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Changing Face Of Diplomacy

Changing Face Of DiplomacyInternational students now make up over 50 percent of the students at Tufts' Fletcher School, making the international relations school ' most global' in U.S.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [07.25.01] As issues like trade, the environment and labor standards continue to reshape the field of international relations, some of the country's top training grounds for diplomats and public servants have been feeling the effects. While their focus on preparing global leaders has remained the same for decades, their student populations have changed a great deal.

Instead of filling their classrooms with mostly American students, leading international relations schools like Tufts' Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy are enrolling huge numbers of international students.

"In the 18 U.S. institutions that belong to the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs, foreigners account for an average of 30 percent of master's students," reported the Christian Science Monitor.

According to the newspaper, Fletcher's international enrollment percentage is over 51 percent -- making it the most "global" international relations school in the country.

What's fueling the trend? Tufts' Joel Trachtman attributes it to the end of the Cold War, when international relations began a period of change.

"When you have a serious cold war condition where your national security is perceived to be very much at risk, that can overshadow everything else that you're doing," the academic dean at Fletcher told the newspaper.

For students at Tufts' Fletcher School, the diversity is extremely valuable.

According to the Monitor, "U.S. student Kelly Simms says her experience at Fletcher has been enhanced by being able to get 'entirely different perspectives' from foreign classmates as she gains a grasp on international energy policy."

And international students value the perspective of their American counterparts.

Lisa Karanja, a Kenyan lawyer enrolled at Fletcher, told the Monitor that "not to have the North American experience is a gap in terms of global issues."

A balance of views is ideal, Trachtman said. "As a whole, we don't try to give students the U.S perspective or any particular perspective," Trachtman told the newspaper.

That philosophy can be valuable to the students long after they have graduated from the program.

"After they leave the classroom, the common denominators they have discovered can help move things forward when, as often happens, alumni find themselves on opposite sides of a negotiation or collaborating on a development project," reported the Monitor.

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