Here we are, another week gone by and another slew of unfathomable tragedies have unfolded before us.

The island of Puerto Rico is pouring its heart and soul into clean-up and recovery efforts following the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. U.S. mainland support has also arrived in the form of the USNS Comfort, bringing much-needed medical support, supplies, and personnel to the island, which is still without power and largely relying on generators to care for those at its medical facilities. During my time at U.S. Southern Command, I saw innumerable disasters in the region and sent the Comfort on humanitarian missions again and again and know all about the great good she can do as an unparalleled life-saving vessel. The Comfort joins the thousands of boots on the ground in aiding relief efforts of sailors, Marines, and the people of Puerto Rico, who are doing their utmost to bring the island back from the brink.

In Las Vegas, we’ve endured an entirely different tragedy this week as the largest mass shooting in U.S. history shattered lives on Sunday night. There’s still much we don’t know about what happened in the days, weeks, even months that led up to Sunday evening – and we have much to learn about what might have motivated this extreme act of senseless violence. We must also have a national conversation about how to better prevent acts like these in the future.

While we’re mired in heavy matters, the optimist in me feels there’s a positive light to be shed: Here at The Fletcher School, we are an institution made of incredibly inspiring, capable, and energetic leaders. Part of our mission is to bring together the brightest faculty and train the best minds who can help face these challenges now and into the future. As such, I want to take a moment to share my excitement in welcoming a new group of faculty who have already made (and continue to make) an impact on the world, and are now training the next crop of leaders to tackle the increasingly complex global issues of today.

And finally, speaking of leadership, I’m beyond pleased to welcome an absolutely terrific Fletcher alum back as a professor here, and as Tufts’ new Director of our Institute for Global Leadership, Dr. Abi Williams.

Abi has an impressive array of experiences and a can-do (will do!) approach to tackling global issues that he attributes to learning while he was at Fletcher as a Ph.D. student. He’s applied and honed those skills as the Director for Strategic Planning for former U.N. Secretary Generals, Kofi Annan and Ban Ki Moon, and later as the Founding President of The Hague Institute for Global Justice. And it’s just those kinds of skills that we are so happy to have here on campus as we work to address the tough issues of our day and groom future leaders to do the same.

As always, thank you for reading.

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