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World Elephant DayI’m informed by Ginn Library’s Ellen McDonald that today is World Elephant Day and Tufts is joining the fight to stop poaching and ivory trafficking.  A new initiative, Jumbos for Jumbos, seeks “to achieve tangible outcomes that will advance elephant conservation, as well as educate the university and community at large.”  Ellen also wrote about the challenges faced by elephants for the Fletcher Forum.

With the resources of our veterinary college and with an elephant (Jumbo, of course) as the university mascot, supporting the conservation of elephants is a natural cause for Tufts University.

 

 

The Tufts Digital Library each year collects and catalogues Fletcher students’ capstone projects, which can then be found from the research section of the Fletcher web site.  Each year I see the call for capstones, but fail to note when they are available online.  So with considerable delay, let me point you toward the capstones for the class of 2015 and earlier.  With topics ranging from South-South Technology Cooperation to Terrorism and Freedom of Expression: An Econometric Analysis, the titles provide a nice picture of the scope of interests among Fletcher students.

I’ll try to link to the most recent capstones as soon as they’re available later this fall.

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With the second of the two U.S. major-party political conventions having concluded last night, it seems like a good time to mention a Tufts initiative for this year.  Here’s information we’ve received about JumboVote.

Tufts University has launched JumboVote 2016 as a multifaceted, university-wide initiative to boost political learning, engagement, and voting in this year’s presidential election—and beyond.  Spearheaded by Tisch College with support from the Office of the Provost, there are JumboVote 2016 representatives in every Tufts school and major administrative department, as well as among the student body.  The student-driven initiative is working to facilitate voter registration, tackle barriers for Tufts students to vote in local communities, increase voter education, and support events and programs that foster political engagement.  To learn more, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter, check out our web site, and/or join our email list and share event ideas here.  Funding will be available for student-run events, and we want to engage undergraduates and graduate students at all Tufts campuses.  In addition, all members of the Tufts community may use tufts.turbovote.org to register to vote (in Massachusetts or your home state), request an absentee ballot, and/or sign up for text and email reminders.

JumboVote fits nicely into the Tufts philosophy of promoting active citizenship.  Although it may appear geared to U.S. students, JumboVote also represents an excellent opportunity for international students to learn more about the U.S. political system through the lens of the November 2016 election.

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I’ve decided to focus much more of my energy on finding Fletcher couples.  My long-term goal will be to have a lovely collection to share on Valentine’s Day.  Shorter term, I’m just delighted to hear from folks whose relationships formed on campus.

Hanneke + AndrewWe first read about Hanneke when she told us how she heard about her admission to Fletcher.  More recently, she reported on her first year post-Fletcher.  And today, I’m so happy to tell you about her wedding last spring to Andrew, a fellow MALD student.  Although Andrew started his Fletcher studies one year after Hanneke, they both graduated in 2014 because she took an extra year to complete a dual degree with The Friedman School.  Hanneke was a multi-year friend of Admissions — volunteer interviewer, member of the Admissions Committee — and one of these students we are sorry to say goodbye to.  But we’ve kept in touch and I couldn’t be happier that she and Andrew (whom I regret I didn’t get to know) met here!

Some details from their story that Hanneke provided:

  • At the April 2012 Admitted Students Open House, Andrew sat in on a student panel.  Hanneke was one of the presenting students.  He mentioned this to her when they re-met in fall 2012.
  • They started dating in fall 2013, during her third year and his second year, largely helped along by time spent together with Fletcher Runners.
  • They got engaged in Johannesburg in 2015 while she was living in Malawi.
  • Their wedding was in Austin, Texas, at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  (Note the beautiful wildflowers in their photo.)
  • Fletcher was very well represented at the wedding and on the dance floor.
  • The tie that Andrew and his groomsmen wore is from their classmate Dan’s Corridor NYC clothing line.

Hanneke is currently working with the World Food Programme in their Siem Reap, Cambodia office, as part of the Leland International Hunger Fellows program.  Andrew has been conducting research remotely for a U.S. based organization.  Soon, they will be moving to Phnom Penh, where they will stay for another year.

And here’s the Fletcher contingent.  So many familiar faces — I love Fletcher weddings!

Hanneke + Andrew, Fletcher guests

 

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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.

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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

 

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