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Every now and then I like to comb through my folder of blog ideas and gather a collection of news items that I wasn’t able to turn into a post of their own. In my recent news, we have:
♦ In January, Fletcher welcomed the 18th class of Tavitian Scholars to The Fletcher School. Each year, Fletcher hosts a six-month training program in Public Policy and Administration for fifteen Armenian civil servants from various government agencies, ministries, and legal institutions.
♦ A Fletcher PhD student, Rebecca Tapscott recently received the International Studies Association’s Carl Beck Award for best paper written by a graduate student. Her article, “Where the Wild Things Are Not: Crime Preventers and the 2016 Ugandan Elections,” written for the Journal of Eastern African Studies, is now available online.
♦ Dean Stavridis recently sat down with Professor Eileen Babbitt to discuss “Bridging the Gap,” a grant to Fletcher from the Carnegie Corporation, aimed at considering how academic knowledge can inform and help create policy.
On a related note, Professor Michael Klein has rallied a large group of his fellow economists to create EconoFact, a web-based series of articles “to bring key facts and incisive analysis to the national debate on economic and social policies.” There’s already some very interesting analysis on the site.
♦ The University recently launched a Tufts Crowdfunding site, where University projects can seek outside funding directly from donors. A limited number of projects will be highlighted each month, after being reviewed.
♦ Finally, the Global Master of Arts Program (GMAP) held its January residency in Malta, and produced this video to describe the experience. Note that GMAP is conducted primarily through distance learning, but once they graduate, GMAP alumni have been great members of the Fletcher community.
Back in the fall, the World Peace Foundation announced its 2016-2017 WPF Student Seminar Competition. It invited Fletcher students to submit proposals for a two-day seminar that would be held on campus in the spring semester. WPF said “the student competition enables Fletcher School students to frame an issue and interact with leading global experts on the topic of their choosing.”
And the event is finally here! The student-led seminar on “Theorizing (Dis)Order: Governing in an Uncertain World” will take place tomorrow and Friday. The students who submitted the winning proposal are MALD students Akua Agyen (first-year) and Protiti Roy (second-year), and PhD students Benjamin Spatz, Juan Taborda, and Rebecca Tapscott.
Here’s the description:
The seminar brings together a diverse group of scholars who study how unpredictability, disorder, and turbulence are produced, performed, invoked, and allocated as a means of shaping—or even constituting—strategies of governance worldwide. These scholars, of varying disciplinary backgrounds, will engage each other to enrich existing theoretical frameworks for understanding the connections between disorder and governance. Drawing on cases from Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, scholars will explore the question of disorder in a number of contexts, including in relation to the formal and informal security sector, financial markets, decentralization, governing borderlands, and elite pacts.
I’ll be watching for the Twitter chatter during the conference and I’ll edit today’s post to add a link so you can follow along.
Tagged with: World Peace Foundation
Coming up next week: A full schedule of discussions of super timely topics. For this fourth annual Innovate Tufts Week, the Fletcher student organizers invite all to join a week of “mindful disruption, as we deconstruct the world’s most pressing challenges, work through tangible solutions, and ultimately arrive at actionable outcomes—innovation in practice.”
Here’s the rundown of the Innovate Tufts: Fletcher Disrupts events, which I have taken directly from the email invitation I received this week. Visitors are welcome and the descriptions include the option to sign up. Note that the venues are close to Fletcher on the Tufts Medford/Somerville campus.
Fletcher Disrupts: The Refugee Crisis
Sunday, February 12, 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Cheryl A. Chase Center, Tufts University
This human-centered design workshop, led by Continuum Innovation, will address the state of the world’s refugees and internally displaced people in 2017. Following overviews by guest speakers from six Boston-based refugee organizations, participants will work together in groups to develop creative approaches to tackle varying refugee challenges, receiving feedback from practitioners and refugees as they map out solutions. Sign up here early to ensure your spot in the workshop!
Fletcher Disrupts: Dusting Off Diplomacy
Monday, February 13, 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Breed Memorial Hall, 51 Winthrop Street
This session will highlight innovative approaches to diplomacy, including climate diplomacy, culinary diplomacy, start-up diplomacy, and science diplomacy! Experts from each area will outline the idea behind their disruptive approach and discuss how it succeeds in “dusting off diplomacy.” A pitch idea exchange will follow (sign up here if you’d like to pitch your idea!), enabling demo participants active in the innovation community a chance to present their novel approaches and get on-the-spot expert feedback. Register here to attend.
Fletcher Disrupts: Colombia’s Struggle for Peace (A Case Study)
Wednesday, February 15, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Cheryl A. Chase Center, Tufts University
Using recent events in Colombia as a case study, this session will highlight innovative techniques being utilized in Colombia’s peacebuilding process. With expert facilitators, participants will delve into the four-steps of peacebuilding — conflict prevention, management, aftermath, and rebuilding — and learn about innovative peacebuilding techniques Colombia has employed in each stage and where it can move from here. Register here to attend.
Fletcher Disrupts: Networking
Thursday, February 16, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Cabot 7th Floor, Tufts University
Join us for networking disrupted—an opportunity to network with speakers and guests from throughout the week, as well as professionals from various sectors working on innovation in their fields. This “world cafe” style event will feature a roundtable setup, with each table covered in butcher paper and supplies in order to facilitate the exchange of ideas and visual tying-together of sessions from throughout the week. Register here to attend.
Tagged with: Conferences
The Admissions Blog may be the Fletcher platform that generates the most posts, but it’s not the only one out there. Take a look at these sites that update content relatively frequently.
And, of course, the personal blog of Dean James Stavridis.
Last, though this isn’t a blog, you can keep up with op-eds and other recent publications by members of the Fletcher community on the News & Media website.
Somehow I find myself more than halfway through the academic year with barely a mention of Fletcher’s three new study options. I did write earlier in the fall about one of the programs, then called the MTA — which was in the process of development even as we launched it in September — but it has taken me longer to catch up with the other new programs. Here, then, is an update.
The Master of Arts in Transatlantic Affairs (now called the MATA) will be offered, starting in September 2017, jointly with the College of Europe in Belgium. It will enable students to pursue a degree by splitting their time between the two campuses, and there is an internship component. You might have questions. So did we! And here they are, with answers. I’ve so far read a total of one MATA application, but more are in store for me.
Next up is a PhD in Economics and Public Policy, offered cooperatively by Fletcher and the Tufts University Department of Economics. The goal is for five students to enter the program each year, with the first students starting their studies in September 2017. Applications will be submitted to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, which will award the ultimate degrees.
And last, a new LLM dual-degree program with the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland will give students the opportunity to earn both a Master of Laws in International Law (LLM) from Fletcher and a Master in International Law from St. Gallen after 18 months to two years of study.
All three of the programs are profiled in this Tufts Now article.
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.
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.
Tagged with: Maritime Studies
I had a lovely Fletcher evening yesterday. First, dinner with my good pal, Helen, from the Office of Career Services. Then, we went together to see the wonderful performances from the Fletcher Performing Arts Club. There’s a lot of talent among our students! Some professors and administrators participated, too. And despite the end of fall classes and the impending exams, there was a great showing from the community.
When I talk with visitors about student organizations, I always divide them between the ones with a curricular connection and the ones that are straightforward fun or social. The Performing Arts Club belongs to that second group and it draws folks with all sorts of talents. I’m always happy if I’m able to attend their twice-yearly recitals.
I only took one photo. It’s not great, but I’ll share anyway. Here we have a student, Taji, on the piano. The violinists are Professor Burgess and Mary Dulatre, the Fletcher Registrar.
You’ll recall that a group of Fletcher students joined the climate discussions in Morocco earlier this month. The Tufts Institute of the Environment asked a few of these delegates to write about their experience. Here are two reports from second-year MALD students.
I am a second-year MALD student interested in international environment resource policy and climate change. While at COP22 in Morocco, I had the opportunity to attend several interesting discussions seeking to scale up renewable energy deployment and meet the 2-degree target if not the more ambitious 1.5 degree. This is in no way enough, and should be necessarily supplemented by the controversial phasing out of fossil fuels. The fossil fuel industry is one of the most powerful industries in the world and has an existential stake at COP22. They are also the party that has a huge role to play in workers’ welfare.
At the “Fossil fuel supply and climate policy: Key steps to enhance ambition” side event jointly organised by Stockholm Environment Institute, Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International, the speakers brought to light important research in the field of fossil fuels. They all stressed the importance of immediate action aimed at reducing carbon intensive lifestyles. It was stressed that if efforts are not made now, the world will lock in an even more heavily carbon intensive lifestyle thereby implying that the death of fossil fuels is certain. There is no greening of fossil fuel but only a complete phase out that will affect any change for climate.
Combustion of coal from federal lands accounts for more than 57 percent of all emissions from fossil-fuel production on federal lands. The Obama administration earlier this year ordered a moratorium on new leases for coal mined from federal lands which was heavily criticized by the fossil fuel industry and the Republicans. Expectedly this moratorium will be removed by the new administration. China also placed a moratorium which most of the analysts believe is due to noncompetitive nature of coal than climate change.
Greg Muttitt, Senior Campaign Advisor, Oil Change International said that it’s necessary to affect a managed decline of fossil fuel which must be complemented by rapid increase in renewable energy production. What wasn’t discussed was the need to reduce consumption as well. Behavioral change is the toughest to effect but forms an important component for responsible energy use. The Indian pavilion at COP22 can be credited to bring the theme of sustainable lifestyle to the fore. Indian Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Mr. Anil Madhav Dave opined that it’s important to adopt sustainable practices to battle climate change. In another side event organized by India, stress was placed on the importance of education that has a transformative role to play for climate action. Education, formal and informal will form the bedrock of informed choices that consumers will have to take to tackle climate change.
As discussed above, the need is to implement several measures simultaneously at the individual, national and international level to combat this catastrophe. At this point it is crucial to reiterate the need for a just transition because there will be winners and losers and inclusivity demands that nobody is left behind! Transition must take place without crippling development. Brian Kohler, Director for sustainability, Industrial Global Union spoke about the areas to be addressed for just transition from the perspective of workers with a focus on sustainable industrial policy, social protection and labor adjustments.
The road ahead requires robust data on vulnerable workers disaggregated by gender, age, skillsets, personal needs and requirements and education that would prove useful. Important questions need to be posed and answered like what kind of training and education do the workers need to undergo? How will they be trained? Is there chance of displacement? Would just transition conditions delay climate action? How would fossil fuel industry transition? A transitionary program needs to be implemented to provide the workforce with education, skills, finance and whatever help they need in the interim. Lessons from the reconstruction of Germany after the fall of the Berlin wall could be the starting point of research for a sustainable future for everyone.
And finally addressing the question of whether the fossil fuel interests should be at the heart of the discussion of their future at COP22. In the past fossil fuel interests have lobbied heavily against any productive action against climate action and has also funded researchers and think tanks to come up with a counter discourse. But would that apprehension be enough to cut them off from the discussion? Important lessons were learned when the tobacco industry lobbied against WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The lesson was in the form of Article 5.3 of this Convention that recognized the conflicting interest with tobacco industry and thereby limited its engagement and influence. This Article also prohibited accepting any funds from the tobacco industry. There are a number of opinions online which advocate similar provisions under UNFCCC for the same purpose. Last year, outrage was expressed at COP21 being financed by heavy polluters but the justification was need based as green companies did not have enough capital to fund the conference.
There are conflicting opinions shared by governments and civil societies about their inclusion in the negotiations for reasons of conflict of interest and on the other side openness and transparency. World Coal Association and many coal oil and gas industries ride the backs of Business Associations and Council to get an entry to many negotiations. Currently their observer status batch does not allow them to attend most of the sensitive negotiations but is that an effective check on the power of these lobbies? Sovereign states are well within their rights to make them a part of their party delegation that gets them access to all negotiations. Saudi Aramco is heavily represented in the Saudi Arabia delegation. Therefore, only time will tell how much cooperation or disruption they cause.
Considering we need a dialogue with all stakeholders to craft solutions for the future, it is important that we refrain from forming an echo chamber where fossil fuel industry is not included. This may prevent them from lobbying to get their way with governments in clandestine way.
Julio Rivera Alejo
At The Fletcher School I am concentrating in international energy and environmental policy with a special focus on climate policy. Before Fletcher I worked for Sustainlabour, an international foundation that works with trade unions all around the world in sustainable development issues. As part of this work I actively participated at COP20 in Lima, the round of negotiations that laid the foundation for the Paris Agreement next year at COP21. At COP20 we mobilize and worked with Peruvian’s trade unions to take a leading role amongst civil society actors participating at the negotiations in Lima.
During last summer, I worked as an intern for the United Nations Global Compact’s Climate Team in New York. The UN Global Compact climate team closely works with businesses all over the world helping them to take climate action. Today I keep collaborating with them through my Capstone Project at Fletcher. I am producing for them a research paper on the role of the private sector in the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted by the countries in the context of the Paris Agreement.
In this regard, attending COP 22 has constituted a great opportunity for advancing my research. More than closely following the actual negotiations, I was more interested in attending different side events addressing the link between non-state actors climate actions and the NDCs and the Paris Agreement. The presentations by different experts in the field at these side events provided me with insightful and valuable information and direction for my research. Furthermore, my attending the conference granted me the opportunity to personally interview some of these experts. Interestingly, one of the persons that I ended up interviewing and whose contribution was most valuable for my research was not among my initially targeted experts. I met her by total chance at one of the events I was attending. She was in the public, like me, and I noticed her when she asked a question during the Q&A directly related with my research, a question that I was going to ask!
As for the actual negotiations, COP22 is about implementing the Paris Agreement. Carbon accounting, financing and the facilitative mechanism will be the main issues this. However, more than analyzing the negotiations in detail, I would like to focus on the Global Climate Action Agenda. Previously, COPs have eminently been an intergovernmental process with non-state actors playing an essential observer role. But in Lima, the Global Climate Action Agenda was launched (back then it was known as the Lima-Paris Action Agenda), which main goal was to empower non-state actors as a key player in climate action. At COP22 we can see how the Global Climate Action Agenda has flourished, where many non-state actors attending the conference and presenting their commitments and showing their commitment towards climate action. Personally, seeing this makes me very optimistic about the Paris Agreement. Signed and ratified, it is time for implementation, and non-state actors (cities, businesses, regions, civil society) have a key role to play here.
Tagged with: CIERP
A bleary-eyed community filled Fletcher yesterday, having followed U.S. election news late into the night. And speaking of news, today I’ll share some items that you may have missed on other Fletcher sources.
First, for those who still want to read about politics, Fletcher alumnus and one-time presidential candidate Bill Richardson, F71, offered thoughts pre-election for what should happen post-election.
Among more recent alumni, Erik Iverson, F09, F13, has been selected as one of 16 White House Fellows this year. Erik was a friend of Admissions during his years here, and I’ve enjoyed keeping in touch now-and-then since his graduation.
And, in one of those typically atypical post-Fletcher careers, Marina Pevzner Hennessy, F06, was recently the subject of a Tufts Now story about Plan Bee, her venture to bring bees to Myanmar.
Though he’s not quite an alumnus, Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. President Santos spent a year at Fletcher as a research fellow in the early 1980s.
A new Fletcher scholarship has recently been endowed in the name of Harry Radcliffe, F73, an award-winning journalist with vast experience.
In faculty news, Diana Chigas, F88, has been named the University’s Associate Provost and Senior International Officer. She will be responsible for engaging leaders across the schools to enhance Tufts’ outreach, impact and visibility internationally.
Retired professor William Moomaw, who maintains his connection with Tufts as co-director of the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), recorded “How Restorative Development Can Address Climate Change” with WGBH, one of our local public radio and television stations. In the interview, he discussed industrial agriculture, synthetic fertilizers and more natural approaches to farming that will revive the health of soil, water and air.
And here are two stories that interested me, and might interest you, though the link is to Tufts University more generally, not to Fletcher.
First, a statue of famed American abolitionist, John Brown, was discovered hidden at Tufts. Beyond those basic facts is a tale of museum sleuth work and the historical connections between Tufts, its neighbors, and the Underground Railroad.
And second, the story of the creation of the Daily Skimm, by an alumna of the undergraduate program at Tufts.
Last of all, I’ll leave you with the recently-launched video introducing Fletcher to new audiences. On a personal note, I’ll add only that Kaddu Sebunya, F02, was once a student member of the Admissions Committee. And that’s what’s best about my job. I get so much from interacting with folks during this brief pause in their careers. Then off they go to do great things in whatever area they choose.
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