Todd Dahmann, 2016, United States

On the MA: As a Foreign Area Officer, I'm only granted a one-year sabbatical from my current career path with the US Department of Defense.  As such a one-year, mid-career program made the most sense for me. I'm also required to maintain a 60% concentration of coursework in the Middle East & North Africa, based on my regional focus. Many schools are starting to offer a yearlong program for mid-career professionals, but most of these programs are a mile wide in course offerings, but an inch deep in regional concentration. Fletcher is the perfect complement. The classrooms are small enough that the professors know your name within a couple sessions, but large enough that you'll meet new faces at the extra-curricular events around campus.

On the classroom experience: I'll never forget the first day of class, for Arabs & Their Neighbors. Leila Fawaz, an award-winning researcher and scholar who just published a book this past summer, asked the class to introduce themselves and state why they wanted to take the class. After hearing everyone's background, she said that she was excited to learn as much from us as she hopes to teach us. To date, most of my classrooms are still run that way; about half of the lectures are focused on the theory/readings, and the other half are practical discussions from people who have worked in the field. The discussion is always lively and being in class with more seasoned practitioners (older students) offers a healthy dose of reality and complexity associated with fixing the world’s policy problems.

On the alumni network: The Fletcher Alumni network is vast and omnipresent. When I was deciding upon grad programs last March, I was sitting on a panel at Kuwait University for undergrads who wanted to talk about policy with US diplomats. One of the professors asked me about my background after the panel and found out that he just finished his PhD at Fletcher in 2013. This conversation came a week before a short trip to Doha where I met two more alumni. There are Fletcher alumni around the world who are active in diplomacy and academia who are there for you.

Favorite blog:

FB Situation Update

Favorite book:

To Kill a Mockingbird

Favorite city:

Essaouira, Morocco

Most memorable international experience:

Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia, where I asked my wife to marry me

Fletcher alumnus you admire:

Joey Hood, Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy Kuwait City

Fields of Study

Middle East

North Africa

Activities involved in at Fletcher

Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies

Fletcher Christian Fellowship

Admissions Ambassadors

Education before Fletcher

BS, Human and Organization Development, Vanderbilt University

Associates of Arts, Arabic, Defense Language Institute

Experience before Fletcher

Foreign Area Officer - US Embassy Kuwait city, Kuwait City, Kuwait

Director of Joint Operations - Special Operations Command, US Embassy Sana’a, Sana’a Yemen