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Training New Diplomats

Training New DiplomatsInnovative Program at Tufts' Fletcher School uses technology to train upper-level professionals.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [06.14.01] International diplomacy is changing. So is online education. And Tufts' Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy is the first to combine the two in an innovative program designed to train "new diplomats" while they keep their jobs in the field.

In essence, the unique program was designed to "plug a gap that the MBA does not fill," Tufts' Deborah Nutter told the Financial Times on Monday.

"The global master of arts program [GMAP]...broadly represents the latest technological and international trends in professional education, yet is unique in its focus on the 'new diplomat' or 'new internationalist' who must bring an interdisciplinary vision to his or her work," Nutter told the London newspaper.

This year, 31 professionals fit the bill, including U.N. officials from four continents, a financial advisor to the British Royal Family, a Nigerian diplomat in South Korea, a Cambodian government minister, an aid worker in Nepal and an economic advisor to Estonia's president.

Before the Fletcher program, these professionals would have taken a leave of absence to obtain their advanced degrees.

"GMAP resolves this problem by enabling participants to remain on the job, productive and gaining new skills and valuable insight throughout the program," Nutter said.

The solution was technological.

'The program combines three two-week residencies -- two on the Fletcher campus and the third at an international site -- with the rest of the year devoted to online learning," reported the Financial Times.

Nutter called the program's first year "an unqualified success," paving the way for growth in the future.

"We are now looking at the next step and there are all kinds of opportunities," she told the Times.

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