By Liz Schéré
Over Winter Break, we went down to New York City, aka the “concrete jungle where dreams are made of”, for the annual Fletcher Career Trip. Considering that New York is the headquarters of the United Nations, a good number of the panels on the trip featured many panelists from this mighty organization: UN Secretariat, Humanitarian Assistance, Refugee Affairs, Human Rights, and Public International Law. Curious about the various paths Public International Law can offer, I went to that panel. The panelists, of course, were all Fletcher graduates…and lawyers. The latter fact was a prerequisite for most of the panelists’ positions, which some MALD students were chagrined to learn. For us lawyers, however, that didn’t mean that the coast was clear. The panelists explained that the ticket into a position at the UN (like most other organizations for that matter) was through internships. The panel focused mostly on the pre-requisites and the screening process, more than the day-to-day grunt work that goes into their various positions. What did I take away from the Public International Law panel? To be frank, nothing was really an eye-opener. If you are interested in working for the UN, you have a modicum of an idea that the screening process is brutal and bureaucratic. However, what I found interesting to learn was how dismayed most panelists were with the position of Public International Law within the U.S. judicial system. One panelist lamented that international treaties were an after-thought if not completely disregarded by most Supreme Court judges (except Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Stephen Breyer). This type of reflection is a by-product of anyone who goes to Fletcher: International behavior and consideration is not something you do, it’s something you are.
After the panel, while my other fellow lawyers went on to the Public International Law lunch, I went to lunch at the Mashable offices. What is Mashable? First and foremost it is “a leading global media company that informs, inspires, and entertains the digital generation.” Personally interested in media law and the media in general, I thought that this casual lunch with a Fletcher alum would be the ideal career trip venture for me. My intuition was right. A handful of us sat in a conference room that looked more like a grown-ups day-care center than a business local. On the table before me was a console and games. The Mashable office is a direct reflection of Gen Y: open spaces, noisy, interactive, and infectious (with white, minimalist furniture, creating an interesting contrast with the vivid colors of the whiteboards and recreational instruments). There, we talked with Andrew Freedman, Science Editor at Mashable, and a former MALD. Andrew was easy-going, sharp, and sardonic. We talked about everything from the Paris Climate Conference to legal’s role in the media, and even celebrity fodder. I don’t know what the other lunches were like but I doubt that there was discussion over celebrities and twitter. He talked to us very openly about his passion for climate reform and how the digital revolution is changing the landscape of the news industry. At the end of our conversation, I don’t know what I enjoyed more: the conversation or the incredible burrito I had bought from Dos Toros in Union Square.
That evening the current Fletcher folk and those of yester-year (the alums) met for a cocktail party in midtown. There, Dean Stavridis gave an impassioned speech reminding us all why we came to Fletcher in the first place. Since it was Winter Break, it was a great time to catch up with all our friends we had left after finals. There was also a long list of alumni that were happy to catch-up with their fellow Fletcherites. The Office of Career & Services told us that the alumni would be happy to talk to us about their lives after Fletcher but that this was also an occasion for them to see their friends. This was absolutely the fact. This cocktail party was more about socializing than networking. Personally, I did not mind at all. I listened to what alums had to say about their Fletcher experiences and what it had brought them. For the most part, they were all excited about the jobs they had landed and that, in itself, was reassuring. Maybe we can start saying that Fletcher is the “brick forest where dreams are made of”?
 I promise I am not being paid by Dos Toros to advertise their product.
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