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Today is the first day of the 2015-2016 academic year. Orientation wrapped up last Friday, and on the agenda today is Shopping Day, during which faculty can share information about their classes and students can gather details that help them decide which classes to register for. The Shopping Day schedule is glued in below. Note that the emphasis is on new or revised classes — not every class is included on the Shopping Day calendar — and students can attend two presentations during each time slot. Learn more about the different classes here.
The start of the new academic year is also what I consider to be opening day for the blog. So…welcome, all! I encourage you to check out some of the blog’s features, such as the Student Stories and Faculty Spotlight, as well as alumni posts from graduates one year and five years post-Fletcher. We’ve had an Admissions blog since September 2006 (WOW!) and it has changed over time. These days, I try to balance straightforward admissions news and tips with posts that describe the rich Fletcher student experience. Consider subscribing for email delivery of each blog post, or simply check in often. If the content of one day’s post doesn’t interest you, the next day’s probably will.
And today marks Day One for the Admissions travel schedule. From now through November, one or more staffers will be on the road just about every day. This week, three of us are attending three different APSIA fairs, with more next week. Surprisingly, I’m the first to head out. I’m not the staff member with the busiest travel schedule, which makes it unusual that I should be the first to hit the road, but I’m in NY for tonight’s APSIA event. If you’ll be there, please plan to say hello. An alum with lots of admissions experience will be with me.
And that’s the wrap-up for the day — first day of the academic year, the blog year, and the travel calendar.
Here’s a nice bit of news about the life of a project. Harvard Business Review recently created a video about the Digital Evolution Index that was developed by Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context last spring. The project manager is Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi, F12, a graduate of the MIB program, whom the blog caught in the Hall of Flags in April. More recently, Dean Stavridis conducted an interview with Ravi, which you can find below. (The HBR video can be found here.) It’s exciting to observe the Digital Evolution Index receiving attention throughout the region and the world.
Tagged with: IBGC
Greeting me when I returned to work after a few days of vacation was a whole new incoming class! Before I even reached Fletcher on my walk from the bus, I had run into a student whom I met last September at an APSIA fair, and when we went into the Hall of Flags, the place was buzzing with students picking up materials, grabbing breakfast, and generally getting ready for a busy Orientation week. (A warm week, too! August may end today, but the summer weather continues.)
Students in all of the degree programs attend Orientation together and participate in a combination of briefings on the School, the University, and the academic program, along with social events designed to bring everyone together. Naturally, there’s a lot of self-orientation and shared exploration happening, too. (Where can I pick up groceries for the week? What’s the best route from my apartment to the School? Where’s the best place to grab a cup of coffee?) I reckon that there are moments when the information gathering feels pretty overwhelming, but by the time classes begin next week, everyone is ready to jump into the semester.
Though the routine for Orientation doesn’t change much from year to year, it still never gets old. The students are about to meet people who will be their friends forever. A few will even meet their future spouse! More fundamentally — they will lay the academic groundwork to move forward in their careers, or transition to new careers. And they will always have the Fletcher family to rely on as they move through their studies and beyond.
In case you missed it, the coming academic year will be the first for a new partnership between Fletcher and the Atlantic Council, designed to foster scholarly exchange and public outreach initiatives.
In a spring email to the community, Dean Stavridis wrote:
For many reasons, the Atlantic Council is an ideal partner for The Fletcher School. A leading non-partisan think tank in the field of international affairs, the Council shares Fletcher’s commitment to fostering a more secure and prosperous world through multidisciplinary approaches. Its headquarters provide an ideal location for convening conferences, workshops and events that resonate throughout the policy community, offering rich new opportunity for faculty and students. Its scholars and leadership — many Fletcher alumni among them — are among the world’s top thinkers, analysts and creative problem solvers.
And the press release announcing the partnership said:
This ambitious partnership matches one of the most creative and forward-thinking foreign policy think tanks with one of the world’s premier graduate institutions for international affairs. The Fletcher School will work with the Atlantic Council to further expand both organizations’ missions of catalyzing smart solutions to some of today’s most pressing global challenges.
“The Fletcher School is at the top of its game in cultivating innovative problem solvers who are fluent across disciplines and producing superior scholarship on major international trends and challenges,” said Atlantic Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe. “This partnership offers both of our organizations the chance to magnify our impact through work that draws upon our shared beliefs in democracy, freedom, trade, and openness.”
“This partnership is a perfect synergy of expertise and resources, harnessing the intellectual fire power of both institutions toward solving complex international issues,” said Admiral James Stavridis, Dean of The Fletcher School and former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO. “Our combined global networks, anchored by headquarters in DC and Boston, can more effectively move that knowledge into the public sphere, where it will have the biggest impact.”
It will be exciting to see what the partnership will bring throughout the year.
The pre-session students are here, but they’re too busy and/or new to be making news, which leaves me grasping for a topic for today’s post. I’ve reached into my magic bag of possible blog topics and pulled out a few notes on staff and faculty.
First, from one of the monthly updates we receive, news of a staff member who is also a Fletcher graduate:
Mieke van der Wansem, F90, associate director of educational programs at the Fletcher School’s Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, was senior faculty at an intensive week-long executive education program, the International Programme on the Management of Sustainability. The course, held every June in the Netherlands in partnership with the Sustainability Challenge Foundation, is designed for mid-career professionals mostly from developing countries. The training focuses on the mutual gains approach to negotiation and consensus building for sustainable development conflicts. The goal of the trainings is for professionals from many different sectors to be better able to achieve sustainable development goals through effective stakeholder engagement and negotiation.
Mieke conducts several training sessions each year, and was in South Africa earlier in the spring for a similar program. The Center for International Environment and Resource Policy has a particularly active research and practice agenda.
Next, a Tufts Now story about the (relatively) new director of the The Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, Dr. Nadim Shehadi. In the article, he notes that The Fares Center is important “because profound misunderstanding of the complexities of the Middle East is prolonging suffering and violence. The center could help frame discussion about the region, taking advantage of the Fletcher School’s international reputation and its alumni, who are influential in every corner of the globe.”
In faculty news, last spring, a student pointed out that Professor Elizabeth Prodromou, F83, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs (Helsinki Commission), “speaking on genocide denial, ‘memoricide’ and the industry of denialism. The Congressman who spoke after her mentioned that he’s never heard the subject explained so well.”
And, finally, Professor Jeswald Salacuse sent us a link to a long video interview with a Hawaii television program that he did on his most recent book, Negotiating Life. The interview is interesting, and Fletcher is one of the stars. It originally ran some time back, but I’m making up for having never included it on the blog.
Without realizing how much I would enjoy it, I accepted an invitation to the program completion ceremony for the Tufts English language course that some of our incoming students attended this summer. For the past six weeks, they have been working on their research, writing, speaking, and presentation skills, in order to prepare for Fletcher classes. While accomplishing those primary missions of the program, they also had a chance to meet lots of the Fletcher cast of characters (the dean, the international student advisor, a research librarian, current and recently graduated students), and generally learn their way around town.
The ceremony reflected a successful program, with smiles and hugs all around. So, although they haven’t yet matriculated, a small group of incoming students has already experienced its first graduation.
Despite Fletcher’s underpopulated summer feel, there are several groups in regular attendance in the building:
Staff, of course. Unless we’re taking vacation days, nearly all of us work through the summer.
Faculty, in small numbers. Many professors like to use their offices for their summer research or course preparation, and they can be found crossing the Hall of Flags in their casual summer attire.
Workers, many in hardhats. Each summer, there’s sure to be some maintenance or construction activity that is best done when the building is quiet. This year, the fire alarm system is being upgraded — an important improvement that, like most infrastructure projects, is unlikely to draw much attention from students.
GMAP students! With a one-week gap, GMAP hosted the final two-week residency for one class group and, today, welcomes a new group. They’ll be on campus for the next two weeks and then again to graduate in July 2016. In January, the class will meet in a special international location. I haven’t heard yet where that will be, but I know that the group that started its year of studies in March will be gathering in Brussels next month for their midterm residency.
The GMAP residency is fairly intensive and GMAP students, who are generally well-along in their careers, aren’t often found hanging around in the Hall of Flags. But their presence in the building is clear and it’s nice to add them to our summer mix.
Tagged with: GMAP
Today I’m going to share the writing of others. Tufts has several publications — online and traditional — and two recent stories about Fletcher caught my eye.
The first (which I saw on the online TuftsNow site) was written by Elliot Ackerman, F03, who shares his belief that universities should recruit more veterans. Elliot was a writer-in-residence (our first!) at Fletcher this past spring, coinciding with the publication of his novel, Green on Blue. He is also a decorated veteran, who enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps after completing the dual BA/MALD degree.
The second story appeared in “Blueprint,” the publication of the University’s development office. It describes the origin of the new Topol Fellowship and the additional funds that Sid Topol donated to expand Fletcher’s “long-standing commitment to the study of nonviolent resistance.” You can also see the article on page 6 of the Blueprint down below.
Finally, not from a Tufts publication, but related to the story on the Topol Fellowship, comes this blog post from Benjamin Naimark-Rowse, a PhD candidate and the first recipient of the Topol Fellowship. He notes that his piece, “The Founding Myth of the United States of America,” is “about how nonviolent resistance is at the heart of the story of our independence struggle, or at least it should be.”
At Fletcher, we refer to International Security Studies in two ways. First, as the Field of Study that is among the most commonly pursued by students. Second, for the International Security Studies Program, which offers extremely robust programming throughout the year. Despite the important place that Security Studies (in both its meanings) occupies at Fletcher, I have not always done my part in spreading the word. Making up for that lapse is going to be a focus of my blog work for 2015-16, and there’s no time like the present to start. To do so, I reached out to my old friends, Prof. Shultz and Prof. Pfaltzgraff to ask for information. It happened they had just completed a report for one of the organizations that funds their work (and that of many master’s-level and PhD students). Today, I’m going to share excerpts of that report. This is a long post, but the extra length is needed to capture the broad scope of ISSP activites.
International Security Studies at The Fletcher School
With the beginning of 2015-16, the International Security Studies Program (ISSP) will enter its 45th year at The Fletcher School, and International Security Studies remains at the cutting edge of The Fletcher School’s multidisciplinary curriculum. Through its many graduates and other efforts, ISSP has a major impact in shaping strategic thought and analysis in and beyond the political-military affairs community. Many ISSP graduates have gone on to important positions of responsibility in the United States and abroad, including General Joseph Dunford, incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and currently Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Course Offerings & Curriculum Development
ISSP offers a range of courses that examine conflict and war; strategy and statecraft; crisis management; regional security; intelligence; homeland security; proliferation; national security decision making; and terrorism. Our courses are theoretical and policy-oriented, as well as historical and contemporary, and reflect and anticipate a rapidly changing security environment, while providing instruction on the basic and timeless issues of strategy, statecraft, conflict, and war. During the 2014-2015 academic year, seventeen courses were offered in International Security Studies or closely related areas including: The Role of Force in International Politics, International Humanitarian Law; Internal Conflicts and War; Proliferation-Counterproliferation and Homeland Security Issues; The Evolution of Grand Strategy; Foundations of International Cybersecurity; The Strategic Dimensions of China’s Rise; Modern Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism; Peace Operations; Foreign Relations and National Security Law. In support of our curriculum, ISSP sponsors a high-level guest lecture series, an annual conference, a colloquium series, a crisis simulation exercise, and occasional field trips.
ISSP Student Research Supervision
During the 2014-2015 academic year the Security Studies faculty supervised a large number of student research papers, including seven MA theses and 15 MALD Capstone Projects. Currently 18 students are working on PhD dissertations under supervision of Security Studies faculty. Between 1971 and 2015 a total of 201 dissertations in the ISSP were completed and the PhD awarded. International Security Studies remains among the most popular fields as well as the largest Field of Study at Fletcher.
During the 2014-2015 academic year nine mid-level officers were assigned to the ISSP in lieu of spending a year at one of the various service War Colleges. This year’s group included two Air Force, one Navy, four Army, and one National Guard officer, and one senior official from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The mid-career military fellows, who pursue special research projects at Fletcher, bring an unusual set of experiences, expertise, and knowledge that adds greatly to our curriculum.
“Outside the Classroom” Educational Programs
Beyond its course offerings, the ISSP sponsors various “outside-the-classroom” activities designed to enrich the education of our students by addressing the emerging issues of 21st century international security.
IFPA-Fletcher Conference Series
Central to our programmatic activities are high-level conferences. These conferences help to publicize the Security Studies field in the broader national security/foreign policy communities. This year the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA) and ISSP joined together to organize and facilitate “Symposium on New Dynamics in Japanese Security Policy,” a one-day symposium at Fletcher to promote an informed exchange of views on the new dynamics of Japan’s security policy and their implications for U.S.-Japanese strategic cooperation going forward.
The symposium provided a unique opportunity for a select group of Japanese and American policy experts, academics, business leaders, and officials to review and explain in some depth key aspects of the Abe administration’s defense and foreign policy reforms aimed at facilitating Japan’s emergence as a “proactive contributor to peace” at both the regional and global levels. The Honorable Hideshi Tokuchi, F86, Vice Minister for International Affairs at Japan’s Ministry of Defense, was the keynote speaker for the luncheon.
Crisis Simulation Exercise (SIMULEX)
Each year, as part of the seminar on Crisis Management and Complex Emergencies, ISSP includes a weekend crisis simulation exercise. The 40th anniversary of SIMULEX event was held on November 7-8, 2014 and had more than 160 participants from The Fletcher School and the outside community. The scenario was entitled “Baltic Crisis and a Chaotic Middle East.”
Lectures by outside experts on topics related to international security remain an important dimension of ISSP. These presentations, usually in a luncheon/lecture setting, take place throughout the academic year. Our objective is to draw speakers from a broad cross-section of the professional civilian and military communities, and to design the lecture format in such a way as to give our students maximum opportunity to meet with such experts. Among the speakers sponsored by the ISSP during the 2014-2015 academic year were:
Major General Yaakov Amidror, former Israeli National Security Advisor: Israel’s Security Challenge.
Dr. Daniel Fine, Research Associate at the Mining and Minerals Resources Institute, MIT: Geopolitics of Russian Oil and Gas: Limits of Sanctions and Counter-Sanctions.
Sigrid Kaag, former Special Coordinator of the joint Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and United Nations mission to eliminate the chemical weapons program of the Syrian Arab Republic: Effective Multilateralism, The Experience of Chemical Weapons Elimination in Syria.
VADM Frank C. Pandolfe, Director for Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5), Joint Staff: Global Trends and International Security.
ADM Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations: The Future of Naval Operations.
Dr. David McKean, Director of Policy Planning at the Department of State: Foreign Policy Challenges in a Changing World.
Dr. Alexander Mirtchev, president of Krull Corp., USA: Rebalancing the Global Security Disequilibrium: Dealing with the Challenges to the Post-Cold War Order in the Universally-Securitized World.
Dr. Hassan Abbas, F02, F08, professor and chair of the Department of Regional and Analytical Studies at National Defense University’s College of International Security Affairs: Taliban and ISIS: A Comparative Analysis and Future Prospects.
Rebecca Ulam Weiner, Director of Intelligence Analysis for the NYPD Intelligence Bureau: Al Qa’eda and ISIS Messaging to the West.
Slobodan Djinovic and Srdja Popovic, Chairman and Executive Director respectively of CANVAS (the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies): Strategic Nonviolent Resistance in the 21st Century: Lessons Learned from the Arab Spring, Ukraine, and Hong Kong.
General Joseph Votel, Commanding General of the U.S. Special Operations Command: USSOCOM and the Challenges Associated with Russian Aggression.
General Knud Bartels, current Chairman of the NATO Military Committee: Security Challenges facing NATO.
General Frank Grass, Chief, National Guard Bureau: The Modern Day Minuteman — The National Guard in the 21st Century.
Major General and Professor Isaac Ben-Israel, former Director of Defence R&D in the Israeli Ministry of Defence, and currently professor at the University of Tel-Aviv and Deputy Director of the Hartog School of Government and Policy: The Israeli Cyber Ecosystem: Combining Industry, Government, and Academia.
Lt. General John Nicholson, Commander of Allied Land Command (LANDCOM), NATO: An overview of NATO’s Land Command, its mission and priorities, and Russia’s Impact on NATO.
NATO Parliamentarians Conference, featuring:
Dr. Robert Legvold, Visiting Professor, The Fletcher School, and Marshall D. Shulman Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Columbia University: Perspectives on U.S.–Russian Relations.
Dr. Kostas A. Lavdas is Professor of Hellenic and European Studies, The Fletcher School, and Professor of European Politics and Director of the Centre for Political Research and Documentation (KEPET) at the University of Crete: A Transatlantic Relationship for the 21st Century: Advancing Collective Security through Complementarity and Effective Burden Sharing.
Dr. Sung-yoon Lee, F94, F98, is the Kim Koo-Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies, and Assistant Professor, The Fletcher School: Five Myths about North Korea.
Fellowships to ISSP Students
With support from several external foundations and fellowships, during the 2014-2015 academic year, ISSP granted tuition assistance and research support to a total of 39 master’s-level and PhD students, along with support for two student-organized academic activities.
Planned Activities (as of June 2015)
On November 13-14, 2015, ISSP will hold our annual weekend simulation, Simulex 2015.
In 2015-2016, ISSP will host one Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel, one Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel, one Army Lieutenant Colonel, and one Army Colonel as senior research fellows, in lieu of their studies at the Army War College, along with one Navy Federal Executive Fellow.
The core ISSP faculty is comprised of three professors: Richard Shultz, Director of the ISSP and Professor of International Politics; Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of International Security Studies; and Antonia Chayes, Professor of Practice in International Politics and Law. In addition, ISSP faculty includes two adjunct professors: Toshi Yoshihara, F04, John A. van Beuren Chair of Asia-Pacific Studies and professor of strategy in the Strategy and Policy Department at the U.S. Naval War College; and James Forest, Director and Professor of Security Studies, University of Massachusetts Lowell.
ISSP has also added to its core faculty a new Professor of Practice, Michelle Malvesti, F00. Professor Malvesti worked for several years in the U.S. Intelligence Community as a Middle East terrorism analyst at the Joint Special Operations Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency. More recently her government service included Senior Director for Combating Terrorism Strategy for the Directorate for Combating Terrorism in the National Security Council, where she advised President Bush and his administration on US counterterrorism policy and strategy. During the Obama Administration she co-chaired the Presidential study review that reformed the White House organization for homeland security and counter terrorism.
Tagged with: ISSP
Though (long ago), I had regular contact with the office of the Tufts University chaplain, I was definitely due for an update on the chaplaincy’s work on campus. Reverend Greg McGonigle recently provided just such a refresher in a presentation to the Fletcher staff. We learned (among other things) that Fletcher students are frequently involved in the chaplaincy’s programs and religious services, which cover all the traditional religious traditions and then go far beyond. One project, in particular, is worth highlighting today.
The chaplaincy is co-sponsoring the University’s Common Reading Program, this year featuring Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation. In an email, Reverend McGonigle invites members of the community “to read the book and join in the conversation on this year’s theme of religious and philosophical pluralism and interfaith cooperation.” And Tufts President Anthony Monaco, in his letter to incoming undergraduates, wrote, that Eboo Patel’s “personal story explores important questions of community, compassion, and commitment and resonates strongly with our core values of active citizenship and global engagement.” The connection to Fletcher students’ interests couldn’t be closer.
I’d like to do my part and encourage incoming (and returning) students to join incoming undergraduates and the broader community in reading (or, at least, becoming familiar with) Acts of Faith. By doing so, you’ll be best able to appreciate the on-campus talk by author Eboo Patel on Monday, September 21.
Tufts has a good record of selecting interesting, vital, and timely books for this project. Last summer’s The Other Wes Moore turned out to be an important primer for unfortunate events in the U.S. during the year. I’ll be adding Acts of Faith to my reading for the remainder of the summer, and I hope many Fletcher students will accept Reverend McGonigle’s invitation to do so, too.
Tagged with: Tufts
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