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Tufts To Train Pentagon's Future Leaders

Tufts To Train Pentagon's Future LeadersDefense Department to prepare senior staff for changing global political landscape through an innovative international affairs program at Tufts. Medford/Somerville, Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [03.17.03] To meet the challenges of the readily changing geopolitical landscape, the Pentagon has turned to Tufts to train a group of its future leaders. This month, senior staff members from the Defense Department enrolled in the Global Master of Arts Program (GMAP) at Tufts' Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy - an innovative program that stresses an interdisciplinary approach to international affairs.

"With topics such as ‘the potential peace dividend for the Gaza Strip,' on offer, it is not hard to see the appeal for the military as it looks to equip its staff for a world in which international relations are becoming more complex and military personnel are required to make better-informed decisions than ever before," reported London's Financial Times.

The partnership - the first of its kind for the Defense Department - will offer important skills to the organization's future leaders.

"There's an understanding that we're dealing with a far more complicated world than we were during most of the postwar period - so we need different educational perspectives and standards," Stephen Bosworth, dean of Tufts' Fletcher School, told the Times. "The events of September 11 and after have driven that home."

Launched in 2000, the program brings a broad perspective to a wide variety of key issues in diplomacy and international relations.

"What attracted the Defense Department to the school's program was its international character," reported the Times. "The interdisciplinary program covers topics such as negotiation, trade, economics and politics from a global perspective. More than half its students are from outside the U.S. and Bosworth has been U.S. ambassador to Tunisia, the Philippines and South Korea."

The Pentagon hopes the GMAP program will prepare its staff to better manage relationships with foreign governments and defense companies.

"The need isn't just for more efficient business-like practices but for understanding the world in which the military and the U.S. are operating," Tufts' Deborah Nutter, senior associate dean at the Fletcher School, told the newspaper. "A leader has to understand every aspect of the environment in which he or she is operating."

Comprised of three 14-day residencies - two at Tufts and one at an international location - the GMAP program utilizes a combination of classroom training and online distance learning. Founded in 2000, it was designed to allow participants to earn an advanced degree without taking a leave of absence from their jobs.

"In the military, where we have to move so often, sending people to a university for a year is hard on the families," Lieutenant General Tome Walters - director of the Defense Department's Defense Security Co-Operation Agency - told the Times. "This program could be done in three two-week session on the Tufts campus - taught by resident faculty. It avoided a big problem for the people we hope to bring on to the program."

Each year, a broad range of students typically enroll in the program.

"About 50 percent of students are in the corporate sector, 25 percent come from the world of aid agencies and civil groups - including, this year, five from the United Nations - and 25 percent from government ministries, " reported the Times. "This year's group includes the head of the Bank of Oman, managing director of the Philippine National Bank in Europe and a member of the Mexican government."

The Defense Department's version of GMAP is expected to include mostly military personnel as well as a collection of uniformed officers and civilians.

"We've always seen the need to be trained in an interdisciplinary and international fashion," Nutter told the Times. "But since September 11 it's become so much more clear."


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