Currently viewing the tag: "Conferences"

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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When she’s not offering valuable advice to incoming students, Roxanne is still keeping plenty busy.  Last week, along with Prof. Dyan Mazurana, she presented a session at the Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict.  Interested?  You can get the details from the storify intro, (I love the way Roxanne is described as “a do-gooder of international proportions”), from the storify write-up, or from the video below.  Watch the whole thing, or fast forward to Roxanne’s presentation, at about 1:07:30.

Roxanne is off to Colombia for the next phase of her summer.  I’ll try to catch up with her a little later, once she has settled in there.

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Though time is tight, students at local colleges might want to submit a pitch for a product in the Extreme Inclusion Competition.

Those without a product to pitch, as well as all other blog readers, may want to attend the Extreme Inclusion Conference on May 2, a conference exploring the role and impact of financial services in reducing poverty and generating well-being for marginalized populations.  The conference will be hosted by Fletcher, in partnership with MasterCard Worldwide and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Here’s information from the conference organizers about the keynote speaker:

We are pleased to announce that Reverend James Lawson, Activist and Principal Strategist for the American Civil Rights Movement, will deliver the keynote address “Demanding Inclusion.”

We are honored to have Reverend Lawson underscore the civic and economic power of systemically marginalized groups to catalyze change as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington.  Reverend Lawson is one of the extraordinary individuals profiled in A Force More Powerful.  The film, PBS Series, and book challenge the common misconception that violence is the ultimate form of power in times of conflict.  Martin Luther King, Jr. called Reverend Lawson “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.”

Reverend Lawson will be introduced by David R. Harris, Provost and Senior Vice President, Tufts University and editor of The Colors of Poverty: Why Racial and Ethnic Disparities Persist.

You can register for the conference here.

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In this installment, Student Stories blogger Roxanne shares some of the academic rituals she has started developing at Fletcher, including her experiences attending conferences and workshops in her field of study.

I have written about the “exhale” I associated with the feeling of semi-permanence that a two-year Master’s degree program afforded me, after a few years of relatively nomadic work abroad.  In addition to the content of the learning, I looked forward to the rituals and rhythms of an academic life — ranging from establishing traditions as simple as having a favorite library desk (mine: on the 3rd floor by the windows) or having a studying playlist, to finding an academic mentor and crafting papers word-by-word and footnote-by-footnote.  Academia differs from field work in conflict management not only on account of the different kinds of impact these sectors make, but also in terms of the lifestyles they entail.

In the past month, I have had the privilege of indulging in another beloved – or dreaded, depending on your level of dorkiness and/or outlook – academic ritual: the conference.  The Fletcher School and Tufts at large are bursting at the seams with summits, conferences, and workshops this spring, but some of us have been traveling beyond this community as well.  Shortly after the DC Career Trip, I went to New York to attend “Deconstructing Prevention,” a conference on the prevention of mass atrocities.  What drew me to the event was a panelist list full of the authors whose work I footnoted regularly, and the practitioners of genocide prevention whose articles I have bookmarked for years.  Therein, for me, lies one of the greatest sources of exhilaration about returning to an academic environment, after a few years as a practitioner of conflict management around the world: One can, even for a few days, be in the presence of, or in conversation with, the individuals who shape the direction of their field of work, study, and interest.  What was previously a remote and theoretical study can become an interaction and a present conversation, in ways that humanize intellectual pursuits and spark curiosity.

In a sense, what I describe above is similar to the feeling I had when I arrived at my first field placement as a gender and conflict management professional in Egypt.  At the time, I was craving a more intimate look into the questions I had been studying from afar, a diminishing of the distance I perceived between me and impact.  Returning to academia – even if this is a temporary return – has cast new distance between me and field work, but has placed me closer to the minds who form much of the discourse in this field.  A lot of the explorations remain theoretical in their content, but being in the same geographic area as many academics and practitioners has motivated me to ask more questions, establish more mentoring relationships, and seek to learn from and alongside anyone who can share their knowledge.

In addition to Deconstructing Prevention, I had the pleasure of attending “Advocacy in Conflict,” a terrific week of events planned by the Fletcher School’s World Peace Foundation.  The public event and closed seminars drew together many human rights advocates, humanitarian personnel, journalists, and academics.  Later this semester, I hope to attend a conference on gender and armed conflict, an event on public speaking, and a workshop on gender mainstreaming.  Fletcher’s location in the vibrant academic community of the Boston area is conducive to these explorations.  Additionally, Fletcher makes available a small amount of discretionary funding to students who wish to attend conferences, enabling us to learn from our peers and other institutions.  Next time you see me at a conference, please do say hello!

Attention Africa experts and writers!  Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context invites you to contribute your thoughts on the promise of Africa’s role in the global economy through an essay contest.  The winners will receive a cash prize and travel stipend to join us here for the October 25-26 conference:  Africa’s Turn?: The Promise and Reality of the Global Economy’s “Final Frontier.”

Whether or not you choose to enter the essay contest, we hope you will join us for what is sure to be an interesting two days.  (The conference is free and open to the public.)

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An established annual event is the Tufts University Energy Conference, in which Fletcher students have played important roles.  This year, the conference chair is Katie Walsh, a second-year MALD student.  Katie describes her involvement below.

At the end of this week, I, along with 34 other Tufts students (from Fletcher, the undergraduate programs, and the other graduate schools) will overrun The Fletcher School to execute the 7th Annual Tufts University Energy Conference (TEC), April 20-21.  More than eight months of planning has gone into this two-day event, with speakers arriving from all over the country and the world to speak on the issues that define our global energy economy.

TEC is an entirely volunteer student-run initiative.  We plan the content, we contact speakers, we ask for funding, we lose countless hours of sleep and send thousands of emails.  Each year, something new has been added to or tweaked in the conference offerings.  These features stem from the creativity, enthusiasm and follow-through of the conference organizers.  At last year’s conference, we introduced the Tufts Energy Competition, Tufts’ first-ever energy-focused student innovators competition, which I helped initiate as the 2011 Marketing Co-Director.  One group of winners used their prize funds to produce a resource guide on low-cost, sustainable and renewable energy technologies in Zimbabwe; the other used them for materials to create a demonstration high-performance hybrid vehicle.

By no measure am I an old hand at energy.  Before coming to Fletcher, I coordinated a Chinese language program at San Francisco State University.  My undergraduate major was history and many of my professional experiences were in international education.  My intention in coming to graduate school was to develop experience and expertise in a completely new field – energy and the environment.

Now, a year and a half into my master’s program at Fletcher, I find myself chairing this year’s energy conference, working at the University’s environmental institute, and fortunate enough to have secured internships in the energy sector both last summer and this, in Washington, D.C. and Beijing, China. When I actually have the time to think about my experiences thus far (such as to write this blog entry), I am just astounded by how much there is to take advantage of at Fletcher, and Tufts as a whole.

Two years ago at about this time, visiting Fletcher’s Open House, I don’t think I could have predicted all that I would have learned so far, the relationships I would have formed, and the opportunities that coming to this school would have afforded me.  But, in visiting the classes, meeting with professors and talking to students — I did get a feeling that Fletcher was different from any of the other graduate programs I was visiting.  I sensed that it was going to be the kind of place that would appreciate the skills I came to school with — inquiry, innovation, ability to implement and organize — and provide me with the space, mentoring and academic rigor I needed to build legitimacy in a new field.  That feeling has proven all too right.

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