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A couple of weeks ago, I highlighted the United Nations speech of Fletcher professor and alumna, Rachel Kyte. Shortly thereafter, another graduate, Cornelia Schneider, F06, wrote to make me aware of the signing ceremony speech of Dr. Cristiana Pasca, a 2014 graduate of the PhD program and 2006 MALD graduate, and currently the Environment Minister of Romania. Click on the photo below to watch the speech.
It’s always satisfying to see our graduates in action, and I also particularly appreciate how alumni watch out for each other, such as in this case when Connie took the time to make me and the alumni office aware of the great work her MALD classmate is doing.
I love hearing from alumni, and not only when they send me news for the blog. But if they happen to send something newsworthy, well, I’m certainly going to seize the opportunity to share.
On Monday, I was pleasantly surprised by an email from Atanas, a 2015 grad. He recently started in a new position at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, working on climate resilience. I’ll let him continue the story:
Last week I was lucky to be working at the Executive Office of the UN Secretary General on the organization of the Paris agreement signature ceremony, and on Friday, I witnessed first-hand this historic moment. I met a few presidents, including Colombia’s President and Fletcher grad Juan Manuel Santos, and had a brief chat with Leo DiCaprio who is UN Messenger of Peace and delivered a speech during the ceremony. It was certainly a day to remember.
But one of the most powerful experiences I had was listening to a Fletcher alumna who spoke on a panel in the afternoon of the same day — Rachel Kyte, who is the CEO of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) and Special Representative of the Secretary General. She talked only for five minutes but completely captivated the audience and, according to everyone working in this area, hers was one of the best speeches given in a long time.
I’ll plug in a few details about Rachel Kyte. She’s a 2002 graduate of the GMAP program and, also, currently a Fletcher professor of practice of sustainable development, associated with the Center for International Environment and Research Policy.
The forum at which Atanas heard her speak was “Taking Climate Action to the Next Level: Realizing the Vision of the Paris Agreement.” Click the photo below to hear her comments following a question at about 1:47:00.
There’s always something happening in Fletcher’s Center for International Environment and Resource Policy. The center hires student researchers each year and regularly sponsors lectures, and the professors teaching courses on the environment are frequently cited in the media.
Recently, the Tufts Now newsletter highlighted some CIERP accomplishments:
Mieke van der Wansem, F90, the associate director for educational programs at the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy at the Fletcher School, is the new co-head of faculty for the International Programme on the Management of Sustainability, a one-week executive education course organized by the Sustainability Challenge Foundation in the Netherlands. She also organized a new one-week executive education program in December for senior officials of the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission titled “Industrial Implications of the Circular Economy,” led by Kelly Sims Gallagher, F00, F03, associate professor of energy and environmental policy at Fletcher. Several Fletcher professors taught in the program, including Gallagher, on “U.S. Climate Policy”; Avery Cohn, on “Metrics and Lifecycle Analysis in a Circular Economy”; Shinsuke Tanaka, on “Economic Policies for Pollution Control and Innovation”; Joel Trachtman, on “The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Environmental Provisions and Implications”; and Bhaskar Chakravorti, on “Innovation and Corporate Entrepreneurship.” Two professors from the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning in the School of Arts and Sciences taught sessions: Ann Rappaport, on “Corporate Environmental Management,” and Weiping Wu, on “Sustainability and Industrial Parks.” Jonathan Harris, from GDAE, spoke on “Principles of Ecological Economics.”
While these programs don’t directly affect current Fletcher students, they do add to the general knowledge residing in the School.
Is it too late to write about the Paris Climate Talks? I thought not. In fact, I’m not going to write much of my own, but Fletcher is well represented at the talks and in the study of environment issues, and I collected some links for you.
First, for general info on COP21, you could do worse than to check out the Tufts Sustainability Office’s page. Note that members of the Fletcher community are tweeting about the event — Professor Kelly Sims Gallagher and PhD Candidate Rishikesh Bhandary, and there’s a Twitter feed for the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy.
And some other stories:
Daniel Reifsnyder, a 2014 graduate of the Fletcher PhD program, is co-leading the climate negotiations that culminated in Paris.
Finally, you can read about fall semester events organized by the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy.
One of the more commonly selected Fields of Study at Fletcher is International Environment and Resource Policy, which also has an associated research center. If you plan to pursue environment study at Fletcher, you’ll want to check out the CIERP website, which includes several profiles of alumni working in the field.
If you’re especially interested in the CIERP community, you’ll also want to read about the faculty and staff. It’s worth noting, too, that CIERP hires students for several research positions each fall.
My first semester at The Fletcher School was quite an experience: immersing myself in my business and energy classes, getting to know my accomplished and passionate classmates, and participating in events with Nobel laureates.
First and foremost, I have been struck by the immediate and tangible benefits of being a part of such a small, tightly knit school. Let me give you a couple examples of these benefits from my experience so far:
Small Classes, Meaningful Discussions
Many of my classes were quite small, facilitating open and deep discussions, as well as fostering much more meaningful relationships with professors.
One example was my Managing the Global Corporation course taught by Prof. Thoman, F67, whose accomplishments and accolades include being the CEO of Xerox and Nabisco, the CFO of IBM, and a recipient of the French Legion d’Honneur. Instead of just teaching us analytical frameworks pulled from textbooks or reviewing business cases of other people’s experiences, Prof. Thoman helped us understand how decisions are actually made in the C-suite, based on examples from his own extraordinary career. This class only had a dozen students.
Another example was my Climate Change and Clean Energy Policy class taught by Prof. Kates-Garnick, F84, who was the Undersecretary of Energy for Massachusetts. As Massachusetts has one of the most advanced and successful clean energy policies in the U.S., Prof. Kates-Garnick is precisely the type of person you want to learn about energy policy from. Instead of simply discussing theoretical policies, she put us in the decision-maker’s seat and had us consider the tough trade-offs associated with different options. This class only had seven students.
The opportunity to take courses sitting around such a small table with industry forerunners and policy makers with real-world experience reaffirmed that this school is not just teaching us theory; Fletcher truly is a school for practitioners, taught by practitioners.
Exclusive Conferences, Valuable Insights
As part of this focus on staying connected to the real world outside the halls of academia, Fletcher encourages us to attend the plethora of conferences hosted in Boston. A great thing about Fletcher, however, is that it can help you get into the ones that actually matter.
For example, Prof. Kates-Garnick invited me to a small private conference held jointly by The Fletcher School and the Harvard Kennedy School for one of the biggest oil and gas companies in the world. The meeting, attended by the top energy minds of the two schools and the top executives of this global firm, was an eye-opening experience on how corporations inform and conduct their highest-level strategic planning process. I was impressed by the executives’ grasp of international affairs (it came as little surprise that some were Fletcher graduates), and was reminded of the value of the Master of International Business (MIB) degree I am pursuing.
I was also able to attend a cleantech conference with the leading businessmen and women in Boston thanks to a generous grant from Fletcher’s Center for International Environment and Resource Policy. Just about every other person at the conference was a president or CEO, while I was one of only three students able to attend, due to the cost. Access to the event proved invaluable, however, both in terms of the content of the panel discussions and the contacts I established; I left with an internship for the next semester doing research for a private equity fund acquiring wind farms across North America.
Not only are these types of conferences interesting, they provide access to the fields students are interested in, and to the people who shape those fields. If it had not been for Fletcher, I would not have been able to attend, or even have heard of, these conferences.
Fletcher is a small school that delivers monumental output. The professors and events students have access to are but a couple of the benefits of attending a small school. It is these types of opportunities that ensures that students are at the leading edge of their fields, and that The Fletcher School stays at the forefront of the world’s most pressing issues.
With the People’s Climate March having taken place in New York this past weekend, I wanted to share this interview on the subject with Fletcher PhD candidate, Kartikeya Singh. Kartikeya’s comments particularly focus on what’s at stake for countries like India and the Maldives, as well as his past involvement in negotiations. For those not familiar, the March took place directly before the UN Summit on Climate Change, at which 120+ heads of state will discuss how their nations will tackle the issue.
Listen to the interview here:
It isn’t true that every time I turn around there’s another update about something exciting happening in the environment field here at Fletcher, but it feels that way. Just this spring, here’s some of what we’ve heard:
First, we received an update from Prof. Gallagher, whom you read about on the blog just last week. She wrote:
Dear colleagues, students, and friends of Fletcher,
I am pleased to announce some exciting changes in the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP).
Last fall, I invited a number of faculty members from around Fletcher to join CIERP as Faculty Research Affiliates. These faculty members will be working in one or more of our five research programs. From Fletcher we are delighted to have Prof. Jenny Aker, an expert on development and agriculture. From the Economics Department at Tufts, Prof. Gilbert Metcalf, Prof. Kelsey Jack, and Prof. Ujjayant Chakravorty. From Political Science, we welcome Prof. Kent Portney who has agreed to direct our water and oceans program and who is an expert on water policy and sustainable cities, among other topics. We look forward to deepening our research collaborations with these outstanding faculty members at Tufts. As was already announced, we also look forward to having Prof. Avery Cohn in residence for the next academic year as our new professor of environment and resource policy. Avery will lead our Agriculture and Forests program.
Mieke van der Wansem, a long-standing staff member and Fletcher alumna, becomes the new Associate Director of Educational Programs. In this new role, she will enhance the overall effectiveness of CIERP in meeting its educational mission. She will work to expand and sustain executive education, help guide the development and implementation of environment and natural resource policy education initiatives inside and outside the classroom, and manage some of our research projects as appropriate.
Kelly Sims Gallagher
Then we learned that Prof. Gallagher and Prof. Portney had submitted a proposal to the Tufts University provost to create a new “bridge professor” position in the field of water security. Here’s their description:
The Water Security Bridge Professor would work in the interdisciplinary area of international environmental security, covering issues of political sovereignty, human rights, regional security, and sustainable development. It might also include a focus on the policies and mechanisms, military and nonmilitary, nations use in their efforts to gain and protect access to water. A regional focus could be both possible and desirable, for example, in Southeast Asia, the Arctic, and the states of the former Soviet Union.
As blogger, I should have the answer to the question of when the bridge professor will join us. I have to admit that I’m not sure, but I believe it will be for September 2015.
And then, there’s the annual Tufts Energy Conference coming up next weekend, March 8-9. As the conference website says:
The Tufts Energy Conference (TEC) is a two-day energy conference that brings together experts from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors with students and professionals to discuss critical global energy issues. The conference is entirely organized by students from a broad range of backgrounds in engineering, international affairs, urban planning, and economics. From a two-panel event in 2006, TEC has grown into one of the largest entirely student-run energy conferences in the region.
Experts from the private, public and nonprofit sectors, students, and professionals are all invited to attend TEC 2014 on March 8-9, 2014 (Saturday and Sunday), which will focus on Shifting Dynamics in Emerging Markets.
The conference agenda looks terrific! Come on over!
Last (or at least, the last piece of news I’ve been able to keep track of), there’s the 2014 Tufts Energy Competition, with a prize of $3,000 to jump-start an energy idea, and with a new-this-year solar competition:
Working on a project on energy or sustainability that can be transformed into a winning proposal? The Tufts Energy Competition is looking for your ideas. This competition is a celebration of innovative, student-driven solutions to energy challenges. The goal of the Tufts Energy Competition is ultimately to implement projects that explore solutions to key energy issues. The winning team will receive up to $3000 to implement their project and the runner-up team will receive $2000. Every Tufts student is eligible to apply, including engineering students, undergraduates, medical students, Fletcher students, and more.
Previous finalists and winners include:
• A Split Junction Solar Concentrator for More Efficient Electricity Generation
• Giving Students the Chance to Choose Their Energy
• Efficient Hygiene Initiatives: Bringing Ecological Sanitation to Thottiypatti
• Solar-Powered Uninterruptible Power Systems
• Ocean-Based Algae Energy
• Wind Turbines and Solar Cookers in Zimbabwe
• High Voltage Lithium Ion Battery Management System
The winner will be announced next weekend at the Tufts Energy Conference.
So that’s the round-up of a semester’s news for the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy and generally in the field. And it’s news that assures us that next year will be exciting, too!
Today’s Faculty Spotlight introduction comes from a member of a select subset of the Fletcher faculty: professors who also graduated from Fletcher, where Kelly Sims Gallagher received both her MALD and PhD. Prof. Gallagher currently teaches Climate Change and Clean Energy Policy and Innovation for Sustainable Prosperity, and she directs the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy.
My favorite moment from my years as a student at Fletcher (many years ago now) occurred during my Foreign Relations of the People’s Republic of China class. Our deliberate Professor Alan Wachman embarked on his lecture on the Korean War, but got no further than about five minutes into the lecture when a hand was raised. “Yes, General?” he asked. My fellow classmate, a retired Korean general in the MALD program, slowly rose to his feet and announced, “I was there.” He then proceeded to give his own reflections on the war in general, and China’s role specifically. It was a classic Fletcher moment where (1) the global perspective is naturally provided in the classroom, (2) everyone was riveted by the moment, (3) history vividly sprang to life, and (4) the class took on a life of its own.
As a current professor, I try to foster and cultivate such moments in my own classes. Let me provide a couple of examples. In my Climate Change and Clean Energy Policy class, we do a simulation of the international climate negotiations every year, right before the annual conference of parties. Most years, we have actual climate negotiators in the class, but they never get to represent their own countries — instead, I put them into their primary adversary’s role. Most recently, I had an actual Chinese negotiator play the role of the Special Envoy for Climate Change in the United States. He set an amazing tone and forcefully argued his positions until one moment when the color in his face rose until he was bright red with emotion. We all watched with appreciation as he managed to develop an argument that he certainly violently disagreed with personally. Not only did he learn a great deal from being able to sit in the shoes of his opponent, but the rest of the class could not help but appreciate the duality of his situation. Students also got to hear during the debrief about what “really happens” in those informal negotiations in the middle of the night.
In my class this semester on Innovation for Sustainable Prosperity, we have two engineers who have actually worked on technology development, one patent expert, former Intel and Shell employees, an economist, and a dozen others from at least eight different countries who have all engaged in the innovation process somehow, somewhere. This spring, our class has been invited by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs to contribute background briefs on the role of technology in delivering sustainable development for the upcoming first-ever Global Sustainable Development Report. As we march through the theory, we will simultaneously study case studies, and uncover and evaluate the empirical evidence about how innovation can contribute to sustainable prosperity.
Classes at Fletcher don’t stagnate; they are dynamically evolving every day, enriched by professors and students working together in a spirit of engaged, respectful inquiry.
Fletcher’s Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP) just celebrated a birthday — its 20th! To mark this milestone in the history of environment study at the School, CIERP compiled a list of some of the highlights of its work, which I’m featuring today. Also of note: The Center has a new director. Prof. Kelly Sims Gallagher, a Fletcher alum and current member of the faculty, will lead CIERP as it enters its second 20 years.
CIERP by the Numbers
- CIERP faculty members have published research results in more than 70 refereed journal articles, six books, 62 book chapters, and 70 research reports, conference papers, and other articles.
- Since its inception, CIERP has raised more than $4.6 million in grant funding.
- In 2012, five of Fletcher’s 17 graduating PhDs were IERP students.
- Since 2002, CIERP has funded more than 65 external summer internships and provided $500,000 in tuition and living stipend support to IERP students.
- Since 1992, CIERP has hired more than 300 research assistants and 60 teaching assistants.
- Since 2009, CIERP has hosted four pre-doctoral fellows and eight post-doctoral research scholars — the first ever post-doctoral research fellows at Fletcher.
- Since 2009, CIERP professors have tallied more than 90 media appearances, including interviews and numerous quotations in sources such as Bloomberg, WGBH, USA Today, PRI “The World,” and The Boston Globe, among others.
- In the last year, CIERP has hosted 32 workshops, seminars and conferences on campus.
- Prof. William Moomaw has worked on eight different Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, for which he, along with thousands of other climate scientists around the world, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
- Prof. Kelly Sims Gallagher has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ study group on the Alternative Energy Future, a lead author of the Global Energy Assessment, and was appointed to a panel of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology (PCAST) to make recommendations about U.S. energy innovation.
- Prof. Moomaw and former CIERP Professor Adil Najam, along with students, published “Designing a Forest Financing Mechanism: A Call for Bold, Collaborative & Innovative Thinking” in June 2008, which led to the adoption of a “Portfolio Approach” in the recently negotiated international forest agreement.
- Prof. Moomaw, with colleagues at Purdue University, developed improved means for identifying intervention points for reducing the adverse impacts of reactive nitrogen, which has led the U.S. EPA to reexamine its regulations on nitrogen.
- Prof. Moomaw co-facilitated an off-the-record dialogue to help move forward the negotiations leading up to COP-3 in Kyoto, Japan. The resulting Summary report became the basis for the actual Kyoto negotiations outcome (“A Report of the Schlangenbad Workshop on Climate Change,” Oct. 1997).
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