A quick photo follow-up on the post last last week that included the farewell to the community from Professor (now Ambassador) Basáñez.  He just sent me this photo with Mexico’s President Peña Nieto, which I’m happy to share.

Amb. Basanez


Today is the first day of the 2015-2016 academic year.  Orientation wrapped up last Friday, and on the agenda today is Shopping Day, during which faculty can share information about their classes and students can gather details that help them decide which classes to register for.  The Shopping Day schedule is glued in below.  Note that the emphasis is on new or revised classes — not every class is included on the Shopping Day calendar — and students can attend two presentations during each time slot.  Learn more about the different classes here.

The start of the new academic year is also what I consider to be opening day for the blog.  So…welcome, all!  I encourage you to check out some of the blog’s features, such as the Student Stories and Faculty Spotlight, as well as alumni posts from graduates one year and five years post-Fletcher.  We’ve had an Admissions blog since September 2006 (WOW!) and it has changed over time.  These days, I try to balance straightforward admissions news and tips with posts that describe the rich Fletcher student experience.  Consider subscribing for email delivery of each blog post, or simply check in often.  If the content of one day’s post doesn’t interest you, the next day’s probably will.

And today marks Day One for the Admissions travel schedule.  From now through November, one or more staffers will be on the road just about every day.  This week, three of us are attending three different APSIA fairs, with more next week.  Surprisingly, I’m the first to head out.  I’m not the staff member with the busiest travel schedule, which makes it unusual that I should be the first to hit the road, but I’m in NY for tonight’s APSIA event.  If you’ll be there, please plan to say hello.  An alum with lots of admissions experience will be with me.

And that’s the wrap-up for the day — first day of the academic year, the blog year, and the travel calendar.

Shopping Day, Sept 8



Chatted about behind the scenes — but unofficial until just recently — is the news that Fletcher professor Miguel E. Basáñez is Mexico’s new ambassador to the U.S.  Professor Basáñez wrote to the community last night to bid us a temporary farewell.  I asked his permission to share his message via the blog, which previously featured him in the Faculty Spotlight series, and he graciously agreed.  He wrote:

It is both with joy and sadness that I write to let you know that I have been officially approved as the next Mexican Ambassador to the U.S., which forces me to bring to an end a golden page in my life — seven wonderful years at Fletcher.

It will be a joy, an honor, and a privilege for me to serve my country as its Ambassador.  As you may know, Mexico is the country where the largest community of expatriate Americans live — over 1 million strong — for good reason.  Mexico remains a very safe country for foreign visitors.  Not to mention, we boast beautiful beaches (Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun), world-famous archaeological sites (Chichen Itzá, Teotihuacán, Palenque), and a wealth of charming colonial towns (Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Querétaro).  I hope that you will consider friendly and beautiful Mexico in your future travels.

As Ambassador, I will also be working to represent the large and diverse community of Mexicans who live in the United States.  Historically, economic conditions in Mexico have made it difficult for our country to retain its raw, uneducated — yet extremely talented — youth, who have worked hard and succeeded in the U.S., adding greatly to the economy.  These immigrants (who now number 35 million people) now produce economic output of $1.5 trillion, a number which if added to Mexico’s GDP, would raise Mexico from 14th to 7th in world GDP.  I look forward to working on their behalf to the best of my abilities.

Yet it is with sadness that I say goodbye to Fletcher, where I have deeply enjoyed my interactions with the faculty and staff, learning about their academic endeavors and life experiences.  Most of all, I have enjoyed teaching here at Fletcher, where I have found the brightest and most intellectually engaging students any professor could wish for.

At Fletcher, I was able to realize my life’s work as a mathematician of culture, based on public opinion polls from around 100 countries every five years since 1980.  My years of study and research on culture culminates in my book, A World of Three Cultures, which will be published in the late fall of this year by Oxford University Press.  I hope you will agree to allow me to host a book launch event at Fletcher at the end of the fall semester.  It would seem only appropriate to hold the event at the place that has been my academic home for the past seven years.

I would very much like to return to Fletcher when I end my service as Ambassador, so that I can share with students both my academic work on culture and my experiences as Ambassador.

I wish you all the best, and I hope to see you in Washington, DC.

Coincidentally, the nominee for the position of Ambassador to Mexico from the U.S. is a Fletcher graduate, Roberta Jacobson, F86.  Assuming she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, what a nice coincidence to have a swap of members of the Fletcher community for these two very important positions!


Here’s a nice bit of news about the life of a project.  Harvard Business Review recently created a video about the Digital Evolution Index that was developed by Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context last spring.  The project manager is Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi, F12, a graduate of the MIB program, whom the blog caught in the Hall of Flags in April.  More recently, Dean Stavridis conducted an interview with Ravi, which you can find below.  (The HBR video can be found here.)  It’s exciting to observe the Digital Evolution Index receiving attention throughout the region and the world.

Tagged with:

HoF OrientationGreeting me when I returned to work after a few days of vacation was a whole new incoming class!  Before I even reached Fletcher on my walk from the bus, I had run into a student whom I met last September at an APSIA fair, and when we went into the Hall of Flags, the place was buzzing with students picking up materials, grabbing breakfast, and generally getting ready for a busy Orientation week.  (A warm week, too!  August may end today, but the summer weather continues.)

Students in all of the degree programs attend Orientation together and participate in a combination of briefings on the School, the University, and the academic program, along with social events designed to bring everyone together.  Naturally, there’s a lot of self-orientation and shared exploration happening, too.  (Where can I pick up groceries for the week?  What’s the best route from my apartment to the School?  Where’s the best place to grab a cup of coffee?)  I reckon that there are moments when the information gathering feels pretty overwhelming, but by the time classes begin next week, everyone is ready to jump into the semester.

Orientation in ASEANThough the routine for Orientation doesn’t change much from year to year, it still never gets old.  The students are about to meet people who will be their friends forever.  A few will even meet their future spouse!  More fundamentally — they will lay the academic groundwork to move forward in their careers, or transition to new careers.  And they will always have the Fletcher family to rely on as they move through their studies and beyond.


Today is the last day at Fletcher for Christine.  You may have met her during a visit, or you may have heard from her by email.  Even if you haven’t had any direct contact with Christine, if you plan to apply, or applied last year, you will benefit from her work.  Christine was one of the Admissions staff members who did the work behind the scenes to make our new online application platform a reality.  And once Slate was launched, Christine did most of the maintenance for us, and has been the source of the answers we need when we’re trying to do something new with it.

During her years in the Admissions Office, Christine was our clear leader on all matters “fun.”  She spurred us to celebrate birthdays, created a “Slatebration” (Slate Celebration) last December after we had received and reviewed our first applications successfully, and has generally made sure that we take time to enjoy ourselves now and then.

Having just gotten married in July, Christine decided the time had come to try a new career, and she will be moving on to a human resources position at a local tech company.  I’ll miss her around the office, and we all wish her well!


In case you missed it, the coming academic year will be the first for a new partnership between Fletcher and the Atlantic Council, designed to foster scholarly exchange and public outreach initiatives.

In a spring email to the community, Dean Stavridis wrote:

For many reasons, the Atlantic Council is an ideal partner for The Fletcher School.  A leading non-partisan think tank in the field of international affairs, the Council shares Fletcher’s commitment to fostering a more secure and prosperous world through multidisciplinary approaches.  Its headquarters provide an ideal location for convening conferences, workshops and events that resonate throughout the policy community, offering rich new opportunity for faculty and students.  Its scholars and leadership — many Fletcher alumni among them — are among the world’s top thinkers, analysts and creative problem solvers.

And the press release announcing the partnership said:

This ambitious partnership matches one of the most creative and forward-thinking foreign policy think tanks with one of the world’s premier graduate institutions for international affairs. The Fletcher School will work with the Atlantic Council to further expand both organizations’ missions of catalyzing smart solutions to some of today’s most pressing global challenges.

 “The Fletcher School is at the top of its game in cultivating innovative problem solvers who are fluent across disciplines and producing superior scholarship on major international trends and challenges,” said Atlantic Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe.  “This partnership offers both of our organizations the chance to magnify our impact through work that draws upon our shared beliefs in democracy, freedom, trade, and openness.”

“This partnership is a perfect synergy of expertise and resources, harnessing the intellectual fire power of both institutions toward solving complex international issues,” said Admiral James Stavridis, Dean of The Fletcher School and former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO.  “Our combined global networks, anchored by headquarters in DC and Boston, can more effectively move that knowledge into the public sphere, where it will have the biggest impact.”

It will be exciting to see what the partnership will bring throughout the year.


The pre-session students are here, but they’re too busy and/or new to be making news, which leaves me grasping for a topic for today’s post.  I’ve reached into my magic bag of possible blog topics and pulled out a few notes on staff and faculty.

First, from one of the monthly updates we receive, news of a staff member who is also a Fletcher graduate:

Mieke van der Wansem, F90, associate director of educational programs at the Fletcher School’s Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, was senior faculty at an intensive week-long executive education program, the International Programme on the Management of Sustainability. The course, held every June in the Netherlands in partnership with the Sustainability Challenge Foundation, is designed for mid-career professionals mostly from developing countries. The training focuses on the mutual gains approach to negotiation and consensus building for sustainable development conflicts. The goal of the trainings is for professionals from many different sectors to be better able to achieve sustainable development goals through effective stakeholder engagement and negotiation.

Mieke conducts several training sessions each year, and was in South Africa earlier in the spring for a similar program.  The Center for International Environment and Resource Policy has a particularly active research and practice agenda.

Next, a Tufts Now story about the (relatively) new director of the The Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, Dr. Nadim Shehadi.  In the article, he notes that The Fares Center is important “because profound misunderstanding of the complexities of the Middle East is prolonging suffering and violence. The center could help frame discussion about the region, taking advantage of the Fletcher School’s international reputation and its alumni, who are influential in every corner of the globe.”

In faculty news, last spring, a student pointed out that Professor Elizabeth Prodromou, F83, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs (Helsinki Commission), “speaking on genocide denial, ‘memoricide’ and the industry of denialism.  The Congressman who spoke after her mentioned that he’s never heard the subject explained so well.”

And, finally, Professor Jeswald Salacuse sent us a link to a long video interview with a Hawaii television program that he did on his most recent book, Negotiating Life.  The interview is interesting, and Fletcher is one of the stars.  It originally ran some time back, but I’m making up for having never included it on the blog.


Following a few weeks during which it received a refreshing, the application for admission to all Fletcher programs in January or September 2016 is now available.  Most 2016 applicants will greet this news with a shrug: they’re planning to apply, but the deadline seems so far away and they don’t see any special reason to do anything just yet.

I would encourage you to resist this line of thinking.  Instead, take a look at the application and note what’s involved.  You can work on it at whatever pace you choose, but you’ll benefit from knowing the requirements and the questions asked on the application form.  Once you’ve checked it out, you can start compiling the information you need.  As we get closer to whatever deadline you are aiming for, you’ll be glad to have moved ahead.


It’s hard for us to believe, but today will be the last day of a mostly student-free Hall of Flags.  On Monday, the pre-session begins, bringing MIB students and those interested in Design, Monitoring and Evaluation onto campus, ahead of the new students who will attend Orientation on August 31 and the returning students who will arrive a week later.  The pre-session students stay pretty busy throughout the day — they won’t be hanging out in the Admissions Office — but their arrival is still a marker in the wrap-up of summer.

Liz and I walked out of the building together yesterday and we agreed that we feel like we worked pretty steadily throughout the summer, but we’re still going to need to scramble to finish all the summer tasks.  No big deal.  A little scrambling never hurt anyone, and we both have vacation weeks in front of us.

Mostly, we’re really looking forward to meeting the students we talked about in Admissions Committee meetings last winter, and to hearing about the summer activities of the returning students.  It will be great to have students in the building, keeping the place lively.  If we’re lucky, we’ll also manage to finish off all the summer work first.


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