Currently viewing the tag: "Hall of Flags"

With two references to the Diplomat’s Ball fundraiser in yesterday’s post, maybe you’re wondering what choice items are up for bid.  I took a minute to note a few of the options:

Delicious Indian meal
Personal hair style session
Piano lesson from a professional pianist
Lesson on bagel making
Cantonese comfort food
Rock climbing
Consultation on the process leading to U.S. permanent residency
Boston film tour, drinks, and endless Matt Damon facts
Introductory shooting session
Online dating profile consultation
Customized sonnets
Voice lessons
Dance lessons
“Nail Night” (fancy fingernails)
Two homemade apple pies (yum)
Learn Persian slang
Homemade Pakistani foodDSCN1748But then, with the silent auction phase ending, and the live auction scheduled for last night, the Social List was buzzing yesterday with special promotions by those trying to draw bids on their offers.  For example:

Maybe you’re inspired by the Pakistan cricket team’s recent stellar play and want to tap into another sport that Pakistanis dominate….

…Or maybe you want to learn the basics of what has been called the healthiest sport to play

…or maybe you want to get some face time with the Dean

If any of the above are true, you should bid on my squash lessons tonight at the live auction. While I can’t promise the level of dominance that other Pakistanis have been able to enjoy, I can teach you the basics. I will provide the venue, racquet, and ball.

Or then there’s:

Coffee Tour & Serenade:  I will personally take you on a tour of the area’s premier coffee establishments.  I’ll buy you coffee, tell you made-up facts about each place, and generally show you a good time.  I will also sing to you…maybe in the car, maybe on the sidewalk…it’s a surprise.

Alternatively:

If you come to the live auction tonight, you will have the privilege of bidding on a tour of the area’s premier coffee establishments.  As I have recently returned from a tour of a working coffee plantation in Costa Rica, I am clearly the perfect guide for you.

The emailed descriptions only got crazier from that.  But they all displayed the many talents (and some “talents”) of the student community.

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No Faculty Spotlight feature today.  I’m going to take a couple of weeks to collect more entries and load them into the blog format.  Meanwhile, Kristen and I spent a little while in the Hall of Flags on Monday, meeting new friends and catching up with old ones.  For those who haven’t yet been for a visit, the Hall of Flags is the “town square” of Fletcher — everyone goes through there at some point each day.  We reserved ourselves a table (by which I mean I stuck a note on it, saying that Admissions needed the table at 12:15), and we set up.  Kristen was my Wrangler/Photographer.  I asked the questions and took notes.  Keeping things simple and casual, we just asked everyone what they’ve been up to.  It’s a small sample, but it’s clear that students and professors both have a lot going on.

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Kelsey (MALD): We’re both working on the Diplomat’s Ball fundraiser this week.  It’s an activity auction, where students volunteer their skills, and other students bid on them, and it will help reduce Dip Ball costs.  Some of the skills are cooking meals for other people, going rock climbing, and learning about how to drink whiskey.  And then there are midterms.  And my thesis.

Stephanie (MALD):  I need to remember to get a haircut some time in the future.  And I’m going to try to work with a professor for a conference this semester on state failure in Africa.

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Jake (dual MALD and JD): I went skiing last weekend at Killington.  This week I’m doing my problem sets for various classes and working on a Harvard Law and International Development Society project.  This weekend, I’m probably going to the zoo with my 13-month-old daughter.

(Jake explained that the Harvard Law and International Development Society draws students from around the Boston area, including from Fletcher.  Kristen and I noted that it’s not uncommon for the out-of-class activities that students pursue to involve homework.  A happy nerdiness.)

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Becca (MA): I just found out that we’re moving to Japan for three years.  I’m a little bit overwhelmed right now, finishing up all my academic requirements.  And I have two children.  I’ll receive my orders, pack it all up, and move over there.

(Here, Kristen, who is organizing a move of her own, but only across town, commiserated, and shared some of her own move-induced anxiety.)

Becca:  You can’t control everything.  (Becca is in the Marine Corps.)

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Peter (MALD):  I just got off a call from our client for the consulting class, and we have a contact we’re supposed to reach out to this week.  And we have a deliverable due on Friday.

Terrell (MALD): On Thursday, I organized an LGBT event with BU, BC, Harvard, MIT, and Tufts.  We expected 40, and 130 turned up — it was a happy hour.  Everyone was very excited – it hasn’t been done in a few years, and it’s going to be a great way to build community and make connections.

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Prof. Chakravorti: Last week was an interesting week because in one day, I got a sense of the full span of Fletcher.  In the afternoon I was talking to Dr. Mowaffak al Rubaie, the Fletcher Statesman-in-Residence and a former Iraqi National Security Advisor, about establishing a chain of KFCs in Baghdad.  The broader topic was examining business as a stabilizing force in post conflict zones.  Then I spoke with Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen from Google on how the new digital age is spreading power to the periphery of society, where everyone has power in their hands in the form of their smartphones, and what this digital rebalancing of power is going to mean.

(Eric Schmidt is the chairman of Google, and Jared Cohen is the director of Google Ideas.)

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Laura (MALD):  Here’s what my day looks like.  Wake up at 7 a.m. for a call to Nairobi; help organize a silent auction for the Diplomat’s Ball; study for my class on education and armed conflict; bake a birthday cake for a military fellow; turn in an econometrics problem set; attend a fund raiser for the Fletcher Marathon Team; and read my Strategy and Innovation business cases.DSCN1745Prof. Drezner:  I’m finishing the second edition of my zombie book.  (Prof. Gallagher, who indulged us in a previous Hall of Flags visit, then hurried him along to some event that had them both looking pretty spiffy.)

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Michael (dual MA-MD): The Social List has been boring this year, so I instigated some arguments about the situation in Ukraine, and I think we had some positive outcomes.  I asked, why is it really in our interest to care about this?  People got upset, they wrote back.  As an aspiring doctor, I feel you have to be realistic about the options you have, and if you don’t understand your options, you’re not qualified to handle the job.

Anna (MIB):  It’s very nice to be in a place where you can have many different points of view, especially very extreme views, because it’s through discussion that you better understand complex topics.

And with that, Kristen and I headed back to our respective corners.  I always enjoy my HoF sessions.  Maybe there’s still time for one more later this spring.

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Last week, Kristen and I went out to the Hall of Flags for an hour to chat with students and capture some of their thoughts for the blog.  I was the typist, and Kristen was the wingwoman/interviewer/photographer.  We asked as many people as we could to tell us something that they learned at Fletcher, either inside or outside the classroom.  Our first visitor was Matt, a PhD candidate, who kicked off our conversations with a way-outside-the-classroom response.

Matt:  I’ve learned that it actually is possible to learn a whole Bollywood dance in only a week.  In order to get a date.

The remaining responses trended somewhat more academic.

Felix:  One of the biggest things I’ve learned here is how to squeeze the world into two pages.  Presenting international terrorism to your foreign minister — 90 seconds.  NATO-Russia relations — two pages.  Dealing with complex information in a pragmatic way, a solution-oriented way.

We chatted together with an MIB duo of David and Qasim.

David:  So much of what I’m learning is from my fellow students, especially in settings where we do teamwork, which is very conducive to new learning.  It’s intense and the learning curve is very steep, but I’ve learned a tremendous amount.

Qasim:  I’ve learned about the experiences of many different people I’ve met – how to make their food, and the different ways they live.  And the second thing I’ve learned is how to manage my time and prioritize.

Next we chatted with a sales team for the Africana Club, promoting the “Sounds of the Continent” Africana Night event.

JennProf. Glennon posed this great question in his class, asking if international law is really law, and it helped me to use his model when thinking about it.  The example is that you’re driving through the woods and you want to throw your trash out the window.  But do you throw your trash out the window?  If not, why?  You won’t get caught.  What is it that makes you feel it’s wrong?  What is it that makes you feel a responsibility to not do these things?  Is there a rule about it?  Or is it that you want there to be a rule about it?  Is it a bad thing that there’s not a rule?  Is it something that we still obey if it’s not written down?

Blaen:  I came to Fletcher to get exposed to a different field, to law, so I’ve learned how lawyers think, and also about policy making.  It’s all about the consequences — it’s not about the profits or values, it’s all about the consequences.

We went back to our table to catch some more people as they crossed the Hall of Flags.

Trisha:  I’ve learned the importance of interdisciplinary connections and how you can see different sides of the same coin when you take different classes at Fletcher.  And…free pizza is your best friend.  Hang around the Hall of Flags for free food.

Patrick:  I’ve learned not only from the professors but also from my fellow students and from visiting guests who come to give talks.  I find that these talks help you to think about things in a broader context.

I agreed to be in the photo with Patrick, because I’ve known him longer than any other Fletcher student!  (Also because Kristen insisted.)

Maddie:  I’ve learned that I am now interested in things that I never imagined I would be interested in, even within the broader field that I was pursuing.  Before coming to Fletcher, I was intending to study strategic management and international consultancy, but after taking Prof. Jacque’s international finance course, I developed a new interest in finance and decided to switch my focus.  Overall, Fletcher opened my eyes to things I never knew I was interested in.

Hannah:  I do feel that Fletcher has given me the opportunity to make a lot of different connections that I wouldn’t have if I had stayed in the career track that I was in before.  Like doing the MasterCard project and seeing the inside of a big corporation and the role it can plan in international development.  A company like that sees financial inclusion as a business opportunity.

This also opened up a lot of career ideas for me.  I’m thinking about my job search in a more organic way, thinking about what I want to do, rather than sending off a whole bunch of job applications with less thought.

Kristen interviewed Hannah for admission “way back when,” in DC.  And Hannah said Kristen was a big part of the reason why she ended up here.

Margot:  I came from the development world, so I had that focus when I started at Fletcher.  I’m trying to reorient on the link between security and development in Africa, and something that I’ve learned from my classes such as Role of Force, or interacting with the Fletcher military fellows (and learning how thoughtful they are), and Fletcher events is the theoretical and practical security paradigms.  I already transitioned from a human rights focus in college to a development focus through my work.  But now I’m adding security to that mix.  I feel I had been a little closed off where I was, but now I have the ability to open up to different domains.

And we’ll give the final word to Prof. Gallagher, a MALD graduate herself.  She was rushing past us, on her way to meet a candidate for an open faculty position, but Kristen made good use of the minute while Prof. Gallagher waited for the elevator.  What has she learned at Fletcher? 

It might be a little glib, but what haven’t I learned!

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On Tuesday, Jeff and I decided that the time had come again for us to hang out in the Hall of Flags and chat with students.  With the Open House right behind us and admitted student decisions in front of us, the question of the day was obvious:  Why did you choose to come to Fletcher?

We started our conversation with two students from Germany who first met each other here.

Frieder, second-year MALD, told us that just over two years ago, he was “Ready to apply to ten programs.  Fletcher was number one — my favorite — on the list.  Then I received early admission.”  Story over.  But he also said, “Fletcher was my favorite because of having access to law classes, along with the opportunity to focus on business and economic development” (which is his career direction).  “It’s a unique combination.”

Joachim, second-year MALD, said he likes several things:  “The broad range of courses at your disposal.  The small size of the community.  And the closely-knit alumni network.  I really like the Boston location, too.  Personally, I also like the way the nice Tufts campus is quiet, but you can still get to New York or D.C. easily.”

But then Joachim made a distinction between why he chose Fletcher and why he likes it now.  Coming to the end of his Fletcher experience, he says it’s “The people in the community and the diversity are what I like the most, and you can meet a Fletcher student or Fletcher alumni anywhere in the world.”

Matt, second-year MALD, agreed to compose his thoughts for a quick video!  (If you don’t have the plugin to view the video, you’ll need to trust me when I say Matt is very enthusiastic!)

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Next we called over Kartik, second-year MALD from India, who was chatting with Hanneke.  Kartik used to work in our office, but now he’s a big time teaching assistant and doesn’t visit us enough anymore.  :(  Anyway, Kartik, who pre-Fletcher had been working in the local area, told us how he ended up at Fletcher.  “I took the T to Davis Square, and took a left turn, and here I was.  It felt like home.”  (Hanneke made fun of him just a little for this sweet sentiment.)

Then along came Jeff, a second-year MALD from Canada.  He said, “I joined Fletcher because of its reputation for academic rigor, great student body, and connection to the broader Boston academic community.”

Second-year MIB Jonathan came by and told us, “Fletcher offers really unique and interesting opportunities.  I had a great internship experience in Hong Kong, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything more conventional.”  He and Jeff had met up while Jeff was in Hong Kong for recruitment travel last fall.

Manjula, second-year MALD from Sri Lanka, said, “I was making a career change from finance to international development and social entrepreneurship, and Fletcher offered the diversity and flexibility, along with the skills and resources I needed, so I could explore new fields and make that switch.”  (I should also mention that Manjula is a rock-star in the community for what he has already achieved.)

Interrupting a study group, we found out that Alicia, second-year MALD from Jamaica, chose Fletcher, “because it’s such a nice warm and friendly place.”  And James, first-year MIB, chose Fletcher because it provides, “a more interesting international exposure than the other schools I applied to.”

Barry, mid-career MA, told us, “I came to the Open House last year and met with current students and faculty, and I was extremely impressed.  Yesterday was a little reminiscent for me.”

We wandered over to a table where students were selling Africana Night tickets.  Tallash, first-year MALD from Kenya, chose Fletcher because of the flexibility of the degree programs.  She said she is focusing on international environmental policy and development economics, and “doing so much in a two-year program that it’s like doing three different master’s degrees.”

Martin, second-year MIB, liked that “The MIB program offered a unique opportunity to integrate international business and international relations in one program, compared to a dual degree in parallel.”

Along came Dean Bosworth, who good-naturedly told us he chose Fletcher because, “I was offered a job, and I needed a job.  I was stepping down as ambassador to Korea.”  (I hope he also appreciated the warm community!)

Ethan, PhD candidate, joined us.  He and I did a quick reminisce about how I interviewed him a bunch of years ago when he applied to do his MALD.  He chose Fletcher because of “the ability to build a program with interdisciplinary balance.”  And also because the faculty includes “a healthy mix of practitioners and academics.”

Katie, first-year MALD from Egypt and Admissions intern said, “I like to know that I can leave campus and then come back to this warm Fletcher-orange environment.”

Sebastian, first-year MIB from Ecuador, took the broad view.  “World economics are going through a transition and the existing model of business study needs a new perspective, so the MIB program was perfect for my interests.”

And the last word is going to go to Liz, for about four years the first person you’d see when you entered the Admissions Office.  Liz told us, “I came to Fletcher because I was making a career shift and Fletcher was the right place to marry my workplace skills and my desire to work with students again.”

And that’s Liz’s last word in the Admissions Blog.  She has successfully pushed her career transition forward, and yesterday started her new post in the Tufts Residence Life office.  We wish her all the best!

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The Hall of Flags is Fletcher’s town square.  Everyone passes through here at some point in the day.  Yesterday, to capture a little of the atmosphere, Jeff (my partner in on-location blogging) and I parked ourselves at a table (which we reserved, as if this were a restaurant), equipped with my laptop and a basic camera, and waited to see who came by.  We made a slight miscalculation, having chosen a time when traffic was light, but the upside was that we had a chance to chat with everyone who visited the table.

When we set up camp, two students, Vanessa and Jon, were already in place at their own (better decorated) table.  They’re raising funds for their participation in the Tufts Marathon Challenge.  Jon is from New Orleans, so (in keeping with the season), they put out some plastic babies and called it King Cake.  The cake, fortunately, looked better than the handwritten sign.

After chatting with Vanessa and Jon, we looked to see who else was around.  Jamie, one of our volunteer interviewers from last fall, greets blog readers from the balcony.

Mollie (also an Admissions volunteer), Adam, and Khanh from Fletcher Students in Security were planning a reception that will take place during the DC Career Trip in a few weeks.

Bilal stopped by on his way to this week’s event in the “Denial and Deception” lunch/lecture series (organized by the Security Studies program), on practices and best practices throughout the intelligence community.  He insisted that I should be in the photo.

Nick walked through while doing his work.  We always enjoy chatting with him when he helps us out by keeping the office in order.  He has also brought new life to one of the Admissions Office plants.

Shinhee (yet another Admissions volunteer) stopped by on her way from Prof. Babbitt’s office to an accounting class.  Jeff told Shinhee (a musician) she should have brought her violin so that she could play for us.  Next time!

My Fletcher Futbol friend Sebastian picked up a piece of cake.  He was on his way to meet up with a student who had worked at an NGO he’s interested in.

Summer is also on her way to the “Denial and Deception” lunch/lecture.  She’s looking spiffy for the special event.

Dan, Fletcher’s IT guru, was talking IT with Kevin, the face of the Hall.  (Kevin would have been able to tell us when the HoF is at its busiest.  Mental note to check in with him before we plan another on-location blog.)

Matt, also on the way to the lunch/lecture, stopped by.  (Gonna be a busy luncheon!)  Matt’s a PhD candidate who’s working in Oslo for the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs as a visiting research fellow.  He’s on campus now to put the finishing touches on his formal dissertation proposal about organized crime and state security in West Africa (while working remotely for the Institute).  Matt moved on to the PhD program from the MALD (like most of our PhD students).  He has clocked many hours in the HoF, generally toting a coffee mug.

Morgan is on his way to accounting class, carrying the lunch that was lovingly prepared by his wife (complete with special notes).  The word is that Morgan has the BEST lunches (and sometimes dinners) in that little cooler.  Jeff and I are totally jealous!

Vanessa and Jon packed up their table.  Why?  The “Denial and Deception” lunch/lecture, of course.  Vanessa says she can’t be late.  The lecture runs on military time.

Tomo came out of his microfinance class where there were two guests from Spain.  He’s off to have lunch with them.

Geoffrey was here to kick off the marketing of the Tufts Energy Conference — mailing cards to speakers from past years.  The conference is coming up in April.

Vickie, Carolyn, Rachael, Naomi, Winnie, and Shuvam met up at the elevator.  (They’re all in the photo, but not necessarily easy to find.)

Lily just came out of her class, and is chatting with Emily while waiting for others.  She’s going to join Tomo for lunch with the microfinanciers from Spain.

Food for the “Denial and Deception” lunch!  (Delivered with a smile by Dan from Dave’s Fresh Pasta, a Davis Square eatery that is a favorite source of food around here.)

Brand new Januarian Alessandra and soon-to-graduate second-year Charlie, were also coming from the microfinance class.  This time I think to ask which class it is.  The answer:  Microfinance and Inclusive Commerce with Prof. Kim Wilson.  Then, along comes Prof. Wilson.  Jeff convinces her to join the photo.  (Love Prof. Wilson’s red shoes!)

Kristen avoids the paparazzi on her way to the Tufts Educational Day Care Center for an appointment.  (Fingers crossed that there will be space for little Lucia in the day care in September!)  More relevant to Fletcher, Kristen was coming out of a discussion of the launch of a new initiative to offer conference calls with recent alums, during which current students can ask about job search tactics in particular industries or locations.  The first conference call will be with a 2011 MIB alum and former Admissions intern, who will describe the process that landed him with a job in Brazil.

Once we let Kristen go, we noticed a crowd of people waiting for the elevator.  More people from the microfinance class, including the Spanish visitors.  They were very gracious in allowing Jeff to snap a couple of photos, and we learned they’re from ACAF in Barcelona.

Hanging out in the Hall of Flags was a fun way to connect with people we don’t see as often as we’d like, not to mention a real treat during this busy time of year for Admissions.  After our allotted 45 minutes, Jeff and I packed up and went back to the office.  We’re going to do this again, though.  Next time, we’ll try for live blogging.  Stay tuned!

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An amusing notice crossed my inbox recently, inviting the community to a Social Hour at 5:30 today in the Ginn Library.  The weekly Social Hours are a time when students, along with faculty and staff, come together for a little eating and drinking, and a lot of conversation.  (Prospective students can join in following the Admissions Information Sessions each Thursday, starting next week.)  Most of the Social Hours take place in the Hall of Flags, which already makes the Ginn Library venue a little unusual.  But the invitation goes further, inviting us to break (almost) all the library’s usual rules.  According to the notice, Ginn — staffed by librarians and tech experts who usually endeavor to maintain library decorum — will,  for one hour, be the site of:

Food!
Brazilian BBQ from Oasis Brazilian

Drink!
Ca$h Bar

Swag!
From representatives of Tufts organizations (GIS, Tufts Online, Scholarly Communications, ESTS, etc.)

Exhibitionism!
Beatles Rock Band

Gambling!
iPod Shuffle and other prizes raffled amongst rockers (see above)!

With food, drink, swag, exhibitionism, and gambling in Ginn Library, the message is clear:  for one hour this week, community trumps research and assignments.

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I can feel the fall semester coming, and with it the buzz of students in the Hall of Flags.  Even this week, there has been a little HoF activity, with MIB students in the building for their pre-session, along with Tavitian Scholars from Armenia, and a group of judges from Mexico here for a special program.  But the sound this limited group creates outside the window from my office to the HoF is more of a bzt than a buzz.  I hear a few voices, but then they’re gone, off to class or another activity.  It won’t be long, though!  And the Orientation week buzz is the year’s loudest.  I’m looking forward to it!

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