U.S. Navy Lieutenant Abdulsalam (Salam) Kako, F21, started classes at The Fletcher School just two days after arriving from deployment in the South China Sea. A month into the semester, his car was rear-ended at 80 miles per hour and he suffered a concussion that forced him out of classes for nearly a month. And then halfway through his second semester, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, pushing all his classes online for the remainder of his Tufts experience.
“Nothing about my time at Fletcher was expected,” Kako says. “But the community was amazing. They did a phenomenal job during the pandemic.”
He knew from the moment he started Dean of Global Business Bhaskar Chakravorti’s summer pre-session class that he was in the right place. “My best friends from Fletcher are people I met in that class,” Kako says. “After my accident, people were so gracious. Someone I knew for just a week or two before the accident would say, ‘Here are my notes from today, I hope they’re helpful.’ The last thing I worried about was getting through school because I knew everyone was supporting me.”
He came to Fletcher through the Navy’s Fleet Scholars Education Program, on the advice of his executive officer, Commander Jeremy Watkins, who had been a fellow at the school.
Kako had two main goals when he enrolled in the Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy program: to deepen his knowledge of conflict resolution and international security studies, which will help him better serve in the Navy, and to bridge the military-civilian divide.
Building on your professional experience
I chose to pursue the MALD degree due to its potential to compliment my Naval career. I want to deepen my understanding of the escalation of force and how we determine when to use force. I have been trained to manage the Navy's personnel, ships, and weapons systems, but the MALD program will help me fit these pieces into a global framework. I want to deepen my knowledge of conflict resolution and international security studies to better execute my job as a strategic planner promoting and defending U.S. and Allied interests.
On a community that feels like family
Very early in the semester I was involved in a car accident that caused me to miss several days of school. I was overwhelmed at the amount of work I had to catch up on, but my classmates, the military fellows, my professors, and my friends were supportive and helped get me back on track. People that I hadn't met who had heard about my accident were offering me all sorts of help and support. The people here at Fletcher are absolutely incredible.
Fields of study
- International Security Studies
- International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
Activities involved in at Fletcher
- Student Council
- Fletcher Veterans
- Wild Club
Education before Fletcher
- BS, Engineering, United States Naval Academy
Experience before Fletcher
- Fire Control Officer, U.S. Navy, Yokosuka, Japan
- Main Propulsion Officer, U.S. Navy, Norfolk, VA