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We’re more than halfway through the summer stretch between Commencement and Orientation and this week has been noteworthy for a sudden flurry of semester-like activity!  Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but there are two groups of students passing this way and that through the Hall of Flags.  The first is the GMAP class of July 2016, which is midway through its final residency and will graduate this Saturday, July 23.  But first, the group of 37 students needs to complete coursework and defend theses.

Also on campus now are 30 officials from the Greek Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs who are participating in the Leadership Program in Advanced Diplomacy and Defense, offered in partnership with with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.  The participants arrived last week and will be here for four weeks in all.  The focus of the program is to provide strategic level thinking on major global shifts, as well as an opportunity to strengthen essential skills for diplomacy. They will be at Fletcher through August 5.

And spending their days at Tufts, but not in Fletcher, are incoming MALD, MIB, and LLM students who are polishing up their academic English skills.  They do meet weekly for a conversation and orientation class at Fletcher, but the majority of their time is spent in classrooms elsewhere on campus.

There’s one last group who will be at Fletcher this summer, and that’s the new GMAP class that will start their program on August 1 and continue until their own graduation in July 2017.  In addition to the distance learning they will do throughout the year, they will also meet in Malta in January.

Finally, my Social List “digest” today consisted of two messages containing 30 community emails.  That’s about four times as many emails as have been turning up in the digests lately.  What woke everyone up?  First was a spirited discussion of the U.S. presidential election.  And second was a student’s sharing of an article that says the lawyer representing the Philippines in a recent maritime law case against China was a Tufts graduate.  Much informative discussion of the nature of courts, as well as of trying cases where only one side is represented, ensued.

All together, the increase in activity makes us less lonely, but also makes me think it will be nice to have the students back next month.

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Fletcher couples are just the best.  I can’t keep up with all of them, but I love when I’m lucky enough to hear about their weddings.  Recently, Liz told me about a newly married MIB couple.  Fumi, F16, and Ryota, F15, met during her first year and his second year in the program.  Ryota came to Fletcher from the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, to which he has since returned.  After graduating just last May, Fumi has joined the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.  Both Ryota and Fumi were very active members of the Fletcher community, as you might guess from their Fletcher flag cake.

Naturally, Kristen (who, among the Admissions staff, works most closely with MIB applicants and students) takes full credit for bringing them together and their subsequent love story.  The rest of the Admissions Staff simply wishes them all the best in their life together!

Fumi and Ryota

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Even as I noted yesterday how quiet it is at Fletcher this month, there are a few things going on around here.  First, there’s a group of diplomats on campus for a short-term executive program.  And second, there’s a panel in ASEAN Auditorium this evening on women in the environment field.  The panel will be moderated by Professor Barbara Kates-Garnick.  Here are all the details.

“The Business of Getting to Clean Energy & Environment”
July 12, 2016 from 5:00-8:30 p.m.

New England Woman in Energy and the Environment (NEWIEE) is hosting the second-annual Women Shaping the Agenda Panel to share ideas and experience related to the practical and business aspects of our clean energy and environment future.

“NEWIEE’s panel series strives to provide a forum for the constructive and informative discussion of topics of interest today to environmental and energy professionals,” said Beth Barton, NEWIEE Board of Directors President and Partner at Day Pitney LLP.  “NEWIEE’s goal is to bring together experienced and young professionals from across New England for an open conversation about clean energy and environmental issues for our region and beyond.”

Further information and tickets, if still available, can be found on the event page.

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I usually focus blog posts more squarely on Fletcher life, but today I wanted to share news from back in the spring about the University’s Tisch College.  The reason?  Although Tisch works primarily with undergraduates, the College offers high-profile lectures and other activities that may interest Fletcher students, including the annual Presidential Awards for Citizenship and Public Service, one of which went this year to Kirsten Zeiter, F16.  (See Kirsten’s award video below.)  Plus, it’s just a nice thing to know what’s going on around campus, outside of the Fletcher buildings.  Here’s the news the University shared:

With the launch of its strategic plan today, the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, founded nearly 17 years ago, will move forward with a new name to better reflect its mission to prepare students to take action and make positive change in their communities and in the world: the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. We all engage in civic life when we organize and debate, when we serve, and when we advocate for and act on the issues that affect us and those around us. Collectively, the more active we are as responsible citizens, the more just, equitable, and prosperous our world can become.

At the same time, I am pleased to share news of a transformative gift that will further the mission of the college.  Jonathan and Lizzie Tisch have pledged $15 million to help us prepare every student for a lifetime of effective engagement in civic life.

Endowed a decade ago with a $40 million gift from Jonathan Tisch, the college’s creation was driven by the belief that universities have a responsibility to help young people become agents for thoughtful advocacy, action, and positive change.

Jon and Lizzie share Tufts’ vision, and their new gift will support all three pillars of the college: education, research, and practice.  Through the creation of endowed professorships in civic studies, an emerging field that examines what defines civic engagement, their gift will help fund joint appointments between Tisch College and other Tufts schools and departments. The gift will also finance leading research by Tisch College’s renowned Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement and the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education, creating knowledge and advancing civic learning and engagement.  Finally, the gift will empower student experiential learning opportunities, such as the Tisch Scholars leadership development program, Tisch Summer Fellowships, and the Tufts 1+4 Bridge-Year Service Learning Program, ensuring that such transformative experiences are available to students of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

A longtime advocate of individuals and corporations using the power of civic engagement to address challenges, Jonathan credits his parents for instilling in him a sense of responsibility to others, and Tufts for fostering in him the importance of an active civic life.

And here’s the video where you can see Kirsten receive her Presidential Award.

 

In a brief break from a lonely summer, we have company this week from The Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict (FSI), a professional education program focused on the advanced, interdisciplinary study of civil resistance.

Information promoting FSI tells us that:

Civil resistance campaigns for rights, freedom, and justice are capturing the world’s attention as never before.  Nonviolent campaigns against corruption in Guatemala, Moldova, and Cambodia; against dictatorship in Burkina Faso; to protect democracy in Hong Kong; for police accountability in the United States; for indigenous rights in Latin America; and for women’s rights in India are all examples in recent years of a profound global shift in how political power is developed and applied.

Since 2006, more than 450 participants from nearly 100 countries have gathered at FSI to learn and share knowledge.  FSI is organized by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict in conjunction with the Fletcher School.

More information can, of course, be found on the FSI website.

 

Today I’m going to gather links to news items that have flowed my way in the past couple of weeks.

I’ll start with Commencement news!  Here’s a story, with photos, that captures the events of Class Day and the Commencement ceremony itself.

Read also about two of this year’s graduates, Jeremy Blaney and Jessica Meckler, who were featured in a group of graduates of all of the University’s graduate and undergraduate programs.

Commencement featured the granting of the inaugural “Fletcher First Ten” award, to be given annually to an alumnus who has made a noteworthy contribution to the community, this year going to the inimitable Rocky Weitz, whose accomplishments outpace those of nearly anyone I know.

And speaking of awards, Center for International Environment and Research Policy researcher Rebecca Pearl-Martinez this week received the Advocacy Award from the Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy, MIT and Stanford University.

Next, our friends at APSIA have written a feature on alumnus Nursultan Eldosov, who currently works for the U.S. Foreign Service.

And finally, alumna Masha Gordon has climbed Mount Everest, the latest in a series of extreme adventures.  In a Facebook post, she wrote, “On May 19th at 7:30am Nepali time I became 400th woman to summit Mount Everest.  It was a culmination of a month long journey full of poetry, drama and self-discovery.  I am now just 1 summit removed from breaking female world record in Explorers Grand Slam.  Follow my journey to the peak of Denali by liking my Facebook page.”  And you can also follow Masha’s adventures on her Grit and Rock blog.  Here’s a photo that she shared, with obvious Fletcher love.

Masha Gordon

 

Continuing an annual tradition, for last night’s Fletcher Follies event students compiled clips of their classmates dancing in locations around the world.  Why do I love the yearly Where the Hell is Fletcher video?  Is it because of the dancing or the cinematography?  Ummm, no.  It’s because students care enough about being part of the community project that they keep it in mind during their travels throughout the year, and then they carry through with exuberance!

Please enjoy (so long as YouTube/copyright issues in your viewing location don’t get in the way), “Where the Hell is Fletcher 2016.”

 

Two of the Admissions Office’s favorite students will be spending much of today running the Boston Marathon.  Moni, who is also an Admissions Graduate Assistant, and Niko are the only two Fletcher students on the Tufts Marathon Team this year.  They have been training and fundraising for months and, last I checked, were feeling confident.  It will be warm today, but the breeze off the water may keep the runners cool.

Many other students will be heading out to the race course to cheer them on.  Because really, running Boston for your first marathon is awesome.  Registered to participate are 30,000 runners — most of whom met the required time standard, with about 5,000 running to raise funds for charitable organizations.  Niko and Moni, like other members of the Tufts Marathon Team, are raising funds for “nutrition, medical, and fitness programs at Tufts University, including research on childhood obesity at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.”

So give a cheer for Moni and Niko, Fletcher’s own marathoners!

Moni and Niko

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The Hall of Flags is Fletcher’s town square, its crossroads, its living room — everyone walks through at some point during the day.  A highlight of my year comes when I grab my computer and my ace co-pilot, Kristen, and head out to the HoF to talk with whomever we see.  Students, staff, faculty — we don’t hesitate to keep them any of them from getting their work done, or even from crossing the Hall of Flags on the way to the door.  We started our HoF time by scanning the scene to choose our first conversational target.  Our topic for the day:  Tell us something noteworthy about your year at Fletcher.

There’s often a student staffing a table at which tickets to an event are sold.  A perfect place to start.

Carmyn, second year student pursuing dual degree with the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna (selling tickets for Americana Night):

One of the most noteworthy things for me this year were the guest and visiting speakers that came to Fletcher.  For example, I kicked off my year by attending a luncheon lecture as a part of the International Security Studies lecture series, and heard from General Petr Pavel, the Chairman of the Military Committee for NATO.  In addition, the Fletcher Security Review has also hosted some really amazing and highly experienced professionals as guest speakers.  I feel very invested and involved in the fields that I am studying.  There are so many engaging things here at Fletcher, so it’s really great to have those opportunities on the academic side, as well as many possibilities to attend social events led and organized by students.  Aside from that, just getting to know people at Fletcher has been great.  The student body here is phenomenal.

Carmyn, HoF1 

Helen, Associate Director of the Office of Career Services:

We have ten new Blakeley Fellows!  Jerry Blakeley very generously has given $50,000 for the summer of 2016 to support ten first-year students doing internships in developing countries, focused on microfinance, private sector development, public/private partnerships, NGO business development, and project financing.

Although there are other sources of funding for summer internships, this amount can significantly defray expenses for these unpaid internships.  Countries that students will be working in include Uganda, Tanzania, Nicaragua, Malawi, Indonesia, and India.  This is the ninth summer that the Blakeleys will be supporting students doing these types of internships.

Helen, HoF
Helen is such a good sport that she let Kristen convince her to come looking for us!

Halley, Staff Assistant for the Office of the Registrar (just completing her first year at Fletcher): 

It’s been really amazing meeting and interacting with so many students from all over the world and so many cultures and backgrounds, getting to know them throughout the year, and seeing them succeed academically and thrive at Fletcher.

Halley, HoF
Not content to interrupt one person at a time, Kristen and I set our sights on a study group.

Peter, second-year MIB:

I’m involved in the Fletcher Social Investment Group — one of the leadership members — and we had the opportunity to present at the CEME Fellows meeting and to get their feedback, and to share with the external Fletcher community what we’re up to.

Preetish, second-year MALD:

My entrepreneurship class in Energy, Entrepreneurship and Finance, which is what we’re currently working on.  The way energy and finance comes together in class is interesting.  I’m looking for a career in this field.

Peter:  The professor (Barbara Kates-Garnick) is also the former Commissioner of Energy in Massachusetts, so it’s really interesting.

Harper, first-year MALD:

I like the flexibility that the MALD program provides so that you can take a class like Energy, Entrepreneurship and a class like Role of Force in the same semester.

Peter group, HoF
Why interrupt only one study group?  We moved on to what we thought was another.  Turned out it was three people simply chatting together.  Nate and Cristina were both volunteer interviewers for Admissions in the fall!

Nate, second-year MALD:

It was definitely the media communications panel from the DC Career Trip, because it was very encouraging to interact with so many alums who work in a space that I’m actively pursuing a career in.  I appreciated that they did such a great job relating their Fletcher experience to their career paths and also how enthusiastic they were about making time in their day to encourage aspiring students to follow their career path.  At the panel, there were representatives from The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Inter-American Development Bank, FCW, and the Glover Park Group.

Marc, mid-career MA student:

One of the more noteworthy events?…I hate to follow and say the DC Career Trip, but in particular, I attended a small session on conflict and violent extremism at the State Department with a number of officials, and it was a good opportunity to talk about the profession, and it dovetailed with classes here.  It reminded me why I came here.  I previously worked for Chemonics, but I want to get into CVE, and it’s great to know that there are a lot of people from Fletcher doing cutting edge work in that field.

Also, I’ve taken classes in urban planning and GIS – it was a great opportunity to tie in those topics that I may not have been able to study elsewhere.

Cristina, first-year MALD:

International Negotiations with Professor Babbitt.  She’s a very dynamic professor and her command of the subject matter is impressive.  She really knows how to teach, too!

Nate group, HoF
Next I saw a familiar face from the PhD program.

Liz, MALD ‘94, PhD ’16 (who told us she was visiting Fletcher to guest lecture for Professor Conley-Zilkic’s class on Understanding Mass Atrocities):

I successfully defended my thesis in December 2015.  Since then, I’ve continued my work with folks in the U.S. government — specifically advising on the policy stance toward the current crisis in Burundi.

Liz’s dissertation title:  “Securing the Space for Political Transition: The Evolution of Civil-Military Relations in Burundi.”

Liz M, HoF
We chatted a bit more with Liz about how earning your PhD is a very big deal, and then she was off to her guest-lecture gig.

With that, we decided it was time to head back to our day-to-day work.  We’ll be back, Hall of Flags!  Until then…

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There was a time, way back in the day, when the Admissions Blog was just about the only game in town.  Now the School and its various programs/groups maintain multiple Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, and even other blogs.

The LLM program, for example, has had its own blog since the start of this academic year.  Though not all the information they share pertains to students in all degree programs, it’s still worth a look!

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