New horizons, expanded dreams: 2017-2018 MacJannet Fletcher Fellows, in their own words
Six MacJannet Fletcher Fellows gathered in December 2017 for the MacJannet Foundation’s annual Fletcher Fellows dinner at Tufts University. From left are: Stefan Tschauko (Austria), Juliette Devillard (Switzerland/U.K.), Mattia Balsiger (Switzerland), Lucia Pantigoso Vargas (Peru), Christina Klotz (Germany), and Charles Bonfils (Switzerland). (Photo by Alan Henrikson.)
Note: Since 1967, an endowment from Donald MacJannet has helped support international studies and graduate exchange programs between the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. This year this program supported ten “MacJannet Fletcher Fellows”; by now the program numbers some 200 alumni. Each fall, the MacJannet Foundation supports an annual dinner at the Fletcher School to honor these Fellows. The dinner held in December 2017 was attended by six of these outstanding students, representing six European countries and a broad range of interests and experiences. Below, three of this year’s new Fellows discuss their hopes and dreams—for themselves as well as the planet.
Mattia Balsiger (Switzerland):
I was born in Bern, Switzerland. As an undergraduate, I studied political science and modern history at the University of Zurich and was a visiting student at Humboldt University, Berlin, and Stanford University. Before coming to Fletcher, I worked for the Swiss foreign ministry and the United Nations, and I served in the Swiss civil service, working in a refugee center.
As I arrived at Fletcher last August, I felt quite lost. Being confronted with an abundance of courses, activities and interesting people all at once was overpowering, and I needed a solid month to get accustomed to it all. Luckily, I met another Swiss student who had just started her second year and who assured me that it would eventually all work out. After I had picked all my courses (concentrations in international security studies and international negotiations) and the semester started rolling, I started getting involved in different student activities. For one, I joined SIMULEX, the annual simulation game hosted by the international security studies program. Later, I gave myself another push and participated in the Cyber 9/12 challenge at Columbia University, representing Fletcher together with three fellow students. Since I had never worked on cyber issues before, this competition was a huge challenge for me. But with the support of my colleagues and the superb guidance by Professor Michele Malvesti, we were able to make this an educational highlight of each of our semesters.
In the spring semester, I am taking advantage of our partnership with Harvard University, having enrolled in two classes at the Kennedy School. After a seven-year hiatus, I have taken up drumming again and have successfully auditioned to be the next drummer of “Los Fletcheros,” Fletcher’s very own graduate rock band. I am applying for an internship at the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich, where I would be able to conduct research on terrorism and insurgencies. I am also working together with a fellow Swiss student and close friend, Peter Freudenstein, on a speaker event.
This MacJannet Scholarship has given me the opportunity to expand my academic and professional horizons, rediscover old passions and make unique, global connections here at Fletcher. At last December’s annual MacJannet Scholars dinner, I was overwhelmed by the welcoming atmosphere and the interesting conversations with the board members and affiliates of the foundation.
Juliette Devillard (Switzerland/Britain):
I am a dual Swiss-British national born in Geneva, where I was exposed to the world of international civil servants and development workers from a young age. At University College London, I completed a bachelor’s in arts and sciences, an interdisciplinary degree that allowed me to simultaneously explore my interests in natural sciences and international relations while learning Mandarin. After graduating, I moved to China to complete a certificate in Chinese and American studies at the Hopkins-Nanjing Centre, where I worked to attain professional fluency in Mandarin while also deepening my knowledge of international relations, economics and Chinese culture and society.
My past work experience includes working for Accenture, where I joined a team developing websites for Discovery Networks International, and work for the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs as a political affairs intern in the Biological Weapons Convention’s Implementation Support Unit.
At Fletcher, my studies have focused mainly on international environment and resource policy, as well as business for social impact, and I hope to leverage my Mandarin language competency and the skills I will acquire during my studies to pursue a career in sustainable development.
The opportunity to pursue these graduate studies was both an exciting and financially daunting prospect, and I am thankful for the support you have lent me at this important time. I was delighted to attend the MacJannet Foundation dinner last December and meet many of the people involved in continuing the MacJannet legacy. Now that I know how close the Talloires Priory is to my hometown, I hope to visit it and experience its history in person.
Christina Klotz (Germany):
I am originally from Germany, but my family moved to the U.S. when I was five and then to Britain at the age of seven. This laid the foundation for my interest in understanding and immersing myself in different cultures.
As an undergraduate, I studied politics and economics in Münster, Germany, with a focus on European relations. I also spent a semester at Sciences Po in Aix-en Provence, where I completed my bachelor’s thesis.
After graduation, I spent two transformative years working in Costa Rica and El Salvador as a managing director of an NGO that focused on youth leadership development and intercultural exchange – two issues that have become very dear to my heart.
At Fletcher, I am focusing on international conflict resolution and peace building, as well as international gender studies. I and am excited to see where this will lead me in the future.
During the MacJannet Scholars dinner at Fletcher last December, I was delighted to meet a group of warm, like-minded people, striving for international understanding. I am especially proud to have been selected by the Foundation and hope to stay in contact with the MacJannet family in the future.
Maria Álvarez-Tólcheff Alarcó (Spain):
I was born and grew up in Spain, where I earned my law degree in 2011. After practicing corporate law in Madrid for six years, I decided I needed to broaden my knowledge of the world’s issues and expand my legal education to public international law. I looked for an international relations school with a strong law department, which is precisely what I found in Fletcher. Here I found a vibrant community of people willing to share all their knowledge and personal experiences, faculty who are completely devoted to the intellectual as well as personal development of their students, and an infrastructure of staff and means that works as the perfect framework. Since I started school in September 2016, I have participated in the European Affairs Society (which I co-chair this year), the European Conference at Harvard this past March, and the Harvard Law and Development Society. I am focusing my studies in public international law as well as U.S. foreign policy and European politics and current challenges.
After I graduate from Fletcher, I would like to continue as an international lawyer in a law firm or an international organization such as the World Bank. I would also like to be able to write regularly in newspapers and other media outlets.
Alexandra Chamberlin (France):
I am a French double-degree graduate following jointly a master of arts in law and diplomacy at Fletcher School and a master’s in management at HEC Paris Business School. I decided to join the Fletcher School to combine my quantitative and business background with a multidisciplinary, open-minded and international cursus. Here at Fletcher, I am specializing in impact investing while refining my investment skills in a globalized world.
At Fletcher, I met amazing people from all over the world and decided to engage with two clubs more specifically. I am the chief financial officer for the Fletcher Social Investment Group, in charge of strategic development and outreach. Within this group, I was also a member of the Fletcher team for the MBA Impact Investing Network and Training Competition, a year-long competition where we as students play the role of impact investors— defining an investment thesis, sourcing relevant social ventures, conducting due diligence and impact assessment to eventually pitch them to real investors. We actually won the $25,000 runner-up prize for pitching investment in a Pakistani agriculture technology company.
I am also part of the Fletcher European Affairs Society, under which I organized last year a panel on “Emerging leaders: rulers, visionaries, managers?” at the 2017 Harvard European Conference.
Because my professional goal is to work in an impact investing fund, I returned to France last fall semester to work as an analyst for the leading impact crowd equity platform, LITA.co. With this experience, I hope to work in impact investing for a year in the U.S. following my graduation in May.
Thank you again for your support and for making possible all these opportunities at Fletcher,
Susanne Jaworski (Germany):
I have always been fascinated by different cultures and eager to learn new languages. After graduating from high school in Germany, my keen interest in international affairs and regional studies made me pursue Islamic studies and Russian culture in Bochum, Germany, as part of my undergraduate degree. During those five years, I took every opportunity to get exposed to what I have been studying in the classroom about the Middle East and Russia, taking language courses, study trips, and going on semesters and internships abroad.
Following my graduation in 2014, I moved to Jordan to pursue professional ambitions in the humanitarian sector and also expand my understanding of spoken Arabic and culture. Working for a humanitarian NGO in the context of the Syrian crisis was both rewarding and challenging. I quickly realized that in my future career, I don’t want to be limited to treating the symptoms of conflict but would rather focus on resolving its underlying causes. This is why, at Fletcher, I am pursuing the concentrations of “International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution” and “Human Security”: to develop a more systematic understanding of the political, socioeconomic, legal, and cultural factors that drive conflicts around the world. In this field, Fletcher truly stands out, as the curriculum allows me to explore conflict studies from various angles. I am sure that the hands-on skills and expertise I am getting in every single class will be of immense value in my future career. Professor Nadim Rouhana’s class on conflict resolution, especially, taught me a new way of thinking about international conflicts and challenged me to constantly question my own assumptions when analyzing a crisis.
After I graduate from Fletcher, I hope to secure a relevant position in a development organization concerned with the programming and implementation of early-recovery or state-building projects in the Middle East. Thank you again for your generous support allowing me to pursue this goal here at Fletcher. Without my Donald R. MacJannet Scholarship, my Fletcher education would not have been possible.
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