MIT Center for International Studies

Back to Homepage

Spotlight Archive 2015-16
Spotlight Archive 2014-15
Spotlight Archive 2013-14
Spotlight Archive 2012-13
Spotlight Archive 2011-12
Spotlight Archive 2010-11
Spotlight Archive 2009-10
Spotlight Archive 2008-09
Spotlight Archive 2007-08
Spotlight Archive 2006-07
Spotlight Archive 2005-06
Spotlight Archive 2004-05
Spotlight Archive 2003-04
An archive of events the have been previously spotlighted by the Center.

Samuels, Fravel Featured at Asia Policy Assembly

The Asia Policy Assembly 2010, convening June 17-18, has invited Richard Samuels, director of CIS and Ford International Professor of Political Science and Taylor Fravel, member of the Security Studies Program and the Cecil and Ida Green Career Development Associate Professor of Political Science, for discussions on international implications of domestic political transitions and international security (respectively). The meaning and exercise of Asia’s global influence is the theme for the inaugural assembly. Co-sponsoring the two-day event are the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.


PEGS Participates in Resilient Cities 2010

The Center’s Program on Environmental Governance and Sustainability (PEGS) has been invited to participate in Resilient Cities 2010 held in Bonn, Germany, May 27-31. The conference is the first edition of the annual global forum on urban resiliency and adaptation to climate change and is co-hosted by the Local Governments for Sustainability, the City of Bonn, and the World Mayors Council on Climate Change. PEGS, which is directed by JoAnn Carmin, associate professor of environmental policy and planning at MIT, will be co-hosting with the World Bank a panel discussion on Urban Adaptation Planning and Governance: Challenges to Emerging Wisdom.


Students Receive Funds for Global Studies

The Center’s Program on Human Rights and Justice recently announced the recipients of its summer internships for students at MIT who wish to study human rights either at the field level or through applied research. This year’s recipients, followed by their summer host organizations, are: Robert J. Crauderueff, Greensboro NAACP, USA; Andrea A. Betancourt, Giral-Brazil, Brazil; Anahita Maghami, Afghanistan Samsortya, USA; and Christophe Chung, UNHCR, Ethiopia. In addition, the Center would like to recognize the winner of a National Security Education Program (NSEP) Boren Fellowship. The recipient, Kyoung Marvin Shin, will use the fellowship for fieldwork in several municipalities in China, analyzing the local politics of clean energy policymaking, development, and deployment. And, just a few weeks ago, the Center announced the recipients of its Summer Study Grants. More details on funding opportunities offered by or facilitated through the Center are available here.

CIS Spring '10 Newsletter

The spring 2010 issue of précis is now available. Features from this issue include: a précis Interview with Ben Ross Schneider; an excerpt from Buying National Security: How America Plans and Pays for its Global Role and Safety at Home (by Gordon Adams and Cindy Williams); and an essay by Keren Fraiman: Not in Your Backyard: Understanding State Action Against Violent Non-State Actors. Also highlighted are CIS activities during winter and spring 2010. If you would like to be on our email list to receive précis, sign up here.


Dolev Honored by Israeli Consulate

David Dolev, the coordinator for MIT Israel, was honored at the annual Israeli Consulate Israel independence day celebration for “his remarkable work in supporting strong collaboration between Israel and New England.” The award was given on behalf of the state of Israel and presented by the Consulate General of Israel to New England.


Posen Elected to American Academy

Barry Posen, Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of the Center’s Security Studies Program, was elected membership to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on April 19, 2010. Posen is among two hundred and twenty-nine leaders in the sciences, social sciences, the humanities, the arts, business and public affairs to have been elected membership in 2010 to the prestigious honorary society. Posen joins other CIS scholars who also are Academy members, including: Suzanne Berger, Philip Khoury, Richard Samuels, and Eugene Skolnikoff.


Fravel Appointed to New National Asia Program

M. Taylor Fravel, the Cecil and Ida Green Career Development Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and a member of the Center's Security Studies Program, is one among 39 outstanding scholars of Asia who was appointed to the newly formed National Asia Research Program. The National Asia Research Program (NARP)—a joint project of the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars—is a new research and conference program designed to reinvigorate and promote the policy-relevant study of Asia, particularly by highlighting the research of NARP associates and fellows. The fellows and associates will present their work at the inaugural Asia Policy Assembly in Washington on June 17–18. News story


SSP Summer Courses, Sign-Up Now

The Center's Security Studies Program is offering two courses during the 2010 summer session for professional studies. From Technology to Innovation: Putting Ideas to Work, offered July 12-15, explores innovations in both public and private organizations, and identifies best practices. Pandemics and Bioterrorism: From Realistic Threats to Effective Policies, offered July 26-28, looks at the challenges public health, law enforcement, and national security agencies face in ensuring biosecurity.


Grants for Research in Brazil

The MIT-Brazil Program welcomes applications from any discipline for travel grants to Brazil. These grants are open to all advanced graduate students who are working on their dissertations, especially students who have not had many opportunities to conduct research in Brazil. Applications should be submitted by March 29, 2010. More Information


Williams Addresses Senate Budget Committee

On February 23, Cindy Williams testified before the Senate Budget Committee at a hearing, "Defense Budget and War Costs: An Independent Outlook." In her written statement, she points out that contrary to conventional wisdom, past increases in defense spending do not necessarily augur future growth. Williams was joined at the witness table by Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, (USMC, Ret.) and by Gordon Adams. Williams and Adams co-authored the book Buying National Security: How America Plans and Pays for Its Global Role and Safety at Home, published last month by Routledge.


Kaysen, 89, MIT Professor Emeritus

Carl Kaysen, MIT’s David W. Skinner Professor of Political Economy (Emeritus) and beloved member of the Center's Security Studies Program, passed away on February 8. His contributions to intellectual life were immense, as was his influence on national policy. A national security expert, Kaysen had an illustrious career: he was professor of economics at Harvard University, deputy special assistant for National Security Affairs to President John F. Kennedy, director of the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton, vice chairman and director of research for the Sloan commission on higher education, and director of MIT’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society. He also chaired the Committee on International Security Studies of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. News Story


CIS Summer Study Grant

Doctoral students in international affairs may receive up to $3000 in summer support for dissertation research on a broad range of global issues. Grants may be requested either for fieldwork and/or archival research, or for home-based research and write-up. The main criteria for determining awards will be the importance of the research question and the quality of the research proposal; and the strength of the letter of support. The deadline for applications is Monday, March 1, 2010. More Information


Gercik Wins Award

Patricia Gercik, associate director of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) and managing director of the MIT-Japan Program, has received an MIT Excellence Award in the category of “Bringing Out the Best: Everyday Leadership throughout MIT.” Gercik joined MIT more than 25 years ago to help develop what was then a fledgling program in Japanese studies at MIT. That program—now known as MIT-Japan—marks the genesis of applied international studies at MIT and is a cornerstone of the ten (and counting) country programs of MISTI. Press Release


Williams on "Buying National Security"

Cindy Williams, a principal research scientist in the Security Studies Program at CIS, and Gordon Adams, a fellow at The Henry L. Stimson Center, recently co-authored a book about national security budgets, de-mystifying the institutions, organizations, processes and politics that support planning and resource allocation. In Buying National Security, the authors uniquely examine how America plans and pays for its global role and safety at home.


IAP 2010 Offerings

The Center is pleased to sponsor a variety of Independent Activities Period (IAP) courses in January 2010. This year's Security Studies Program military fellows will each teach their own course in the series "Contemporary Military Topics." Lt Col. John Walker USMC will teach “Seabasing: Amphibious and Prepositioning Ship Requirements," LTC Kurt Kunzelman USAF will teach "GPS: Changing the Engine Seamlessly, in Mid-Flight, for Over 1 Billion Users," and Colonel William "Butch" Graham USA will teach "The Counter IED Fight in Iraq: Action, Reaction, Counteraction." Also in the mix: “Beginning Kyudo Instruction: First Shot,” and “Ikebana: The Art of Japanese Flower Arranging” sponsored by MIT Japan Program; “Introduction to Chinese Calligraphy” sponsored by MIT China Program; “Flamenco Fun!” sponsored by MIT Spain Program. See more IAP listings here.


CIS Fall ’09 Newsletter

The fall 2009 issue of précis is now available. Features from this issue include: the Global Financial Crisis: Lessons and Opportunities for International Political Economy (David A. Singer and Layna Mosley); Japan’s Democratic Party Strives for Normalcy (Tobias Harris); and a précis Interview with JoAnn Carmin. Also highlighted are CIS activities during summer and fall 2009. If you would like to be on our email list to receive précis, sign up here.


Fellowship for Undergraduates

Friday, January 8, 2010, is the application deadline for the CIS-administered research fellows program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Applicants must be graduating seniors or have graduated within the past year, and must not have started graduate school. Successful applicants are matched with a senior associate—academics, former government officials, lawyers and journalists from around the world—to work on a variety of global issues. Fellowships begin August 1, 2010. More information »


Web Site Seeks Visions for Jerusalem

Protests, anger, controversy, arrests, evacuation—words used in the news to describe Jerusalem today. Still, the Center's Jerusalem 2050 Program seeks visions for a city of peace by mid-century—now through a web site: The site is loaded with interactive tools and resources to help foster dialogue, ideas, and solutions for cities of conflict, beginning with Jerusalem. is the next phase in the Program’s efforts to organize a global problem-solving exercise. News Release


Cold War Cinema Series

The Center is delighted to introduce a Cold War Cinema series exploring the impact of this era on cinema. The first feature, presented on December 2, is Billy Wilder's 1961 film One, Two, Three. Discussing the film is journalist Christian Caryl, who was in Berlin covering the fall of the wall in 1989. Caryl is currently with Foreign Policy and Newsweek. He is also a senior fellow at CIS. Event Details


Tirman on Women & Migration

A new volume drawing from a major CIS project has just been released by Springer. Women, Migration and Conflict: Breaking a Deadly Cycle, resulted from a research effort commissioned by the UN Population Fund in 2007 and managed by CIS. The project brought together leading analysts on this timely topic—mainly, how to mitigate the impacts of forced migration on women and children—in two workshops, and this book is the major product. Co-edited by Susan Forbes Martin of Georgetown University and CIS executive director John Tirman,the contributors include Dr. Jennifer Leaning of Harvard, a member of the Inter-University Committee on International Migration, which also helped advise the project. “This work shows the vital link between migration and security, and the role that multilateral organizations play in helping women deal with often dangerous, chronic dislocations,” Tirman says. “We’re pleased that we could productively work with a major U.N. agency and this excellent cohort of scholar/practitioners to produce such a useful work.”


Immigration, Islam, and the West

Christopher Caldwell comes to MIT on November 30 to discuss his latest book: Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West. "In Europe, the author argues, the clash between Western civilization and the Muslim world has already been lost—in the latter's favor." Caldwell is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard and a regular contributor to the Financial Times and Slate. His essays and reviews appear in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. Event Details


Oye Moderates 'Census & Race' Talk

A talk entitled Race, Ethnicity and the 2010 Census: Categorizing and Counting will take place on Saturday, November 7. Paul Watanabe, director of the Institute for Asian American Studies and associate professor of political science at UMass Boston, is the featured speaker. Melissa Nobles, associate professor of political science at MIT, will commentate; and Kenneth Oye, associate professor of political science and engineering systems at MIT, will moderate.


CIS Advisory Board led by Admiral Fallon

Under the leadership of Adm. William J. Fallon (USN-ret.), the CIS Wilhelm Fellow in 2008-2009, the Center has formed an advisory board of distinguished individuals to provide guidance in the coming years. “This is an exciting development for the Center,” says Professor Richard Samuels, CIS director. “We now have an exceptionally knowledgeable, accomplished, and global cohort of thinkers and doers to give us frank advice and connect us ever more deeply to interesting people and networks around the world.” In addition to Admiral Fallon, the group includes Mary Boies, an attorney and high-level government adviser; Jon Borschow, a businessman based in Puerto Rico and an MIT alumnus; Susan Chira, foreign editor of the New York Times; Chas W. Freeman, Jr., former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia; M. Shafik Gabr, a Cairo-based head of a major investment group; Alexis F. Habib, managing director of Spinnaker Capital Limited, London; Dana Mead, Chairman of the MIT Corporation; Yukio Okamoto, former adviser to the Japanese government; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director of the World Bank who earned her PhD at MIT; John Reed, retired Chairman of Citigroup, and an MIT alumnus; Siddharth C.R. Shriram, an industrialist based in New Delhi; Jeffrey L. Silverman, a graduate of the Sloan School at MIT and a commodities trader in Chicago; Anthony Sun, a high-tech entrepreneur in Silicon Valley who earned degrees in engineering at MIT; Lynn Chatman Todman, director of the Institute on Social Exclusion in Chicago, and a MIT PhD in urban planning; and Thomas Wolf, a political science PhD from MIT and a Pennsylvania businessman who has served in the governor’s cabinet.


New Research on Women and Security

The Center is undertaking a year-long assessment of the UN’s mandate on women and security—namely, UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which obligates member states to include women in peace processes and peace building. A distinguished group of researchers from around the world will conduct case studies in Sri Lanka, Uganda, Aceh, Liberia, and Israel/Palestine to evaluate 1325’s impact on participation. Working with several key agencies in the UN system, the team will present their findings at the UN’s 10th anniversary observance of the resolution’s passage next year. John Tirman, CIS executive director and principal research scientist, and Sanam Anderlini, CIS research affiliate and director of the International Civil Society Action Network, are co-directing the project. The work is partially supported by the governments of Norway and Ireland.


Tellis on the Taliban

Ashley Tellis delivers a talk entitled Reconciling with the Taliban? Toward an Alternative Grand Strategy in Afghanistan for the Brown-Harvard-MIT Joint Seminar on South Asia. Tellis served as advisor to Ambassador Blackwill in Delhi and is currently a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace. The talk will be at CIS (E40-496) on Thursday, November 5.


Obama & the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Khalil Shikaki and Shai Feldman give an Israeli and Palestinian perspective on current state of affairs on Thursday, October 29. Shikaki has directed the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah since 2000, and has conducted more than one hundred polls among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1993. Feldman served as head of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University from 1997-2005 and is the author and co-author of numerous publications, including: Bridging the Gap: A Future Security Architecture for the Middle East and Track-II Diplomacy: Lessons from the Middle East.


MIT Announces Global Strategy

MIT's Global Council, co-chaired by CIS director and Ford International Professor of Political Science Richard Samuels, released two reports that will help frame MIT's international engagement strategy for years to come. "Our students' hopes for productive, sustainable careers increasingly depend on acquiring stronger, deeper, and more refined international skills and understanding. Society's best hope for scientific advance depends on our ability both to draw on knowledge from the entire world and to contribute to knowledge creation across national and cultural boundaries," said MIT President Susan Hockfield and Provost L. Rafael Reif in a letter announcing the reports to the MIT community. The new strategy underscores the need for both students and faculty to be involved in global research activities, which is a hallmark of the Center's MISTI Program, the largest international program at MIT.


Book Talk with Kristof, WuDunn

CIS and Harvard Book Store are delighted to host New York Times correspondents and Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn for a discussion of their new book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Kristof and WuDunn set out to expose the struggles of women across Asia and Africa, to tell their human stories, and to follow the progress of women who are ultimately given the opportunity to seize control of their own lives. Introducing the authors will be Diane Davis, professor of political sociology at MIT and head of the International Development Group. Davis also directs the Center's Jerusalem 2050 Program. The event will be Monday, October 5, at 6 PM, at the Brattle Theatre. Tickets are available at Harvard Book Store. Image courtesy Jason Koski, Cornell University.


Luce Fellowship Deadline Oct. 7

Wednesday, October 7, is this year's deadline for the Luce Scholars Program. The program is open to seniors, graduate students, and alumni from recent classes and junior faculty. Young scholars from a wide variety of intellectual fields will be placed in 10-month internships in selected countries in East and Southeast Asia. The fellowship is aimed for those with no prior experience in Asia.

BBC Journalist Joins CIS

The Center welcomes Firle Davies, a journalist for the British Broadcasting Corporation, as its 2009-10 IWMF Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow. The fellowship, which is offered through the International Women's Media Foundation, gives a woman journalist the opportunity to focus exclusively on human rights journalism and social justice issues. A journalist for more than two decades, Davies has worked for the BBC since 2000. She has reported for domestic and world service radio, domestic and world television, and has produced online and current affairs documentaries. Davis has worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan and Zairee, among other countries. Davis will spend nine-months at CIS in a tailor-made academic research program. The fellowship is named for Elizabeth Neuffer, a Boston Globe reporter who was killed on assignment in Iraq in 2003. Press Release


Joint Seminar on South Asian Politics

The Center has joined together with the Watson Institute at Brown and the Weatherhead Center at Harvard to launch a new Inter-University Seminar on South Asian politics. The seminar is chaired by Ashutosh Varshney, professor of political science at Brown and visiting fellow at CIS. Meetings are scheduled for Thursdays at 4 PM, unless otherwise noted. More details on speakers and the series are here.


Starr Forum on U.S.-Cuba Relations

Cuban scholars Julia Sweig and Wayne Smith will be discussants at a Starr Forum entitled: Cuba-U.S. Relations: The Beginning of a Long Thaw? Sweig is a senior fellow and director for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. She is the award-winning author of Inside the Cuban Revolution, and, most recently, Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know. Smith is senior fellow and director of the Cuba Program at the Center for International Policy, and a visiting professor of Latin American studies at Johns Hopkins University. Smith served in the State Department as executive secretary of President Kennedy's Latin American Task Force and chief of mission at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. The Starr Forum event, which is free and open to the public, will be on Wed, Sept 23, at 4:30 PM, in the Wong Auditorium, MIT Bldg E51.

Photo of E40

CIS Moves to E40

CIS is delighted to announce our new location at E40-400. All of the Center's programs and people are now together on one floor, which will help foster better research and teaching. The Center will celebrate the new space with a formal reception soon after the fall semester commences.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology