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Some weeks ago, a blog reader named Rumal asked me if I would pull together some information about offerings in Human Rights study at Fletcher. I’m always happy to run with a good suggestion, but I knew it would require some research. Fortunately for me, the Admissions Office front desk has received well-educated staffing from a job-hunting new graduate, Rafael. I asked Rafael to do some digging, and here’s what he reports.
Fletcher’s interdisciplinary curriculum allows students to develop an integrated understanding of global challenges. For a school of law and diplomacy, though, few issues are as central to the curriculum as international human rights. Accordingly, there are several courses, most of them offered within Fletcher’s International Law and Organizations Division, which approaches human rights from an international law perspective. (For students in the LLM program, Human Rights Law and International Justice is one of the four curricular options from which they may choose, if they wish.)
Among our law faculty, Hurst Hannum, Professor of International Law, offered courses in International Human Rights Law, Current Issues in Human Rights, and Nationalism, Self-Determination and Minority Rights during the past academic year. Students also took courses in International Criminal Justice, Transitional Justice, and International Humanitarian Law, taught by Fletcher professors Cecile Aptel and John Cerone. In addition, most of our professors are not only teachers, but also scholars and, at times, advisors to organizations such as the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or Amnesty International, so that students are exposed to cutting-edge research and real-world experience.
In addition to courses that explicitly deal with international human rights, seminars that are primarily concerned with other issues often allow students to produce research papers or policy papers in which they can combine multiple areas of interest. In Memory Politics: Truth, Justice, and Redress, for example, students trace the expansion of, and challenges to, the regime of human rights and international law by focusing on case studies such as Rwanda, South Africa, Colombia, Guatemala, and Peru. Law and Development, too, requires students to produce a research paper on any one aspect of the emerging field of international development law. Questions of distributive justice, the rule of law, and informal justice systems are not only of considerable importance to social and economic development, but also important components of the contemporary human rights discourse.
Another opportunity for Fletcher students to follow their interests and develop expertise in a particular area is the Capstone Project, which can be a traditional academic thesis or can take an entirely different form, like a business plan, policy memo, or podcast. Recent graduates passionate about human rights have researched and written on the negotiation for an international treaty on business and human rights, the role of the international private legal sector in contributing to rule of law, development, access to justice and human rights in the developing world, and child victims of armed conflict.
Following their Fletcher experience, recent graduates have worked for organizations including The Malala Fund, the U.S. Institute for Peace, and the UN, as well as government agencies across the world.
Thanks, Rafael! By fortunate coincidence, after Rafael had written up his report, we heard from a recent graduate who was active in the Human Rights field, and she offered to add her thoughts on the Human Rights Project, a student organization. Here’s Natalie’s description of her out-of-the-classroom activities.
The Human Rights Project (HRP) is entirely student run and has two components: public events and a research platform, the Practicum, through which HRP distinguishes itself from other student groups. The Practicum serves as a collaborative place for research and multidisciplinary projects that are actionable and forward-looking; we work for a variety of clients outside of Tufts — we juggled five projects this year alone with a variety of organizations and research topics such as hate speech, minority rights, CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women), Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 2030), and R2P (Responsibility to Protect). It’s an inclusive place for students to hone practical skills in research design, teamwork, and project management. Professor Hannum and Professor Cerone have been the gatekeepers, but will pass the torch to our new human rights professor in the of Fall 2017.
The work requires brain power and teamwork, so every semester HRP looks for incoming students who are critical thinkers and passionate about the future of human rights. If you are interested in being a leader or member, visit our website for more information to learn how you can get involved.
My thanks to Rafael and Natalie for their perspective on Human Rights study at Fletcher! As my final word, I’ll refer you to a 2014 Admissions Blog post about the origins of the Human Rights Practicum, which I rediscovered while putting the finishing touches on today’s post.
Tagged with: Human Rights Practicum
So far this week I’ve pointed you toward a student’s suggested summer reading list and a student-run blog. Today I’d like to highlight the Capstone Projects that students have written and then shared with the Tufts Digital Library.
The current Capstone requirement allows for a final product in many different forms, including a thesis. Not so many years ago, a traditional thesis was the only option. As a result, the projects can be found in two places: under Fletcher Capstone and under Fletcher Thesis, with some overlap between the two. There are many summers worth of reading in there, but of course you can pick and choose.
I was out of the office yesterday, having made a quick trip to New York on the weekend, which mostly entailed driving both ways in a drenching rainstorm. When I returned to campus today, the sun was back and everything was in full spring bloom. And not just the trees and flowers — the graduation tents are springing up, too. As of this morning, the Fletcher tents are yet to emerge, but others are in place all over campus. The early forecast is for a beautiful spring Commencement day on Sunday.
Between now and the weekend’s Commencement ceremonies, both graduating and continuing students are participating in the time-honored student-organized tradition of Dis-Orientation, the natural counter-balance to August’s official Orientation week. Frankly, Dis-O is a lot more fun. Yesterday alone, activities included paintballing, a FIFA (video game) tournament, a walking tour of Medford (which has a surprisingly rich history), a cricket match (first-year students vs. second years), a trivia competition, karaoke, and (my favorite of all the options) dinner at a Cambodian restaurant and visit to Revere Beach. (My love of Revere and that particular restaurant has been well chronicled in the blog over the years.)
Naturally, with everyone off doing such fun stuff, it’s pretty quiet around here. We’ll appreciate the quiet for a few weeks — it’s great for completing projects. As the summer runs on, though, we’ll begin to look forward to the start of a new semester. But that’s way in the future. Now we’re enjoying the occasional encounter with a graduating student and I’m planning to catch up with more of them at graduation.
Since the Fletcher tents aren’t up yet, I thought I’d share a photo from this morning of the Tufts University president’s house — right across the street from here. There are two tents directly behind it, and blue skies and flowering trees around it.
Why would anyone put off doing something really enjoyable? Though that remains one of the great imponderables, the fact is that Kristen and I love hanging out in the Hall of Flags and chatting with the folks who pass by. And you can be sure that someone will be there, nearly any time of day. Nonetheless, the entire academic year passed before, on one of the pre-exams “study days,” we finally planted ourselves by the front “welcome desk” and snagged students and professors as they went from A to B. We asked each of our conversation partners to tell us something great about their year.
On the particular day we were there, we happened to catch a disproportionate number of MIB students. Also, it was the day when the recipient of the 2016-2017 Paddock Teaching Award had just been announced, and Professor Patrick Schena was on everyone’s mind.
Auyon and Coco, both second-year MIBs
Coco: The most amazing fact about Fletcher life is our access to faculty, for example Bhaskar Chakravorti and Professor Schena. All the professors are so friendly and so nice and accessible, and I don’t think that’s a kind of experience that I could get elsewhere.
Auyon: I would echo what Coco said. For me, it’s also Professor Schena — I took a class with him, he’s the one who helped me get an internship, and he’s my capstone advisor. I enjoyed Professor Jacque’s classes a lot, as well as Professor Schaffner’s Econometrics class. I was dreading it at first, but I really appreciate her approach to the material.
Callie, first-year MALD
I live in Blakeley Hall and I’ve made a group of really really amazing friends, and a great community. I even met my boyfriend, who also lives in Blakeley.
Anurag, mid-career MA student
(Anurag referred us to this page when we asked for a photograph.)
It’s different for us mid-career students because we come in with very substantial experience, in my case 14 to 15 years of experience. There was a panel that MA students organized last fall, where we spoke about our careers and our collective experience. The people who attended found it very useful. Students like us are available and we offer our best advice. With 15 years of experience in the field, you do learn about life.
I’ve been focused on general management and finance-related courses, both here and at HBS (Harvard Business School). That’s a wonderful thing about Fletcher, being able to take HBS courses. I already have an MBA degree, but still I learned a lot here. At Fletcher, I took Islamic Banking and Finance, and with a world-renowned professor — that’s not something you’ll find in many places.
I have two finals and two papers pending. One final is in economics. I’m not an economist, so I’ll do a lot of studying for that.
Faith, first-year MALD
I think the best experience has been to meet and be roommates with people from all over the world, and to be able to go home after school and keep the conversation going. Not even in terms of country perspective, but also what people study. We all met a little randomly. I have a roommate who studies gender and now I realize I don’t know gender, and I need to take a class to be able to understand it. It’s being able to learn as much when we’re out of class as when we’re in class.
Today I’m preparing a presentation for the government of Estonia, for the consulting class. I’m meeting with Ali to talk about the presentation for the Estonian government on Friday.
Ali, second-year MIB (here to meet with Faith)
What’s top of my list today is last night’s Fletcher Follies, which is an annual event where students show homemade videos about their experience at Fletcher. We gather, we watch them together, and then they’re immediately erased from the record. They were hilarious!
I’m excited about FSIG (Fletcher Social Investment Group) and we’re discussing incorporating it into my class Market Approaches to Development. So I’m looking forward to that, both using some of their methods and maybe we can integrate some of the clients in the class, too.
I’ll be working increasingly with refugee and migrant populations in terms of my research. What we’re trying to do is what Eileen Babbitt calls “building a wider bench.” We’re trying to be sort of a magnet, trying to create a positioning for Fletcher.
Before heading back to our desks, Kristen and I paused to chat with a group that had gathered and had an unusual number of markers on their table. You’ll recognize student blogger McKenzie, I’m sure.
Michael (second-year MIB), McKenzie (second-year MIB), Alexandra (first-year MALD), and Ashray (first-year MIB), AKA the Fletcher MIINT Team!
We’re signing a photo from our MIINT win for Professor Schena. We were talking about bringing him a souvenir from Philly, and our souvenir turned out to be the plaque for the win.
And with that, our annual blog foray to the Hall of Flags was over. We made our annual pledge to spend more time there next year, though it remains to be seen whether we’ll succeed in organizing ourselves to do so.
The 2017 edition of the traditional year-end “Where the Hell is Fletcher” video is here! It really needs no further introduction — you’ll figure it out. Be sure to watch for Admissions’ own Liz at about 3:41, and enjoy!
A clever enhancement to the video comes from almost-PhD-graduate Rizwan, who (having successfully defended his dissertation) took a minute to plot the video locations on a map.
Tagged with: WTHIF
Fletcher is not a huge place, and a year when we add four new faculty members is noteworthy. I can’t do a better job of describing this process and its results than our academic dean, Steven Block, did, and I’m simply going to share the message he sent to the community.
I’m pleased to announce the addition for four new faculty at Fletcher.
Many of you will already have met Monica Toft, who joined us this semester as a Professor of International Politics. Monica comes to Fletcher from the University of Oxford, where she was Professor of Government and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government. She has also been a Professor of Strategy at the Naval War College and a Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Since receiving her PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago, she has published widely in the areas of ethnic conflict, civil war, and the politics of religion. In addition to numerous papers in top journals, Monica’s recent books include: God’s Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics, and Securing the Peace: The Durable Settlement of Civil Wars. In addition to her research and teaching in these areas, Monica is establishing and directing the School’s new Center for Strategic Studies.
We have also successfully concluded three faculty searches, the results of which are as follows:
International Criminal and Humanitarian Law
Our new law professor is Tom Dannenbaum. Tom is currently Lecturer in Human Rights and Director of the MA in Human Rights at University College London. He has also been a Visiting Lecturer and Human Rights Fellow at Yale Law School, where he received his JD in 2010. In addition, Tom earned his PhD in Politics from Princeton in 2014. He has published numerous papers in international law journals, and Tom’s book, Why Aggression is a Crime and Why It Matters, is forthcoming on Cambridge University Press in 2017.
Susan Landau joins both The Fletcher School and the Tufts Computer Science Department as a bridge professor of cybersecurity. Susan has extensive experience in both academia and industry as a cybersecurity policy specialist. She joins us from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is Professor of Cybersecurity Policy, and from University College London, where she is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Computer Science. Susan has also been a Visiting Scholar in Computer Science at Harvard, and a senior engineer at both Sun Microsystems and Google. She received her PhD in Computer Science from MIT, and is widely recognized as a leading expert and prize-winning scholar in the area of cybersecurity policy. Her books include Surveillance or Security? The Risks Posed by New Wiretapping Technologies and Privacy on the Line: the Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption.
History of U.S. Foreign Relations
While we can never truly replace Alan Henrikson, we’ve hired Chris Miller to take on the tradition of teaching the history of U.S. foreign relations in Alan’s place. Chris joins us from Yale University, where he completed his PhD in History in 2015 and then stayed on as Associate Director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy. Chris’s research focuses on the Russian economy and foreign relations. His first book, The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy, was published in 2016; his second book, Putinomics: The Price of Power in Russia. Russia’s Economy from 1999-present, is forthcoming. I was pleased recently to be able to introduce Chris to Alan, and capture this symbolic passing of the torch.
Credit for the success of these searches goes to Dan Drezner for chairing the history search, Ian Johnstone for chairing the law search, and to Michele Malvesti and Michael Klein for representing Fletcher on the joint cybersecurity search committee.
I’ve tucked away links to a cornucopia of different news items, and today seems like a good day to share them. I know you may have caught this information somewhere else, but here it is again — just in case.
Several members of the community have new books. Among them are Dean Stavridis, with his book on leadership.
Here’s a nice interview with Admissions’ own Graduate Assistant, Ashley. She’s graduating soon. We miss her already.
Though he’s not a member of the Fletcher faculty, I found this profile of Professor Daniel Dennett, from the school of Arts and Sciences, to be very interesting. There’s a thread that connects him to Fletcher, in that Professor Dennett’s full title is “Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy and University Professor.”
Also interesting: this article about Mike Balaban, F75. (A good example of how one never knows where a Fletcher degree will lead.)
New this year! A podcast produced by the Fares Center.
Remember Mariya’s post about the Ginn Wish Tree? The Tufts Daily picked up on it, too. And speaking of Mariya, she participated in the annual Faces of Our Community presentation from the Arts of Communication class.
Mediterranean cuisine. Need I say more? Delicious!
I’ll leave the list here. There’s more that I could share, but there’s always another day!
One day a random thought popped in my head: There are a lot of Fletcher alumni on the faculty. And they span a broad range of experience. Some are early in an academic career while others are already on their second career, having worked many years in government, business, or NGOs before returning to the Hall of Flags. Still others are wearing two hats — spending part of their time at Fletcher and the remainder at a different school or organization.
I pulled together a list and shared it with the faculty to be sure I hadn’t left anyone out. In response, alumnus-in-chief Dean Stavridis noted, “We hire our own proudly!” In the final list, below, I’ve linked the professors to their faculty pages so that you can see the scope of experience they bring to Fletcher. Some professors have faculty research profiles, too, if you want to scout out more information. You can also find Faculty Spotlight posts for Professor Gallagher and Professor Moghalu.
The Alumni Professors are:
On a related note, just as I was gathering information for this post, I learned about yet another graduate who will soon return to Fletcher. Dr. Abi Williams will share his time between Fletcher and directing the the Tufts Institute for Global Leadership. A prime example of an alumnus who will bring vast experience to the classroom, Dr. Williams has worked with The Hague Institute for Global Justice, the United States Institute of Peace, and the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention. Earlier, he was with the United Nations as Director of Strategic Planning for Secretaries-General Ban Ki-Moon and Kofi Annan, as well as in senior political and humanitarian roles in peacekeeping operations in the Balkans and Haiti. His fellow alumni on the faculty, whether they knew him as a student or when interacting with him in a previous post, are enthusiastically welcoming Dr. Williams back to campus.
This week, Tufts University released a video to welcome newly admitted students, and particularly international students, to all of its undergraduate and graduate schools. Featuring several current Fletcher students, with Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti the first of the speakers, the video expresses a view that is fundamental to the university, and even more deeply embedded at Fletcher: We all benefit from a diverse international community. Even the mayors of Boston, Medford, and Somerville joined in to reaffirm the welcome on behalf of our host cities.
I hope you’ll appreciate the message conveyed through the video. Fletcher — and all of Tufts University — looks forward to welcoming new international students who will join us in September, and we appreciate those who are already studying here.
Tagged with: Tufts
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