MIT Center for International Studies



2006-2007 EVENTS

2005-2006 EVENTS

2004-2005 EVENTS

2003-2004 EVENTS

CIS Spotlight Archive



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MISTI Postcard from Rome

MBA '05 student Jaime Singson's summer stint at Innova, a technology consulting company in Rome, which he secured as a MISTI-Italy intern, has had its perks.  "I've been out with friends to the Appia Antica, visiting the Catacombes, and at the Vittoriano on Piazza Venezia.  I even rented a motorino for the day and scootered around the Villa Borghese."  On the work front, Jaime has been helping Innova understand and replicate MIT successes in fostering entrepreneurialism and innovation.  "I've learned an incredible amount about the European Union system, the institutions and laws it has been creating, and how industries function in the EU," he writes. (See MISTI's website for more information on internships abroad.)

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MIT graduate students seeking training in the evolving field of humanitarian studies have until Friday, September 3, 2004, to apply to the Inter-University Initiative on Humanitarian Studies and Field Practice—the certificate program offered collaboratively by MIT, The Harvard School of Public Health, and Tufts University's School of Nutrition. The program includes a three-month summer field placement. For additional information, including an online application form, see or contact Program Coordinator Estrella Alves at

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Widdig Receives SHASS Award

Bernd Widdig, Associate Director of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives Program (MISTI) and Director of the MIT-Germany Program, has received an Infinite Miles Award from the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Dr. Widdig, whose scholarly work and teaching focuses on nineteenth- and twentieth-century German literature and culture, German cinema, cross-cultural communication, and cultural change and globalization, was cited for his "outstanding educational contributions to the School and the Institute." He played a central role in getting MIT approval for the new undergraduate minor in applied international studies.

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New Gusterson Book on "People of the Bomb"

A new book by CIS affiliate and MIT Associate Professor of Anthropology Hugh Gusterson, People of the Bomb: Portraits of America's Nuclear Complex, will be published this summer by the University of Minnesota Press. In it, Professor Gusterson combines analysis of nuclear rhetoric and public policy with portraits of nuclear weapons scientists, for a provocative account of the ways in which our public culture has changed during the fifty years since we entered the nuclear age. Professor Gusterson is also co-editor of Cultures of Insecurity: States, Communities and the Production of Danger (1999) and author of Nuclear Rites: A Weapons Laboratory at the End of the Cold War (1996).

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Samuels Wins Book Award

CIS Director and Ford International Professor of Political Science Richard Samuels has won the Jervis-Schroeder Prize for his 2003 book, Machiavelli's Children: Leaders & Their Legacies in Italy & Japan, which compares the political and economic history of political leadership in Italy and Japan.  The award was made by the International History and Politics section of the American Political Science Association, which called the book "probing and provocative" and said that it will have a "major impact across a wide variety of subfields in political science and history."  Machiavelli's Children previously garnered the 2003 Marraro Prize from the Society for Italian Historical Studies.

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A "MISTI" Summer in Rome... Studying Global Clusters

Virginia Corless, an undergraduate physics major, applied international studies minor and MISTI-Italy intern, is preparing for her senior year by studying the early evolution of globular clusters—the groups of very old stars that form the halo of our galaxy and others like it—at the Osservatorio Astronomico outside Rome. "I am continuing and expanding on research I've done in the past year and a half at MIT," writes Virginia, who is living at the observatory, a short walk from Monte Porzio Catone, a medieval hill-town.  She reports that her co-workers are "almost unbelievably open and receptive" and that her Italian is "coming along well."

Later this summer, Virginia will attend a conference on Interacting Binaries in Cefalu, Sicily.  "I already feel much better prepared to make the many decisions about my future that await me upon my return to MIT," Virginia reports." MISTI has given me the opportunity to study what I love—the mysteries of the stars and the history of the Universe—in a place that is utterly inspiring."

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East Asia in 2010: A CIS Simulation

On the weekend of May 21-23, CIS Director Richard Samuels assembled a group of policy makers and scholars (including MIT graduate students) at the MIT Faculty Club for the 2004 Asia-Pacific Crisis Simulation. Teams "representing" Japan, China, the United States, ASEAN, Korea, Russia and Taiwan responded to a scenario in which the year is 2010 and China is working quietly through its economic and "soft" power to knit together the region in ways that constrain the United States.  (SSP's Cindy Williams took the role of the U.S. Secretary of State, graduate student Llewelyn Hughes played Japan's Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Professor Ed Steinfeld was chair of China's economics and finance group.)  The results of the exercise: the relative power of the United States had declined significantly by 2010, China managed its rise without destabilizing its neighbors, and Russia reasserted itself as a great power. Details will be available in the Fall 2004 issue of précis.

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Book Advocates Overhaul of Military Personnel System

In stark contrast to those who are calling for a return to the draft, Cindy Williams, a Principal Research Scientist in the Security Studies Program, argues that the nation and the men and women in uniform would be far better served by keeping the volunteer system and overhauling it in fundamental ways.  In Filling the Ranks: Transforming the U.S. Military Personnel System, a new MIT Press book edited by Dr. Williams (a former Assistant Director of the Congressional Budget Office) and her co-authors (including a former Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and a former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee) offer a series of far-sighted recommendations for policy makers who are considering what kind of volunteer military will best address the security challenges of the new century.

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Dee Siddalls Receives SHASS Award

Congratulations to Deirdre Siddalls, Administrative Assistant to Executive Director Carolyn Makinson. On May 11, Dee was given a 2004 "Go-to Person Award" by MIT's School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences as part of its 2004 Infinite Mile Award Program.  The award goes to individuals "who can be counted on to make things happen."  Dee played a central role in CIS's website redesign and spearheaded the development of the Fellowship Database—in addition to tackling her other duties at CIS Headquarters—all with great aplomb.




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Makinson Receives Award for Refugee Work

Prior to becoming Executive Director of CIS in 2002, Carolyn Makinson was Program Officer for Population at the Mellon Foundation. One of her accomplishments at Mellon was to organize a consortium to address, for the first time, reproductive health issues among the world's refugee populations. We are pleased to announce that the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children has honored Carolyn with one of its 15 "Voices of Courage" awards, for her "instrumental role in putting reproductive health for refugees on the international agenda."  (One of the other recipients was Senator Ted Kennedy.)

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Six MISTI Students Awarded Sun Fellowships

Six interns in MISTI's France, China, Germany, India, Italy and Japan programs have been awarded Sun Fellowships for their commitment to studying the language and culture of their host countries.  Erica Fuchs, Virginia Corless, Geoffrey Kigongo, Janice Lin, Akua Adu-Boahene and Kyoung-Hee Yu received funding for an eclectic lineup of summer projects abroad—from working at an Italian observatory on the evolutionary dynamics of globular clusters to working at the UN's Industrial Development Organization's Beijing office.  The Sun fellowships are made possible by venture capitalist Anthony Sun, an MIT Corporation member who came to MIT from Bangkok in the late 1960s to study electrical engineering.

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SSP's Technical Working Group Online

The Security Studies Program's Technical Working Group has launched a website, making it easier to learn about the specialized work the TWG does on  ballistic missile defense, nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, WMD proliferation, nuclear fuel cycle issues, space weaponization, homeland security, and tactical and technical measures for dealing with terrorism.  Included are bios of TWG affiliates, a publications list, media contacts, and an explanation of the group's work in helping to build an international community of scientific scholars focused on independent technical analysis of arms control and international security issues.

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Special Event for MIT Students April 21

An MIT professor concerned about the political climate on U.S. campuses after 9/11 recently established the Kailalth International Student Fund at the International Students Office (ISO) to sponsor events that encourage global citizenship at MIT.  The ISO asked CIS to organize the first of these events -- "A Conversation Among Future Scienctists on Science in an Age of Terrorism" -- which will be held in the Wong Auditorium on Wednesday evening, April 21st.  A combined panel of MIT faculty members and graduate students (including CIS Associate Director Stephen Van Evera) will ask whether scientists can do anything to limit the spread of dangerous technologies. MIT students are encouraged to bring their questions and comments for the back-and-forth, which will continue over refreshments.

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MISTI China to Take OpenCourseWare to Qinghai University

In June, Professor Julian Wheatley and Sean Gilbert of the MISTI China program will bring MIT OpenCourseWare classes to Qinghai University, which is outside the city of Xining on the Tibetan-Qinghai Plateau.  One of the five MIT students who will participate, Salvatore Scaturro, who will graduate in May with a major in civil and environmental engineering and a minor in Chinese, taught at Xi'an Xihang  Number One High School as a MISTI China intern.  As part of the new initiative, he and the other MIT students will introduce courses in biology, biotechnology, environmental engineering and computer science.

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Three Summer Courses from SSP

The Security Studies Program is once again offering summer courses in Cambridge, through MIT's Professional Institute. The topics are Military Innovation: Technology, Strategy and the Security Future (July 19-23); Promoting Innovation: The Dynamics of Technology and Organizations (July 12-15); and Combating Bioterrorism: The Organizational Response (July 19-21). Course descriptions are available online. For additional information, contact Magdalena Rieb at

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Students Plan "Mobile" Tourism in Venice

MIT-Italy Program interns and Comparative Media Studies graduate students Michael Epstein and Cristobal Garcia, together with University of Venice scholar Filippo Dal Fiore, have launched an interdisciplinary research project to explore the ways in which mobile technologies like PDAs and cell phones can be used to promote a more conscious approach to tourism in Venice, a city in which rampant tourism has increasingly chased locals away.  They hope that the prototypes developed by History Unwired: Venice Frontiers will be exported to other UNESCO heritage cities as well.

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HSI Student Returns from Kenya Internship

Master's student Mark Emmert (Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the Humanitarian Studies Initiative, HSI) recently returned from Nairobi, Kenya, where he interned with the Civil Society Unit of the United Nations Environment Program.  He's seen here after an informal Masaai induction ceremony in Larnu. HSI, an innovative inter-university program sponsored by MIT, Harvard and Tufts, offers students a foundation in humanitarian studies.  One component of the program is a three-month placement that offers practical experience in humanitarian response.

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CIS Events Webstreamed on MIT World

Missed a CIS-sponsored public event? A dozen of some of the most interesting CIS programs since 2001 are viewable at MIT World, MIT's on-demand video site. Topics include 9/11, the Iraq war, China politics and Islam and Democracy. It's a good site to check regularly for video of MIT's eclectic assortment of events.

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Cindy Williams of SSP on PBS "Innovation" Series March 2

Security Studies Program Principal Research Scientist Cindy Williams is featured in the new PBS science series, "Innovation: Life, Inspired."  She appears in episode 4 in this eight-part series, "High-Tech War," which "investigates how a new generation of weapons is forever altering the political and technical reality of combat."  The program airs at 9:00 p.m.on Tuesday, March 2 on WGBH/Boston and other PBS stations.

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CIS and Partner Programs Receive $2.9 Million NSF Award

After a rigorous and competitive proposal process, CIS is one of the recipients of a $2.9 million National Science Foundation award for a multidisciplinary program on assessing the effects of such emerging technologies as ubiquitous computing, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology. Professor Kenneth Oye is one of the principal investigators, along with Daniel Hastings and Dava Newman of the Technology and Policy Program in the Engineering Systems Division and Merritt Roe Smith of the Science, Technology and Society Program. The five-year award is under the NSF's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training Program (IGERT). Graduate students will benefit from seminars and three new core courses on evaluating the economic, security, environmental and ethical consequences of technical change. Those interested in applying should contact Sarah Anderson at

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Chief Investigator of Iraq Museum Looting to Speak

Colonel Matthew Bogdanos, USMCR, offers a slide presentation at the Wong Auditorium on Wednesday, Feburary 11 on the investigation into the looting of the Iraq National Museum, which he led from April to November 2003. He will also address the future and international nature of that ongoing inquiry. Professor Harvey Sapolsky, Security Studies Program Director, will chair the event. Leading Boston-area art historians will be in attendance.

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Four Staffers Receive Recognition

Four staff members have been recognized by the Center's Rewards and Recognition Committee: Tisha Gomes, for her efforts as executive director of Seminar XXI; Susan Frick, for her work as coordinator of the Program in Human Rights and Justice; Dee Siddalls, for her efforts on the CIS website and the office re-design project;; and Lynne Levine, for her work on the Working Groups' budgets. CIS staff, faculty, fellows or students may nominate support staff or administrative personnel for future awards (gift certificates at the Galleria Mall) by e-mailing

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Energy, Technology & International Affairs Fellowships

The deadline for the Energy, Technology and International Affairs (ETIA) Fellowships is Friday, February 6, 2004. These awards are made to advanced doctoral students who are working on their dissertations and seek summer support. Research on a broad range of international issues will be considered, although projects involving the international aspects of energy and the environment, or the relationship between energy and security, are especially welcome.

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Makiya on Iraq: A Special IAP Event

Bring your questions about the regime of Saddam Hussein, its recent demise, and the future of Iraq to a talk by Iraqi exile Kanan Makiya on January 8. Makiya, an MIT-trained architect who is a professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Brandeis University, gave up architecture in 1981 to begin work on his seminal work about Ba'ath rule in Iraq, Republic of Fear. A member of the Iraqi National Congress, he became a key player in the exile community pushing for Saddam's overthrow. He is currently an adviser to Iraq's Interim Governing Council and a member of the panel advising the interim government on the drafting of a new constitution.


FALL 2003-2004 EVENTS


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Study in France

Students who are enrolled in MIT Ph.D. programs and are U.S. citizens have until January 15, 2004 to apply for nine-month fellowships to study the humanities or social sciences at French research institutions or universities. Recipients of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chateaubri and Fellowships receive 1,300 euros per month, health insurance, a round-trip ticket to France, and a research per diem. For internships at French companies, both undergraduates and graduate students are encouraged to contact the MIT-France Program.

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Boston Review: Politics & Poetry

Boston Review, the bi-monthly magazine of politics and literature co-edited by Professor Joshua Cohen, Political Science Head, has been called "a feast of the mind" that is "always challenging, always provocative" by the likes of Alan Lightman and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The winter issue includes articles on the International Court of Justice, the UN and the rebuilding of Kosovo, and the new norm of military intervention-not to mention an assessment of the California recall. A good time to order holiday subscriptions.

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All-Star Events December 4 and 5 

CIS co-sponsors two events worth leaving the office for this week. The first is a talk on Franco-American relations by former French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin on Thursday, December 4. The second, a CIS Starr Forum on US policy options in Iraq, will be held on Friday, December 5. Professor Stephen Van Evera, CIS's Associate Director, will act as moderator and Daniel Benjamin ("The Age of Sacred Terror"), Juan Cole ("The Iraqi Shi'ites") and Ivo Daalder ("America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy") will provide commentary.

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China Program Intern Stays Abroad

MIT students who participate in the MISTI Program sometime remain abroad after their internships are completed. Such is the case with Allen Kuo, a former MIT China intern who is currently working on risk management for a bank in Kunming, China. In this photo, Allen (second from left) poses with members of the matriarchal Muosuo ethnic group of Yunnan.

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CIS Book News

Books by CIS-affiliated authors are in the news this Fall. Professor Suzanne Berger recently won the French Senate's Prix Européen du Livre d'Economie for The First Globalization: Lessons from the French. CIS's Director, Professor Richard Samuels, was awarded the 2004 Marraro Prize for Machiavelli's Children: Leaders and their Legacies in Italy and Japan. And International Law from Below, by Professor Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Director of the Center's Program on Human Rights & Justice, was published on Nov. 9.

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Congressmen Honda, Frank on the Patriot Act

Worth coming out on a Sunday: Mike Honda (D-CA) and Barney Frank (D-MA) will discuss the USA Patriot Act and other post-9/11 Civil Liberties and National Security issues during a CIS Starr Forum from 2:00-4:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 2nd. Other speakers (in the MIT Medical Building Auditorium, E25) will include MIT Professor Kenneth Oye, Margie Yamamoto of the New England Japanese American Citizens League, and Merrie Najimi of the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee.

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New Online Fellowships Database

CIS, Political Science and Urban Studies & Planning have created an online database of fellowship resources for students pursuing international studies. Use it to find out about funding for tuition, field research, and dissertation writing. Also, to get up-to-date information on deadlines and award amounts, as well as hyperlinks to grantmakers' websites. Click on "Funding Opportunities" (under "About CIS") or go to

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Former Italian Prime Minister to Speak Oct. 3

Meet former Italian Prime Minister GIULIANO AMATO at MIT's Killian Hall (Bldg. 14W, Rm. 111) from 2:30-4:30 on Friday, October 3. Amato, a major figure in Italian politics, is Vice-president of the European Union's Constitution Convention, a member of the Italian Senate, and a protagonist in the transformation of the European Left and the building of a unified Europe. He will discuss efforts underway to draft a European Constitution. MIT Italy is a co-sponsor of this event.

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Initiative on Humanitarian Studies 

CIS joins the Tufts School of Nutrition and the Harvard School of Public Health in welcoming 16 MIT, Tufts and Harvard graduate students to the Inter-University Initiative on Humanitarian Studies, an innovative, interdisciplinary certificate program that offers a broad curriculum in such diverse disciplines as public health, human rights, international law, agriculture, military studies, and field operations, as well as a three-month, supervised field placement. Learn more about the program at:

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New CIS Website

Welcome to the new MIT Center for International Studies website. We hope the changes we've made will make it easy to find out about our programs, publications and events; locate our faculty, researchers and staff; learn about funding opportunities; and, of course, get in touch with us. Comments or suggestions? We look forward to hearing from you at


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