Center for International Studies

The Center for International Studies (CIS) at MIT is dedicated to generating the knowledge, skills, and leadership necessary to address an increasingly more complex international political and economic environment. CIS focuses on the critical role of international education in science and technology in the transformation and future conduct of foreign affairs and commercial diplomacy. At CIS, we are also seeking new ways that the social sciences, in conjunction with emerging technologies, can be brought to bear on public policy. The quest for this new knowledge, along with a range of unresolved problems—from regional financial crises and nuclear confrontation in Asia to widespread ethnic conflict and structural poverty—are the main forces driving MIT to increase significantly its efforts in internationally oriented research and education. CIS will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2002.

Richard J. Samuels, Ford International Professor of Political Science and Acting Director of the MISTI Program, joined the center as its new director in July 2000. Simultaneously, Associate Professor Stephen Van Evera began his role as Associate Director. Dr. William W. Keller continued to serve as CIS Executive Director and Research Director of the MIT Japan Program.

This year, CIS established three new programs, described below.

The Program on Human Rights and Justice will play a leadership role in advancing the study of and action on issues of human rights and justice, especially as related to science, technology, and the global economy. It is the first in the United States with a specific focus on these cutting-edge issues. The activities of the program—which has a strong cross-cultural orientation—will include placing interns in inter-governmental organizations, multinational corporations and non-governmental organizations worldwide. It will also administer a fellowship program, a seminar series, and a working paper series. Conferences and research projects will be designed to advance thinking on approaches to the place of rights in securing global justice that are grounded in studies of real-world situations. The program is a joint effort between CIS and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and is under the direction of Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Assistant Professor in that department.

The CIS Forums Program will focus public attention on some of the more persistent and lesser-understood problems in world affairs. The first CIS Forum, in January 2001, examined closely the broader consequences of continued unrest in the Middle East for U.S. foreign policy, for the global economy, and for the prospects of democracy in the Arab world. Future forums will address issues related to other aspects of the center's work, including human rights, the U.S. military budget, and forced migration and the internal displacement of refugees. Amy Tarr, who left the directorship of Seminar XXI this year, oversees the Forums Program as Director of Public Programs.

The Program on Political Economy and Technology Policy deploys the analytic methods of political economy to probe public policy issues with significant scientific and technical content. Working with the Technology and Policy Program, CIS seeks to improve both public and private sector responses to emerging technologies. Technological advances often outstrip political, economic and ethical responses to change. This joint project seeks to anticipate consequences of impending technical advances; identify critical areas of uncertainty; suggest near-term actions in light of expected problems/opportunities; and improve adaptation to the unexpected. Working with the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment, CIS seeks to improve responses to environmental problems by:

Establishment of four additional initiatives—a Program in Humanitarian Studies, a Center for Emerging Technology Policy Studies, the Asia Fellows Leadership Project, and the Crisis Simulation Initiatives Program—will be a CIS priority during the coming year. These programs are described below:

CIS is working with the Harvard School of Public Health and Tufts University to create a certificate Program in Humanitarian Studies. Students from all three institutions will be able to cross-register and participate in the program, which will be centered at Harvard. The initial three years of the program are to be funded by the Mellon Foundation.

The CIS and the Technology and Policy Program at MIT are creating a policy institute to train graduate students to anticipate the impacts of impending technical advances, identify measures to limit likely problems, and exploit emerging opportunities. To be called The Center for Emerging Technology Policy Studies, it will be run by the two organizations, under the joint aegis of the School of Engineering and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

The Asia Fellows Leadership Project, run jointly by the Security Studies and MISTI Programs, will permit a highly select group of future Asian military, business, and bureaucratic leaders to work closely with Americans who have returned from Asia to continue their scientific and technological studies at MIT. Thus, this is not an Asian Fellows Program, but an Asia Fellows Program, which integrates Asian and U.S. participants. The center will house the Fellows, and will help them define conference, research, and so-called "Track II"—non-governmental, but quasi-official—projects for up to six months in residence.

Since 1993, the Center for International Studies and the MIT Political Science Department have conducted unique political/economic simulation exercises examining the U.S.-Japan relationship and Asian security. In these exercises, teams of experts from academia, industry, and the press assemble to model, through role-playing, the development of political, economic and security affairs in Asia over a 12-year timeframe. Special attention is paid to security issues central to U.S. interests. These efforts have demonstrated the value of political and economic simulations as tools for long-range strategic planning and have won significant notice in the United States and Japan. Recognizing the profound educational value of these exercises, the center plans to institutionalize them by establishing the CIS as an internationally recognized center of simulated learning and creating the Crisis Simulation Initiatives Program.

CIS includes 160 members of the MIT faculty and staff, and visiting scholars from other institutions, many from abroad. It is organized into formal programs such as those mentioned above, working groups, and individual research projects. Programs engage in a broad range of research and training activities related to their substantive concerns. Multidisciplinary working groups bring faculty, research associates, and students together around shared interests. Faculty members and research staff also conduct their own research projects under the auspices of the center.

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MIT Security Studies Program

The MIT Security Studies Program (SSP) is a policy research and teaching component of the MIT Center for International Studies. It focuses on the security concerns of states. SSP has over 40 associates, including more than a dozen faculty members who devote essentially all of their professional attention to security issues. About half of the program's faculty members are natural scientists and engineers and half are social scientists, thus giving the program a strong interdisciplinary flavor. Forty-eight graduate students are affiliated with the Program, nearly all of whom are doctoral candidates in political science. In addition, more than 20 fellows are attached to SSP, including military officers from each of the armed services who receive war college credit for time spent at MIT, scientists and engineers from several countries who work on missile defense and nuclear weapons issues, and several senior scholars and former government officials.

Program research is built around the interests of the faculty, the dissertations of the graduate students, and occasional commissioned projects. The research categories are best expressed in a listing of the program's working groups—faculty led research teams that focus on the same general topic. There are seven such groups:

Each year the program sponsors four to six conferences including a conference jointly organized with Harvard (The Future of War), an annual conference on airpower topics named after MIT graduate General Jimmy Doolittle (USAF), and another on nuclear weapons named after Vice Admiral Levering Smith. Summaries of program conferences are widely distributed.

In addition to conference summaries, the program publishes a research journal, Breakthroughs; a seminar summary series, "SSP Seminars"; a monthly newsletter, Early Warning; and a working paper/occasional paper series. These are distributed via the Internet and a large mailing list. Several Breakthroughs articles have been reprinted by other publications and several working papers have been adopted for courses at other universities.

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MIT International Science and Technology Initiative (MISTI)

MISTI creates and supports programs that promote the internationalization of education and research at MIT. MISTI/China was launched in 1994, the first of a projected series of regional programs to enhance the ability of MIT students to acquire a deeper understanding of how knowledge is created and used in other countries. It also provides opportunities for MIT researchers to develop international collaborations with scientists and technologists at outstanding foreign institutions.

The principal objective of these collaborations is to expand core resources for studying other societies on campus and to share a growing MIT base of knowledge about foreign science, technology, and industry through outreach programs in the United States. Today MISTI has three programs in Asia: China, India and Japan, and three in Europe: Germany, Italy and France. The mandate of all the programs is to educate MIT scientists, managers and engineers in the language and culture of the country before placing them in "hands on" internship situations in the host country. The internship program has two primary objectives: to launch students in their careers by fostering international skills and expertise, and more broadly, to develop a cadre of internationalists—specialists in technology and management—who can strengthen interaction and communication with Japan and East Asia.

The programs also conduct meetings, symposia, workshops and produce and disseminate research on pertinent topics. MISTI works closely with sponsors on all the above programs and produces a biannual resume book.

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MIT China Program

China was the first focus of the MISTI Program, offering opportunities for student internships in mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Students work at public service organizations, laboratories, and multinational corporations in Greater China. The program also facilitates collaborations between MIT and outstanding Chinese universities and laboratories. Students are placed in diverse host institutions such as Tsinghua University, Fudan University, Intel Corporation, IBM, Microsoft, Roche Pharmaceuticals, General Motors, the United Nations, the World Wildlife Fund and many others. More than 50 MIT students are now sent to Greater China on internships each year.

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MIT-CHINA Educational Technology Initiative

In 1997, MISTI sponsored a new student internship program: The MIT-China Educational Technology Initiative (MIT-CETI). The mission of MIT-CETI is to build cross-cultural understanding between Chinese and American students through the development of computer-related educational projects. Five teams of three MIT students are sent to Chinese high schools each year for six-week summer projects. Since President Clinton's visit to a CETI internet project in China in 1998, the CETI curriculum has expanded into other technical areas such as web design, desktop editing, digital imaging, robotics, biotechnology, and e-commerce.

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MIT France Program

The MIT France Program started in September 2000, as the sixth country program of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI). Built on the MISTI model, the MIT France Program aims to bring understanding of the accomplishments and problems of contemporary France to the attention of the students and faculty of MIT. In order to build long-term networks of cooperation between MIT and France, the MIT France Program is setting in place three main components:

With recent support from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (FMFA), the MIT France Program will add a fourth component: jumpstarting new collaborative projects between MIT and France which encourage multidisciplinary approaches in education, research and technological innovation

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MIT Germany Program

In 1996, MISTI launched the MIT Germany Program. It provides internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to combine their knowledge of German language and culture with their expertise in the fields of engineering, science, and management. Sending about 40 students each year, the program has placed about 200 MIT students in German companies, research and government institutions including BMW, Bosch, DaimlerChrysler, Infineon Technologies, Siemens, the Max Planck Institute, and the German Parliament. It has also placed about 30 Visiting Students from Germany in MIT labs for short-term research stays. In 2000 the MIT Germany Program Consortium was founded consisting of a select group of sponsors with whom program cooperation goes beyond the internship component. With this group the MIT Germany Program organizes workshops, lectures and recruiting events.

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MIT India Program

The MIT India Program sends MIT graduate and undergraduate students to India for industry, research, and teaching internships, enabling these students to gain direct experience of Indian life, science, business, and technology. Established through a pilot project in the summer of 1998, the program has sent 38 students over the past three years. In 2001, fourteen students are interning in the areas of finance, education, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, local uses of technology, computer programming and development, and telecommunications. Host institutions for 2001 include GE's John F. Welch Technology Centre (Bangalore); Hikal Ltd. (Mumbai); ICICI Ltd. (Mumbai); Infosys Technology Ltd. (Bangalore); the Kalmadi Shamarao High School (Pune); Tata Steel and the Rotary Club of Jamshedpur (Jamshedpur); and the Telecommunications and Computer Networks Group at IIT Madras (Chennai).

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MIT Italy Program

In 1998 MISTI launched the MIT Italy Program, modeled on the MIT Japan Program. It provides internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to combine their knowledge of Italian language and culture with their expertise in the fields of engineering, science, and management. The program has already placed 20 MIT students in Italian research institutions, companies, and government ministries. In the fall of 2001, it will hold its first international symposium in Italy.

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MIT Japan Program

The MIT Japan Program was established in 1981 and is the largest, most comprehensive program of its kind in the country. It routinely places MIT interns in Japanese laboratories after preparing them at MIT with two years of language and with courses on Japanese culture and history. The program currently sends between 30-40 interns to Japan each year. Since its inception, the MIT Japan Program has sent more than 700 student interns to Asia. Today, more than half of those students are working with U.S. corporations. The program also conducts workshops, symposia and meetings, bringing together U.S. and Asian academics, government organizations, and corporations to address critical issues that arise in the areas of international science, technology, and management. Participants form networks to enhance understanding and effectiveness between the Japanese and U.S. science, technology, and business communities.

Program sponsors place these bilingual, bicultural professionals in key positions in Japan, America, and East Asia to facilitate communication and to acquire technologies and management expertise. As their companies seek new opportunities in a dynamic Asian environment, many former MIT interns play a strategic role in creating networks that aid in the development of business partnerships and joint ventures.

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The Inter-University Committee on International Migration

The Inter-University Committee on International Migration draws on social science faculty, scholars, and students from MIT and the Cambridge-Boston academic community to study salient issues of developing countries. With a multidisciplinary training and research agenda, the committee sponsors workshops, interdisciplinary research teams, and individual scholarly efforts in a variety of substantive areas.

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International Migration

CIS works closely with the Inter-University Committee on International Migration, established in 1974. This committee brings together faculty members and research scholars from Boston University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Harvard, MIT, Tufts University, and Wellesley College concerned with migration and refugee studies.

With a grant from the Mellon Foundation, the committee runs two year-long seminar series (at MIT and Tufts) and implements the Mellon-MIT Inter-University Program on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Forced Migration, which provides competitively-awarded small grants for faculty, graduate students, and research scholars at member institutions to conduct research on this topic. Each year, CIS hosts a staff member of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees who participates in the work of the Inter-University Committee on International Migration. In 1998 the committee initiated the Rosemarie Rogers Working Paper Series with the publication of the study, "Missed Opportunities: The Role of the International Community in the Return of the Rwandan Refugees from Eastern Zaire," by Joel Boutroue of UNHCR. A total of eight working papers have been published in the series, and another two are in press. Studies by Mellon-MIT grantees are published in this series, or in the Mellon Reports Series.

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Demography, Ethnicity, Security

With support from the Smith Richardson Foundation, CIS is completing a project on demography and security. Ten studies were commissioned for a workshop held at the Center in late 1998 on the political consequences of demographic changes and the security implications of state policies to change demographic variables. Two books emanating from the project are being published in July 2001 by Berghahn Books. The first is a volume of essays co-authored by the late Professor Myron Weiner and Dr. Michael Teitelbaum (Alfred P. Sloan Foundation) entitled Political Demography, Demographic Engineering. A second, containing the studies commissioned for the workshop, is entitled Demography and National Security, edited by Professor Weiner and Dr. Sharon Stanton Russell (CIS). Both volumes are forthcoming in 2002.

The Project on Race, Ethnicity and Censuses, conducted by Associate Professor Melissa Nobles (Political Science), examines the historical development of contemporary political battles over racial census categorization in the United States and Brazil. Both countries have long histories of immigration, both voluntary and involuntary, that are reflected in the categories and uses of census data. A conference at CIS, funded by the Sloan Foundation, brought together scholars in the field. Professor Nobles' completed study, Shades of Citizenship: Race and Censuses in Modern Politics, was published in 2000 by Stanford University Press.

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Development Projects, Seminars, and Colloquia

The Joint Faculty Seminar on Political Development (JOSPOD), founded in 1964, is co-sponsored by the MIT Center for International Studies and the Harvard Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Suspended in 1999, JOSPOD will resume in 2001. The Migration Seminar Series of the Inter-University Committee on International Migration, chaired by Dr. Stanton Russell, explores the factors affecting international population movements and their impact upon sending and receiving countries and relations among them. The Mellon-MIT Inter-University Program on NGOs and Forced Migration conducts The Mellon Presentations series throughout the year featuring the work of persons who have received grants from the Mellon-MIT program. Peoples and States: Ethnic Identity and Conflict, chaired by Professor Jean Jackson (Anthropology), examines the issues of ethnic and nationalist identities in relation to the state. The Emile Bustani Middle East Seminar, a guest lecture series organized by Dean Philip Khoury (History and CIS), focuses on issues of peace, conflict, and democratization in the Middle East and North Africa.

The MacArthur Transnational Security Seminar, co-sponsored by the MIT Center for International Studies and Harvard's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, was initiated in 1996 with a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Women and International Development (WID), a program jointly sponsored by the center and the Harvard Institute for International Development, conducts seminars and workshops that address issues relating to women and international development.

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Crosscutting Working Groups

In addition to these formal programs, CIS research is conducted via crosscutting projects typically organized as working groups. Because many pressing international issues do not fit neatly within functionally or regionally defined category, center working groups link CIS programs to one another, to other groups within MIT, and to many outside institutions. Several of these groups are structured to link the efforts of social science professionals with those of engineers and natural scientists on problems of academic and policy significance. Examples of active CIS working groups include:

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Political Economy, Energy and Environmental Studies

The Center for International Studies offers a variety of research and training programs on connections between politics and markets. One cluster of activity centers on national adaptations to a global economy, while a second cluster centers on security and environmental costs that may be external to markets. The activities described below include individual and collaborative faculty and student research, fellowship programs, and several workshops and seminar series. In addition, the center maintains an ongoing grant program for research on international energy and environmental policy. These are areas marked by controversy, and CIS faculty, research associates and students address problems in political economy, energy and environmental studies from an exceptionally broad range of perspectives.

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National Adaptations to a Global Economy

Several projects and series examine national adaptations to an increasingly global economy, with attention to the economic and political implications of increasing integration of goods, technology, and capital markets.

The Harvard-MIT Joint Working Group on Transnational Economic Security examines the effects of globalization on the demand for private and public adjustment initiatives and the financial capacity of firms and governments to facilitate adjustment. Further, it looks at firm and governmental incentives to alter taxation, environmental regulations, and labor standards. It is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

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Responses to Security and Environmental Externalities

A second set of projects centers on how security and environmental costs external to markets might best be addressed. Debates over these issues break out into two broad positions. One line stresses potential causes of market failure, then turns to associated public policy responses. A second line stresses potential causes of regulatory failure, then turns to associated proposals for regulatory reform and/or deregulation. The research activities by CIS faculty and affiliates along these two lines are described below.

Asian Energy and Security Working Group

Michael Lynch continued his work with a team drawn from the Security Studies Program, MISTI and the Japan Program. They are examining security externalities associated with energy and infrastructure choices and to evaluate economic and military strategies for addressing these energy externalities. This group has been funded by the CIS innovation fund and by NEDO.

International Aid and Chinese Coal Combustion Projects

Two teams drawn from the departments of political science, urban studies and planning, chemical engineering, and the technology and policy program are examining local and international responses to Chinese coal combustion. These CIS joint projects with Tsinghua University, Taiyuan University of Technology, Tokyo University and the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH) have been supported by the Center for Global Partnership, the Alliance for Global Sustainability, NEDO, and ABB.

Uncertainty and Environmental Decisionmaking

CIS Research Affiliates James Foster and former NRC Policy Division Director Lawrence McCray have been leading working groups on regulatory adaptation and on the credible assessment of scientific and technical information. Faculty members Assistant Professor Brandice Canes-Wrone, Dr. Joanne Kauffman, Associate Professor Kenneth Oye, Professor Sapolsky, and Professor Emeritus Eugene Skolnikoff have been participants in conferences and workshops. These activities have been supported by the Consortium on Environmental Initiatives.

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Washington Activities

The Center for International Studies operates three programs that focus on training and public policy-making. These are addressed to the military and intelligence communities, the State Department and Foreign Service, and to senior Congressional Staff.

Seminar XXI—Foreign Politics, International Relations and the National Interest—is an educational program for senior military officers, government officials, and executives in the national security policy community. Its fundamental objective is to provide future leaders of the national security policy community with enhanced analytic skills for understanding foreign countries and the relations among them. Fellows learn to raise new questions and to recognize assumptions that underlie assessments of foreign societies confronting them as policymakers. The seminar explores key policy issues by examining countries and problems critical to American interests through a variety of paradigmatic lenses. At each session, eminent experts present alternative perspectives from which the given country or problem can be understood. The seminar seeks to provide concrete frameworks for examining how different paradigms suggest fundamentally different, even conflicting, answers to the questions American policymakers must resolve. In June, Amy Tarr, Director of the Seminar XXI Program since 1997, took a new position at CIS as Director of Public Programs. Marsha Bolton, previously of SSP, was promoted to Director of the Seminar XXI Program.

American diplomatic trainees of varying rank participate in the Kalker Seminars on American Foreign Policy, a series of workshops dealing with critical issues in global affairs. The series brings together distinguished faculty from American and foreign institutions along with high-level State Department and other government officials. Each month diplomatic trainees focus on an in-depth discussion of major issues and American strategies appropriate to a turbulent contemporary global environment. Seminars are held at the State Department's Foreign Service Institute in the Washington, DC area.

The annual Congressional Senior Staff Seminar provides intensive briefings on a selected issue in science and technology policy for senior members of congressional staff. In 2001, the seminar examined issues concerning defense technology, and was held at Lincoln Laboratory.

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Workshops, Lectures, and Seminar Series

The Center for International Studies hosts a variety of workshops, lectures, and seminar series, many of which are open to the Boston area academic community and the public. A list of CIS lectures and seminars follows:

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Grant Programs

The Center for International Studies administers a variety of fellowships for social science doctoral students at MIT. Three are administered directly by the Center for International Studies: The Mellon-MIT Inter-University Program on NGOs and Forced Migration Research Grants; the International Energy and Environment Policy Research Grants; and the MacArthur Transnational Security Research Grants.

In addition to these, CIS serves as the point of contact for three national competitions: the SSRC/International Predissertation Fellowship; the Luce Foundation Fellowships (also open to seniors, recent alumni, and junior faculty); and the National Security Education Program (NSEP).

During 2000–2001, CIS provided substantial support for approximately 15 graduate students from several departments through these fellowship programs, in addition to the internships provided via MISTI and MIT Japan for undergraduates.


Several new CIS publications were produced this year. Principal Research Scientist Cindy William's Holding the Line; U.S. Defense Alternatives for the Early 21st Century was published by the MIT Press in February 2001 and was launched at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Professor Samuels and Dr. Keller published working papers based on research for their upcoming co-edited volume, Innovation and Crisis: Asian Technology after the New Millennium. The papers appeared in May 2001 in the new MIT Japan Working Paper Series.

In addition to the publications of the Security Studies, Japan and MISTI Programs, the center publishes a biannual newsletter, Precis, and several working paper series. These include CIS Working Papers, the Rosemarie Rogers Working Paper Series (formerly the Migration Working Paper Series), the MacArthur Transnational Security Working Papers, and the Mellon-MIT Program Working Paper Series.


Many new staff members were welcomed in 2001, including Robert Murray (Administrative Officer), Quan Mong Quan, Sean Gilbert, Sylvan Ferrari, and Makiko Okuma (MISTI Program), and Marie Senat-André (Headquarters Financial Assistant). CIS was also pleased to announce two internal promotions: Marsha Bolton (SSP) was promoted to Executive Director of the center's Seminar XXI Program. Amy Tarr, previous director of Seminar XXI, was promoted to the new position of Director of Public Programs. From the SSP Program, Owen Cote, George Lewis, and Cindy Williams were promoted to the rank of Principal Research Scientist. CIS draws personnel from the MIT faculty and student body and recruits through the MIT Personnel Department. Our personnel reflect the general commitment of MIT to affirmative action goals.

Richard J. Samuels, William W. Keller

More information about the Center for International Studies can be found online at

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