By Prayank Jain (LLM’20)
The Fletcher School is a unique experience. Every semester we gain new skills and perspectives that edge us closer to becoming the best professional each of us can be. At the heart of this process is our faculty. Fletcher professors are renowned experts who display an unfailing commitment to help their students.
I am a Master of Laws (LLM) candidate at the Fletcher School. As a prospective applicant last year, I really enjoyed and benefited from reading this blog. Today, I am writing a post of appreciation to highlight the amazing professors who have taught me in the Fall 2019 semester. I have been very satisfied with my course choices. The classes were thought provoking and I have grown personally through my interactions with the faculty. Here’s a brief overview of my experience, good word travels fast!
Prof. Kelly Sims Gallagher – Climate Change Policy (DHP P254)
- Gallagher is a true Jumbo in the Tufts context as well as in the world of climate policy. She is a Fletcher MALD and PhD and also heads the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP). Prof. Gallagher brings her infectious energy and top-level policy experience to the class. Having worked at the White House with President Obama and having published extensively on China’s energy spectrum, among other topics, she adds life to class discussions with her insights on how policy making dynamics operate in the climate realm. Prof. Gallagher’s teaching methods ensure that her students grasp these practical aspects as well. We had some innovative group exercises and skill-oriented assignments in this course, such as preparing policy memos, or participating in an extensive simulation on the 2015 Paris Agreement negotiation. Considering the sheer quantity of material covered and work done, this course is well organized, and the workload is evenly distributed throughout the semester. Prof. Gallagher has a strong network in the field and often gets external resource persons to share their perspective with our class. She is also mindful of keeping students updated about global climate conversations and appreciates diversity in questions.
- Highlight: Prof. Gallagher comes very prepared for the classes and her lecture slides are super. This course made me empathetic to divergent country positions on climate action and also hopeful that we can achieve the global goal despite the gloom that surrounds it.
Prof. David Wirth – International Environmental Law (ILO L223)
- Wirth is a visiting professor from Boston College. He has been teaching this course at Fletcher for sixteen years. In his distinguished career, Prof. Wirth has worked with the US government on domestic and international environmental issues and also has taught international law courses in multiple jurisdictions. He begins every class with an agenda of topics to be covered which is very helpful for students in tracking the material. His ability to simplify legal concepts and create a learning environment is tremendous. While the syllabus includes several historic cases, Prof. Wirth does not treat them as history. He makes you analyze scenarios from the parties’ perspective in detail and derive the underlying approaches that have shaped environmental law. I have never understood the context of legal cases this well before. Prof. Wirth enjoys students’ participation and links the grey areas between law and policy really well.
- Highlight: Prof. Wirth is a great person. He is a conversationalist par excellence and knows how to captivate an audience with his wit and humour. He makes time to answer questions and his humility makes you want to learn from him even more.
Prof. John Cerone – International Organisations Law (ILO L220)
- Cerone is an international law wizard. As a visiting faculty member, he brings his practitioner’s perspective and portfolio of experiences to Fletcher, which include appointments with NGOs, international organisations, sovereign states, and longstanding involvement with legal academia. Prof. Cerone begins every class with his famous catchphrase, “What’s in the news?”- a moment where he examines current international affairs headlines and connects them with international organisations, and more specifically the lecture topic at hand. This is a very productive exercise which broadens the learning from this course and helped me understand the real-life implications of what I was studying. Prof. Cerone effortlessly and illustratively encapsulates major UN instances and controversies and knows how to get his audience interested. He has a very hands-on approach towards the lectures and got us to participate in several in-class simulations and analytical exercises in the course. He is actively involved in several human rights projects which brings a unique value addition to class discussions. Prof. Cerone welcomes tough questions and takes pride in presenting his arguments. I felt that I had the freedom to ask the most imaginative questions in his class.
- Highlight: Prof. Cerone is frank in his opinion and gives crisp advice. He creates a free space for students to share divergent and often unorthodox opinions on global affairs, which is essential for the study of international affairs.
Prof. Liz McClintock and Prof. Naseem Khuri – Processes of International Negotiations (DHP D220)
- Negotiation is a dynamic skill set which can best be developed through guided practice. I cannot be more thankful to Prof. McClintock and Prof. Khuri for introducing this field in the most engaging and constructive manner possible. Both of them are visiting professors. Prof. McClintock is a Fletcher MALD and has worked for decades on international public and private consulting projects. Prof. Khuri works more on conflict resolution issues with US agencies and foreign governments. (He flew to Fletcher every week for us from Washington D.C.!). Having a team of two solid practitioners teach negotiation worked wonders for our class, as we benefited from a healthy faculty-student ratio and learned from diverse professional experiences. This is critical for a practical course like negotiation which emphasizes individual skill development and reflection. Professors McClintock and Khuri make a great team. They have excellent coordination which is evident in their management of in-class simulations, use of technology, and sense of humour. Prof. McClintock is very considerate and helpful; she would often forward me relevant articles that helped with literature review for my submissions. Prof. Khuri is cool with his approach and explains concepts in a simple and effective style.
- Highlight: McClintock and Prof. Khuri were very involved in the course. They provide detailed feedback on assignments and are appreciative of effort. This made me value my work more and as a result work harder for my submissions.
Prayank Jain is an Indian qualified international lawyer working on the intersection of global human rights and environmental issues. At the Fletcher School, he is specialising in climate justice, negotiation and public interest diplomacy.