MIT Center for International Studies
PEGS@MIT | Program on Environmental Governance & Sustainability | Center for International Studies, MIT

Program Description
The Program on Environmental Governance and Sustainability provides an inter-disciplinary forum for faculty and students at MIT to conduct research and exchange ideas about how to promote environmentally sound and socially just development. Many of the activities associated with PEGS draw on field-based knowledge from diverse international contexts. However, these approaches are complemented with consideration of global governance institutions, organizations, and processes.


Lectures and Special Events

PEGS sponsors lectures, seminars, and special events during the academic year. Details of upcoming activities will be posted on the
CIS calendar.

Global Sustainability
Working Group

The Global Sustainability Working Group (GSWG) meets monthly during the academic year to discuss environmental challenges and appropriate governance frameworks. A summary of activities and meeting dates are available on the
working group website.
Faculty, visiting scholars, and students affiliated with PEGS are engaged in a variety of research projects related to environmental governance and sustainability in countries around the world. Examples of current research include studies on the following topics:
  • Cities and climate change (Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe)
  • Strategies and tactics of environmental NGOs (Eastern Europe)
  • Community mobilization for environmental health and justice (Latin America, Europe)

Program Fellows
PEGS Graduate Fellows are full-time graduate students enrolled at MIT who are selected on a competitive basis each year. An annual theme is selected and announced in early fall. The 2012-2013 theme is Environmental Futures. Students selected as PEGS Fellows meet regularly as a group with the faculty director to discuss their research ideas and progress, conduct research during the award period (December - December), and present the results of their work to the MIT community. The research must have a significant international component and Fellows are eligible to receive modest funding to offset travel costs associated with their international research. Follow this link to view the call for proposals for the 2012-2013 year.

Visiting Research Fellows are academics and professionals with interests in environmental governance and sustainability who would like to conduct research under the supervision of, or in collaboration with, MIT faculty. Successful applicants are provided with shared office space and full access to MIT libraries. Fellows are expected to participate in PEGS and CIS activities. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For further information about the application process and program requirements, send an inquiry to


Tel: 617.253.8093


In Memoriam

JoAnn Carmin, Faculty Director
Program on Environmental Governance and Sustainability
Center for International Studies

2012-2013 PEGS Fellows
Ashawari Chaudhuri is a first year doctoral student in the HASTS program. Her research is around the material-semiotic study of genetically modified Bt cotton seeds in India. Following the seeds from the laboratory to the field, she is interested in inquiring how these seeds are perceived by different sets of people/institutions like the scientists, farmers, companies selling them; as well as address certain anthropological questions around land, seeds, agriculture and technology in India.

Kelly Heber is a second year phd student in Environmental Policy and Planning at DUSP. Her research uses participatory action methods to examine the conditions necessary for coastal communities to manage their natural resources in an equitable fashion that simultaneously enhances social, economic, and environmental resilience. Her specific cases include coastal villages with community based natural resource management in Buleleng, Indonesia as well as villages in the Sungai Pulai wetland area in Johor Bahru Malaysia.

Max Kaplan is a second year PhD student in the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/MIT Joint Program in Biological Oceanography. His research uses passive acoustic monitoring to assess ecosystem health, changes in biodiversity over time and identify the presence and effects of anthropogenic noise on marine ecosystems.

Joyce Lawrence, is a fifth-year doctoral student in the political science program.  Her research examines the economic, environmental, and political effects of public-private partnerships in water management in Mexico.

Matthew Miller is a second-year Master of City Planning candidate in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning who researches green economic development strategy. He is using film to explore the policy, business, and scientific approaches in Sweden that influence the “vertical farming” urban agriculture industry spreading around the U.S. and China.

Lily Baum Pollans, is a third year PhD student in the Department of Urban Studies in Planning.  She researches the spatial and institutional organization of urban-scale waste management with a focus on the role of the public sector in systemic transitions to sustainable practices.

Linda Shi, is a first year doctoral student in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Her research examines how landuse planning policies and mechanism can improve the resilience of urban poor communities to natural hazards and climate change.

Emily Williamson, is a second year Masters of Science in Architecture student in the AKPIA program. Her research maps the Islamic settlement patterns along the Black Volta Trade Network in West Africa and investigates under what spatial and ecological conditions these settlements have been able to achieve equitable relations with their local hosts.

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