I hope to do once I graduate from Fletcher, and the type of organization I want to work for.

I then hurried to an event organized by the Fletcher Women’s Network.  This was a different experience from the rest of the day, as the alumnae here were less interested in my elevator pitch, and instead wished to inspire our group of young Fletcher women to aim to achieve anything we want, and to try to have it all.  It was really nice to see how supportive they were to current students, and it reminded me that this community lasts a lifetime.

The final event of the day was a reception where a few hundred students and alumni gathered to network and catch up over drinks.  I was lucky enough to end my day with some close Fletcher friends, having a belated birthday celebration over dinner.  Needless to say, I returned home exhausted and exhilarated, eager to start the semester and utilize all the advice I had just been given.

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Today’s Faculty Spotlight introduction comes from a member of a select subset of the Fletcher faculty: professors who also graduated from Fletcher, where Kelly Sims Gallagher received both her MALD and PhD.  Prof. Gallagher currently teaches Climate Change and Clean Energy Policy and Innovation for Sustainable Prosperity, and she directs the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy.

Kelly Sims GallagherMy favorite moment from my years as a student at Fletcher (many years ago now) occurred during my Foreign Relations of the People’s Republic of China class.  Our deliberate Professor Alan Wachman embarked on his lecture on the Korean War, but got no further than about five minutes into the lecture when a hand was raised.  “Yes, General?” he asked.  My fellow classmate, a retired Korean general in the MALD program, slowly rose to his feet and announced, “I was there.”  He then proceeded to give his own reflections on the war in general, and China’s role specifically.  It was a classic Fletcher moment where (1) the global perspective is naturally provided in the classroom, (2) everyone was riveted by the moment, (3) history vividly sprang to life, and (4) the class took on a life of its own.

As a current professor, I try to foster and cultivate such moments in my own classes.  Let me provide a couple of examples.  In my Climate Change and Clean Energy Policy class, we do a simulation of the international climate negotiations every year, right before the annual conference of parties.  Most years, we have actual climate negotiators in the class, but they never get to represent their own countries — instead, I put them into their primary adversary’s role.  Most recently, I had an actual Chinese negotiator play the role of the Special Envoy for Climate Change in the United States.  He set an amazing tone and forcefully argued his positions until one moment when the color in his face rose until he was bright red with emotion.  We all watched with appreciation as he managed to develop an argument that he certainly violently disagreed with personally.  Not only did he learn a great deal from being able to sit in the shoes of his opponent, but the rest of the class could not help but appreciate the duality of his situation.  Students also got to hear during the debrief about what “really happens” in those informal negotiations in the middle of the night.

In my class this semester on Innovation for Sustainable Prosperity, we have two engineers who have actually worked on technology development, one patent expert, former Intel and Shell employees, an economist, and a dozen others from at least eight different countries who have all engaged in the innovation process somehow, somewhere.  This spring, our class has been invited by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs to contribute background briefs on the role of technology in delivering sustainable development for the upcoming first-ever Global Sustainable Development Report.  As we march through the theory, we will simultaneously study case studies, and uncover and evaluate the empirical evidence about how innovation can contribute to sustainable prosperity.

Classes at Fletcher don’t stagnate; they are dynamically evolving every day, enriched by professors and students working together in a spirit of engaged, respectful inquiry.

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The weeks are speeding by for the Admissions staff, but today I’m going to slow things down to give readers an update on what we’ve been up to.

Like most of the rest of the east coast of the U.S., whatever we’ve been doing, both on the weekend and on weekdays, has been interspersed with snow shoveling.  In an unusual reversal, there are areas well south of here that have received more snow than the Boston area (where, though we love to complain about the weather, the fact is that we are having an average snowy winter with an unpleasant snow-laden couple of weeks recently).  But I digress…

So, admissions.  What’s happening with the process for Fall 2014 applicants?  Well, nearly all applications have been read, and most of them have been read at least twice (generally by a student, followed by a staff member, and then sometimes by a professor).  With everything else going on, I’ve missed my chance to cajole one of my Admissions friends into writing about a day of reading applications at home.  Fortunately, Liz anticipated that I would ask and took some pix of her preferred reading set-up, which seems to involve creating a lovely environment:

Liz flowers 2

keeping herself hydrated

Liz drinks

and arranging the applications in some secret order to break up the reading.  (We all have our own special way of approaching a stack of files.)

Liz files 2

As I said, most of the reading is complete, but the deciding is still in progress.  All the admissions committees for the various programs have sessions coming up, and it will still be several weeks before decisions have been made on all applications, and then another few weeks before decisions are announced.  (Not to mention that the MIB and LLM programs will receive a small batch of additional applications by the March 1 deadline.)  That said, everything is moving along.

A side note, related to Liz’s pile of files.  It’s our plan (ardent wish) that this will be the final year when we’ll be working with paper applications.  The contract has been signed to develop a new application and review system.  Not having to lug home applications will make a big difference to us readers.  (“Thank you,” say my shoulders.)  Equally important, we think that we’re going to be able to structure the application to be friendlier to our applicants.  More on all of that later in the spring, when we have firmer details.

From here, we’ll finish off all of the reading and deciding (on both admission and scholarships) and start the data input process that ultimately results in applicants learning their decision.  Frankly, for those of you sitting at the edge of your seat waiting to hear from schools, there’s still a long slog in front of us.  But at least I can assure you that, almost surely, someone has “met you” by reading your application, and the end of your waiting will be coming soon.

 

Though it’s fair to say that Fletcher students are generally focused on their coursework and career development, they certainly don’t shy away from involvement in our surrounding community.  About a week ago, Fletcher’s Ralph Bunche Society hosted local high school students for an introduction to international affairs.  The Ralph Bunche Society’s mission is “to raise the awareness of the contributions that minorities and people of color have made in the field of international relations, and also to encourage students of color to consider educational and career opportunities in international affairs.”  RBS members Ryo and Stéphane sent me this update.

MATCH presidentAfter convening the NSC on January 31, the President decided to extend the relaxation of trade sanctions on Iran for an additional six months.

Wait, you didn’t read about this in The Times?

Well, that’s because this decision was the result of an NSC simulation, modeled after Professor Martel’s annual simulations, completed by students in Fletcher’s very own ASEAN Auditorium. In one additional twist, the roles of cabinet secretaries were not filled by a group of bleary-eyed MALDs, but rather 11 ambitious, and somewhat nervous, high school juniors.

This exercise was just one part of the Ralph Bunche Society’s (RBS) three-part program to introduce Match High School students to careers related to international affairs. The students displayed their passion and aptitude during the simulation by not only enthusiastically presenting their positions to the President, a role assumed by Terrence Stinson, 2013-14 Fletcher Military Fellow, but also by the manner in which they tied U.S.-Iran policy decisions to domestic concerns and U.S. commitments in East Asia.

Prior to the simulation exercise, our Diplomat-in-Residence, Evyenia Sidereas, spoke to the students about the U.S. Foreign Service, and provided them with information about scholarship and fellowship opportunities to study foreign languages abroad and international relations in college.  Additionally, Fletcher students and RBS members engaged in a brief dialogue with the Match High School students and described their pre-Fletcher experiences in international affairs.  Judging by the thank you letter we received from the students’ teacher, we didn’t scare them too much:

The kids had a terrific time, and definitely came away with a much clearer idea about what further study in international relations might look like.  Students at Match typically say they want to go into business, nursing, or engineering, so congratulations, because today two of my students told me that they are now considering studying politics.  They both described the work as “exciting” and “cool” — no small feat!  You were able to ensure the kids had a really eye-opening experience and the event has already had a great impact.  I’m sure it will stay with them as they move on to choosing new paths for themselves in their education.

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Today’s post in our Faculty Spotlight series comes from Joel P. Trachtman, Professor of International Law, who describes his special perspective on his field.  Prof. Trachtman currently teaches International Law in International Relations, International Business Transactions, International Investment Law, International Financial and Fiscal Law, and Legal and Institutional Aspects of International Trade.

Joel TrachtmanI first became interested in international law in 1975, when, as a student at the London School of Economics, I had the opportunity to study with Rosalyn Higgins, who later served as a judge on the World Court.  After my undergraduate studies, I studied international law and then practiced for nine years in New York and in Hong Kong before joining the Fletcher faculty.

It is great to be a law professor at Fletcher, where law is one of several areas of international public policy study.  While the disciplines of history and political science specialize in the study of how and why governments take particular actions, and economics specializes in the study of the consequences of government and private sector actions, law specializes in the implementation and interaction of government policies, and in how businesses interact with governments.

My research has two streams:  (i) economic analysis of international law and (ii) international trade law.

First, I have been one of the early adopters of economic methods in the study of international law.  The field of law and economics has revolutionized legal study during the past 30 years, but it took a bit longer to get to international law.  My 2008 book, The Economic Structure of International Law (Harvard University Press), explored and consolidated some of the ways in which economic analysis helps us to understand the causes and effects of international legal rules, using tools from price theory, public choice, transaction cost economics, and game theory.  I’ve been at Fletcher since 1989, and have now been thoroughly Fletcher-ized, so as to see international public policy and business problems as multidimensional issues, requiring interdisciplinary analysis.  My 2013 book, The Future of International Law: Global Government (Cambridge University Press), extended this way of thinking to look at changes in globalization, democratization, demography, and technology in order to suggest the ways that these changes would result in increasing demands for international legal solutions to international cooperation problems.  That book won the International Studies Association’s prize for best book on international law for 2013.

By placing international law in a social scientific context, I am able to explain it better, and critique it better, in the classroom.  Traditional legal analysis and scholarship looks only for consistency and internal logic.  A social science-based legal scholarship examines more broadly the links between social ends and legal means, and demands intellectual rigor in critiquing legal rules.  For example, my courses in international trade law and international investment law begin with a careful analysis of the economics and political economy, and an analysis of the economic and political roles of law, in these fields.

My second stream of research is international trade law.  This is an area of international law in which economics and politics are extremely important.  One focus of my work within international trade law has been on the relationship between trade liberalization and national regulatory autonomy.  This is the central issue of globalization:  how can we attain greater integration for efficiency, while maintaining the maximum ability to achieve local public policy goals?  I recently wrote a short paper on this topic for inclusion in a book of recommendations for trade ministries on how to proceed in WTO negotiations after the December 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference and the rather modest agreement it produced.  My paper was entitled “Unleashing Recognition in International Trade,” and was included in an e-book entitled Building on Bali: A Work Programme for the WTO, edited by Simon Evenett and Alejandro Jara, former deputy director-general of the World Trade Organization.

I enjoy making the tools of legal analysis and argument available to Fletcher students, and showing how these tools complement and incorporate social scientific and historical argumentation.  Based on my experience revealing and explaining these analytical tools and arguments to students at Fletcher for the past 25 years, I recently published a book that succinctly explains how lawyers analyze and argue.  It is entitled The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win.

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