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Continuing the fall semester wrap-ups from the first-year Student Stories writers, today we’ll hear from Pulkit, who tells us about his involvement with The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs.

The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs is one of the premier journals of The Fletcher School.  It was established in 1975, and the first edition came out in the fall of 1976.  It therefore makes sense to celebrate this journal as it completes forty years of publication.

The first edition of The Fletcher Forum.

The first edition of The Fletcher Forum.

I first learned about The Forum long before I had even thought of applying to Fletcher, as I was skimming through the profiles of one of Fletcher’s eminent alumni from India, Shashi Tharoor, who also happened to be the founding editor of The Forum.  So, when I started school in Fall 2016, one of my first actions was to apply to become a member of the editorial team of the journal.  I went through the written application process, and an interview to be drafted as a print staff editor.

After joining the team, I learned more about The Forum and its editorial process.  The Forum is a student-run journal published twice a year that covers a wide breadth of topics in international affairs.  It also has an online platform, on which additional articles and interviews are published.  Currently, the team has thirty-four members and is divided among three teams: print, web, and business and external relations.  The print staff has four teams of four members, each led by a senior print editor.  Teams are responsible for soliciting and editing articles for the print edition.  Similarly, the web staff has three teams of four members each and is primarily responsible for managing the online forum.  Both of these teams are overseen by the managing print or web editor, respectively.  The business and external relations team is responsible for managing subscriptions, advertising and external relations.  The editor-in-chief is responsible for overseeing these different functions in total.  In the past, The Forum has been led by some exceptional alumni, including former American diplomat Jeffrey D. Feltman and Fletcher Women’s Leadership Award recipient Cornelia Schneider.

The Forum’s editorial process is very rigorous and goes through multiple iterations.  The first draft as received from the writer is put through three cycles of edits.  The first cycle includes global edits, which refers to editing the article for content, overarching argument and thesis, structure, flow, and logic.  The editor will rearrange sentences and paragraphs to ensure the article has a clear, logical, and thoughtful flow.  The second cycle includes local edits, which refers to the spelling, grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure.  The third cycle involves editing the citations.  The Forum follows the Chicago Manual for editing, but over the years has developed its own style, guidelines, and citation rules.  Once the three cycles are done by the print staff editors, the senior editor runs another review.  The edited piece is then sent back to the writer for approval and changes.  This final step can involve a lot of back-and-forth with the author, as sometimes they may have edits or additions of their own that then need to be reviewed.

ForumThe fall semester was busy.  My team and I were successful in soliciting three article submissions and we edited three additional articles for publishing.  As you can imagine, editing articles is not always easy.  There will always be one that ends up taking more time than what you initially budgeted.  During a busy school week, this can become strenuous.

And this is not the end in the life cycle of an article getting published in The Forum.  After the article is finally edited, it is sent to the designer, who designs the article and sends it back to the staff for one final check.  The staff then quickly runs through the article to check for any remaining errors, always keenly on the lookout for the missing Oxford comma.

While solicitations and editing is just one aspect of a functional journal, there are numerous other tasks that are looked after by the journal’s management and leadership.  These include managing the team, making sure timelines are adhered to, ensuring there is a constant supply of quality articles, and most importantly, managing the budget.

Apart from work, The Forum folks also have fun.  At the beginning of the semester the leadership hosted a barbeque for the incoming staff.  For Thanksgiving, a potluck dinner was organized.  I have learned so much by being a part of this exceptional team.  I picked up valuable editing skills, and also learned how to manage my time — balancing academics and my extra-curriculars.

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I’d like to draw your attention to the Fletcher Forum website, which includes several articles posted in recent weeks.  (Forum writers and editors never rest!)

Click through the photos on the front page, and you’ll find:

The Peace Corps We Deserve, by Emily Cole

It Still Takes a Network:  Defeating the Progeny of al-Queda in Iraq, by Travis Douglas Wheeler

How the Internet Became a Focal Point for Espionage, by James Lewis

Sometimes I take a look at my “to-do list” and all creativity leaves the building.  On those days, I’m glad to be able to point you toward other Fletcher writers, and there’s a bounty of material to share!

Hot off the wire this morning is an op-ed by Haider Mullick, a Fletcher PhD candidate.

Also timely, this article from Foreign Affairs, co-authored by second-year MIB students, Jianwei Dong and Kate Fedosova, along with Dean Chakravorti (about whom you’ll be reading more in the blog on Wednesday).

And then there’s this update from The Fletcher Forum.

Dear Fletcher students, faculty, and staff,

We hope you’ve been following The Fletcher Forum’s ongoing conversation on Climate Change as part of the 2014 Global Risk Forum.  These past two weeks, we’ve had some very interesting articles on how we might approach and mitigate this global risk.

Professor William Moomaw opened the conversation arguing that Restorative Development — meeting our needs while allowing nature to do its job — is an essential element of any strategy for tackling climate change.  Fletcher PhD candidate Laura Kuhl responded by arguing that while Restorative Development may be a helpful approach to integrate mitigation, adaptation, and development goals, we should remain cautiously optimistic, since so much depends on how such an approach is implemented on the ground.

We then heard from Dr. Richard Houghton, the Acting President and senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts.  Dr. Houghton argued for an alternative strategy: forest management, which he thinks can play an important role in reducing carbon emissions. But it is not a permanent strategy, he argues, and the window of opportunity may be closing.

Next, Fletcher MALD student Caroline Ott responded that by focusing on the risks posed by the current fragility of climate negotiations, we are investing too heavily in a process whose outcome is not essential to the goals of emissions reductions and climate adaptation.  Rather than looking to climate negotiations as the finish line for a climate treaty, she argues, we should be using these talks to incite action from a range of bilateral and philanthropic institutions.

We are very pleased with the intellectual caliber of these perspectives and ideas about how to mitigate one of the critical global risks we are facing as an international community.  We hope you’ll continue reading these conversations and submit your own responses to  You can also engage with us on social media, follow us on twitter @FletcherForum, and tweet using #2014RiskForum.

Outside of our Global Risk conversations, we have additional recent content that may interest you as well — ranging from the role of Hezbollah in the Middle East to the impact of Artificial Intelligence technology on state power.

You can read more of our recent content here:

Metastasizing Menace: Hezbollah as a Regional Player, by Massaab Al-Aloosy

On Artificial Intelligence and Meta-Geopolitics, by Nayef Al-Rodhan

Reevaluating Ethopian-Saudi Ties Amid Migrant Worker Crackdown, by Alemayehu Weldemariam

Happy reading!
-The Fletcher Forum Online

I trust that all these articles and op-eds will more than take the place of whatever I might have written today.  I’ll do my best to create some interesting content for tomorrow.

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Just a quick note today, lest you think I am still off celebrating Thanksgiving.  In fact, yesterday was completely gobbled up by two PhD interviews, two interview reports, an information session, and reading a small pile of files that I just didn’t manage to get to over the weekend.  Today I’m catching up from yesterday, as it often goes.  That makes it a good time to share the latest update from our friends at The Fletcher Forum.  Here’s the email that went out to the community just before the break.

Dear Fletcher Friends, Colleagues, Staff, Faculty, and Alumni,

ForumcoverThe Fletcher Forum Online — the online portal of The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, the school’s student-run international affairs journal — has had an exciting semester thus far, as we have brought in new staff and released our Special 80th Anniversary Edition. We invite you to visit our website to read some of our content and to consider submitting your own article for publication!

Some of our fall interview highlights include:

A conversation with the Dean of The Fletcher School, Admiral James Stavridis.
Dean Stavridis discusses the future of diplomacy and twenty-first century security, and provides shrewd advice to young professionals pursuing careers that navigate the challenges of today’s globalized world.

A conversation with former Ambassador to the Philippines, Harry K. Thomas, Jr.
Ambassador Thomas discusses his distinguished career in the Foreign Service and comments on a range of foreign policy issues from the role of diplomacy in solving global problems to advancing the rights of women and girls to the ongoing disaster relief efforts in the Philippines.

Our fall op-eds have ranged in topic from human rights in the Middle East to international law in Africa to democratic governance in Latin America. Check out some of these highlights:

Pakistan is Giving Democracy a Chance, by Wilson Lee
Learning the Right Lessons from Iraq, by Patricia Stottlemyer
Managing Crisis in South Asia: Avoiding Armageddon Again,  by Bruce Riedel
ICC Prosecutions in Africa Underscore Need for Effective Regional Institutions, by Kamissa Camara
The Case for Treating Migration as Trade, by Amien Kacou
The Need for an International Solution to Illicit Financial Flows, by Rohit Sinha
Diplomacy Bridging the U.S-Iranian Divide, by Arafat Kabir
Bringing Human Rights through the Back Door at the European Union, by David Blázquez
Reforming Brazil’s “Violent Democracy”, by Jim Shyne

Please feel free to leave comments or submit your own piece for publication.

To stay current with all our new content, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Happy Reading!
The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs Online

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2013 is a birthday year for Fletcher — 80 years since the school’s founding in 1933.  To mark the occasion, students, staff, faculty, and many alumni will be attending a gala on Saturday evening.  And timed to coincide with the gala, The Fletcher Forum sent this announcement yesterday:

ForumcoverThe Fletcher Forum of World Affairs is pleased to announce the online launch of our brand new issue, Vol. 37:3, “Fletcher at 80.”  The Special Issue celebrates Fletcher’s 80th year with articles written by Fletcher alumni, faculty, and students.

The Special Edition of The Fletcher Forum features articles by Stephen W. Bosworth, Dean Emeritus of The Fletcher School, who shares his reflections on his tenure as Dean.  It also includes a message from current Dean James Stavridis, who suggests key areas of focus for the school in the years ahead, while also reflecting on its cherished history.  Prominent alumni and faculty lend their insights, and we read thoughts from Ambassador William A. Rugh, Richard H. Shultz, Jr., Ambassador Derek J. Mitchell, Hans Binnendijk, Michael Parmly, and many more.  The edition also includes a conversation with Mimi Alemayehou, Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).  Topics covered range from U.S.-Burma relations, to gender analyses in international development, to the challenges facing NATO, to a change in the status quo at Guantánamo Bay.  To view the complete list of articles and abstracts, along with PDF versions of the articles, please visit our website.  Individual PDFs of the articles are also available.

The Forum is run by a staff of forty graduate students here at The Fletcher School, and your support helps us to put out the best product possible each semester.  For further information, please contact The Forum staff.  On behalf of the staff of The Fletcher Forum we thank you for reading and look forward to your comments, feedback, and submissions!

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At most times of the year, I would count on Fletcher to help me interpret an important international event.  Even during this summer break, there have been comments on the Social List regarding the situation in Egypt — but not nearly as rich a discussion as I would expect in, say, October.  Still, as events there play out, I thought I’d bring to your attention two Fletcher-connected sources of analysis.

The first comes from 2009 grad Zach Gold, who was interviewed recently by the University’s communications staff and offered his take on the situation.  (Zach, I might note, was a real friend to Admissions and served on the Admissions Committee for a year.  We remember him fondly!)

The second piece of analysis also comes from an alumnus, this time a freshly-minted graduate, Albert Trithart, who offered his views in a new piece on the Fletcher Forum website.

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Before I let too much time slip by, I want to bring readers’ attention to two new editions of student-run publications.

First, the editors of Al Nakhlah, Fletcher’s online journal focused on Southwest Asia, introduced its 2013 edition.  The announcement noted, “This year’s articles range from an op-ed on contemporary women’s rights in Egypt to the geopolitical significance of religious fundamentalism in Central Asia to the legal implications of drone warfare in Pakistan.”  Articles include:

Equal Rights in Egypt: An Unlikely Opportunity,” by Faiqa Mahmood
Lost in the Labyrinth: The Green Revolution and the Islamic Republic of Iran,” by Joel Hernandez
Strange Bedfellows: Religious Fundamentalism and the Death Penalty in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia,” by Julia Brooks
Mandate Iraq: Imagining a Nation,” by Natalie Bowlus
The ‘Unmanned’ Conflict in Pakistan,” by Neha Ansari
Legitimate Threat or Excuse for Repression? The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Central Asian Stability Post-2014,” by Lesley Pories
Terrorism in Iran: An Analysis of Non-State Militant Organizations in the Islamic Republic,” by Micah Peckarsky
Navigating U.S.-Egyptian Relations in the Post-Mubarak Era: Strategies for Preserving American Interests,” by Micah Peckarsky

And, if that isn’t enough reading for you, the new editorial team at The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs announced the online launch of this year’s summer edition, noting “Inside you will find insights on former U.S.-Tehran relations from Bruce Reidel, veteran CIA officer and White House advisor, theories on Syrian political strategy from David Wallsh, observations on women’s education in Saudi Arabia from Marcia Grant, a discussion on the challenges faced by South Sudan by Jok Maduk Jok, and many others.  This issue also touches on important transnational concerns.  We explore these issues through an interview with David Killion, U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO, an article by Raymond Taras on the role of literature in international relations, and a discussion on the controversies surrounding the popularization of development aid, from Erik Shreiner Evans of the fake aid campaign ‘Africa for Norway.’”

To view the complete list of articles and abstracts, visit the Forum website, where you can also find PDF versions of the articles.

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I’ve always admired the print edition of The Fletcher Forum, but the online version is simply fantastic.  Those hardworking students manage to put together an astounding amount of high-quality (and highly interesting) content.  Here’s the latest update that the Forum Online staff sent to the community.

Fletcher Friends, Family, Colleagues, and Prospective Students,

The Fletcher Forum Online — the online portal of The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, the school’s student-run international affairs journal — has had an exciting Spring Semester thus far, and we recently concluded a Special Series commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Iraq War. We invite you to visit our website to read some of our great content, and to consider submitting your own article for publication!

Here are some of our recent web highlights:

The Reality of the War in Iraq, Noam Chomsky, Professor (Emeritus), Department of Linguistics & Philosophy, MIT.

An Interview with Dr. Mowaffak Al–Rubaie, Former National Security Advisor of Iraq.

I’m Glad We Invaded Iraq, Janessa Gans Wilder, former CIA analyst; Founder and CEO of The Euphrates Institute.

Iraq: You Can’t Support the Troops without Supporting the Mission, Marine Captain Timothy Kudo, graduate student at New York University who deployed to Iraq in 2009 and to Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011.

Iraq: The Mistake Was Staying, Harvey Sapolsky, Professor (Emeritus), Political Science, and Director (Emeritus) of the Security Studies Program, MIT.

World Peace through Entrepreneurship… But Only if You Fund It, Steven Koltai, former Senior Advisor for Entrepreneurship at the U.S. Department of State; Founder and CEO of Koltai & Co, LLC.

Israel’s Siege Mentality and the Faltering Peace Process, Dr. Jacob Abadi, Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic History, United States Air Force Academy.

Embracing Danger: Self-Defense Firearms in the Home, Peter Squires, Professor of Criminology, University of Brighton, England.

Please feel free to comment at the bottom, and share your suggestions with us — we are always looking for ways to improve. To submit your own piece for publication please email us.

To stay current with all our new content, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Happy Reading!

The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs Online

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Continuing a long history of producing interesting and timely publications, the Fletcher Forum has a new issue.  Here’s how editor Alexander Ely described the new edition to the community.

The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs is pleased to announce the online launch of our brand new issue, Vol. 37:1.  Highlighting our latest issue is a special section focusing on U.S. Foreign Policy Challenges during the Second Obama Administration, including discussions with Former Secretary of State James Baker and Former Secretary of Defense William Perry.  Also included are articles from Fletcher Professor William Moomaw, Fletcher graduates Suzanne Maloney and Michael Hammer, Michele Dunne, Mary Harper, David Koplow, Fletcher PhD student Prashanth Parameswaran, and many others. To view the complete list of articles and abstracts, along with PDF versions of the articles, please visit our website, or go directly to the individual PDFs.

Additionally, The Forum is available for sale.  Please contact Business Director Alexander Kaz if you are interested in purchasing any issues.  The Forum is run by a staff of forty graduate students here at The Fletcher School, and your support helps us to put out the best product possible each semester.

We encourage you to visit our website frequently, where our online edition regularly publishes original content by Fletcher students, professors, outside scholars and practitioners.  We welcome submissions to both the print and online editions.  More information on submission guidelines can be found here.

On behalf of the staff of The Fletcher Forum, who worked tirelessly to produce this issue, we thank you for reading and look forward to your comments, feedback and submissions.

Alexander Ely

The Admissions Staff is taking a day away from the office to bring our new staffers up-to-speed, which makes this a great time to share an email I received this week from The Fletcher Forum Online.  Follow the links and you’ll have plenty to read!


Welcome back!  The Fletcher Forum Online has been hard at work this summer publishing a host of new, top-notch articles that address a wide range of the most pressing foreign policy issues.  From elections in Egypt and Libya, to forecasting the Taliban’s strategy in the coming year, the Forum has something for everyone.  This summer in particular, the Forum Online has highlighted the remarkable work of Fletcher students as they crisscrossed the globe through internships, research, and in pursuit of adventure.  We encourage you to read them all, but here is a brief selection we think you might enjoy:

The Other Side of China’s Rise by Lieutenant Commander Dennis Wanda
Afghanistan Will Survive without Us by Morgan Loretta
Free from Trafficking, Unable to Move by Aretha Chakraborti
Mali: Beacon of Democracy Gone Dark by Kamissa Camara
Libya’s Momentous Milestone by Elia Boggia

Agree?  Disagree?  Leave your comments on the website or submit a response piece.  Interested in learning more about The Fletcher Forum, please contact us.   To stay current with all our new content, follow us on Facebook and on Twitter.

Jamie Kraut (web managing editor) and Alexander Ely (editor-in-chief), for The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs Online

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