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As admitted applicants make their decision to enroll at Fletcher, they then turn their attention to arranging housing for September.  Our blogger, Diane, lived in Blakeley Hall last year (2013-2014) and gathered some thoughts on living there from her fellow dorm-mates.  I should note that the majority of our students live off-campus, in apartments in surrounding communities, but for some new students, a room in Blakeley is just right.  Also, last summer (2014), the Blakeley kitchen was renovated, expanded, and improved, taking care of some of the issues that existed a year ago.  Here are Diane’s reflections:

blakeleyFor many incoming students, particularly those new to Boston, the question of where to live can be quite daunting.  In my first year at Fletcher, I chose to live in Blakeley Hall, a dormitory specifically for Fletcher students.  Much like any housing situation, living in Blakeley has its advantages and disadvantages.  Blakeley has space for around 80 students.  Each student has a private bedroom within a suite that has a living room shared with one or two other students.  There is one bathroom on each floor, shared between four or five people (two suites).  The kitchen, common room, and laundry room are shared by everyone.  There are seven separate towers, each with its own door, and they do not interconnect.  So what does this mean for a student who chooses to live at Blakeley, and what kind of students decide to live there?  I interviewed a few students who lived there with me last year to capture the different experiences they had.

Eric, Canada:

1) Your favorite thing about living in Blakeley: My favorite things about living in Blakeley were the spontaneous moments of fun that were enabled by living with 80 other Fletcher students: participating in an impromptu cricket match or poker game; sharing a drink or meal with others on a Monday night, just because; and the always lively discussions on topics such as nuclear proliferation, Pakistani politics, or Tibet’s struggle for independence, which were a regular part of a dinner conversation.

2) Your least favorite aspect of living in Blakeley: Sharing a bathroom with four other people, sharing a fridge with 12, and having to go outside to get to the kitchen.

3) Your Blakeley memory: I will remember the kindness and generosity of my fellow Blakeley residents when they offered to share their home-cooked Indian meals, apple pies, and Thanksgiving feasts.

Justin, America:

1) Your favorite thing: The three-minute commute to class.

2) Your least favorite aspect: The towers are not interconnected.

3) Your Blakeley memory: Unexpectedly getting amazing spiced tea from Elba on the way to class in the morning.

Jessica, America:

1) Your favorite thing: My favorite aspect of living at Blakeley was the community.  I got to live and learn with 83 wonderful people.  Whenever I needed a break from studying, I always went to the kitchen to have tea and talk.  There were parties, barbecues, and Game of Thrones evenings.  There were midnight birthday celebrations and snowball fights.  Living at Blakeley helped me make many close friendships, and I am so grateful that I have those people in my life.

2) Your least favorite aspect: The shared kitchen.  So many people in one kitchen: it got rather cozy at times.  I got to try some amazing food, though!

3) Your Blakeley memory: My Blakeley memory is our “Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner” that was held the Sunday before the actual holiday.  Thanksgiving is a big celebration in my family, and I wanted to share the tradition with my friends.  With the help of many Blakeley residents, we made dinner for about 50 people — including two 20-lb turkeys, 15 lbs of mashed potatoes, 10 lbs of apple crisp, salad, stuffing, cornbread, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, brownies, and more.  It was incredible to see how many people pitched in to help with the cooking and the decoration of the common room.  It was a fun night, and it helped distract us from thoughts of our upcoming finals!

Deepti, India:

1) Your favorite thing: It’s the perfect place to get to know your new classmates well and adjust to a new environment or country!

2) Your least favorite aspect: The space constraint.

3) Your Blakeley memory: Impromptu conversations over food in the common kitchen!

Xiaodon, America:

1) Your favorite thing: Being able to duck back home for a coffee break between classes.

2) Your least favorite aspect: Overcrowding in the kitchen.

3) Your Blakeley memory: Too many.  Here’s a random one: epic essay-drafting all-nighter in the common room near exam period with Fedra, Clare, Cilu, Caleb, Juanita, and other sleep-deprived supporting characters.

Sid, India:

1) Your favorite thing: Feeling of community — I made friends from all over the world.  The kitchen was one of my favorite places (also one of the reasons that prompted me to move out) as I got to make new friends.

2) Your least favorite aspect: The kitchen and the laundry room were too far from my room, especially during winters.

3) Your Blakeley memory: FRIENDS!

Paula, America:

1) Your favorite thing: My favorite thing about living in Blakeley was the chance to become good friends with people from all over the world.  I think living in a dorm together inevitably builds a special sense of camaraderie among Blakeley residents that’s otherwise harder to come by in a graduate program.

2) Your least favorite aspect: My least favorite thing about living in Blakeley is having to share a kitchen with 80+ other people.

3) Your Blakeley memory: My favorite Blakeley memory is Thanksgiving 2013 — everyone cooked and ate together and there was truly a feeling of Blakeley being a second family for all of us.

Diane, Australia (that’s me):

1) Your favorite thing: Being able to take a nap between classes.

2) Your least favorite aspect: The kitchen, particularly if you don’t live in a tower that interconnects with it.

3) Your Blakeley memory: The snow day — everyone went to Fletcher Field and had a giant snowball fight, and then we came inside and made pancakes and hot chocolate.

So you can see, living in Blakeley can be lively, convenient, entertaining, and full of fun, but it also has its downsides, particularly if you like to cook a lot on your own.  I am glad I got to experience an American dorm, and was able to live for a year on the Tufts campus, which is beautiful in all seasons.

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Pulling Fletcher events into a list in February inspired us to do the same for the post-Spring Break weeks of March.  Here’s the jam-packed calendar that Christine put together for us, noting that she hoped students returned well enough rested to take advantage of everything going on.

March 23: Charles Francis Adams Lecture by General Knud Bartels, Chairman, NATO Military Committee, NATO: Current and Future Challenges

March 23: 2015 Leontief Prize: Macroeconomics in the Age of Climate Change, to be awarded to Duncan Foley and Lance Taylor for improving our understanding of the relationships between environmental quality and the macroeconomy

March 25: Diplomatic Tradecraft U.S. Department of State Speaker Series featuring Fred M. Boll, deputy director of the Office of International Migration in the Department of State’s Bureau of Populations, Refugees and Migration, Political Reporting Diplomatic Tradecraft – Researching, Analyzing, and Reporting on International Political Events and Trends

March 25: The Future of American Superpower: Implications for Security, Politics, and Markets with Ian Bremmer, founder and president of Eurasia Group, and James Stavridis, Dean of The Fletcher School

March 26: Supply Chains for Relief and Development Converge: Case Study of the Ebola Response in Liberia, with Jarrod Goentzel

March 26: “Markers of Country Fragility” with Professor Nassim Taleb, distinguished professor of Risk Engineering at NYU’s School of Engineering

March 27: Celebrating Bill Martel, a celebration of the life of beloved Fletcher professor

March 30: A conversation with Brian Moynihan, CEO, Bank of America, moderated by James Stavridis, Dean of The Fletcher School

March 31: Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis and the International Security Studies Program present: Symposium on New Dynamics in Japanese Security Policy

March 31: The Military at Home and Out Front: Personal Perspectives from the American military featuring active-duty and reserve Fletcher students and Veterans

March 31: Digital Humanitarians: This talk charts the rise of Digital Humanitarians and describes how their humanity coupled with innovative solutions to Big Data is changing humanitarian response forever.

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One of the more commonly selected Fields of Study at Fletcher is International Environment and Resource Policy, which also has an associated research center.  If you plan to pursue environment study at Fletcher, you’ll want to check out the CIERP website, which includes several profiles of alumni working in the field.

If you’re especially interested in the CIERP community, you’ll also want to read about the faculty and staff.  It’s worth noting, too, that CIERP hires students for several research positions each fall.

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I always prefer sharing a student perspective on Fletcher life, rather than writing myself.  Today I’m sharing a post Alex sent along last week about the new Strategic Plan.  When I say “new,” I mean newly completed.  It has been in the works for more than a year.  Let’s let Alex tell you about it.

Right now, Fletcher students are in a very short-term mindset.  Survive midterms.  Land an internship.  Make it to Spring Break.

Luckily, the administration is thinking a little bit more long-term, and has recently developed a new Strategic Plan for The Fletcher School: To Know the World.  The five-year plan’s vision is to go even further to make Fletcher the “premier institution for preparing a highly selective and diverse network of global leaders, whose influence is felt across the public, private and non-profit sectors.”

The plan includes four overarching, mutually reinforcing objectives:

  • Relevance: enhance professional and academic preparation of students as problem solvers, future leaders and agents of change;
  • Reputation: bolster the School’s reputation by increasing research productivity and impact on decision makers;
  • Resources: ensure a robust and more diversified revenue stream to support pursuit of School’s mission;
  • “Right Stuff”: maintain a sustainable, diverse and high-quality student body across all our degree programs.

These objectives are supported with myriad initiatives, from strengthening research centers and enabling professors to do more research, to upgrading facilities and leveraging technology to enhance learning.  I would highly recommend looking through the plan, to see where Fletcher will be going in the next couple of years.

Of course, I was most curious about what the immediate impacts of the plan will be for current, admitted, and prospective students.  How will Fletcher actually be different in the Fall of 2015?  So I went right to the source, and met with Dean Stavridis.

The Dean mentioned a number of exciting plans, but a couple stood out.  The administration is in the process of hiring a professor with expertise in cyber, to help keep Fletcher on the cutting edge of this growing field.  They are also building a television studio on site to help facilitate media appearances by the faculty (Dean Stavridis, alone, has done over 160 in the last 12 months!) and for use in classes such as The Arts of Communication (one of my favorite last semester).  Finally, one of the most exciting plans in the works is establishing a strategic partnership with a globally-focused think tank in Washington D.C.; this will provide an opportunity to collaborate on research, participate in exchange programs, obtain internships, and in general serve as a home base for Fletcher in the nation’s capital.

At a school known for producing exceptional strategic thinkers, it is fitting that Fletcher should have such a stellar Strategic Plan.  I look forward to seeing it in action.

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Yesterday brought us the full range of late winter weather — from mild and dry in the morning, to mild and raining in the afternoon, to cold, windy, and snowy in the evening.  What’s important is that we have set a new record for annual snowfall, all the more remarkable because December and the first half of January and of March have been pretty much snow free.  Boston is such a competitive sports town that I was hardly the only person cheering for the record to fall.  All this winter hardiness must not be for naught!

This is spring break week, and most Fletcher students are not in the building today, though there are a few thesis writers in the library, and I chatted with a PhD candidate on our way in by bus this morning.  In the lead up to vacation, I heard about plans ranging from a relatively restful week near campus to hiking trips, to a few days on a beach somewhere.  And then there’s a group of 55 students who are traveling together in Israel and the West Bank to meet with prominent Israelis and Palestinians in the political, business, and security sectors.  (I hope to share photos when they return.)

As for the Admissions Staff — we’re all here, answering questions from applicants and reaching out to admitted students.  It’s both quiet and busy in the Office — not a bad combination for spring break week.

 

A quick update for you.  In September, we featured posts from three groups of students who had pursued summer research projects sponsored by Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context and the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth.  Yesterday I heard from Trevor Zimmer and Michael Mori, who wrote about their research on Indonesian mobile money.  Since then, their report, “Mobilizing Banking for Indonesia’s Poor,” has been published, and MasterCard has posted it on their website. Congratulations to Michael, Trevor, and IBGC!

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From the number of notices that pop into my inbox every day, you’d never guess that February is the shortest month of the year.  I can barely keep up, and I know that students do some serious prioritizing when it comes to deciding which events they’ll attend.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been storing the notices in a folder, and I thought I’d just list the various events.  Of course, you can find this information on the Fletcher calendar, but it still seemed blog-worthy to create a master list, including a few that aren’t listed in the calendar.  Despite the length of the list, I know I’ve missed some, but I think you’ll get the idea — there’s a lot happening here every weekday, and some weekends, too!

February 3: Egypt’s Turn? A Day in the Life of a Democracy Activist turned Entrepreneur.  An off-the-record discussion with Wael Ghonim, Internet Activist & Author of “Revolution 2.0.”

February 4: Africa’s Peacemakers: Nobel Laureates of African Descent.  Book Discussion with Dr. Adekeye Adebajo, Professor Pearl Robinson and Lee Daniels

February 6: Initiative on Mass Atrocities and Genocide (IMAGe) at Tufts will feature a panel on Mass Atrocities and the Response to their Public Health Consequences.  This panel will be comprised of four Tufts faculty members from across schools and disciplines.

February 9:  International Security Studies presents The Middle East in Transition: 2011-2015, Brigadier General Itai Brun.  Brigadier General Brun will present an off-the-record lecture to a Fletcher audience of faculty, staff, and students.

February 10-11:  A Taste of Ginn Library.  Come enjoy some refreshments and morsels of information on JumboSearch, citation tools, WebEx, and more. Drop-in or stay — we’ll rotate through topics every 10 minutes.

February 11: Charles Francis Adams Lecture, featuring Sarah Chayes: Corruption: The Unrecognized Global Security Threat.

February 12: Human Security Speaker Series, A Brown Bag Lunch with Professor Karen Jacobsen: How Many IDPs? Where are They? Information Challenges in Urban Displacement Settings.

February 12: “Fletcher Reads” Community Book Discussion, featuring Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan.

February 12: International Security Studies presents Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster: Future Challenges.

February 12:  Charles Francis Adams Lecture:  Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, 2009-14; Prime Minister of Denmark, 2001-09: NATO: The Indispensable Transatlantic Alliance.

February 17: Initiative on Mass Atrocities and Genocide (IMAGe) talk and book signing by Thomas de Waal — Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, expert on the South Caucasus region, and brother of Fletcher Professor Alex de Waal — on his new book: Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide.

February 17:  The 31st Diplomatic Studies Roundtable: The Energetic Ambassador: U.S. Diplomacy in the 21st Century. Remarks by and conversation with Alan Solomont, United States Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, (2009-2013), currently the Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Dean of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University.

February 17: Mexico’s Energy Reform: Regulatory Policy, its Execution and International Perspective.  The Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP) and FLEEC are inviting you to a luncheon and conversation with a distinguished panel.

February 18: CPT (Curricular Practical Training) and OPT (Optional Practical Training) workshop for international students.

February 18: Optimizing Emerging Market Strategies: How to Manage Financial Risks & Rewards, with Dan Brennan, EVP & CFO, Boston Scientific.

February 19: The Inaugural lecture of the Shelby Cullom Davis Professorship in International Business: Visible Hands: Government Regulation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Global Business, by Jette Steen Knudsen, Associate Professor of International Business and The Shelby Cullom Davis Chair in International Business.

February 19:  H.E. Mr. Nikolay Mladenov,  UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Iraq Head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and newly appointed Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the Palestinian Authority, Iraq:  The Way Forward.

February 19: The Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies presents: Sectarian Dynamics and National Reconciliation in the Middle East, a seminar discussion with  Mr. Miroslav Zafirov, Bulgarian Diplomat; Political Advisor to the United Nations Assistance MIssion in Iraq (UNAMI), Associate Professor and Member of the Advisory Board, Centre for Middle Eastern and Gulf Studies, New Bulgarian University and Director, Middle Eastern Program, Sofia Security Forum

February 19: Ebola fundraiser & positive vibrations party at Johnny D’s.  Headlining will be SIERRA LEONE’S REFUGEE ALL STARS, a world renowned roots reggae-inspired band out of West Africa. Opening things up will be Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate (Kouyate is a kora virtuoso) and DJ Afro-Marc spinning on the one’s and two’s before, after, and in between sets.  100% of ticket sales proceeds will b​e donated to Doctors Without Borders to aid their Ebola relief effort in West Africa. Additional donations will be accepted at the door.

February 20:  Coffee and chat with MALD student Chris Maroshegyi.

February 20: In the Library Office — drop-in anytime between 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. to hear about quick-start tools for researching your Capstone topic.

February 21: The 10th Annual Tufts Energy Conference, to be held at the Fletcher School.  The theme this year is “Breaking Barriers to a Clean Energy Future,” a solutions-oriented look at how to tackle the world’s most pressing energy challenges as we move toward a greener future.

February 23: The North Korea Strategy Center & North Korea Working Group at Fletcher presents: NK Information Highway: Driving Change in North Korea.

February 23: The Institute for Business in the Global Context Speaker Series presents: Evolving Role of The World Bank: The Next Decade, with Michael Goldberg Senior Financial Specialist, World Bank.

February 24:  Book Talk: Green on Blue, Elliot Ackerman F’03, Fletcher Writer-in-Residence

February 24:  BRICS as a Global Legal Actor: From Regulatory Innovation to BRICS Law? with Prof. Mihaela Papa

February 25: Human Security Speaker Series, a brown bag lunch with Oliver Bakewell, Co-Director of the International Migration Institute, Associate Professor, Department of International Development, University of Oxford: Looking Beyond Conflict as a Determinant of Mobility in the African Great Lakes.

February 25: Award winning author, Harvard Professor of History, and Tufts alumna Jill Lepore, will deliver a guest lecture on her New York Times bestselling book The Secret History of Wonder Woman. This exciting lecture is open to the entire Tufts community and is sponsored by the Office of the Provost.

February 25: Lost in Translation: Effective communication workshop for international students, sponsored by the Tufts Counseling Center and International Center.

February 25:  Tufts University Forum on Race, Inequality, and Action, sponsored by the Office of the Provost.

February 25-March 1:  Russia in the 21st Century, sponsored by Tufts University Institute for Global Leadership

February 26-27:  Office of Career Services trip to Washington, DC.

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Yesterday I heard from Alison Erlwanger, one of the student leaders of the Africana Club, which is planning “Africa on the Global Stage,” a conference that will take place on Friday, February 20.  The second annual Africana Conference is free and open to the public, with support from Fletcher, the Institute for Business in the Global Context, the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, and the World Peace Foundation.

The Africana Club wants to encourage blog readers who are in the area to attend.  Please register online if you’re interested.  Student-led conferences are a great way to see a practical reflection of the learning that students have done throughout the year.

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Launched only about a year ago, the Fletcher Security Review is the School’s newest student-run publication.  The Winter 2015 issue is now available.  Check it out, and keep up with the FSR commentary on Twitter.

 

Bill Martel, 1Fletcher students, alumni, faculty, and staff learned on Monday that Prof. Bill Martel had passed away.  The community has received the news with tremendous collective sadness, reaching out to each other for help in understanding something that seems impossible to understand.

Bill made his mark at Fletcher, especially on the student community, in so many different ways.  He taught and advised a great number of students.  His focus on cyber security drew additional students to consult him on their research.  He joined the annual ski trip for a day of skiing, and he is known to have enjoyed the chili served at the Mugar Café — a typical indicator that he didn’t simply buy his lunch and run.

The Fletcher faculty is loaded with nice people, but in any group of nice people, someone can still be the nicest.  Bill was the nicest.  As he walked through the building, he greeted everyone by name.  If he didn’t recognize someone, he introduced himself.  With his incredible ice-blue eyes, he transmitted kindness and warmth.  He was one of those very rare individuals in the world about whom everyone had something good to say.

Bill was a true friend to the Admissions Office, and we loved working with him.  He served three years as chair of the Committee on Admissions, and created an atmosphere of warmth and respect.  He valued hearing what students and staff members had to say — no claims of faculty privilege for him.  He checked with us to be sure he was doing all he could, and we needed to struggle not to take advantage of his generosity.

Even in this past year, when he was dealing with a serious illness, Bill made a special effort to stay on top of Admissions news.  We would gleefully have welcomed him back to the Admissions Committee, but the dean decided to give him a light committee assignment load (like us, I’m sure, struggling not to take advantage of Bill’s willingness to jump in where he was needed).  When Bill and I exchanged emails in September, we both said we’d look forward to working together again on the Admissions Committee in 2015-16.  I truly meant it.

Unlike those who follow a typical path for a professor, taking a permanent position shortly after completing a PhD, Bill came to Fletcher with a rich teaching background, including a long stint at the Naval War College.  As a result of joining Fletcher relatively late in his career, Bill was granted tenure only last May.  Also in the spring, he was selected to receive the James L. Paddock Teaching Award.  Because of his illness, he couldn’t accept the award in person, but he had his friend and colleague, Prof. Shultz, read his speech of thanks, in which he referred to students as the “center of gravity” at Fletcher, and emphasized the importance of a positive “can-do” attitude.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who is grateful that Bill received these honors at a time when he might most appreciate them.

Bill will be formally remembered here at Fletcher in the spring.  But even outside of formal opportunities for remembrance, Bill will be on the minds, and in the hearts, of all of us who knew him.  Truly the nicest of men.  An inspiration.  And a real friend to the Admissions Office.  We’ll miss him greatly.

Bill Martel classroom

 

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