Europe in Turmoil

By Sangeetha Madasamy, MALD’16

The Norris and Margery Bendetson International EPIIC Symposium is an annual five-day public forum organized by the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University featuring international practitioners, activists, academics, public intellectuals, and journalists. As a recipient of the 2016 Institute “Robert and JoAnn Bendetson Public Diplomacy Award,”, João Vale de Almeida, the EU Ambassador to the United Nations, was invited to speak at The Fletcher School on “European and Global Challenges: How “Perfect” is the “Storm.”

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Leveraging the Expert Knowledge of Women Organizing in Conflict

By Danielle Y. Demers, MALD’16

In Syria, and in conflict zones around the world, women are organizing to help their communities cope with the devastating effects of war. The individual and collective efforts of women in Syria have included the negotiation of ceasefires, clearing of checkpoints, and coordination of humanitarian assistance. Yet despite their impressive achievements, women in civil society have been systematically excluded from substantively contributing to peace negotiations.

Speaking to a rapt audience at the Fletcher Conference on Gender and International Affairs, feminist professor and scholar Cynthia Enloe explained the gendered underpinnings of this phenomenon. She then called on the international community to recognize the expert knowledge obtained by women who organize during times of conflict, and in doing so help them to claim their rightful place in their country’s peace processes.

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Things aren’t Always What They Seem – But is that Bad?

By Aditi Sethi, MALD’16

We use technology like Skype, Twitter, and Facebook daily to help us connect with other people, and we depend on it for information on a myriad of subjects. Recently, enterprises have successfully connected private charitable givers or lenders with those in need using the internet. Crowdfunding platforms like gofundme, kickstarter, and indiegogo have been used to raise funds for everything from  movies to beard masks and medical treatments. An important part of raising funds for something or someone with whom one may never come into contact is to present a convincing story. The Technology Through Inclusion panel at the 2015 Conference on Gender and International Affairs urged us to think about the role of technology in obfuscating narratives, and what might be the longer-term impacts of this obfuscation.

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Redefining Vulnerability: Refugee Protection in Urban Areas

By Mariel Sanchez, MALD’16

People fleeing violent conflict and persecution are increasingly moving to cities in neighboring countries in search of security and stability. These refugees in urban settings face a different set of security threats than those living in camps. Legal restrictions imposed by host governments on refugees’ ability to work and to access basic services like health and education, accompanied by discrimination from local communities and hostile law enforcement measures, prevent refugees from integrating into their new societies.

For decades, humanitarian aid to refugees has focused on building and managing camps. Today, however, the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) reports that out of an estimated 20 million refugees, less than one half live in camps and settlements. At the Conference on Gender and International Affairs held at The Fletcher School in December 2015, panelists highlighted three key issues facing displaced populations residing in cities: exclusion from economic activity, competition for living spaces, and tensions with local populations.

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Living the Gender Lens: Reflections on the Fletcher Conference on Gender and International Affairs

By Rachel Porter, MALD 2017, The Fletcher School

In December 2015, The Fletcher School hosted its first annual conference on gender issues, titled “Gender and International Affairs: Avenues for Change.” The conference was student-run, organized by The Gender Initiative and Global Women, and it enjoyed wide support from the faculty and administration. Fletcher Dean James Stavridis noted in the program: “Nothing is more important to the overall potential of the world than our ability to fully develop and use the potential of everyone, women and men alike and equally.  The study of gender affords us the best chance of doing so, and deserves our strongest level of engagement.  The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy is committed to doing so with energy and enthusiasm, and this conference is a good example of our approach.” The conference drew together over 300 participants from schools across the Boston area and hailing from countries around the world. Social media activity surrounding the conference hashtag, #FletcherGender2015, resulted in the hashtag trending in the Boston area. The conference also received recognition in Foreign Policy Interrupted, a listserv of gender in foreign policy.

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