MIT Center for International Studies

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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.


précis Spring Issue Now Online

The spring issue of précis is now available. The main features include: an interview with Cindy Williams, principal research scientist at the Security Studies Program; an excerpt from the book Cyberpolitics in International Relations by Nazli Choucri, professor of political science; and an essay "The Right to Kill?" by Graham Denyer Willis, a PhD candidate in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

Rebecca Ochoa Receives SHASS Award

Rebecca Ochoa, from CIS Headquarters, received an Infinite Mile Award from the School of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences (SHASS). The School's Rewards and Recognition Program recognizes individuals (and teams) who make contributions to the organizations within SHASS, as well as exceptional contributions that benefit the entire School and the Institute. Award recipients represent the best of SHASS employees. Rebecca received the award in the category "Unsung Hero" for her strong work ethic and leadership skills along with her outstanding work in event planning, videography, and training.

Wood's "Putin" Piece Among Most Read

Elizabeth Wood, MIT professor of history and director of the MIT-Russia Program, has been recognized for writing one of the top ten most read articles in Slavic journals for the year 2012. BRILL Publishers made the announcement and is allowing free access to the top ten articles from May 1 – July 1, 2013. Professor Wood's piece is available here: Performing Memory: Vladimir Putin and the Celebration of World War II in Russia. Congratulations!

CIS Staff Joins Human Chain

A 2:50 pm Monday, April 22, the state of Massachusetts paused in silence to honor the victims of the attacks and their families. "At the same time, hundreds of people linked hands and formed a human chain on Vassar Street from the MIT Police Station to the memorial where Officer Collier was slain, outside the MIT Stata Center. Those attending formed a continuous chain stretching more than eight-tenths of a mile, blocking traffic at the busy intersection with Massachusetts Avenue," reports the The Tech. Several CIS staff members joined the human chain.

CIS Awards 16 Summer Study Grants

The Center is pleased to announce the recipients of its summer study grants. The grants are being awarded to sixteen doctoral students in international affairs at MIT. Each will receive up to $3,000 for summer studies, which may be used for fieldwork, archival research, or home-based research and write-up. Criteria for the awards include the importance of the research question, the quality of the research proposal, and strong letters of support.

MISTI Honored for Innovation in Higher Ed

NAFSA: Association of International Educators has announced that MIT's flagship international education program, MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI), will receive the 2013 Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award. According to NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Marlene M. Johnson, winners of the Simon Award are "excellent models for how higher education across the country can and must innovate to prepare our students for the global economy we live in today." Read more.

Sharon Stanton Russell, 68, Pioneering Academic

Sharon Stanton Russell, 68, died peacefully on February 27, 2013, after a prolonged illness. A prominent and pioneering academic in the field of international migration who advised governments around the world, Sharon was a senior research scholar at the Center for International Studies at MIT. She also served as director of the Mellon-MIT Inter-University Program on Non-Governmental Organizations and Forced Migration from 1997 to 2005 and chair of the Steering Group of the Inter-University Committee on International Migration from 1999 to 2005. Read more.

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 4, 2013. More information about the CIS Summer Study Grant is available here.

MISTI's Global Seed Funds Winners

A total of 97 faculty international research projects have received $1.99 million in funding from the 2012-2013 MISTI Global Seed Funds competition. These projects were selected from among 196 proposals submitted by faculty and research scientists from 22 departments across the Institute. MISTI Global Seed Funds (MISTI GSF) was established to enhance the internationalization of MIT research and education. Since 2008, the program has awarded $6 million to 304 projects.

précis Fall Issue Now Online

The fall issue of précis is now available. The main features include: an interview with Philip Khoury, associate provost and Ford International Professor of History; an excerpt from the book Alliance Formation in Civil Wars, by Fotini Christi, assistant professor of political science and member of the Security Studies Program; and an essay "Publicity-driven Accountability in China," by Greg Distelhorst, a PhD candidate in political science at MIT.

Yukio Okamoto Joins CIS

Yukio Okamoto, a former Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Japan, has been named a 2012-13 Robert E. Wilhelm Fellow. "Yukio Okamoto brings to MIT an unparalleled set of experiences on the world stage. The Center is delighted to have him with us to continue his research and writing, and to work with students and faculty through the next academic year," said Richard Samuels, director of the Center for International Studies and Ford International Professor of Political Science. Read more.

Rovner Wins ISSS Best Book Award

The International Security Studies Best Book Award Selection Committee announced the selection of Joshua Rovner, Fixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence (Cornell University Press, 2011) as the recipient of this year's prize. "Forty-seven very good books were nominated, but Dr. Rovner's book was the unanimous choice for its outstanding contribution—both methodologically and substantively—to the understanding of a challenging and understudied area of our field," said the Committee.

Nobel Winner Helped Launch MIT France

The 2012 Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded to two researchers for their work with light and matter at the fundamental level. Serge Haroche, of the the Collège de France and the École Normale Supérieure shares the award with David J. Wineland, of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado. Haroche, who lives in Paris, was a founding member of the MIT-France Program Advisory Board. His work on the Board, starting in 2003, helped launch the success of the MIT-France Program.

Luce Fellowship Deadline Oct. 22

Monday, October 22, is this year's deadline for the Luce Scholars Program. Young scholars from a wide variety of intellectual fields will be placed in 10-month internships in selected countries in Asia. The fellowship is aimed for those with no prior experience in the region. Nominees must be American citizens not yet 30 years old on July 1, 2013, and who have earned at least a bachelor's degree or expect to receive one by July 1, 2013. More information

PEGS Graduate Fellows Competition

The Center's Program on Environmental Governance and Sustainability (PEGS) invites applications from graduate students in all Schools and Departments for the 2012-2013 Graduate Fellows program. The theme of this year's program is Environmental Futures and the faculty director is Professor Christine Walley of the Department of Anthropology.


Journalist from India Joins CIS

Priyanka Borpujari, an independent journalist based in Mumbai, India, has been selected as the 2012-13 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow. Borpujari is the eighth recipient of the annual fellowship, which gives a woman journalist working in print, broadcast or online media the opportunity to build skills while focusing exclusively on human rights journalism and social justice issues. Borpujari plans to explore topics such as malnutrition, hunger, displacement and violence, especially in light of India’s surging gross domestic product. The award is offered through the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and is sponsored in part by CIS. Read more>>


Urban Resilience: Cities Coping with Violence

Ordinary people show remarkable capacities for coping with and resisting violent actors in some of the world's most dangerous cities, a new study from the Center shows. "Urban Resilience in Situations of Chronic Violence," a two-year undertaking led by former MIT professor Diane Davis and Center executive director John Tirman, examined eight cities to answer questions about what adaptive strategies communities adopt in response to criminal and other forms of persistent violence. The study uncovers new insights into conditions of "positive" resilience, in which communities forge and utilize social relationships within their neighborhoods and negotiate productive relations with city and state officials, police, business leaders, and the like. Not all cities achieve this outcome, however.

MIT graduate students and researchers from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva spent several weeks doing field research in Johannesburg, Kigali, Managua, Medellín, Mexico City, Nairobi, and São Paolo, with remote research on Karachi, under a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development. The 132-page main report was written by Diane Davis, now professor at Harvard's Graduate School of Design and a CIS Research Affiliate. Davis and Tirman presented findings to USAID and an audience of policy professionals at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in July. The study will be discussed in several more forums, emphasizing its utility to practitioners—governments, NGOs, multilateral agencies, and others.


"Becoming Enemies" Emerges from US-Iran Project

The first book from the Center's US-Iran project was published in May—Becoming Enemies: US-Iran Relations and the Iran-Iraq War, 1979-1988. Published by Rowman & Littlefield, the book is the work of five coauthors who are the key players in the project: James Blight and Janet Lang (University of Waterloo), Malcolm Byrne (National Security Archive), Hussein Banai (Occidental College), and the Center's John Tirman. Bruce Riedel, who advised President Clinton on U.S.-Iran issues, contributed a foreword. The project is designed to bring together policy makers from the US, Iran, and elsewhere to explore in detail, often for the first time as a group, the key events in a difficult relationship. The project asks if there were missed opportunities to improve the relationship, and why. Later works will examine the period of reform and the 2001-2009 period. It is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Arca Foundation, and an MIT alumnae family.


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