Close Menu
Image
Fletcher Reads the Newspaper

Every day, the headlines cross borders of many kinds: those of countries, cultures, and disciplines. The MIB program seeks to make sense of those headlines for our students, using the rich pool of faculty and experts that we have at our disposal.

As a part of our "Fletcher Reads the Newspaper" series, we pick several hot news items each semester.  We gather an interdisciplinary panel of Fletcher experts to examine the issues, and from there invite students to approach the problem as they would a case study to offer solutions and strategies for dealing with the issues. All sessions are moderated by Bhaskar Chakravorti, dean of  Global Business, as a joint problem-solving/consulting event with the objective of creating a set of practical recommendations for the relevant decision-makers: CEOs, political leaders, heads of multi-lateral bodies, NGOs, and entrepreneurs.

We invite you to read more about recent Fletcher Reads the Newspaper events.

#HowTo End #MeToo
Image
#MeToo

The Headlines

  • How #MeToo Became a Global Movement
  • It Takes More Than a 'Symbolic Gesture' To Change Corporate Culture
  • The #MeToo Movement Will Be in Vain if We Don't Make These Changes

The Issue

The latest edition of "Fletcher Reads the Newspaper" brought the conversation into focus on #MeToo and examined this now global movement through a uniquely Fletcher lens, namely, what is the different sectors' – business, academia, NGOs, governments, military – role in setting the precedent and championing change?

The Experts

Read the full event report

Watch the discussion

Is Brexit a “house of cards” that threatens the stability of the world order?
Image
Michael Dobbs at a debate
Lord Michael Dobbs, British Politician and Author of "House of Cards," offers his side of the debate for the Fletcher audience

The Headlines

Voting to Leave the EU is Not Stupid, It is Simply Common Sense
Brexiters are Making a Dangerous Mistake in Their Argument for Leaving the EU

The Debate

The latest edition of "Fletcher Reads the Newspaper" tackled the thorny question: Is Brexit a "house of cards" that threatens the stability of the world order? After introductions by Bhaskar Chakravorti, Senior Associate Dean of International Business and Finance at The Fletcher School, and Lisbeth L. Tarlow, Chair of The Fletcher School Board of Overseers, the two debaters squared off over the proposition:

The House Believes that Brexit is a house of cards and threatens the stability of the world order.

Read the full event recap

Debaters

  • Lord Michael Dobbs, F73, FG77, Best-Selling Author and Politician, Executive Producer of the Netflix Show, House of Cards 
  • Amar Bhidé, Thomas Schmidheiny Professor of International Business, The Fletcher School

Moderator

Watch the debate recording

Can checks and balances contain the Trump Administration?
Image
President Donald Trump and Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan shake hands
President Donald J. Trump and Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan shake hands

The Headlines

The Formidable Checks and Balances Imposing on President Trump
Taking on Trump: Is the US Facing a Constitutional Crisis?
We Are the Last Defense Against Trump

The Issue

The executive actions undertaken by the fledgling Trump Administration have precipitated fears of a "constitutional crisis.” Critics argue that the newest US president and his cabinet not only lack respect for the Constitution's system of checks and balances, but in fact do not understand them. Pair that with a Republican-held House and Senate that's waited eight years to advance their agenda and a President who can fill an uncommonly high number of court vacancies, and there is concern that the nation's checks and balances may not be up to the challenge.

Less cynical observers, however, may espouse the value of a tried-and-true system that has a long history of safeguarding the American people from an undue concentration of executive power. And the legislative and judicial branches aren't the only protection, they argue – the press and the people are, after all, the ultimate protectors against tyranny. And that - at least for now - the US has in spades.

Debaters

  • Antonia Chayes, Professor of Practice of International Politics and Law
  • Sulmaan Khan, Assistant Professor of International History and Chinese Foreign Relations

Discussants

  • Eileen Babbitt, Professor of Practice of International Conflict Analysis and Resolution
  • Bhaskar Chakravorti, Senior Associate Dean of International Business and Finance

Watch the debate recording and read the full event report

Can a Business Head Make a Good Head of State?
Image
Donald J. Trump, Chairman & President of the Trump Organization, and President-elect of the United States
Donald J. Trump, Chairman & President of the Trump Organization, and President-elect of the United States

The Headlines

Why Business CEOs Don't Make Effective Political Leaders
Will Businessman Trump Make a Great President Trump?
The Pitfalls of a CEO President

The Issue

When asked what makes Donald Trump qualified to be POTUS, supporters are quick to name his success as a business mogul. This isn’t the first time a business leader has been positioned as the leader of a major political party. From Mitt Romney’s campaign back through George W. Bush, Truman, and Hoover, many have sought to market their business acumen to the American electorate – both in the US and elsewhere. But how does leadership in the board room ultimately translate to the Oval Office? If business success can be measured in financial returns, can public service success be measured in public goods? Are the diplomatic skills employed by the head of a company different or similar to those needed by a head of a state? And if there are transferable skills that are key to both corporate success and policy success, what would they be? Are there examples from outside the U.S. that help inform these questions?

The Experts

Read the full event report

Apple v. the FBI
Image
Apple vs. the FBI
Apple v. the FBI

The Headlines

Apple vs. FBI is Not About Privacy vs. Security -- It's About How to Achieve Both
Why Apple is Right to Challenge an Order to Help the FBI
Apple vs. the FBI is Really, Really Complicated

The Issue

Apple v. the FBI has been a headline-grabbing legal debate with potential legal and ethical ramifications for consumers and businesses. Where is the line between security and privacy? What kind of a precedent would this set for other businesses if the courts rule against Apple? Is Apple right to challenge the FBI?

The Experts

  • Dean James Stavridis, Dean of The Fletcher School; Admiral, USN (ret.)
  • Michael Glennon, Professor of International Law
  • Kevin Oye, Professor of Practice, Business Strategy, The Gordon Institute
  • Moderator: Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti, Senior Associate Dean of International Business and Finance

Read the full event report

Will Business Help or Hinder The Paris Climate Agreement?
Image
World leaders reach historic climate agreement in Paris, France
World leaders reach historic climate agreement in Paris, France

The Headlines

The Role of Investors After Paris
Paris Climate Talks: Powerful Business Lobbies Seek to Undermine Deal
Open Letter from CEOs to World Leaders Urging Climate Action

The Issue

After years of meetings and negotiations, 196 nations finally came to a consensus to address climate change with the 2015 Climate Change Conference's Paris Agreement. What remains to be seen is how, exactly, this is to be accomplished. Just as with the Sustainable Development Goals, business has a significant role to play in achieving the agreement's objectives. But will these goals be reached because of business, or in spite of it? Will business ultimately help or hinder the process?

The Experts

Read the Full Event Report

Cuba vs. Iran: Which is the Better Bet for Your Business?
Image
Iran and Cuban flags

The Headlines

Doing Business With Post-Sanctions Iran: Risks and Opportunities
Investing in Iran? You'd Better Like Tea, Cake and Bureaucracy
‘Tripping over Wires’: The Risks of Doing Business in Cuba
Cuba: The U.S. Entrepreneur's Next Best Frontier

The Issue

For the first time in generations, these isolated nations are to commercially re-engage with the US, presenting an unprecedented opportunity for international businesses looking to grow. But what will that look like? What are the unique concerns and advantages of a tiny island off the tip of Florida, versus a Middle Eastern power sitting on huge reserves of oil? How will their government’s react to a surge of foreign corporations doing business in their borders? Which is the better bet for your business?

The Experts

  • John Burgess, Professor of Practice & Executive Director, LLM Program
  • Katrina Burgess, Associate Professor of Political Economy
  • Arthur Sculley, CEME Senior Fellow
  • Nadim Shehadi, Director, The Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies
  • Moderator: Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti

Read the full event report

#InsertYourRevolutionsCalltoArmsandCatchyPhraseHere
Image
Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt
Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt

The Headlines

#JeSuisCharlie: France's March of Unity
Why Corporations Need to Pay Attention to #BlackLivesMatter
Hashtags and Human Rights: Activism in the Age of Twitter

The Issue

The panel addressed the growth of social movements, grassroots-led revolutions, and how social media has transformed the branding and mobilization of these movements – both non-violent and violent. From #JeSuisCharlie to #BlackLivesMatter to the ISIS Twitter campaign, they aimed to examine these global phenomena through a uniquely Fletcher lens – namely, what is the business of social movements?

The Experts

Missed the event? Watch it here.

The Entrepreneur and the Intifada
Image
Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, Fletcher Nobel Laureate-in-Residence
Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, Fletcher Nobel Laureate-in-Residence

The Headlines

For Israel, Two-State Is No Solution
Peace Through Profits? Inside the Secret Tech Ventures that are Reshaping the Israeli-Arab Palestinian World
Time for a Brand New Site for Israel-Palestine Peace Talks

The Issue

As the centuries-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians endures, frustration grows with the failure of political and social actors to achieve lasting peace. Consequently, stakeholders are looking outside of conventional diplomatic channels for innovative ways to break the impasse. Commerce is one potential means for encouraging cooperation between the warring sides. In today’s interconnected world, what role do multinational companies play in diplomacy? Can stakeholders achieve peace through profits?

Dr. Mohamad ElBaradei, Fletcher's Nobel-Laureate-in-Residence, provided his expertise as a member of the panel, drawing on his experience as head of the IAEA as well as the critical role he played in Egypt through their recent years of political turmoil. Professors Eileen Babbitt and Nadim Rouhana also joined the panel, offering their perspectives into the political dimensions of the Israel-Palestinian conflict as negotiations experts.

The Experts

  • Dr. Mohammad ElBaradei: Fletcher Nobel Laureate-in-Residence
  • Professor Eileen Babbitt: expert in international conflict resolution
  • Professor Nadim Rouhana: Director of International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program at Fletcher
  • Moderator: Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti

The Recommendations

Student recommendations included:

  • Technology incubators and venture funds that invest solely in companies jointly founded by Israelis and Palestinians
  • Establishing educational exchange programs

Read the full event report

Is Nation Building Possible Without Business Building?
Image
"Fletcher Reads The Newspaper" event panelist
Left to right, FRTN panelists Dr. Mowaffak al Rubaie, Ibrahim Warde, Gerry Brown and moderator Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti

The Headlines

Investment Opportunities in Iraq
Baghdad Fast Food Boom: American-Style Chains And Knock-Offs Proliferate

The Issue

Amid the scars of continued sectarian violence in Iraq there is a new player emerging in the streets of Baghdad: American-style fast food chains. KFC, Pizza Hut and other American fast food brands, so ubiquitous in many emerging market capitals, have been absent from this recent trend. Instead, the growing market is being driven by locally grown knock-off restaurants, including 'Burger Friends,' 'Chili House,' and 'Florida Fried Chicken,' to name just the few.

Dr. Mowaffak al Rubaie, the former Iraqi National Security Adviser, joined Fletcher students and professors to discuss the challenges American businesses face in Iraq and the steps needed for companies like Yum Brand to open shop in the streets of Baghdad.

The Experts

  • Dr. Mowaffak al Rubaie: Fletcher Statesman in Residence, former Iraqi National Security Advisor
  • Professor Ibrahim Warde: expert on the socio, political and economic subtleties of the Islamic world
  • Gerry Brown: Institute for Economic Stability, The Gordon Institute; Director of Industry Revitalization for the Task Force on Improving Business and Stability Operations in Iraq at the Department of Defense
  • Moderator: Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti

The Recommendations

  • Yum Brands and other American companies should focus on opening stores in the growing number of secure, Western-style malls in and around Baghdad.
  • The Iraqi government should enable and connect potential franchise owners to interested investors.

Read the full event report

Privacy and Security in the Age of Snowden
Photo credit: NSA.gov

The Headlines

Can tech titans really tackle the NSA over the Constitution?
Twitter, Facebook and more demand changes to US surveillance
Companies moving their technology overseas to avoid NSA spying

The Issue

What happens when cyber-security and the public and private sectors intersect? How do we find a balance between the need for intelligence gathering by governments and the implications for technology companies such as Google, Twitter, and Yahoo?

Fletcher students and faculty gathered for a spirited discussion on the appropriate balance between privacy and security in the age of Edward Snowden, NSA surveillance, and societies increasingly built around the internet. Participants wrestled to both define the importance of privacy and security and propose meaningful responses for businesses most affected by controversial surveillance activities.

The Experts

  • Professor Dan Drezner: Fletcher expert on geopolitics and policy
  • Professor Carolyn Gideon: Expert on communications and technology policy
  • Professor William Martel: Authority on issues of national security and particularly cybersecurity
  • Moderator: Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti

The Recommendations

Student recommendations included:

  • Giving individual users access to all of the information collected about them
  • Implementing broad public education initiatives to ensure all users are aware of what information may be collected about them and how to protect their privacy online

Read the full event report

The Rana Plaza Tragedy and the Supply Chain Implication
Photo credit: Flickr

The Headlines

Global retailers urged to compensate Rana Plaza victims
Lapses in governance rife in Bangladesh garment factories
Pressure on business to show more supply chain accountability

The Issue

In April 2013, the Bangladeshi garment industry, which is second only to China in manufacture of ready-made garments, made headlines for the death of more than 1,100 workers in the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza factory. The collapse, and others like it, have raised questions about the effects of hyper-competition in garment industry manufacturing and the extent to which global corporations have any insights into and, more importantly, control over safety in their global supply chains.

The Experts

The Recommendations

Student recommendations included:

  • Establishing an independent trade body to help reform Bangladesh's 2006 labor law, including provisions that would allow for greater unionization and bargaining power
  • Allocating greater responsibility to auditors in charge of inspecting garment factories
  • Creating a consortium of global retailers who will identify what the private sector can do to ensure tragedies like the Rana Plaza factory collapse don’t happen again

Read the full event report