This week, I count myself particularly fortunate. I have the luxury of being able to share two things of which I am quite proud, one of a personal nature, and one professional.

First, the personal. As I write this post from the shores of Honolulu, I am filled with honor and pride (and MaiTais). This week, I’m in Hawaii with my wonderful wife, Laura, and our family to celebrate the commissioning of a new Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, the USS John Finn. Laura is the ship’s “sponsor” and while she’s already christened the destroyer in Pascagoula, Mississippi back in 2015 (see the video below for her breaking the bottle of champagne over the good ship’s bow) the time has come to “man the ship and bring it to life” in Pearl Harbor this Saturday.

For those who have not experienced such an occasion, let me tell you, bringing a ship to life is quite a sight to see. The entire crew of 350+ men and women run aboard and man the rails upon the sponsor’s call.  The ship’s guns, missiles, and radars all move and rotate, and the vessel suddenly becomes a living, breathing part of the Fleet.

On Saturday, Laura will give the order to “man the ship and bring her to life,” but not before giving some remarks on  the U.S. Navy’s core values of courage, honor, and commitment. Values that I tried to uphold during my three decades in the navy and values that I endeavor to live by today.

Meanwhile, back on campus, we have a very talented and dedicated team who’ve been working on a launch of another kind. Our Senior Associate Dean of International Business & Finance and Director of one of our cutting-edge research centers, the Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC), Bhaskar Chakravorti and his team have, this week, launched the Digital Evolution Index 2017.

I’m particularly proud of this piece of work because it perfectly showcases Fletcher’s strengths as an institution that focuses on interdisciplinary approaches to research and action.

As you may know, at Fletcher our mantra is to examine global issues through an interdisciplinary lens. With the D.E.I. 17 – the second, further-expanded iteration of this study – the IBGC team used their experience and expertise to explore the interconnections between the world of business and geopolitics, law, environment, and the human condition to create a report that is accurate, robust, comprehensive, and actionable. And, dare I say, it was our unique interdisciplinary approach that led the IBGC team to step out of the ivory tower and partner with MasterCard. Together, they have conducted this in-depth, holistic analysis of the pace of digital evolution across 60 countries, ultimately scoring how countries stand up in areas of digital evolution, innovation, and trust. The partnership and resulting report have been extremely successful and we’ll look to continue with such partnerships for meaningful research that shapes our world, in the future.

The report is already garnering significant attention providing actionable insights for policymakers, businesses, investors, and innovators alike.  And that, after all, is what the Fletcher School’s mission is all about: real-world impact.

As I said, it’s been quite a week! So, if I may, a toast: To courage, to honor, to commitment, to interdisciplinary research that shapes our world, AND to finally getting to wear all those Hawaiian shirts that Laura never lets out of my closet! Cheers!

As always, thanks for reading.

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