Manaved reflects on his Fletcher experience


Manaved joins us today, looking back on an unusual end to his Fletcher student experience:

Fletcher, Post-Commencement

While I come from a place of bias, the class of 2020 surely seems to be a special one.

After the conclusion of the admirably organized commencement on May 18th, it seemed to many as if the fabled Fletcher bubble had finally burst asunder. What usually is a time of travel, goodbyes, and a lot of get-togethers was primarily spent adjusting to the new normal.

The usually precarious job market seemed a bit more intimidating, and the travel ban only emphasized the nagging feeling of being stuck, especially for those of us who are international students. Continuing students have had to grapple with the possibility of an online fall semester, and the newly admitted Fletcher cohort faces a plethora of important decisions.

The people at Fletcher find themselves not only in the middle of a pandemic, but also in the midst of a much-needed contemporary civil-rights movement. In the thick of all this uncertainty, however, the Fletcher community has been proactive in its endeavors. Various student bodies, led by diverse voices, have brought issues of contemporary social importance to the forefront of conversation. Be it the veritable social list, or the innumerable Whatsapp groups, every day has been marked by dialogue and debate on the way to move forward.

The Fletcher administration has also been enterprising. Multiple online workshops have been organized for the community, and the drawbacks of the prevalent state of affairs have been negated up to a certain extent. Of course, there is no real replacement for the norm, but given the situation, the efforts of the administration are laudable.

Many of my Fletcher peers took the lead when it came to the COVID-19 crisis. The same is happening now, even though the crisis is of a different kind. The prevalent belief is that this is a turning point in the course of humanity. The year of 2020 will not be a mere footnote in history, and the changes that are envisaged will affect us for years to come. Whether these changes bode well for the world will entirely depend on the leaders who come out of these circumstances.

Fletcher has trained us capably, yes, but lasting leadership comes to the fore only in times of crises.

If my last few months here are any indication, I can say with confidence that the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy has those leaders, and with any luck, the world will be in capable hands.

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