Fletcher Graduates the Class of 2022 on Fletcher Field
On a hot, sunny, May Sunday afternoon, Dean Rachel Kyte addressed the Class of 2022 at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy’s 89th Commencement held on Fletcher Field.
Dean Kyte, joined on the platform by Fletcher Board Chair Dr. Lis Tarlow, Professor Abigail Linnington, Kelly Academic Dean and Professor Kelly Sims Gallagher, Registrar Andrew Marx, and Executive Associate Dean Maribel Blanco, welcomed family and friends of the graduating students–many of whom traveled great distances to be in-person to watch their loved ones receive their diplomas. She also cited the crucial role played by the families and chosen families of the graduates, particularly over the last two years which have presented such a particular challenge.
Dean Kyte opened with personal remarks for the graduates: “I want to speak to you about love and revolution. Kim Stanley Robinson, in The Ministry of Future: wrote that old words sometimes obscure new meanings. In the case of revolution… we live among invisible revolutions-technological, legal, financial, and political.” Turning to love, she cited that today is World Biodiversity day, and told graduates: “My plea of you is that you love nature. We are at war with it today and we must be at peace with it. It will hold the key- not only to zoonotic pandemics but to antibiotic resistance, to migration and displacement, to global heating, and to financial flows for adaptation. If we love nature, the silent revolutions of technology and finance can help us restore balance. Without love, they may too easily turn to destruction.”
Dean Kyte also encouraged graduates to reconnect with nature to “restore on a personal level- just a few minutes a day can center us…can help us listen to that small voice in a digital world that moves so fast. Whatever you do after you leave this tent, I hope you’ll fall back in love with nature, at home, and in your work, because it will be revolutionary.”
Administrator of The Year Award
Beginning in 2017, the Dean’s Council launched the Administrator of the Year award, to be given annually during Commencement Weekend. The recipients are not only individuals central to the success of the school but who also facilitate the success of our faculty and students. Selection is made by the Dean’s Council.
This year the award was presented to Sara Rosales. Sara serves as the assistant director for the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy. She is a creative problem solver, whose pragmatism and can-do approach have been essential in the work and success of both the center and the Office of the Academic Dean. The dean spoke of Sara’s ability to juggle multiple complex processes and priorities, doing so with exceptional competence and admirable calmness.
James L. Paddock Teaching Award and Faculty Address
In April 1992, the Fletcher community lost one of its most cherished members—James l. Paddock, died suddenly at the age of 49. Jim had served as a professor of international business relations and academic dean. He was a mainstay of this institution, and his loss was, and still is, felt very deeply.
Jim Paddock was a superb teacher, who worked constantly to strengthen and improve teaching at the Fletcher School. After consultation with Jim’s wife, Ilga, the faculty established an annual award in his memory. The Paddock Award goes to the Fletcher professor who best exemplifies excellence in teaching. The Fletcher School can make this award thanks to the generosity of Jim’s many friends, colleagues, and former students. The selection of the award recipient is left entirely in the hands of Fletcher students, the process for which is managed by the student council.
Megumi Murakami, a graduate of the Class of 2022 and student council member, came forward to announce Professor Abigail Linnington as the winner of the 31st annual James l. Paddock Teaching Award.
In addressing the graduates, Professor Linnington spoke of Fletcher’s first student, Anthony de Jesus Cardozo. “Known as “Mr. Fletcher,” he created the Fletcher Alumni Association. Tony Cardozo created the community he wished to see, making it a source of strength for generations that followed,” Linnington said.
She also spoke of former Board Chair Peter Ackerman, who passed away unexpectedly last month, and the profound impact he made in his interdisciplinary leadership, his devotion to the Fletcher community, and his action in the pursuit of human rights and democracy at home and around the world.
She told the graduates, “I have every expectation that you too, will go on to make similar profound and lasting impacts on our community and on the greatest challenges of our time…How can I be so certain? Because over the last three years, you have taught us what resiliency compassion, and intellectual fortitude look like in the face of COVID-19, racial injustice, climate change, and war.”
Every year, Fletcher students select two of their own to speak on behalf of the class at commencement This year’s class speakers were Kyrre Berland and Amanda Borquaye.
Kyrre, a MALD graduate, concentrated his studies at Fletcher on the politics and resolution of international conflicts. Growing up in a coastal town in western Norway he completed his undergraduate studies at sciences PO in Paris, France. Before coming to Fletcher, Kyrre worked on human rights and migration issues in the public and NGO sectors in Norway, Switzerland, and Japan. While at Fletcher, he worked part-time on emerging technologies at the United Nations in New York. Kyrre hopes to pursue a career in international affairs.
Kyrre encouraged his classmates to “know that you are sufficient. Do not let self-doubt weigh you down. Build your castles on steady shores lest they wash away in the sand.” He spoke about cruelty as the “first vice,” and the value of care as its opposite,” and he closed with the following: “The world is at our doorstep. We have so much to do. Above all let us be caring.”
Amanda Borquaye, a MALD graduate, concentrated her studies in human security and technology policy, with a focus on migrant journeys and refugee experiences. During her time at Fletcher, she was a research assistant at the Henry J. Leir Institute for Human Security, where she field-directed the building resilience in immigrant communities program with African refugees and immigrants in the greater Boston area. Amanda also served as managing web editor of the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, co-editor-in-chief of Praxis: the Fletcher Journal of Human Security, and co-organized the student-run decolonizing international relations conference. Before Fletcher, Amanda worked in Washington, DC as a civil rights litigation paralegal. Amanda is Ghanaian-American. She grew up in coastal Georgia, and now, after having spent her undergraduate and graduate years at Tufts, she considers herself a New Englander. After completing her part-time term as a speechwriter in the emerging technologies division at the international telecommunications union, Amanda will join Mercy Corps as an officer on their Technology for Development Team.
Amanda spoke about why she chose to return to Tufts to study at Fletcher, citing the faculty and staff. She spoke about the human predilection to attach ourselves to stories of progress. And speaking to those from traditionally underrepresented groups in the field of International Affairs, “Your being here in our classrooms…Your very existence is conceivable as progress.”
“The world is a meandering path of setbacks and successes - pause and take the time to look around. We are already pretty good at looking around.” She cited many of the ways her classmates worked to address the myriad crises currently afflicting different regions of the world. Quoting the author Anna Singh, “Without collaborations, we all die.” Amanda closed with, “Wherever you may go from here, carry the spirit with you, in service of where the gladness of your heart meets the gaping needs of this world.”
Diplomas were then handed out to the Class of 2022 that included: 39 students who received the degree of Master of Arts; five students who received the degree of Master of Arts in humanitarian affairs; 190 students who received the degree of Master of Arts in law and diplomacy; nine students who received the degree of Master of Arts in transatlantic affairs; 37 students who received the degree of Master Of Global Business Administration; 23 students who received the degree of Master of International Business; eight students who received the degree of Master of Laws in International Law; five students who received who will receive the degree of Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Public Policy, six students who received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Economics and Public Policy; and seven students who received the degree of Doctor Of Philosophy In International Relations.
Following the presentation of the diplomas, Academic Dean Gallagher and Executive Associate Dean Maribel Blanco presented the diplomas to Fletcher’s 13 PhD graduates who were then hooded.
Dean Rachel Kyte closed out the ceremony by thanking the Fletcher staff and faculty and sending the graduates off with the following words: “Whatever you do, we will delight in your every step, and we will always be here for you, in good times and in tough. Go well and go safe.”
A recording of the ceremony may be viewed here.