About Fletcher's 90th Anniversary

Forging our future—together

Dean’s Statement on the Celebration of Fletcher’s 90th Anniversary 1933-2023


Since its founding in 1933 as the United States’ first graduate school of international relations, Fletcher has led the study and practice of its field. For those ninety years, Fletcher has innovated and expanded its pedagogical approach to set new standards among its peers while influencing global affairs across all corners of the world through the achievements and influence of its faculty, students and graduates.

It is through this legacy of courageous, forward-looking leadership, and with a foundation predicated on the essential roles of law and diplomacy in the conduct of international relations,  that Fletcher has produced ninety years of leaders uniquely equipped to meet the needs of a constantly changing landscape and to rise to the challenge of its increasing complexity. 

Across the decades, Fletcher has introduced new concepts into the discipline, developed new areas of study, and set the gold standard for interdisciplinary analysis and problem-solving in the field. Our faculty and alumni, experts in their fields, have authored transformative research and informed countless policymakers across continents and subject matters.  

Having pioneered the multidisciplinary approach to the study of international affairs now copied by so many of our peer institutions, Fletcher became the first school of its kind to offer an interdisciplinary program in international development, the first to introduce an international environment program, and the first civilian institution to teach international security studies.    

Later, we were the first to introduce a hybrid program with the GMAP, and one of the first schools of our kind to offer an international business degree.

While we have much to be proud of with regard to the school’s imprint on the evolution of the field of international affairs, the true legacy of Fletcher lies in the accomplishments and influence of our alumni out in the world.

We have produced diplomats and scholars, social scientists and entrepreneurs, journalists and jurists, and political, military and business leaders, all who have made and continue to make an impact, shaping global affairs across sectors, geographies, and disciplines- at the local, regional, national and international levels.

Fletcher was founded in the middle of the Great Depression, at a time of growing isolationism in the United States and between the two World Wars, to create a place in which academic rigor, entrepreneurial spirit, optimism, and internationalism came together to counter a perilous world. In the words of founder Austin B. Fletcher, the school was to “deliver a practical service in a disorderly world”.

As then Dean Jeswald Salacuse described on the eve of the school’s 60th anniversary, “a triumph of internationalism in a time of isolationism, the school’s beginning was an act of hope in a time of despair. The school’s founding in 1933 meant that, by 1945, Fletcher would be ready to play a strong, creative role in the new international order that emerged after World War II, and would begin its ascent as a leading institution of international education in this country, and indeed, the world”. 

Our 90th anniversary celebration will honor the achievements of our past, highlight those of the present, and look ahead to the next ten years towards our Centennial, and how Fletcher will continue to lead. In doing so, we also will celebrate the category-of-one global community that is so central to what makes Fletcher Fletcher. Appropriately then, the theme of the celebration will be “Forging Our Future – Together.”

We will use the opportunity of the anniversary to complete the history of Fletcher, inviting stories from every member of our community, while putting particular effort to capture those stories representing diverse perspectives and experiences.

This 90th anniversary microsite will house information about the celebration, a schedule of events and your stories. On the site you will find a portal through which to tell your story. Your stories, and those of our alumni, faculty, students, and staff will be captured and made available to the community to watch or read throughout the year. Most importantly, they will contribute to the telling of Fletcher’s history for future generations.