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A few weeks back, I pointed readers toward the book lists that I had compiled in past years for incoming students. Along the way, I was included (essentially for eavesdropping purposes) in an email discussion among a few professors, who were each considering what books might be included in a list of foundational readings for their corner of the International Affairs field. A more complete list may become a reality in the future, but for now, I wanted to share the introductory list.
Ian Johnstone, Fletcher’s academic dean, recommended this “short list of influential IR books that spill over into international law and organizations”:
Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics
Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye, Power and Interdependence
Martha Finnemore and Michael Barnett, Rules for the World: International Organizations in Global Politics
Rosalyn Higgins, Problems and Process: International Law and How We Use It
Prof. Joel Trachtman noted:
“I would recommend Rethinking Social Inquiry, edited by Henry Brady and David Collier, as an introduction to how we know and argue in social science. For an introduction to international law, there’s Sean Murphy’s Principles of International Law.”
Prof. Michael Klein wrote:
“For a background book, I would suggest Alan Blinder’s book on the financial and economic crisis, After the Music Stopped.”
Finally, for this very short list, Prof. Alan Henrikson said:
“My top candidate for inclusion on such a list now is Robert Gates, Duty, a truly instructive book about American government and much more, including personal ethics and the dilemmas of public policy.”
Naturally, I’m still not assigning reading for blog readers, but I wanted to share what I had learned.
Tagged with: Professors suggest
A few pieces of news worth sharing have passed my way recently.
First, Tufts University’s news service recently highlighted the thoughts of two Fletcher faculty members. In a recent “Tufts Now” newsletter, we read Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti‘s ideas regarding the future of money, and also Prof. Kelly Sims Gallagher‘s views on how the U.S. could take a lesson from China on competing in the clean-energy market.
For that matter, and this is actually BIG news that I have neglected, I should also note that Prof. Gallagher will be on leave from Fletcher in 2014-15 to work in The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She is serving as Senior Policy Advisor and will be working on climate change and energy policy, as well as international climate policy. You can read more here.
This week, I heard from two continuing students whose writing has been picked up by major publications. Emily Cole wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Times about health care for Peace Corps Volunteers, a topic the Times has been covering lately. Ameya Naik wrote a column for Mint, the Indian edition of the Wall Street Journal. He pointed out that one hyperlink in the piece (“modern terrorism”) takes you to a Huffington Post column by another continuing student, Tara Dominic. Ameya also has a blog, which is a combination of his own writing and compiled writing of other people.
Blog posts have a short shelf life, and most readers don’t dig too deep into the archives. For that reason, I thought I’d share some of the most “liked” posts of this past year, as generated by the button below each post. Click on the photo below to take you to the original blog post or the feature series that it was part of.
First, and probably the blog post that has received the greatest number of “likes” ever, was Devon Cone’s report on her five years after Fletcher. It’s a lovely story that has drawn several particularly warm comments. If you enjoy reading about Devon’s post-Fletcher path, consider scrolling through all of the Five Year Updates.
Each of the posts in the Faculty Spotlight series was well received, and I couldn’t possibly choose among the professors, so I invite you to read all of their self-introductions. Click on Prof. Klein’s photo to the left, and then scroll through the posts I collected in 2013-2014. More to come this fall!
Incoming students have told me that they appreciated reading the stories of current students, and everyone was happy for Roxanne when she received the Presidential Award for Citizenship. To catch up with everything that Roxanne, Mirza, Scott, Diane, Liam, and Mark wrote this year, check out all the Student Stories.
Also informative for prospective students have been the updates from students in their first year post-Fletcher. Given the favorable response, I was proactive this year — I lined up a big bunch of students who graduated in May and who volunteered to write about the post-Fletcher career they hadn’t yet started. I’ll begin collecting the posts at the end of the fall. (As I write this, Margot’s post has exactly 100 likes.)
I enjoyed reading the posts students wrote about their activities during the academic year. I learned about things I had never even heard of! In addition to the post on the Human Rights Practicum, the one on the International Criminal Court Simulation was particularly well liked, but go ahead and check out the complete collection of Cool Stuff posts.
Finally, there were lots of likes for a few stories about particular students or alumni — posts that weren’t part of a blog feature series.
I don’t do it too often, but sometimes I can’t resist a nice wedding story. And with a Fletcher professor officiating at the ceremony, they don’t get much more Fletcherish than Megan and Sebastian’s event last summer.
The common element in nearly all these most-liked posts is that they were written by students, alumni, or professors. The few that I wrote myself tell the stories of students or alumni. That gives me a strong hint about areas on which to focus blog posts in 2014-2015!
Though summer reading is no more required this week than it was last week, I wanted to share some recent books by members of the Fletcher community, both faculty members and graduates. I can’t ensure that the list is comprehensive, but with topics from brand management to grand strategy, the new publications provide a nice picture of the breadth of interests at Fletcher.
Books by faculty
Kelly Sims Gallagher, The Globalization of Clean Energy Technology
Robert Pfaltzgraff (with Jacquelyn K. Davis), Anticipating a Nuclear Iran
Joel Trachtman, The Future of International Law: Global Government
Jeswald Salacuse, Negotiating Life: Secrets for Everyday Diplomacy and Deal Making
Books recently or soon-to-be published by recent graduates
Benedetta Berti, Armed Political Organizations: From Conflict to Integration
Nathalie Laidler-Kylander, The Brand IDEA: Managing Nonprofit Brands with Integrity, Democracy and Affinity
Alison Lawlor Russell, Cyber Blockades
And two others
Finally, a less recent graduate, Bill Richardson F’71, has published How to Sweet-Talk a Shark: Strategies and Stories from a Master Negotiator. Prof. Salacuse also wrote a review essay of the book for Negotiation Journal. Check it out for a nice description of Ambassador Richardson’s career.
Tagged with: Supplementary reading
I was asked last week whether the Admissions Blog would feature a list of recommended readings for incoming students this year. As it happens, I wasn’t planning to gather a new list, but I’m happy to be able to point you back toward suggestions provided by our professors in previous years. I’ve gathered all the posts, dating back to 2007, in a cleaned up Professors Suggest tag.
Though no reading at all is required in the summer before you enroll, you might want to pick up a book to get your mind around upcoming coursework. Or maybe you just want to see how many of the listed books you have already read. Not all the suggestions are heavy — at least one of the posts includes a few fiction options.
Tagged with: Professors suggest
Tufts produces an online newsletter roughly weekly, and I often comb through the People Notes to see if there’s any interesting news on Fletcher folk. Here are recent notes about two members of the Fletcher faculty:
William Moomaw, professor emeritus of international environmental policy at The Fletcher School and former director of the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, recently returned from a board meeting of the Climate Group in London. Moomaw is president of the North American board of directors of the Climate Group, which met to celebrate the organization’s 10th anniversary and to develop a strategic plan on joint emissions reduction for the next two to three years. Moomaw co-chaired Fletcher’s third Arctic inquiry, “Warming Arctic: Development, Stewardship and Science,” on March 3–4. Additionally, he chaired the closing panel of the Tufts Energy Conference, “The Great Debate: Renewables vs. Fossil Fuels vs. Development.” The Fletcher Forum launched the 2014 Global Risk Forum on climate change with his article “From Failure to Success: Reframing the Climate Treaty.” Moomaw also headed an advisory team that evaluated the environmental studies program at Bowdoin College.
Joel Trachtman, professor of international law at The Fletcher School, was awarded the International Studies Association’s 2014 award for best book on international law for The Future of International Law: Global Government, published last year by Cambridge University Press. The International Law Book Award recognizes a work that excels in originality, significance, and rigor and represents outstanding contributions to the field of international law.
Here’s a nice bit of Fletcher news. Two faculty projects are among the nine selected for special attention and funding from the University provost through the “Tufts Innovates!” program, designed to find new ways to enhance learning and teaching across the university. These descriptions reached us this week:
Charting Negotiation, Mediation and Conflict Resolution in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Lessons from Theory and Practice. Students at the Fletcher School will learn to apply negotiation and conflict resolution theories, with emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Presentations by senior-level practitioners and policymakers will be available campus-wide, providing an opportunity for community learning. The principal investigator is Nadim N. Rouhana, professor of international negotiation and conflict studies. Also on the team developing the course is Michael Baskin, Fletcher PhD candidate.
Human Security Core Course Development. Human security is about the well-being of people rather than of the state, as encompassing as the economy, environment and food. Eileen Babbitt, professor of international conflict resolution practice at the Fletcher School, will lead the development of a multidisciplinary course that explores the theories and applications of human security, focused on one country undergoing conflict or transition. The goal is to offer the course in the spring 2015 semester. Also on the team developing the course is Professor Alex de Waal.
Check out the full article for more details on “Tufts Innovates!”
Today’s post comes from Leila Fawaz, Issam M. Fares Professor of Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean Studies. Prof. Fawaz holds a dual appointment between Fletcher and the Department of History at Tufts. She currently teaches The Arabs and their Neighbors and War and Society in the Middle East in Historical Perspective.
When I started my teaching career in the early 1980s, I used to tell my students that Turkey was not a Thanksgiving dinner, but a country of great importance. Today, I do not need to worry about our students knowing where Turkey or other countries of that region are. The Middle East is at the center of world affairs and every high school student, and certainly any advanced student, knows of its crucial importance to the United States and to the rest of the world. It is unfortunate that perennial conflicts have triggered much of our current awareness of the interdependence of all parts of the globe, yet I find it deeply rewarding to teach at The Fletcher School, where students and faculty are committed to global awareness, and where we can pursue further knowledge at the highest level of scholarship.
I love Fletcher because of its openness to different viewpoints and its commitment to internationalism. Faculty and staff are aware that our students, who come from all over the world, are our most prized charge. Students learn from one another, expose one another to different cultures and ways of thinking, and learn to respect viewpoints that they do not necessarily agree with. All of us at Fletcher are exposed to diverse cultures on a daily basis and are better teachers, and people, for it. We, the faculty, come from different disciplines, which adds a rare and important intellectual dimension to our ability to communicate with colleagues who, at other schools and institutions, are dispersed throughout departments and do not have the privilege of working together closely, on a continuous basis, as we do.
Not that I ever thought I would devote my career to education. I came to the United States in the 1970s to complete my graduate education, as so many people from other countries do, fully expecting to return to my home country of Lebanon. I never planned to have a career, and there was no pressure on me to get more education. Very simply, I loved to read and continued to do so until I found myself with the highest degree I could possibly get, a Ph.D. After that, I discovered that research continued to fascinate me and teaching energized me, so I forged forward, a bit haphazardly, in a wonderful career that brought me many rewards. The primary reward is the privilege of getting to know students who are as international and as challenging as ours are.
In graduate school, I sometimes thought that what I had to say was not important enough to express loudly, only to hear the student next to me express similar ideas with confidence. I learned that we cannot wait for perfection to get involved and that the best way to improve oneself and others is to do just that, by following one’s passions. Do not worry about taking “practical” courses that will improve your career. Study what you love; you will excel, and then you can learn how to acquire any additional skills you need. By studying at Fletcher, you’ll learn to follow your passion intellectually in a rich and energizing community, united in its love of the School and its trust in your future.
Tagged with: Faculty Spotlight
Whether on paper or online, reading the newspaper is nothing new to Fletcher, but the MIB program has recently given new meaning to the phrase. Kristen tells us more.
This academic year, the MIB program has launched a new lecture series called Fletcher Reads the Newspaper. The series gathers Fletcher faculty and guests to debate, from an interdisciplinary perspective, several sides of a recent business-connected news item. Topics this year ranged from the Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh to Edward Snowden’s impact on Google.
The goal of Fletcher Reads the Newspaper is to bring the faculty’s multiple viewpoints together for students in a way that doesn’t always happen in a classroom setting. Once the professors have established the context for the problem, Dean Chakravorti runs a case-style discussion through which student attendees solve a problem related to the challenge. These sessions give students the opportunity to be analytical and thoughtful about the headlines we see every day.
You can read more about recent sessions, including full event reports, on our website.
Tagged with: MIB
Returning to our Faculty Spotlight series, today’s post comes from Christopher (Rusty) Tunnard, Professor of Practice of International Business. Prof. Tunnard currently teaches Field Studies in Global Consulting and Social Networks in Organizations, a two-part modular course.
What’s the connection between identifying competition and cooperation between Somali warlords, discovering patterns of collaboration in the global arms market (pictured below), finding the right people to help start a business in Tanzania, shaping the media coverage of conflict in Syria, and helping teenaged girls from Islamic countries find ways to connect and to share information on gender-based issues? Besides being very “Fletcheresque” in their geographic and intellectual breadth, these are all topics that have been tackled by students in my class on Social Networks in Organizations, a course that I have been teaching at Fletcher since 2011.
If you had told me ten years ago that I’d write a doctoral dissertation on the development of resistance networks in Serbia during the Milosevic era using social network analysis (SNA) and would later create courses in this fledgling discipline appropriate for a graduate school of international relations, I might have suggested that you seek professional help. But that is exactly what I did, and I thank my lucky stars—and my advisors and students—for making it possible for me to undertake this journey.
One of the many fascinating things about SNA is that it is truly multi-disciplinary. At the annual meeting of SNA practitioners, you’ll find doctors, intelligence and military analysts, mathematicians, physicists, sociologists, business consultants, anthropologists, financial analysts, political scientists, and many more. Everyone, it seems, is interested in examining how people are connected, how they influence the networks they’re in, and how those networks shape the thinking, behavior, and actions of the individuals who comprise them. SNA has played a major role in uncovering bin Laden’s location, reducing the spread of AIDS in Africa, and identifying the key players in dodgy financial schemes (starting with the Enron case.) Although SNA has been around in academia for a few decades, it was a very simple network map of the 9/11 terrorists that rocketed it to prominence. This map, constructed from open-source data, showed that all the terrorist hijackers were within one step, or directly linked, to two individuals with direct ties to bin Laden, whom the government had been investigating for a year before the attack.
Since 2005, the incredible growth of social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter has redoubled the effort to understand how social networks form and can be used to promote political action (think Twitter and the Egyptian resistance) and increase the effectiveness of viral marketing (think Facebook, Google and Amazon). Images such as the one pictured here depict how Twitter users disseminate ideas and issues quickly around the world through mentions and retweets. In this case, it’s a conference hashtag that has, by midday of a full-day session, spread well beyond the core group of conference attendees and followers clustered in the middle.
Two recent developments further illustrate the pervasiveness of SNA. The Snowden revelations have, for better or worse, led to a wider appreciation of how network analysts can identify potential people of interest by looking at patterns of mobile-phone calls without using any of the content. Elsewhere, people are using a combination of SNA and sentiment analysis (ranking the relative “temperature” of words used to describe something) to look at both the spread and intensity of ideas in such diverse applications as new-product marketing on social media and identifying potential political hot-spots before they develop, by examining how issues are being discussed and mapping their velocity and geography.
While SNA is only one diagnostic tool in the arsenal of analytic techniques, it is fast becoming a must-have skill for analysts and managers alike. Its broad appeal may be due to the fact that it employs both left- and right-brain skills first to visualize and then to analyze often counter-intuitive networks of connections that cannot be easily addressed by other means. And SNA can be done using data that governments, NGOs, and companies already collect.
This is an exciting field to inhabit, both academically and professionally, and Fletcher provides me with the opportunity both to teach this new set of skills and to learn from students whose passions and interests span the entire range of international relations.
Tagged with: Faculty Spotlight
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