Leir Institute Newsletter – Fall 2021

Newsletter Content
What’s New with the Leir Institute
Upcoming Student-Led Events
Past Events
Faculty Updates
Human Security Fellows
Alumni Spotlight

To our alumni and friends,

I had hoped to write this letter with a clearer view of our post-pandemic future but find myself wondering, yet again, what the winter holds. Like many universities, Tufts is ending the semester with rising cases and a last-minute shift to online exams despite our vaccine mandate and weekly testing protocol. And we are the lucky ones. Elsewhere, vaccine hesitancy and vast distributional inequities continue to fuel the pandemic at great human and economic cost while climate change, securitized borders, and increasingly bellicose behavior by authoritarian states further compromise human security. Our work at the Leir Institute remains difficult but all the more essential under these conditions. 

As you will read in this newsletter, we have been busy over the last few months. Two ongoing projects hosted by the Leir Institute – the Journeys Project, led by Kim Wilson, and the Corruption, Justice, and Legitimacy (CJL) Program, led by Cheyanne Church and Diana Chigas – produced a steady stream of innovative and path-breaking work. We also launched two new projects – Building Resilience in Immigrant Communities (BRIC), in collaboration with Tisch College and ACEDONE, a local African refugee and immigration organization, and the Program in Human Security and Inner Development (PHUSID) in collaboration with Aarhus University in Denmark. And, in an exciting new collaboration with Leir Senior Fellow Daryl Collins, we received a $1.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for Digital Portfolios of the Poor, a multi-country initiative to understand how the poor, especially women, perceive value and risk tradeoffs in usage of digital technologies. This project is slated to begin in January 2022.

We also organized several events including a Migration Luncheon, a panel on the US-Mexico border, a session on Co-Creating a Path to Inner Development Goals, a pre-doctoral seminar series, and an intensive workshop on Resolving Conflict with Empathy. In addition, we co-sponsored student-led conferences on Decolonizing International Relations and Gender in International Relations.

Our community grew as well. We welcomed two new Leir Fellows: Senior Fellow, Kimberly Howe, who is an expert on the well-being of war-affected populations from a gendered perspective, and visiting Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Diogo Eiji Yoshida, who is conducting field research with Brazilian immigrant organizations in the Boston area. We also granted summer internshipsupport to three MALD students and Pre-Doctoral Fellowships to three Fletcher PhD students. And we are honored to feature two Fletcher graduates at the cutting edge of human security in our Alumni Spotlight. We are currently recruiting a new Project Manager and strongly encourage Fletcher graduates to apply (see below).

Finally, we embarked on a strategic positioning process to hone Leir’s mission, roles, and constituencies to ensure our institutional relevance and sustainability at a time when a human security approach is more needed than ever. The results of this process will inform a major overhaul of our website and fundraising campaigns around specific initiatives. We welcome your ideas, feedback, and financial support as we move forward with these initiatives. 

Stay tuned, and do not hesitate to reach out if you have ideas, concerns, or questions. If you haven’t done so already, please register in the database of Fletcher alumni who would like to be more engaged with the Institute.  

Wishing you health and safety this holiday season and in the new year,

Katrina Burgess
Director, Henry J. Leir Institute

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