Our 2020-21 MacJannet Fletcher Fellows confront the pandemic
Note: Since 1967, an endowment from Donald MacJannet has helped support international studies among graduate students. Initially this program focused on an innovative exchange program between the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. By now the Fletcher-Geneva exchange program numbers more than 200 alumni. The MacJannet grant has also provided support to an additional large number of European students studying at Fletcher. Until the global coronavirus pandemic struck in 2020, the MacJannet Foundation sponsored an annual dinner at the Fletcher School to honor these Fellows. What should have been the tenth annual dinner was suspended in December 2020, but the Foundation hopes to resume this tradition in the fall of 2021. Meanwhile, the Fellowship program itself continued, albeit at a slightly reduced scale. Below, the four MacJannet Fletcher Fellows for academic year 2020-2021 discuss their hopes and dreams— for themselves as well as the planet. —ANTHONY KLEITZ
Real-life problem solving
Clarisse Marcella Alpaert (Belgium): I am originally from Bruges, Belgium. As an undergraduate at Ghent University, I studied business economics and majored in corporate finance. Tufts University’s MALD program (Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy) interested me because it offers me a broader perspective on key dynamics in the political economy of development while familiarizing me with new ways to address global challenges. Though this academic year has not been what anyone expected, Fletcher has been a rewarding and challenging experience.
Some of my favorite moments from this year include becoming a co-president of the Fletcher Social Investment Group’s leadership board and a member of the Wharton School’s MBA Impact Investment Network & Training competition at the University of Pennsylvania. It allowed me to continue to demonstrate a proactive and multidisciplinary approach to problem solving while working within a cross-functional team of a high caliber.
I’m grateful to the Donald R. MacJannet Scholarship for supporting my journey toward a more holistic approach to international business and finance.
Quest for social justice
Amaia Elorza Arregi (Spain): I came to Fletcher from the Basque region in the north of Spain. As an undergraduate, I studied political science at the London School of Economics and Law at the Complutense University of Madrid. I have been fascinated by a variety of courses focusing on gender as well as religion and conflict in the Middle East and South Asia. My main goal for my graduate studies was to broaden my knowledge and analytical skills in these areas, in preparation for a career in human rights and social justice, both at home and in the Middle East. Fletcher’s master’s program in Law and Diplomacy is allowing me to do that.
I am currently finishing my capstone while working as a teaching assistant and research assistant at Fletcher. I have also applied to political science Ph.D. programs, and if accepted, I will start my doctoral studies in the fall of 2021. Undoubtedly, this career path would not have been possible without Fletcher.
This is one of the main reasons why I deeply appreciate the generous contributions of the Donald R. MacJannet Scholarship. I would not have been able to study at Fletcher without financial aid; and right now, I cannot imagine my life without all of these professional and personal experiences. I am really grateful to be a part of this vibrant, challenging, unique community.
Kyrre Berland (Norway): I am a native of Norway who studied Euro-Asian Affairs as an undergraduate at Sciences Po Paris. Between the wide knowledge I got from my French education and my late mother’s humanitarian work in rural Bhutan before my birth, it seemed logical to me that studying peacebuilding at The Fletcher School would give me an excellent grounding to work for the alleviation of human suffering. This year, I was a research assistant at The Fares Center at Fletcher, exploring inter alia the financing of contemporary conflict on the Horn of Africa.
Having worked as a trainee for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on human rights issues at the United Nations in Geneva, I feel confident that fostering cross-Atlantic understanding is of fundamental importance for peace and friendly relations. In addition to my classes, I have participated in The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, Fletcher’s renowned foreign policy journal. More importantly, I have formed deep friendships with peers, even though our meetings have necessarily been virtual in this time of pandemic.
The Fletcher School is indeed a community in which I thrive and grow. And the Donald R. MacJannet Scholarship has been fundamental in enabling me to pursue these studies at Fletcher.
Virtual, but tight-knit
Hélène Ries (France/ Switzerland): After earning an undergraduate degree at Pomona College, where I focused on economics, I worked for a public health NGO that taught me the importance of strong relationships between the private and public sector on a global level. I thus decided to attend the Fletcher School, where interdisciplinary work is at the center of all opportunities and courses offered.
Actually, coming to the Fletcher School had been a dream since I started my professional career. The Donald R. MacJannet Scholarship has enabled me to pursue a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy at Fletcher. Through its International Business Relations concentration, I have learned more about public-private partnerships, my primary area of interest.
My first semester at Fletcher confirmed the great first impression I had received from students of the school. In my year and a half at Fletcher (in Medford last year and virtually from Switzerland this year), I have had the opportunity to attend transformative events like the Conference on Gender and International Affairs, which enabled me to view public health issues from a different perspective. I have also interacted with Fletcher alumni now in prominent positions in the health sector, who gave me invaluable insights on their careers and proved the strength of the legendary “Fletcher Mafia.”
The difficult past year we have all had to face proved once again how tight-knit and helpful the Fletcher community can be, both in Europe and at large. Thanks to this experience, I am currently launching a career in the pharmaceutical sector, through which I intend to dedicate myself to helping improve and save people’s lives worldwide. As I continue working on public-private partnerships for healthcare companies in my home country, Switzerland, it is clear that I will continue to benefit from the Fletcher network and curriculum for years to come. I hope one day to be able to help students achieve their goals just as you have helped me.