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This week, Tufts University released a video to welcome newly admitted students, and particularly international students, to all of its undergraduate and graduate schools. Featuring several current Fletcher students, with Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti the first of the speakers, the video expresses a view that is fundamental to the university, and even more deeply embedded at Fletcher: We all benefit from a diverse international community. Even the mayors of Boston, Medford, and Somerville joined in to reaffirm the welcome on behalf of our host cities.
I hope you’ll appreciate the message conveyed through the video. Fletcher — and all of Tufts University — looks forward to welcoming new international students who will join us in September, and we appreciate those who are already studying here.
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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.
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