Turkey's Turn? April 10-11, 2014 The Fletcher School

Sarah Willis-Ertur, MALD 2014

Sarah Willis-Ertur, MALD 2014

As a Fletcher student from the United States, what makes Turkey unique and interesting?

Having spent a significant amount of time in Turkey, myriad defining characteristics come to mind. To name just a few, Turkey has received much deserved attention from the international community in the last decade for its unique geopolitical location straddling both Asia and Europe as well as through its candidacy for the European Union. Turkey’s once prized label as a successful Muslim democracy has come under question due to the polarization and instability that characterizes modern-day Turkish politics. Lastly, following the Russian annexation of Crimea, Turkey’s strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East -- or better yet, being the only neighbor to both Ukraine and Russia -- help preserve its unique position on the global stage and will continue to be a “hot” spot for international players.

How do you plan to put your Fletcher education to use when you graduate?

I come from a strong liberal arts background, as my undergraduate studies were a combination of German/European history, politics, and cultural studies. At Fletcher, my emphasis has been on courses in both development economics and international business. Skills-based courses such as design, monitoring, and evaluation have inspired me to enter the work force with the goal of improving the effectiveness of international development. Furthermore, I plan on focusing on market-based solutions to further both economic and human development in emerging and frontier markets.

This summer, in particular, I’m excited to be conducting field research as part of Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context-MasterCard fellowship on the formal and informal financial practices of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Turkey. The primary objective of this three-month study will be to uncover private sector-based financial solutions that will have a lasting positive impact on key SME segments within the Turkish economy.


  • English
  • Turkish
  • German

Fields of Study

  • Development Economics
  • International Business Relations

Activities involved in at Fletcher

  • Fletcher Net Impact
  • International Development Group
  • Fletcher Youth Initiative
  • Fletcher Performing Arts Club

Education before Fletcher

  • BA, International Studies & German Studies, University of Minnesota-Duluth

Experience before Fletcher

  • Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA), Nuremberg, Germany
  • Program Coordinator, The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, Berlin, Germany
  • External Corporate English Teacher, Okan University, Istanbul, Turkey

Why Turkey Now?

Dean James Stavridis

"The key question is not whether Turkey will play a global role, but rather what is the Turkish role globally."

Admiral James Stavridis, USN
Dean, The Fletcher School, Tufts University
Former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO