What better way to kick off a new week than to learn about students and their fermentation activities. Second-year MALD student, Bob Lynch (who also works for the University’s Office of Sustainability) tells us about the Fermentation 101 club’s activities.
The answer? They’re all the product of fermentation, a process of food preparation and preservation that has been utilized by human populations for over 5,000 years all across the globe.
Fermentation is the process by which microorganisms — usually yeast or bacteria — biochemically break down starches and sugars to produce alcohols or acids. Even though it has only recently been understood with modern science and technology, since its discovery it has been an integral method to prepare and store food for nearly every human culture. Fermentation is what makes bread rise, gives wine its ability to be stored for hundreds of years, and provides many of the positive health benefits of pickled foods. In a sense, one cannot celebrate and understand food and drink without celebrating and understanding fermentation.
At Fletcher, the Fermentation 101 club celebrates this once mysterious process by hosting events ranging from food tastings to brewery tours, giving Fletcher students an opportunity to learn more about one of the most culturally significant pieces of human culinary history. With well over 100 members, it is one of Fletcher’s most popular and celebrated student organizations.
Just this semester, the Fermentation 101 club teamed up with the Fletcher Food Policy Club to offer a tour of Boston’s Harpoon Brewery, participated in the Friedman School’s Slow Food Brew Off (where one Fletcher student’s home-brewed beer won third place among 16 competing beers), and has hosted bread and cheese tastings. One of the club’s more popular undertakings is beer brewing, for which the club hosts students who are excited to learn about the fermentation process while taking a break from their studies. During these brewing events, Fermentation club members meticulously go through beer brewing step-by-step, using the same tools, ingredients, and techniques that have been used since the Renaissance to prepare one of the world’s most popular beverages.
And, yes, when everything is said, done, and fermented, club members get to kick back and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Tagged with: Cool stuff!
Some lovely news for Roxanne, our second-year student blogger and a rock star in the Fletcher community. In a ceremony yesterday, Roxanne was given the University’s Presidential Award for Citizenship and Public Service. Lucky for me, another student, Kate, grabbed a photo:
In his introduction, Dean Sheehan refers to Roxanne’s TED talk, which you may also want to watch.
Congratulations to Roxanne!!
While we continue to count the enrolling students, now is a perfect time for applicants on the waitlist to tell us that they are still interested in being considered for admission. We know that many applicants offered a place on the waitlist accept it in March, but have moved on by now. That makes total sense! But it also means that it takes us time to figure out who is really still waiting, and who has enrolled elsewhere.
What can you do to help? Well, if you have an update to your application, send it along soon. Monday, April 28 would be a good target deadline to aim for. If you have missed my suggestions for what constitutes an update, here’s the general list: transcripts listing any new grades you have received since applying; new test scores; a new résumé, indicating a change in professional experience; an email updating us on activities that may not fit on the résumé; an additional recommendation that tells us something we didn’t already know.
But what if you simply don’t have an update — your application was complete as submitted. Well, then there is no need to send one. This is an opportunity, not an obligation. But it would still be helpful if you would send us a quick note to say that you’d like for your application to be considered. Updates and notes can all be sent by email.
The staff is back in the office after the long Patriots’ Day weekend. Yesterday was a beautiful day for a marathon, and I had a chance to go over to the race course, where I wandered from one vantage point to another. It was very busy so I can’t say I ever achieved a perfect view, but my goal was to join the crowd, which I definitely achieved.
Next year, I should time my visit so that I see more of the Fletcher runners. (I was there for the trailing end of the elite runners and the first wave of fast-but-not-elite runners.) I’ve checked, though, and it looked like the students I know best, including Liam, all finished.
Even while we’re back in our usual places, we’re trying to figure out where we are with regard to enrollment. The enrollment decision deadline for admitted students was Sunday, so it should be simple to pull the data and see how many people have decided to enroll. Alas, it’s not quite that easy to get an accurate number, because we also have deferral requests coming through, especially for future students who will start their dual degrees at another institution. Once all the required review is complete, we’ll know if we should turn to the waitlist. I’ll provide more information when I have it.
As we approach May 1, I’d also encourage any applicants who weren’t admitted this year (but who plan to reapply in the future — the only reason they’d still be reading the Admissions Blog) to request feedback. It may take us a few weeks to respond, but receiving the input now, rather than closer to the date of the new application, gives you maximum opportunity to improve your preparation for Fletcher in the future. Send your request by email on or after May 1.
This week’s posts have come from a professor, a current student, and a member of the Class of 2008. Today I’ll tell you about an alumnus whose career is quite unlike that of most of our alumni. Sam Chapple-Sokol F’12 has been writing and publishing on the topic of culinary diplomacy ever since he took Prof. Henrikson’s Diplomacy: History, Theory, and Practice. (Prof. Henrikson called Sam’s article, which grew out of a term paper, “an example and an inspiration, as to what can be done with a new idea, a scholarly interest, research knowledge, literary skill, and personal enterprise and follow-through.”)
In fact, it was Prof. Henrikson who brought Sam’s work to my attention, when he shared an update the community. Sam had recently been interviewed on “The Splendid Table,” a nationwide NPR program about food.
For those who can’t take the time to listen to (or read the transcript of) the full interview, I’ll share Sam’s definition of culinary diplomacy. He says, “I have defined culinary diplomacy, in a couple of pieces that I’ve written, as the use of food in cuisine as an instrument to create cross-cultural understanding, in the hopes of improving interactions and cooperation. That’s an academic way of saying, using food to get along with people, to talk with people, and to get to know them better.”
I reached out to Sam for a little more detail on his post-Fletcher work, and for some photos. He told me that he has been blogging and tweeting on culinary diplomacy (note that the Wikipedia entry actually refers to Sam), as well as continuing to write for publications, most recently for Public Diplomacy Magazine. (The Public Diplomacy article drew some additional attention to his work.) He has also worked at the White House as a pastry chef during two holiday seasons, and for other projects including celebrations for July 4, Halloween, the Inauguration, and the State Dinner during the visit of French President François Hollande. When not putting his own culinary skills to work, he consults for Le Club des Chefs des Chefs, an elite organization for the personal chefs of heads of state.
So far as I can remember, Sam’s work is unique among Fletcher grads, but there are many other alumni (Michelle Kwan comes to mind), whose career paths are not attainable for incoming or current students. So why highlight them in the Admissions Blog? Because it’s great to have them in the student and alumni communities! The diversity of experience among students in any classroom contributes to every student’s experience. And if the student with unusual experience (and an even more unusual future career path) happens to be a pastry chef, all the better! Finally, here are some photos from Sam’s work at the White House.
Tagged with: Career
It’s a rare Fletcher student who pursues only one out-of-class activity, and our student bloggers are no exception. First-year MALD student, Liam, is training with the Tufts Marathon Team to run in Monday’s Boston Marathon. As many readers know, this year’s Marathon will be different from the norm, coming one year after the tragic events of 2013, and giving many runners a sense of mission that goes beyond their personal best times. Here’s Liam’s report.
One of the incredible opportunities available to Fletcher students is the chance to join the Tufts Marathon Team and train for and run the Boston Marathon. Each year, the Tufts Marathon Team gets 100 bib numbers for students, faculty, staff, and alumni from throughout the Tufts community to run the race. With participants ranging from first-time runners to seasoned veterans of multiple marathons, Coach Don Megerle does an amazing job training and selecting the team, and he provides unmatched motivation and advice to ensure that all runners finish. The team supports two long runs each week, as well as a weekly speed workout, and in the winter the team takes part in five long runs that cover the entire Marathon course. By participating in these runs, Fletcher students can meet other graduate students from throughout Tufts, as well as undergrads and some great alumni and staff, helping us make connections to those we may not otherwise meet, outside the walls of Ginn library. All runners raise money towards nutrition, medical, and fitness programs at Tufts University, including research on childhood obesity at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Since the Team’s inception in 2003, runners have raised over $4 million.
This year, obviously, the Marathon takes on even more significance than it normally does in the fabric of Boston. The tragic events of April 15, 2013 united the Boston community, and each runner on the Tufts team is strongly committed to the event. The stories of a few of this year’s 13 Fletcher runners speak to how incredible this year’s race will be. Second-year Fletcher student Alex Nisetich sums up his Marathon story as follows:
I’m a Boston native, and the Marathon has always been a part of my life here. I decided to run after last year’s attack, as a demonstration of solidarity with the runners and with my home city. My own family narrowly missed being caught in the attack, and in a different year we could all have been there at the finish line. I’m running because it feels like the best way I can support my community and commemorate the events of last year.
Training has become an end in itself as well. Getting out on the road, especially first thing in the morning, is a great way to overcome any fears you might have of a New England winter. The Fletcher community and Tufts are both very supportive of the runners, which makes it a pleasure to train. The team runs really build camaraderie and make it fun.
Another second-year MALD student, Stéfane Laroche, shares a similar tale:
I have always enjoyed running and flirted with the idea of running a marathon for many years, however I never had the courage and the motivation to train. Last year’s events at the Marathon changed my perspective. The devastation happened so close to home that it touched me, and I decided to run in order to support the Boston Strong campaign. When life knocks you down, you’ve got to be strong, pick yourself up, and continue to live. It’s an honor for me to run with all those other marathoners who will pay tribute to last year’s victims and who will make a statement against intolerance and misunderstandings that fuel hatred and anger around the world.
For me, personally, I had recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan when the bombing happened. Growing up in Central Massachusetts, the attack hit home. Although I had always run in the past due to my job as an Army officer, I never contemplated running another marathon after an ill-advised and untrained undergrad endeavor in 2005. Running the 2014 Boston Marathon became an obsession for me, a way to show the world that we would not let this attack change who we are. I trained for months and ran a marathon in October in nearby Lowell and felt ready to take on the world come the Boston race in April. Then I began dealing with lingering knee and hip injuries, so my training has taken on its own personal journey, as I’ve worked to find ways to balance recovery with running and the ever-demanding life as a Fletcher student. For me, the process has been an incredible voyage of learning about myself, what I value, how hard I will work for it, and what it means to stand as one for a community.
Although every runner’s story is different, one commonality is certain — all 37,000 runners who make that 26.2 mile journey from Hopkinton to the finish line on Boylston Street on April 21 will do so with some pain in their legs and sweat on their foreheads, but most importantly, with pride in their hearts. With tens of thousands of supporters cheering us along the course, we will show the world what being Boston Strong is about. Being able to be a part of this has truly been one of the more remarkable aspects of my time thus far at Fletcher.
As a public service for admitted students, with the enrollment decision deadline approaching, I want to run through the Admissions Office schedule for the next few days.
Today, Wednesday, April 16: Office open normal hours (9:00-5:00 EDT (GMT-4))
Tomorrow, Thursday, April 17: Office open normal hours (9:00-5:00 EDT (GMT-4))
Friday, April 18: Office open normal hours (9:00-5:00 EDT (GMT-4))
Saturday and Sunday, April 19 and 20: Office closed for the weekend
Monday, April 21: Office closed for the Patriot’s Day holiday
Tuesday, April 22: Office reopens for normal hours
Note that enrollment decisions are due on Sunday, April 20, no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT. And even though the office will be closed, the GAMS system cannot accept enrollment decisions after the deadline. Do yourself a favor and make your final decision a few minutes before the deadline, so that you don’t need to worry about being locked out of the system.
Questions? We’re here!! Please take advantage of a staffed office today, tomorrow, and Friday to contact us with your questions and concerns.
Our next five-year update, and probably the last word from the Class of 2008, comes from Margherita Zuin, who was co-chair of the student Migration Group and conducted interviews for the Admissions Office during her time at Fletcher. (I can still picture her coming in and out of the office.) Here’s her update which, like the résumé of anyone working for the United Nations, is loaded with acronyms.
During my years in high school, migration from Africa started to become a common phenomenon in Italy. It generated a myriad of political and legal debates and cultural challenges, not only in my country, but also in my head. This is what initially triggered my interest in international law and pushed me, as a student, to volunteer for an NGO assisting migrants from North Africa.
After law school, my passion to see and understand more about the world led me to Ecuador to provide assistance to Colombian refugees and to fight violence against women in Quito for Amnesty International. I then interned with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with a focus on Italy’s role within the United Nations and development cooperation in Asia and Latin America. As a paid trainee at the European Commission in Brussels, I focused on food security in African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries before traveling to Jordan for my first assignment with the United Nations. I joined UNIFEM (the United Nations Development Fund for Women) in Amman, where I implemented programs to support the elections and constitution-making process in Iraq.
These experiences made me realize that I wanted to keep working in international affairs, but also that I wanted to further my understanding of the complex approaches and strategies needed to address them. I had heard of Fletcher from alumni and, after having an informal interview with Laurie Hurley, the School’s director of admissions, I realized that Fletcher was the perfect place for me. The combination of academic- and professional-oriented courses was exactly what I was looking for.
My classes and professors at Fletcher taught me skills that I have put into practice since graduation. My Fields of Study were Human Security, Humanitarian Studies, and Law and Development. I still refer back to the impressive professional experiences shared in class by Professors Sarkin and Aucoin. From Professor Church, I learned the importance of always asking the “So what?” question, and I continue to use the gender lens analysis taught in Professor Mazurana’s course. My summer internship conducting research on formal and informal justice systems in Central Somalia, as well as the fascinating discussions in Professor Johnstone’s “Peace Operations” class on the political, legal, technical, and logistical challenges to deploy and work in conflict and post-conflict situations, were fundamental to my career choice.
Since graduating in 2008, I have been working for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations of the United Nations. For 2.5 years, I served in UNAMID (African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur) as Associate Gender Officer working on the political process, gender justice, and capacity-building of national institutions. In 2011, I joined the Standing Police Capacity of the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI), a rapidly deployable team of experts based in Brindisi (Italy), tasked to start up new operations or assist existing ones. In my capacity as Legal Officer, I deployed to UNMISS (United Nations Mission in South Sudan) to help with the establishment of the Mission’s Rule of Law and Security Institutions Support Office. My work focused on addressing prolonged, arbitrary detention, and ensuring coordination of the various United Nations and national actors of the justice chain.
Since May 2012, I have been based at United Nations Headquarters in New York, first as a Judicial Affairs Officer in the Criminal Law and Judicial Advisory Service (CLJAS) of OROLSI, and then as a Political Affairs Officer in the Front Office of the Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions. The work at Headquarters has allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the political dynamics and decision-making processes in the rule of law area in particular, but also of the United Nations system as a whole. In the near future, I hope to serve again in the field.
I use the academic knowledge and professional skills acquired at Fletcher every single day. I can also see the strength of the Fletcher community, not only because so many Fletcher alumni work in the United Nations, but also because creating partnerships, being committed to make a contribution, and building a sense of community have been essential aspects of my life in peacekeeping, especially in my field assignments.
Tagged with: Five-Year Updates
Today’s post comes from Leila Fawaz, Issam M. Fares Professor of Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean Studies. Prof. Fawaz holds a dual appointment between Fletcher and the Department of History at Tufts. She currently teaches The Arabs and their Neighbors and War and Society in the Middle East in Historical Perspective.
When I started my teaching career in the early 1980s, I used to tell my students that Turkey was not a Thanksgiving dinner, but a country of great importance. Today, I do not need to worry about our students knowing where Turkey or other countries of that region are. The Middle East is at the center of world affairs and every high school student, and certainly any advanced student, knows of its crucial importance to the United States and to the rest of the world. It is unfortunate that perennial conflicts have triggered much of our current awareness of the interdependence of all parts of the globe, yet I find it deeply rewarding to teach at The Fletcher School, where students and faculty are committed to global awareness, and where we can pursue further knowledge at the highest level of scholarship.
I love Fletcher because of its openness to different viewpoints and its commitment to internationalism. Faculty and staff are aware that our students, who come from all over the world, are our most prized charge. Students learn from one another, expose one another to different cultures and ways of thinking, and learn to respect viewpoints that they do not necessarily agree with. All of us at Fletcher are exposed to diverse cultures on a daily basis and are better teachers, and people, for it. We, the faculty, come from different disciplines, which adds a rare and important intellectual dimension to our ability to communicate with colleagues who, at other schools and institutions, are dispersed throughout departments and do not have the privilege of working together closely, on a continuous basis, as we do.
Not that I ever thought I would devote my career to education. I came to the United States in the 1970s to complete my graduate education, as so many people from other countries do, fully expecting to return to my home country of Lebanon. I never planned to have a career, and there was no pressure on me to get more education. Very simply, I loved to read and continued to do so until I found myself with the highest degree I could possibly get, a Ph.D. After that, I discovered that research continued to fascinate me and teaching energized me, so I forged forward, a bit haphazardly, in a wonderful career that brought me many rewards. The primary reward is the privilege of getting to know students who are as international and as challenging as ours are.
In graduate school, I sometimes thought that what I had to say was not important enough to express loudly, only to hear the student next to me express similar ideas with confidence. I learned that we cannot wait for perfection to get involved and that the best way to improve oneself and others is to do just that, by following one’s passions. Do not worry about taking “practical” courses that will improve your career. Study what you love; you will excel, and then you can learn how to acquire any additional skills you need. By studying at Fletcher, you’ll learn to follow your passion intellectually in a rich and energizing community, united in its love of the School and its trust in your future.
Tagged with: Faculty Spotlight
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