One of the perks of working (or studying) on a university campus is that there’s all sorts of interesting stuff going on that may have nothing to do with my day-to-day.  An example: One afternoon last week, I walked out of the office and five minutes later was standing in Tisch Library (the main Tufts library), checking out an exhibit of the photography of Robert Frank.  This “pop-up” exhibit, with books, videos, and photographs spread throughout the main level (including in the Tower Café), has gained quite a bit of attention, and was a great way to connect with Frank’s work.  (Apologies for my less-than-artistic photos, taken on my phone.)

From Tisch, I wandered further down the hill and, another five minutes later, I was at the Aidekman Arts Center, where I wanted to check out one exhibit, but ended up visiting four.

The first, which awaited visitors barely inside the door, displayed photographs from the Philippines by one of the university’s staff photographers, Alonso Nichols.  (Nice overlap between art and international concerns.)

The second was a small exhibit of photographs of South Asia connected with a Kashmir Conference.  This photo was taken by Professor Ayesha Jalal.

Next up was a display on either side of a hallway, titled “Pilgrim Father/illegal son,” comparing the experiences of William Bradford, who traveled to what is now Massachusetts aboard the Mayflower, and a recent Chinese immigrant, who like Bradford, arrived without official documentation.  The artist, Wen-Ti Tsen, spent time in residence at Tufts this semester, but the exhibit has traveled.  Here is Wen-Ti Tsen’s description of his work.

Finally, I reached my original destination, Aidekman’s main gallery, where the featured display was a full-room mural by Chinese artist Yuan Yunsheng.  Yuan spent time at Tufts in the 1980s and painted a mural within Wessell Library.  The larger Tisch library was built around Wessell, but the original wall on which the mural was displayed doesn’t exist anymore.  Neither, it turns out, does nearly any other Tufts wall large enough to display the mural.  Segments of the mural have been exhibited in recent years, but the remainder has been kept in storage.  For the new exhibit at Aidekman, the mural was displayed in full on the only wall at the University large enough for it.  Curiously, it has a door cut into it, representing where there would have been a door in its original Wessell Library site.  The articles I’ve linked to have some photos, but here’s a piece of what I saw.

I’m going to try to get back to Aidekman for another visit to the mural.  By the time I had visited Tisch and the other three Aidekman exhibits, I wasn’t left with much time, but I’m glad to be able to give you a sense of the vibrant campus arts scene.  And if you happen to want to know more about Yuan Yunsheng, here’s a video from the Tufts Digital Design Studio.

 

Following their return from the Arctic Circle Assembly last month, the Fletcher Maritime Program encouraged students to share their observations in a blog post, and then asked me whether I would be interested in including the posts in the Admissions Blog.  Of course I would!  I’m not sure how many I’ll receive, but today Ana Nichols Orians, a first-year MALD student, writes of her experience in Iceland.

“South Pole at Top of Earth” by Joaquin Torres García.

When I was in college, Latin American writer and activist Eduardo Galeano’s salient prose guided much of my thinking.  One message stood out: we must question the traditional narratives reinforcing colonial dynamics in global politics.  In his book, Upside Down: A Primer for the Looking Glass World, Galeano presents Joaquín Torres García’s map of an upside down Latin America.  From this viewpoint, the global south is emphasized by its proximity to the sun and the moon.

Prior to the Arctic Circle Assembly, Joaquin Garcia’s map was the closest I had ever gotten to thinking about the poles.  I remain dedicated to the idea of focusing on Latin America, especially in terms of reaching my professional goals of being a negotiator on topics pertaining to food, climate, and sustainability.  Attending the Arctic Circle Assembly might not seem like the most logical step towards professional realization.  Yet attending offered the possibility of discovering a more dynamic view of the Arctic while simultaneously learning from diverse actors considering global consequences of climate change and negotiating on policies for global cooperation.  And so, I went to Reykjavik, Iceland, to attend the conference with my internal global map reversed, as per Galeano’s guidance.

The Arctic Circle Assembly attracts some of the most important actors across the globe.  Within the first few hours in Iceland, I witnessed plenary discussions with Bob McLeod, Premier of the Northwest Territories, Peter Seligmann, Chairman of the Board of Conservation International, Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, and H. E. Prime Minister Henry Puna of the Cook Islands, and I even introduced myself to and shook hands with H.E. Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson, chairman of the Arctic Circle and former president of Iceland.  Over three days, religious leaders, scientists, artists, and policy makers led attendees through discussions about their priorities and opened the floor for creative responses.  It was exhilarating and, at times, intimidating.  Luckily, my role as moderator for the Arctic Innovation Lab gave me purpose.

Working with Ryan Uljua, second-year MALD candidate, on his pitch, “An Arctic Investment Index,” afforded me the opportunity to dive deeper into the idea of the Arctic as a new economic frontier.  Ryan presented a new type of investment index designed for the small-scale investor.  The roundtable conversation after his presentation incorporated the voices of students, bankers, and artists, and brought to light the importance of finding balance through corporate social responsibility and sustainability.  Vanessa DiDomenico, another first-year MALD student, pitched the idea “Navigating Vessels Through Compliance” at the lab and discussed the importance of determining safe operations with risk mitigation strategies for the emerging sea-lanes in the Arctic.  The lab provided valuable insight into a “young” perspective of how to manage the region in a sustainable and socially equitable way.

Inherent in the discussions at the Assembly was the question: whose interests will be at the table if the ice melts?  The Arctic narrative I was accustomed to proved limited.  Once again, it was a map that made my preconceived notions evident.  Looking at the map of the Arctic Ocean, one can see how the melting ice accentuates the role of the northern coastlines and the potential for additional sea-lanes, fundamentally changing the scale of global power relations.  Not all stakeholders value the Arctic for the same reason, or for that matter, have the same desired outcome for the region.  Depending on whom you ask, the Arctic provides grossly different services: biodiversity, opportunities for economic investment, pristine environments and glaciers, potential shipping routes, untapped energy, political power, and more.  As with the opening of any frontier, many actors are ready to exploit these resources for their own agenda.

A sustainable future may be a larger conversation than a single map can represent, but it is one that the Arctic Circle Assembly has been developing since its first meeting in 2013.  The future of the Arctic is a global issue and those with the closest proximity and with the most money should not be the sole decision makers.  Understanding the nuances of the political power and the diversity of interest regarding climate change will be fundamental to defining a strategic and sustainable approach to the Arctic.

 

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Many of you are probably in the process of arranging your recommendations, whether “arranging” means making that original ask, or pestering your professors to submit a promised letter before November 15.  In either case, you might want some tips, and there are plenty of them on the blog.  I encourage you to read through our past posts for suggestions.  You’ll find advice for you, the applicant, on what you can do to ensure you’ll receive an effective recommendation (like this post, for example) and there are also suggestions for your recommenders, which you could link to if you email them.

Beyond that, instead of rewriting what I’ve written before, I’ll share an anecdote.  On Monday, we were discussing applications for January 2018 enrollment.  There was one case of an applicant who hadn’t done very well as an undergrad.  The applicant’s professor did the student a huge favor by explaining the student’s trajectory through the undergraduate program.  Suddenly, everything was clear to us and we no longer felt hesitant to offer admission.  I encourage you to follow this applicant’s example and ensure that your letters of recommendation advance your story and help you make your case for admission.  It takes some work on your part, but it’s effort that can have a big impact.

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Last week you met the 2017-18 Admissions Graduate Assistants, and today I want to introduce Marquita, our new Admissions Assistant.  Marquita joined the team in September during one of the busiest weeks of the early semester.  Having survived that nuttiness, she has rapidly become an expert on all matters Admissions.  You may speak to her if you call, hear from her if you email, and you’ll almost surely be greeted by her if you visit.  I’ll let Marquita take it from here.

How did I get here?!

Before coming to The Fletcher School, I worked for about five years at Saint John Paul II Catholic Academy (SJP), a pre-K to grade 8 parochial school.  In my first year, I ran an after-school program for one of SJP’s four campuses.  While planning daily activities, managing staff, completing billing, and wrangling children ages three to 13, I realized this was not quite what I wanted for my future, at least not with that age group.

Being that I had enough “free” time on my hands, while still working at SJP, I enrolled in an online graduate degree program at what is now William James College and I completed my Master’s in Higher Education Student Personnel Administration in 2014.  At that point, I changed jobs at SJP and joined the business office to assist in the admissions and finance aspect of running a private school.  While there I wore many hats.  But what interested me most was the scholarship and financial aid portion of my work.  Before I knew it, three years had flown by and yet, somehow, I still was not using that degree that I had worked so hard for.  It was then that I knew I needed a change.  Through prior jobs, including SJP, and my master’s degree, I knew what I did not want to do and I was ready to figure out what I did want.  I applied for the staff assistant position within the Admissions and Financial Aid Office at Fletcher.  I knew this position would allow me to work with a more mature group of students as well as continue my interest in the admissions and financial aid process within higher education.  Now I am here and I am loving it! 😊

 

A few years back, Devon Cone, F08, shared her five-year update with the Admissions Blog.  Since writing, Devon has continued her refugee work, shifting locations several times and organizations at least once.  She is still engaged with refugee issues, currently as the Director of Protection Programs at HIAS.  I hope you’ll enjoy reading the update she wrote previously and watching as she discusses her post-Fletcher experience on this video.

 

Some of my favorite initiatives each year are the ones that involve students creating learning opportunities for each other.  This year there are two “chat” series underway, one that features a professor talking with students about non-classroom topics (or, as the organizers describe it, “practical, personal insights that they may not directly address in the classroom”), and another that brings students together in our Blakeley Hall dormitory to learn from a fellow student.

The Faculty Chats series (also called “What Every Student Should Know About _____”) kicked off with Professor Sulmaan Khan whose first talk in the series promised to “challenge your assumptions, make the case for thinking like an historian, and possibly make you see whales in a whole new way.”

The second of the chats featured Professor Michael Glennon, who promised to “share some of his accumulated wisdom on work, life, and the law,” focusing on what he has learned thanks to mentorship, and experience that he wishes he’d had at the outset of his career.

The latest chat invited students to hear from Professors Monica Toft, Ibrahim Warde, and Elizabeth Prodromou.  Just this past Wednesday, the three members of the faculty told stories from their careers and reflected on the question, “How did you get here?”  And specifically, they discussed how the study of religion informed and impacted their work as academics and practitioners.

And now for the Blakeley Chats, which were actually developed last year after students realized that their classmates had interesting experiences worthy of sharing in a semi-formal setting.  (Sort of the mirror image of the faculty chats, which create a relaxed atmosphere for faculty and students, the Blakeley Chats give structure to the standard student conversations.)

I haven’t happened to see an announcement of the first chats, but subjects are meant to include jobs, travel, projects, or anything interesting to other students.  Last year, some students created presentations or photo slideshows, while others simply, well, chatted.

 

DYK #1:  Did you know that you can have the Admissions Blog delivered to your inbox whenever there’s a new post?  Yes, indeed.  Save yourself precious seconds each day.  All you need to do is look over to the left-side panel on this page.  See where it says “Subscribe to Admissions News & Updates via RSS“?  After you click subscribe, you’ll be delivered to a page where you can decide how to subscribe, and you’re not limited to an RSS feed.  Email is another option.  Go for it!  No more checking the blog site each day to see if we’ve answered your question on what to include in your application essays.

DYK #2:  Did you know that, if you would like to participate in an evaluative interview for September 2018 enrollment, you should arrange your appointment now?  That’s the way we do it here — interviews before you submit your application, and the interview program runs only until December 8.  Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your interview!

DYK #3:  I’ve been asked a few times lately if Fletcher’s Early Decision applications are binding, as they are for many undergraduate programs.  The answer is no.  You can apply by our November 15 ED deadline without worry that you are surrendering all other options.  (Oops.  Forgot to use the “did you know” format for this one.)

DYK #4:  Did you know that there are still plenty of opportunities to connect with us coming up on our Calendar of Events?  Though Admissions travel is gradually winding down, there’s still an APSIA tour through Asia, information sessions both virtual and on campus, interviews on and off campus, coffee hours on campus, and more!  Come see us or connect with us soon!

 

You may already have heard that Michael Dobbs, probably best known to blog readers as the author of House of Cards — but also a politician, political commentator, and the holder of three Fletcher degrees (including the PhD, F73, F75, F77) — is in residence at Fletcher this month as Visiting Professor of Contemporary Politics.

While here, Lord Dobbs has already given a book talk, met students and faculty for coffee, and participated in a lunchtime discussion, and he is leading a three-session workshop on political leadership.  (You can read more about the residency at The Boston Globe.)  But the event most relevant for those who are not on campus will take place today (Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. EDT (UTC-4)).  This afternoon you can tune in (via the Fletcher Facebook page) for a “Fletcher Reads the Newspaper” discussion/debate on “Nationalism vs. Globalism: Will Brexit be the Ultimate Litmus Test?” with Lord Dobbs and Professor Amar Bhide sharing their opinions on the topic, moderated by Senior Associate Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti.

Please join us and watch the debate sparks fly!

 

The Admissions Staff is perennially grateful for the help, support, and good humor of our student staff.  These Admissions Graduate Assistants (GAs) both handle many mundane day-to-day tasks and also are available to serve as resources for visiting applicants.  If you call the office or send us an email, there’s a good chance that you’ll be chatting with one of these fine folks.  From the perspective of the staff, it’s just a treat to see them when they arrive in the office, and they help to keep us connected to the student community.  I like to introduce the GAs so you’ll know that the person at the other end of your phone call or email is a real live Fletcher student, working in the Office of Admissions.  Read about them today, and then you’ll know whom your email is from tomorrow.

Brooklyn:
Hi everyone!  I am a second-year MIB student focusing on Strategic Management and International Consultancy, as well as Global Political Economy.  Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, I moved to Washington, DC to attend American University, where I studied international relations, focusing on U.S. foreign policy in Latin America and Spanish language.

After completing my bachelor’s degree in 2012, I started working at Chemonics International as a project management team member.  Six-months into my time there, I moved from the Latin America Regional Business Unit (RBU) to the Asia RBU, where I had the opportunity to learn about the culture and complexities of a region of the world that was new to me.  While working in the Asia region, I was involved in projects spanning from Pakistan to the Pacific Islands that covered topics such as governance, climate change adaptation, combating human-trafficking, and economic growth.  It was my work with the Vietnam Governance for Inclusive Growth project that sparked my interest in the public sector and led me to Fletcher!

During my first year at Fletcher I explored new subjects, from finance to law.  I got involved with many groups on campus including Fletcher Social Investment Group, Fletcher Political Risk group, and Net Impact.  This year, I am co-leader of Fletcher’s Net Impact chapter and a member of the MIINT (MBA Impact Investment & Training) team.  I look forward to hearing from you in the Admissions Office this year!

Cece:
Namaste!  My name is Cecelia Rana, more popularly called Cece by friends, family and colleagues.  I am a first-year international student from Nepal doing the MALD program here at Fletcher.  My undergraduate degree is from Clark University where I majored in international relations with a minor in economics.

Having grown up in a country that suffered through a ten-year long civil war with never-ending political chaos, I am interested in exploring the nature and processes of political conflict, specifically in relation to information and communication channels.  I am a curious, adventure-loving individual with multiple interests that range from world politics, films, music, and nature/culture exploration.  I have a diverse set of professional experiences and have worked for organizations including the United Nations (UNRCPD), AmeriCares, and ChildReach Nepal.  Most recently, I coordinated a collaborative art project called the “True Stories Project,” a partnership between U.S. and Nepali art institutions aimed at bringing out stories of abuse, exploitation, and trafficking through the medium of art.  I am interested in continuing to use the visual medium to tell powerful stories pertinent to international affairs while at Fletcher as well.  My current activities besides my classes allow me to hone my media/filmmaking interests.  I am a part of an upcoming John Oliver-inspired Fletcher TV show and the Fletcher AV, two very exciting student-run project/clubs that have started this year.

I look forward to sharing my Fletcher experience!

Cindy:
Hello everyone!  I am a second-year MALD student, concentrating my studies in International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and International Organizations.  I grew up in Spring Hill, Florida and later received my BA in political science, anthropology and a minor in Russian at the University of Florida (go Gators!).  I was very fortunate to work with a professor in the political science department on a thesis related to ethnic violence against minorities in Russia.  This experience sparked my interest in pursuing a degree related to international affairs.

When I graduated, I was accepted into Teach For America as a fifth-grade language arts and social studies teacher in Halifax, North Carolina.  As a teacher I honed my leadership skills, shared my passion for reading, writing, and history with my students, and fostered lifelong relationships with my colleagues.  Through learning about Teach For America’s mission, I became devoted to issues of minority rights and inequality, bridging differences between diverse communities, and pursuing a career of public service.

At Fletcher, I am focusing my research on improving diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia through good policy, the causes and consequences of polarization between diverse societies, and the role that education plays in shaping the beliefs and perceptions of conflicting societies.  This past summer I completed an internship through the Tufts Tisch Summer Fellows program at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., where I conducted research on U.S./Russia/NATO relations and the Baltic states.

This year I have the pleasure of co-leading two clubs: the Ambassachords a capella group and the Eurasia Club.  I also engage with the wider community by teaching an adult learning class with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, helping to organize Fletcher’s annual Building Bridges Conference and Fletcher recitals, and volunteering for FletcherCares.  In my spare time I love to cook, read, go for walks with my dog Obi, and spend time with my wonderful husband Brian.  I am very excited to be working with the Admissions team, and I hope that I can bring the spirit I have for this school to both current and prospective students!

John:
Hello everyone!  I am a first-year MALD student concentrating on International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, as well as Human Security.  Originally from San Antonio, Texas, I moved to Nashville, Tennessee to study at Vanderbilt University where I received a BA in public policy studies and a minor in French.  As a student, I was able to study abroad in southern France for a semester which first piqued my interest in exploring international affairs.  While writing my senior capstone, I had the opportunity to work with local refugee communities in examining how they resolved intra- and inter-community conflict.

After graduating in 2014, I applied to volunteer with the Peace Corps.  For the past two years, I have been serving as an English teacher at a university in southwest China.  I really enjoyed interacting with my students and colleagues, not only in improving their English, but in sharing differing worldviews, trying new foods, and cultivating meaningful relationships.  In addition to teaching spoken English, I helped my department run speech contests, host international studies conferences, and even win a few relay races.  I also worked with my counterparts to introduce a creative writing competition and other cultural events that gave the members in my community the opportunity to engage with each other in an informal learning environment!  It was both my experience in China and my time volunteering with resettled refugee communities that brought me here to Fletcher.  In my free time, I love to travel, practice yoga, and bullet journal.  I look forward to connecting with you and answering any of your questions about the admissions process and life at Fletcher!

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Easily missed among all the full-semester classes at Fletcher are a select group of half-semester modules.  The second half of the fall semester started last week, and students were offered the chance to register for modules that will run from now through the last day of classes.  This short list of five classes brings into clear focus the breadth of the Fletcher curriculum.  From Transitional Justice to Emerging Pathogens, a multidisciplinary approach to international affairs means there will be students for whom each class is the perfect addition to their personal curricula.

Here are the late-semester offerings:

Adapative Leadership and Managerial Communication, Professor Mihir Mankad
Adaptive Leadership and Managerial Communication is a new module course that is intended to sharpen your skills around practical, impactful, and often challenging verbal communication across a range of adaptive leadership and managerial scenarios.  Through your experiences, you will further develop your public speaking and presentation skills, and better understand the concept of adaptive leadership and its communication.  You will also get exposure to both personal and organizational communication case scenarios, including crisis communication.  As with Arts of Communication, this module course should also further your journey to becoming a more persuasive, motivating and effective public speaker and media communicator.

Transitional Justice, Professor Cecile Aptel
This seminar considers the range of processes and mechanisms available to ensure accountability for large-scale human rights violations and achieve reconciliation, including criminal justice, truth and reconciliation commissions, and mechanisms, which incorporate local custom, such as gacaca in Rwanda.  It reviews some of the philosophical, moral and political considerations pertaining to the challenge of reconciliation in these contexts.  This course is taught remotely by the professor.

International Arbitration, Professor Jeswald Salacuse   
This half-credit module explores the nature and application of international arbitration as a method of dispute resolution in international economic and political relations.  A widely used but not generally well-known process, international arbitration is basically a method of dispute settlement that involves the referral of the dispute to an impartial tribunal or panel for a binding decision according to agreed-upon norms, often on the basis of international law. It is applicable to three general types of disputes: 1) disputes between states (interstate arbitration); 2) disputes between states and private parties (e.g. investor-state arbitration); and 3) disputes arising out of international business transactions either between private parties or between private parties and governmental entities (e.g. international commercial arbitration).  This module will examine all three types of international arbitration and will consider their legal basis, their methods of operation, and their potential advantages and disadvantages both for the disputants and the wider international community.  A student’s final evaluation in the course will be based on a paper of not more than 3000 words (65%) and participation in class sessions (35%).  The course is relevant to the academic interests of LLM students, because of its legal component, MIB students, because of arbitration’s key role in the settlement of international business disputes, and MALD students with interests in international conflict resolution.  The course is listed in the fields of Public International Law and International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and has no required prerequisites.

Political Economy of the Global Arms Trade, Professor Sam Perlo-Freeman   
The arms industry and trade sits at the intersection of global economics, security, and politics. Access to armaments, whether domestically produced or imported, is necessary for states and armed groups to develop military capability; thus the arms industry and trade is a key instrument of state policy and international relations.  At the same time, the arms industry is an economic enterprise, in most countries a private, profit-seeking one. It depends on general national economic, industrial and technological development, and is often seen—debatably—as an important source of industrialization, jobs, and trade.  But military spending, including arms acquisition, carries an opportunity cost, and how states choose to allocate limited resources between civilian and military priorities is the outcome of numerous economic, political and security factors.

Health, Human Security and Emerging Pathogens, Professor Nahid Bhadelia   
With increasing globalization of trade, travel and terrorism, public and individual human health have become topics of global concern, involving sovereign nations, international organizations and the scientific community.  Threats from emerging infectious diseases outbreaks exemplify this trend.  In contrast to the traditional idea of national security, the field of human security focuses on the individual, rather than state, as the nexus of analysis and takes a multidisciplinary approach through which to analyze the challenges related to community, national and global response to emerging infectious diseases epidemics. This course will start by examining human security literature and practice as it applies to infectious diseases threats.  It will examine factors leading to increasing frequency of outbreaks due to novel pathogens, such as climate change and environmental degradation, and the concept of One Health.  It will then look at the intersection between scientific research and related ethical issues, disease surveillance and global biosecurity issues.  Further, the course will examine the historical basis for International Health Regulations and other frameworks for modern global health governance as they apply to outbreaks.  Lastly, the class will utilize case studies to examine how outbreak preparedness and response have been managed during recent epidemics such as SARS, H1N1, MERS, Ebola and Zika.  This course is meant to foster interdisciplinary perspectives by bringing together practitioners from international law, human development, public health and clinical care.

 

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