With all that’s been going on these past few months both at home and abroad, I’m not entirely sure where this summer went. That said, I always welcome these final dog days of summer because with them comes the return of friendly Fletcher faces, as well as a new sea of students (and incredible new faculty!) to join our happy crew.

As I often tell our new students, Fletcher is the kind of school that changes your life. I know that, because it changed mine.

I came here as a green 26-year-old. I’d sailed the world’s oceans as a young officer in the Navy, but I didn’t really know anything about the world until I came to The Fletcher School. Coming here, first as a MALD and then as a PhD, opened my eyes to understanding the complexities and challenges facing our world. Being at Fletcher helped imbue my world view with the idea that our strength – as a school, a nation, a global community – is in our diversity. But don’t take my word for it: This summer we were lucky enough to welcome some of our alumni back to campus for our annual clambake and the messages they shared speak to exactly why Fletcher is such a special place.

For instance, Aziza Mohammed’s (F’12) description of the Fletcher experience sums up the kinds of interactions you’ll have here (my favorite line: “A soldier, an activist, and a lawyer walk into a library…”).

And John Moore (F’02) has an incredibly important piece of advice about listening and engaging with the world around you:

Finally, Henri Lake (F’02, F’06), shares how she put her Fletcher degree to work for her after graduating:

All of us here at Fletcher know that the world is facing some difficult challenges right now: From uncertainty on the Korean Peninsula, to continued unrest in the Middle East; from the rise of populism across the U.S. and Europe, to poverty and challenges to democracy in Latin America; from climate change to the very-real and devastating consequences of natural disasters like those in Houston, Mumbai, and Niger that we’ve seen just in the past week.

Listing all of the issues facing our world would take forever, but what gives me hope is welcoming our new cohort of Fletcher students and faculty every year. Our community, new and old, is committed to tackling these challenges and we will do just that.

What I can, and will, promise is that this will be an enriching, demanding, thought-provoking journey for all of those joining our Fletcher crew.

Welcome aboard and as always, thank you for reading.

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