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Earlier this month, I was fortunate enough to join dozens of Fletcher alumni, friends, faculty, and administrators for our annual symposium in the charming village of Talloires, located on the shores of Lake Annecy at the foot of the French Alps.

For those who haven’t been, I must tell you that Talloires is completely magical and holds a special place in my heart.  Dotted with courtyards, gardens, beaches, hiking trails, small cafés and shops, it offers an idyllic respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. Surrounded by the mountains, it has provided the perfect backdrop for reflection on all that we’ve accomplished at Fletcher over the past year and to look ahead at what’s next.

This year at Talloires, we were joined by Lord Michael Dobbs (F73, F75, F77), a member of the British House of Lords and best-selling author of House of Cards. Lord Dobbs has long been a friend of Fletcher. Last fall, he joined us on campus for a two-week residency, during which he conducted a number of public and private events, including a three-class module on political leadership for current students.

While in Talloires, pulling from the key themes of House of Cards, he and Professor of International Politics Dan Drezner debated some of today’s most pressing political questions: Will President Trump see a second term? Does social media do a better job at uniting like-minded individuals or does it drive us deeper into political tribalism? And – probably the simplest of all questions for an IR expert – what does the future hold for the global order and democracy?

You can watch the full conversation below:

In addition to the debate, we heard from William L. Clayton Professor of International Economic Affairs Michael Klein about EconoFact, a non-partisan publication launched in January 2017 by the Edward R. Murrow Center for a Digital World that’s designed to bring key facts and incisive analysis to the national debate surrounding U.S. economic and social policies. We also heard from Jan Havranek (F09), who is the policy advisor in the Policy Planning Unit Office of the Secretary General of NATO, about the future of the organization almost 70 years after its founding.

Beyond policy and academics, Talloires provides a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with our alumni, whether during a hike to L’Ermitage de Saint-Germain or stimulating discussions on the terrace. I certainly look forward to attending again next year as an alumnus and I hope to see you there!

As always, thanks for reading.

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