Posts by: Jessica Daniels

It has been a while since I last wrote about my friend and Fletcher grad, Charles Scott, F94.  After a relatively typical post-Fletcher career, Charlie relaunched himself in recent years as the “Family Adventure Guy” and a speaker for corporate and other settings.

Most noteworthy among Charlie’s recent activities have been as a member of “Team See Possibilities,” three super-fit runners who accompany a fourth — who happens to have lost his sight as an adult — on daunting adventures.  In November, the Team tackled Mount Kilimanjaro.  At night.  Their “Kili in the Dark” run took them up the mountain at high speed, and their days in Tanzania and Kenya included visits to schools and other activities to support children who are blind.

This wasn’t their first inspiring trip, though.  About a year ago, the team climbed Machu Picchu, and before that they ran the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim-to-rim.

International adventure wasn’t new to Charlie, whose pursuit of demanding travel started with a trip by bicycle around Japan with his son.  Then a trip around Iceland with his son and daughter.  These and other rides have linked him to a community of bicyclists and even a bike travel film festival, which has featured films that Charlie made of his travels.  Take a look at a clip of a recent video called “Perceived Limits.”

Adventurers are a new, or newly prominent, subset of the Fletcher student and alumni community.  Fletcher is a place where just about everyone has experienced wanderlust, even if not all of our travel is the super rugged variety.  I’ll need to catch up with Charlie soon to find out what’s next in the plans for Team See Possibilities.

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Hey there friends.  I’m here for my annual sisyphean task of imploring you to avoid being among the zillion applicants who submit their applications on the January 10 deadline.

Sure, you don’t want to send us an application before it reaches its optimal state.  I get that.  But twelve days remain between you and the deadline, which is plenty of time to organize yourself to submit the pieces of the application under your control (i.e. not your recommendations) before the last minute.  If you were to click submit before we arrive for work on Friday, January 6, you would know by the end of the day what pieces of your application (if any) are missing.  Awesome, right?  On the other hand, if you submit your application in the seconds before the deadline of 11:59 p.m. EST (UTC -5) on January 10, you will wait in line until we have a chance to review your application.

There it is, my best advice for you.  Go ahead and listen to me.  Submit early and relax, deservedly smug in the knowledge that plenty of others will be stressing.

 

Students have been sharing their stories on the blog for quite a while now, but this is the first year when one of the writers pursued an exchange semester.  Ever-intrepid Tatsuo spent the fall at Sciences Po in Paris.

In the third semester of my MALD study, I decided to join an exchange program in Paris.  I wanted to study international relations from another viewpoint, though I know that Fletcher and the hills of Medford/Somerville are the best place in the world to study.

Tatsuo, Courtyard_of_SciencesPoI spent my semester at the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po.  Sciences Po is one of the best schools for politics and international relations in Europe.  It was founded in 1872 just after Franco-Prussian War.  French elites were shocked by their country’s defeat and also impressed by the power of Prussia, and they faced the need to change their education system.  Sciences Po was the result of the effort to improve French practical education, based on the philosophy of political realism.  The symbol of the school, the fox and lion, originated from Machiavelli’s phrase “be smart as a fox and be strong as a lion,” and shows what the founders felt they needed.

At Sciences Po, I took five courses — Grand Strategy in Diplomacy, Past and Present; Building Long-Term Relationships and Sharing Value with Stakeholders; Political Speechwriting; African Key Economic Issues; and Economics and Globalization — to earn four Fletcher credits, and I audited two more courses, Japanese Politics and International Relations; and French A1 (elementary French).

All the courses I took, except French A1, were taught in English; thus, the basic materials and styles were not so different from what I encountered at Fletcher, but there were still some interesting differences between a French (or European) school and an American school.

For diplomatic issues, I took a grand strategy course, mainly focusing on security strategies, taught by the former minister of foreign affairs of Costa Rica.  In the course, and in other discussions of diplomatic topics, people mainly followed realism — based on basic political realism theory and great figures like Machiavelli, Clausewitz, and Bismarck who I “met” in the U.S.  However, the “realism” I studied in Paris was a little different from what I learned in the United States.  In discussions I had at Fletcher and other places in the U.S., people argued the survival of the state must outweigh all other concerns.  Thus, there were many options that could be taken, including unlawful or unethical means.  Additionally, the strategies for security tend to justify unilateral actions.  On the other hand, the discussions in Paris I faced tended to exclude such unlawful, unethical, or unilateral options, intentionally or unintentionally.

Classroom view.

Classroom view.

On development issues, French development studies consider the historic background of developing areas, while American studies mainly focus on the current situation.  Sometimes, French professors’ attitudes looked more emotional than rational.  On the other hand, these attitudes or analyses brought me a deeper understanding of the regions and the people to be developed.  Additionally, these attitudes were understandable and maybe useful for me, a Japanese development officer, because we also have complex historical backgrounds with the Asian countries we once occupied.

One of the most interesting courses in Paris was Political Speechwriting.  In the French school, theoretical studies seemed to be the majority, while American professional schools like case studies.  Even in the practical course for speechwriting, the professor took a lot of time to introduce many theories of Greek and Roman rhetoric.  When I took the course, it was the very interesting time after Brexit.  In that context, the professor analyzed American presidential debates and shared his concerns about the French presidential election coming up next spring.  Through the course, I realized the great advantage of theoretical studies.  At that time, most American (and global) media criticized Trump’s speeches and judged Clinton to be the winner of the debates.  On the other hand, the professor evaluated Trump’s speeches in terms of their technical rhetoric while many people, including me, tended to analyze the speeches based on their content.  The result of the election proved the advantage of objective/unbiased analysis based on theoretical studies.

Generally, my semester was a great opportunity to learn a lot regarding the different perspectives of the U.S. and Europe.  In Japan, we tend to think of “the West” as a single actor and a single set of values.  In the U.S., we tend to think of the American standard as the global standard.  The three months in Paris gave me the background knowledge to avoid such misunderstandings.

It was surely true that everything went well in Paris.  But I missed the family atmosphere at Fletcher, including its flexible and warm administrative offices and the close connections between students and faculty.  I also missed the great academic resources around Boston.   And I also love the comfortable hilltop more than the crowded buildings filled by thousands of students in the small campus in the middle of Paris.

In the end, the three-month exchange program was both long enough and short enough for me, even if it was too short to learn French, to explore Paris and other areas of France and Europe, and to enjoy the great food and drink culture.

Tatsuo, Enjoying_TheHistoricalArtictic_City

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Have you browsed through the posts in the Faculty Spotlight feature?  Not yet?  Well, I hope you will.  To make your reading more systematic, I’ve divided the posts according to Fletcher’s divisions.

EIB (Economics and International Business):

Lawrence Krohn
Steven Block
Bhaskar Chakravorti
Michael Klein

DHP (Diplomacy, History, and Politics):

Julia Stewart-David
Andrew Hess
Sulmaan Khan
Ayesha Jalal
Cheyanne Sharbatke-Church
Antonia Chayes
Leila Fawaz
Christopher Tunnard
Kelly Sims Gallagher
Alex de Waal
Miguel Basáñez

ILO (International Law and Organizations):

John Burgess
Jeswald Salacuse
Joel Trachtman
Michael Glennon

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The Admissions Office (along with the rest of Tufts University) is closed today.  For your application question planning pleasure, please note that the office will be closed on these dates:

Friday, December 23 (today)
Monday, December 26
Friday, December 30
Monday, January 2

In addition, note that the staff will be meeting away from the office on Monday, January 9.  We expect to have one of our graduate assistants available to answer last minute pre-deadline questions by phone or email.

Happy holidays to everyone!

 

Final exams officially end today, but students have been heading off for winter break since before last weekend.  Curious about where folks are traveling?  Our Coffee Hour list gives you a good indication.  And also an invitation!  If you will be in one of the cities on the list, you’re invited to join a Fletcher student or recent alum for conversation over your preferred hot beverage.

Details are still being finalized for some locations, but we hope you’ll plan on joining us if you can.  Register from the website for coffee in any of these cities.

Fletcher MugAmman, Jordan
Austin, TX
Bangalore, India
Berlin, Germany
Bogotá, Colombia
Boston, MA
Chicago, IL
Copenhagen, Denmark
Edinburgh, Scotland
Fez, Morocco
Geneva, Switzerland
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Honolulu, HI
Istanbul, Turkey
Kathmandu, Nepal
Larnaca, Cyprus
Los Angeles, CA (Huntington Beach)
Madrid, Spain
Melbourne, Australia
Mexico City, Mexico
Miami, FL
Minneapolis, MN
Moscow, Russia
Mumbai, India
New Delhi, India
New York, NY
Newport, RI
Norfolk, VA
Phonm Penh, Cambodia
Prague, Czech Republic
Rome, Italy
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
Seattle, WA
Seoul, South Korea
Tel Aviv, Israel
Tokyo, Japan
Washington, DC

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Like Oscar and Felix of The Odd Couple, the two programs with a deadline today are an unlikely pairing.  Our youngest applicants — those who apply to the MALD or MIB programs through the Map Your Future pathway — and our academically most advanced applicants — those aiming for the PhD program — are in the final stages of application preparation, if they haven’t submitted their materials already.  And just as the two programs are different, our reasons for assigning them this December 20 deadline have little in common.

PhD applications face a particularly long review process, involving not only the PhD Admissions Committee, but also potential faculty advisors.  Every admitted PhD student needs to be assigned an advisor at the point of admission and it’s meant to be a relationship that continues throughout the student’s time at Fletcher.  All this review takes time and we realized years ago that the process would go more smoothly if we started the clock ticking earlier, though PhD applicants are notified of the decision on their application at the same time as everyone else.

For Map Your Future applicants, our thinking was simply that we wanted to be able to offer a little extra time for pre-application communication/counseling and that’s easier to do in December than it is in January.

A quick check this morning showed me that we already have quite a few PhD and MYF applications ready to be reviewed, and many more in another phase of preparation.  For those still adding the finishing flourishes to their applications, you have until 11:59 p.m. EST (UTC -5) tonight.

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Early Notification applicants will know by now that we have released decisions on all of the complete EN applications.

To those who were admitted, congratulations!  Learning in December that you have been admitted is a great opportunity to plan for your graduate studies.  Members of the Admissions staff will be reaching out to you and you’ll have plenty of opportunity to ask your questions.  Working with you throughout the early spring is a welcome reminder for the staff that the applications we’re toiling over represent future students!

But today I’m really writing for those who weren’t admitted.  To those who were denied admission, please let me say that we’re sorry to make these decisions, but we hope it will help you craft your strategy on where to apply in January.  Later in the spring, you will also be welcome to request feedback on your application.

This post is really for those applicants whose applications were deferred for review in the spring, a good news/bad news situation.  The bad news is the lack of happy admissions news, but the good news is that you still have the opportunity to try to bring about happy news in March.  Our Admissions Committee will gladly review an update to your application!  But what makes a useful addition?  Here’s a list of updates that we particularly value:

  • An updated transcript that reflects grades received since you submitted your application;
  • New standardized exam (GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, IELTS) score reports;
  • A revised résumé that includes information on a new job position;
  • An additional recommendation that sheds light on an aspect of your background you weren’t able to illuminate in other parts of the application.

Before I go on, I’ll emphasize that no one is required to submit an update.  Not at all!  But you are invited to submit one, and why would you turn down this opportunity?

What type of optional update is best for you?  Well, let’s start with the parts of your application that you know are weakest.  Are those aspects something you can improve on?  For example, did you decide it would be better not to mention the causes of your weak undergraduate semester?  I’d encourage you to explain it, particularly if it pulled down your overall GPA.  Did you indicate that your language skills are not strong enough to pass our proficiency exam?  Send us information on your plan for achieving proficiency before the end of the summer.  Did you mistype your years of employment at a certain job, making it look like you were there for two months, rather than four years and two months?  You can make that correction now.  And, if your GRE/GMAT scores were significantly lower than you expected, you may want to take the test again.  (Note here that I’m not telling you to take the standardized exam again.  I’m suggesting that you consider if you could have done better and, if so, that you make that decision for yourself.)

Another suggestion:  If, upon reflection, your essay didn’t state your goals as clearly as you would have liked, send us a clarifying email!  We won’t substitute it for your personal statement, but it will certainly be reviewed.  This could be particularly helpful if you’ve taken steps to learn more about your ultimate career goal.

Possible additions to your application need not be limited to what I’ve listed above.  The key question to ask yourself is:  Does this actually add anything?  If the information is already included in your application, then there’s there’s not much value in sending it again.  (An additional academic recommendation will add little to an application that already includes two.)  On the other hand, a professional recommendation will add a lot to an application that only includes academic recommendations.  Think it through before you flood us with info, but don’t hesitate to send us something that will give your application a happy bump.

Whether you were offered admission this week, or you were told we’ll reconsider your application in the spring, we look forward to hearing from you and to working with you during the coming months.  Please be sure to contact us with your questions.

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The University communications team has shared several of the year’s best photographs of the Medford/Somerville, Boston, and Grafton campuses.  The one that Fletcher calls home (Medford/Somerville) is reasonably compact and picturesque, though no campus shot is going to rival an eagle in a red and blue towel.  This year’s selection doesn’t include any pix of the Fletcher buildings, but you’ll find one of last spring’s speakers, Anderson Cooper of CNN, who posed with the Tufts mascot, Jumbo.

04/11/2016 - Medford/Somerville, Mass. - Anderson Cooper, anchor of CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360°,” poses for a photo ith Jumbo on the Academic Quad at Tufts University on April 11, 2016. (Alonso Nichols/Tufts University)

(Photo credit: Alonso Nichols/Tufts University)

 

 

Fletcher’s Maritime Studies Program has experienced a burst of adrenaline in the last year or so and is offering students extra opportunities for experiential learning.  The program kicked off its offerings in September with a short road trip to New Bedford and Fall River, MA — two towns south of campus with rich maritime histories.  The group visited the New Bedford Whaling Museum and Fall River’s Battleship Cove, home port for the several U.S. Navy vessels, and professors on the trip offered their perspective during pre- and post-lunch talks.

The director of the Maritime Studies Program, Professor Weitz, pointed out that:

The field trip’s relevance is obvious for Fletcher students focused on security studies, environmental policy, clean energy, technology, international law, and global maritime affairs.  New Bedford is America’s #1 fishing port by value and currently investing in infrastructure to become America’s #1 port servicing the offshore wind energy industry.  Counter-intuitively, the venture capital business model was invented in New Bedford in the 19th century to finance the hugely profitable but highly risky whaling industry.  This business model spread worldwide and remains relevant for today’s entrepreneurs, including social entrepreneurs, and impact investors.

Venturing a little further than a road trip would take them, the program is planning a January research trip to Oahu, Hawaii, focusing on global maritime security challenges, ranging from traditional naval diplomacy and maritime boundary disputes in the South China Sea, to environmental security challenges facing the Pacific Ocean.

MALD graduate Sea Sovereign Thomas, F02, is stationed in Oahu at the U.S. Marine Corps base, and is helping to arrange meetings at Pacific Command, the Asia Pacific Center for Maritime Security, and the Daniel Inouye National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research center.

And then, during spring break, the program will head to Panama & Colombia.  This research trip is still in the planning stages.

In addition to the trips, the news for this year is that the program has staffed up.  Matthew Merighi, F16, and Caroline Troein F14, have joined Professor Weitz as new assistant directors of the program.  In addition, the program has created an advisory board to offer additional guidance.

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