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 complex international political and economic environment. Drawing on MIT's strengths in science and engineering, CIS emphasizes the links between these fields and foreign affairs through its international internships for students in science and engineering (the MISTI Programs) and through its research, much of which focuses on technical aspects of security studies. At CIS, we are also seeking new ways to bring the social sciences, in conjunction with emerging technologies, 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.

Richard J. Samuels, Ford international professor of political science, continued as the center director. Professor Stephen Van Evera remained in his role as associate director. Dr. Carolyn Makinson took over from William W. Keller as CIS executive director.

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, 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.

In May 2002, CIS celebrated its 50th anniversary. To mark the occasion, professor emeritus Donald L. M. Blackmer wrote a retrospective monograph, "The MIT Center for International Studies: The Founding Years 1951–1969." The center also received two important gifts: a $10 million endowment award from the C. V. Starr Foundation and a gift of $2 million from Robert Wilhelm to establish the Wilhelm distinguished visitor program. These gifts have already enabled the development of the following three programs, as well as the permanent establishment of a fourth program:

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Israeli-Palestinian Forum

The CIS is launching a new initiative at MIT, the Israeli-Palestinian Forum, designed to contribute to peace between the two peoples in two states and to the strengthening of democracy in these societies. The forum will engage the academic community at MIT and in the region and will respond and nurture the efforts of Palestinians and Israelis as they generate constructive new ideas that contribute to peace and democracy. In the first instance, the CIS intends to support a yearlong seminar on Cities in Conflict that will be led by Professor John De Monchaux and associate professor Diane Davis of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. It is hoped that the seminar will be planned and implemented in collaboration with colleagues in universities in both Israel and Palestine. The long-term goal of the seminar is to pave the way for an international competition to be launched the following year on the design of a shared Jerusalem in 2050.

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MIT International Science and Technology Initiative

The MIT International Science and Technology Initiative (MISTI) creates and supports programs that promote the internationalization of education and research at MIT. During 2003–2003, about 160 students participated in MISTI's country programs in China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Singapore. Since 1983, more than 1,400 MIT students have been placed as interns in labs and offices from Beijing to Berlin.

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. MISTI participants emerge from their stays abroad with the capacity to build enduring professional relationships across national and cultural boundaries.

MISTI provides MIT students and faculty with the skills and opportunities to create new knowledge through intensive professional internships for culturally aware MIT students in companies, research laboratories, and universities around the world; support of MIT faculty for cross-border research collaborations; facilitating research opportunities for international students and postdoctoral visitors at MIT; providing MIT students with study-abroad opportunities at selected universities abroad; and working with corporations, government, and nongovernmental organizations to internationalize industry, education, and research.

Professor Suzanne Berger serves as director of MISTI. Patricia Gercik, managing director of the MIT–Japan Program, and Bernd Widdig, director of the MIT–Germany Program, were named associate directors of MISTI.

Students participating in the MIT–China Educational Technology Initiative (CETI) helped to transfer web site, digital imaging, and other technologies to Chinese high schools located in both urban and rural settings. One team of CETI interns developed new partnerships with schools in Jiangdu (Jiangsu Province), Mianyang (Sichuan Province), Xi'an (Shaanxi), and Chengjiang (Yunnan), a noteworthy sign that the MIT–China Program is beginning to reach even further into local community life in rural China.

CIS Director Richard J. Samuels with former senator Howard Baker, US ambassador to Japan, at the MIT-Japan Program's annual symposium in Tokyo on June 19, 2003.

On July 12, 2001, President Charles M. Vest and H. E. François Bujon de l'Estang, ambassador of France to the United States, signed an agreement formalizing a $1 million contribution from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the MIT–France Program. The French government challenged MIT to match the donation dollar-for-dollar in the year following the signature. We are delighted to report that MIT met the $1-million challenge fund thanks to generous contributors.

The MIT–Japan Program, the original MISTI program, conducted several workshops, including the 6th annual MIT–Japan program workshop in Tokyo, which welcomed Ambassador Howard Baker as the keynote speaker and business leaders from major American and Japanese firms. The MIT–Japan Program remains the largest and most successful program of applied Japanese studies in the United States.

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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.

The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have kept the SSP faculty and senior researchers busy with media inquiries seeking expert commentary on developing events and underlying issues. An important support effort in the postconflict redevelopment of Iraq was undertaken at the request of the US Central Command. The effort was led by program military fellows and Professors Samuels and Van Evera and involved several graduate students. The program faculty also participated centrally in the several symposia on the conflict that were held at MIT and other Boston-area universities.

In January, the program sponsored the first-ever unclassified conference on cyberwarfare strategy and defenses, an event that brought together the nation's leading experts in the field. During the spring term, SSP also developed three seminar series on the threat of biological warfare and bioterrorism. Cosponsors of these series included Lincoln Laboratory, the MIT–Harvard Division of Health Sciences and Technology, and the Harvard-Sussex Program.

Program research is built around the interests of the faculty, the dissertations of 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 six such groups.

The program publishes a research journal, Breakthroughs; a seminar summary series, "SSP Seminars"; a monthly newsletter, Early Warnings; and a working 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.

During the past year, SSP received a major award of $800,000 from the Carnegie Corporation, together with small awards from the Finnish Environment Institute and the Lincoln Laboratory.

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Program on Human Rights and Justice

In 2000, the CIS and MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning established an interdisciplinary program on human rights, led by assistant professor Balakrishnan Rajagopal. The primary substantive focus of the Program on Human Rights and Justice (PHRJ) is the relationship between human rights and globalization and human rights and science and technology—for example, information technology, biotechnology, and energy systems (hydroelectricity, mining, oil exploration, and nuclear energy). Over the past year, PHRJ has carried out diverse activities, including a teaching program, conferences, seminars, and summer internships for students who are placed with human rights organizations in the United States and in the developing world. PHRJ also hosts visiting fellows, has helped to launch a new quarterly internet journal, and plans to establish a working paper series. The research activities of PHRJ are expected to increase significantly during the coming years. The program has developed a web site at

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Inter-University Committee on International Migration

The Inter-University Committee on International Migration is chaired by MIT as a program of the CIS. Since its establishment in 1974, this interdisciplinary committee has been a focal point for migration and refugee studies at member institutions, which include Boston University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Harvard University, MIT, Tufts University, and Wellesley College. Activities of the Inter-University Committee are organized by a Steering Group whose MIT members include Professors Nazli Choucri and Jerome Rothenberg; associate professor Melissa Nobles; visiting lecturer Anna Hardman; executive director Makinson; and research affiliate Sharon Stanton Russell, who chairs the Steering Group.

A generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, renewed in June 2003, supports the activities of the Inter-University Committee, including two yearlong Migration Seminar series (held at MIT and Tufts); publication and dissemination of The Rosemarie Rogers Working Papers and Mellon Reports; specialized workshops; maintenance of a web site that promotes public awareness of resources in the Boston area for the study and understanding of migration; and the Mellon–MIT Program on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Forced Migration.

The Mellon–MIT Program provides small, competitively awarded grants for faculty, graduate students, and other scholars at member institutions of the Inter-University Committee. Grantees, in collaboration with NGOs, conduct applied field research on issues concerning refugees and internally displaced populations, largely in developing countries. During academic year 2003, seven grantees gave presentations, one of which was cosponsored by the MIT Women's Studies Program. Of the six Rosemarie Rogers Working Papers published in 2002–2003, three were by MIT student grantees of the Mellon–MIT Program.

There were seven speakers in the Inter-University Committee's 2002–2003 Migration Seminar series. In response to the salience of migration issues in the European elections of 2002, the fall program featured three European speakers. All three presentations were cosponsored by Harvard's Center for European Studies, and one was also cosponsored by the MIT–France Program. A fourth seminar, by Research Affiliate Leila Farsakh, speaking on "Palestinian Labor Migration to Israel," was held jointly with MIT's Bustani Seminar.

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Inter-University Initiative on Humanitarian Studies and Field Practice

The complex humanitarian emergencies that have characterized the period since the end of the Cold War have been accompanied by increasingly important roles for nongovernmental organizations and international agencies in the provision of humanitarian assistance. In recognition of the need for well-trained personnel to provide leadership for humanitarian organizations, the Inter-University Initiative on Humanitarian Studies and Field Practice (HIS) was launched in 2001 as an outgrowth of the Mellon–MIT Program on NGOs and Forced Migration. HIS is an innovative program that permits graduate students at one of the partnering institutions (MIT, Harvard, and Tufts) to earn a certificate in humanitarian studies while fulfilling the requirements of their respective degree-granting programs. The MIT contact for the HIS program is administrative assistant Sarah Anderson, who can be reached at

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Political Economy and Technology Policy Program

This program was established to use theories and analytic methods from the discipline of political economy to examine problems in science and technology policy. The program has five clusters of work in partnership with the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment (LFEE), the Technology Policy Program (TPP), and the Materials Systems Laboratory (MSL). Associate professor Kenneth Oye is the program director.

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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. Developed by the faculty and students around pressing international issues that do not fit neatly within functionally or regionally defined categories, 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 the Civil-Military Relations Working Group, the Conventional Warfare Working Group, the Defense Technologies Working Group, the Defense Politics Working Group, the Future of the Defense Industries Working Group, the Humanitarian Intervention Working Group, the Field Research Methods Working Group, the Pacific History Reading Group, and the Migration and Development Working Group.

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Seminar XXI: Outreach to the Washington Policy Community

The Center for International Studies operates an educational program, Seminar XXI, for senior military officers, government officials, and executives in nongovernmental organizations in the national security policy community. The program provides future leaders of that community with analytic skills needed to understand other countries and foreign relations generally. Fellows learn to recognize the assumptions that underlie assessments of foreign societies presented to them as policymakers and to explore policy issues critical to American interests through a variety of lenses. At each session, eminent speakers present alternative perspectives from which to understand a given country or problem. The fundamental criterion for choosing fellows is that they currently hold, or are expected to hold, top posts in business, military, or government within the next three to five years. The program, now in its 18th year, has 1,000 alumni. Professor Robert Art of Brandeis University, a senior associate of the MIT Security Studies Program, directs Seminar XXI. He can be reached at

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Public Programs

With its Public Programs initiatives, during the last year the Center for International Studies significantly expanded its outreach to the MIT and Greater Boston communities, as well as to a wider audience of scholars, students, and individuals who have gained access to CIS events via the internet.

Most visible among the center's public programs is the CIS Starr Forum series, which was renamed from the CIS Forums Program as the result of a grant to the center from the Starr Foundation of New York. In AY2003, Starr Foundation funds enabled Public Programs to present 11 panel discussions and talks on pressing issues in international affairs. In fact, during this turbulent political year, many in the Boston area came to rely on the CIS Starr Forums for challenging discussions of international developments.

Former US ambassador at large Robert Gallucci speaking about developing crises in North Korea and Iraq at a CIS Starr Forum on February 6, 2003.

The topics of the CIS Starr Forums included the first anniversary of the attacks of 9/11, prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and the threat posed by a nuclear-armed North Korea. Ahead of the curve in the fall of 2002, the series also presented several events on the looming war with Iraq and what appeared to be a future US occupation of that county. Many of the CIS Starr Forums were held in MIT's Wong Auditorium; most attracted between 100 and 350 people.

Those who were unable to attend the CIS Starr Forums this year could listen to or watch them via MIT World, MIT's webcasting internet site (, and, in one case, via WBUR radio, Boston's National Public Radio (NPR) station (90.9 FM). In May 2003, WBUR's On Point program (which airs on more than 30 NPR stations around the country) broadcast a program from the Wong Auditorium—in collaboration with CIS and the Boston Review—on "Islam and the Challenge of Democracy." Public Programs is working toward establishing an ongoing relationship with WBUR, with the aim of coproducing additional broadcasts in AY2004.

In another effort to broaden the center's impact beyond the MIT community, Public Programs this year established the CIS High School Outreach Program. Juniors and seniors from local high schools were invited to attend the Starr Forums, to meet beforehand with a CIS–affiliated graduate student for a "seminar" on the day's topic and to pose questions for the featured speakers. This initiative was accomplished in partnership with MIT's Public Service Center.

Public Programs also served as a liaison between CIS and the MIT committee organized by President Vest's office to determine how the Institute would mark the first anniversary of 9/11. CIS events became part of the campus-wide commemoration.

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Seminars, Colloquia, Workshops, and Conferences

In addition to the seminars and workshops listed above under specific programs, CIS has sponsored the following events:

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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 provided four grants this year to enable MIT faculty members and graduate students to undertake field research. Two MacArthur Transnational Security Research Grants were awarded to graduate students in the Political Science department to enable them to conduct dissertation research over summer 2002. This year, the CIS awarded 22 summer grants to graduate students conducting dissertation research. The center also awarded 12 travel fellowships to enable graduate students to present their research at professional meetings.

In addition to these internal programs, CIS serves as the point of contact for two national competitions: the Luce Foundation Fellowships (also open to seniors, recent alumni, and junior faculty) and the National Security Education Program.

CIS also provided substantial support for graduate students from several departments through the MISTI internships and through research assistantships and short-term work opportunities, in addition to the internships provided via MISTI and MIT–Japan for undergraduates.

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The following books were published this year by faculty members affiliated with CIS:

In addition to books, CIS affiliates published a large number of articles, working papers, and op-ed pieces on a range of international issues. We list here a selection of these publications:

In addition to the publications listed above, the center publishes a biannual newsletter, Precis, and several working paper series that have been described above under individual program sections.

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Dr. Makinson joined the CIS as executive director. Several new administrative assistants were welcomed in 2002–2003, including Heidi La Bash, Monika Pinto, Teresa Chiu, and Sarah Anderson. Deidre Siddalls was promoted to administrative assistant II and now assists Dr. Makinson. Patricia (Tisha) Gomes was promoted to executive director of the Seminar XXI Program. Dr. Widdig joined the MISTI Program as associate director. The center said farewell to Professor Christensen, who has accepted a faculty position at Princeton. Research associate Geoff Forden took a year of leave without pay to work with the United Nations as the chief of the multidisciplinary analysis section of UNMOVIC, the UN weapons of mass destruction inspection agency for Iraq.

Professors Berger and Samuels were presented with the Dean's Award for Distinguished Service to the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences for their leadership in international education and research at MIT. Associate professor Oye received the Faculty Appreciation Award, Technology and Policy Program. Two CIS staff members were among the 10 recipients of this year's Infinite Mile Awards, granted each year by the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences as part of MIT's Rewards and Recognition Program. Laurie Scheffler, center administrator and assistant to the director, was given a Dean's Community Builder Award, and Anthony Duggins, CIS computer support assistant, was given a Positive Energy Award.

Richard J. Samuels
Ford International Professor of Political Science

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


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