MIT Reports to the President 1996-97


The Center for International Studies fosters faculty and student research on significant international issues. Beneath the surface of most current policy debates sit enduring empirical, theoretical, and historiographic conflicts. Center affiliates have addressed critical problems by conducting work on fundamental underlying issues and then linking that research to policy concerns. Initiatives in the areas of comprehensive security, technology policy, refugees and migration, democratization, ethnic conflict, political economy, and environment are discussed below. CIS research projects, seminars and workshops, fellowships, conferences and publications are part of an ongoing commitment to respond to the political and economic transformations of the 1990s.


The MIT Security Studies Program, formerly the MIT Defense and Arms Control Studies Program, analyzes security alternatives available to the United States and other major and regional powers. Of great interest to the program is the role the United States will play in the world scene no longer dominated by the Cold War confrontation. The program also is examining the extent to which perceived economic and environmental problems are likely to affect international security arrangements, military options, and the resources made available for armed forces.

The Security Studies Program sponsors a number of working groups--research collaborations of faculty, staff and students--with each group adopting a distinctive format and topic. One, led by Professor Harvey Sapolsky, examines American defense policies and has been especially concerned with the effect casualties have on the conduct and political acceptability of war. A second, led by Professor Barry Posen, has concentrated on conventional warfare with special emphasis on nationalism-driven conflicts. A third, led by Professor Sapolsky, has been concerned with the impact the end of the Cold War will have on aerospace, shipbuilding, and research and development. A fourth, directed by Professor Theodore Postol, explores defense technology issues, most recently on the future of the ABM Treaty. A fifth, also led by Professor Sapolsky, has been examining the environmental legacies of the Cold War. A sixth, jointly directed by Professors George Rathjens, Carl Kaysen and Jack Ruina, has been exploring American national strategy and force requirements in a world filled with ethnic turmoil and failed states. A seventh, led by Professor Richard Samuels and offered in conjunction with the MIT Japan Program, looks at security issues in Asia. An eighth, led by Dr. Marvin Miller, studies proliferation problems. In addition, the program sponsors several seminar series including the SSP seminars, the Future of War seminars (joint with Harvard), the Star Series and the Weapon Seminars Series. Four major conferences were held: Chemical Weapons Treaty (our second annual defense environmental conference); Arms Trade (joint with Women in International Security); The First Admiral Levering Smith conference (a nuclear weapons series); the Fourth Annual James H. Doolittle conference (this year's topic was the Global Positioning System); and ASW After the Cold War, our invitational conference.

The director of the program is Professor Sapolsky, who has sought to encourage the initiatives mentioned above and to increase the program's research and public education activities. Among the Program publications are Breakthroughs, a research journal now in its seventh year; DACS Facts, the program's newsletter; Security Studies Seminars, reports on current topics; a working paper series; and the newly established MIT Security Studies Conference series. Major sponsors have been the Carnegie, Ford, and MacArthur Foundations. In addition to ten faculty members, thirty-five graduate students, eight post-doctoral visitors and scholars, four military fellows were affiliated with the program this year. MIT Japan Program Director Professor Richard Samuels is joining the Security Studies program, helping to integrate two major CIS programs.


Research and training in development studies within the Center focused on questions of citizenship, ethnicity and nationalism, international migration and refugee movements, transnational linkages between developed and development countries, environmental policies, and governmental and trade reform.

The Inter-University Committee on International Migration, chaired by Professor Myron Weiner, continued its guest lecture seminar series on new approaches to the study of migration and refugee flows. The Committee received a grant from the Mellon Foundation to initiate a fellowship program on refugees and non-governmental organizations. The Committee organized a conference on "The Politics of Counting: Race, Ethnicity and Censuses in Modern Politics," funded by the Sloan Foundation, and directed by Assistant Professor Melissa Nobles (Political Science). The Committee also co-sponsored a workshop with the Institute for Economic Development of Boston University on the migration of scientists and engineers to the United States, directed by Professor Robert Lucas (Boston University). The studies prepared for the Committee's workshops comparing Japanese and U.S. migration, refugee and citizenship, funded by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, will be published under the title Temporary Workers or Future Citizens? Japanese and U.S. Migration Policies, edited by Professor Weiner and Professor Tadashi Hanami (Sophia University). Several members of the Committee also participated in the project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on German-American Migration and Refugee Policies, chaired by Professor Weiner. Under an arrangement with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) each year one of their staff members participates in the work of the Inter-University Committee on International Migration. The theme of citizenship, identity and migration was the topic of the MIT-Harvard Joint Seminar on Political Development (JOSPOD), co-organized by Professor Weiner (Political Science) and Jorge Dominguez (Harvard University), now in its 33rd year. The Program in Transnational Security, run jointly with the Center for International Affairs (CFIA) at Harvard and supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, sponsored a workshop focusing on civil wars and the international response. The workshop was co-chaired by Associate Professor Stephen Van Evera (MIT) and Professor Bryan Hehir (Harvard).

The Ford Methodology seminar, a workshop funded by the Ford Foundation, focused on methodological issues in field research with presentations by faculty, guest lecturers and dissertation candidates. The workshop was organized by Dr. Elizabeth Leeds (CIS). The Seminar on Peoples and States: Ethnic Identity and Conflict, chaired by Professor Jean Jackson (Anthropology), continued its examination of issues of ethnic and nationalist identities in relation to the state. The Emile Bustani Middle East Seminar, organized by Dean Philip Khoury (History Faculty), continued its exploration of the issues of peace, conflict and democratization in the Middle East.


Research and training activities in political economy continued to expand dramatically, with work clustering in two overlapping areas. One set of projects centers on national adaptations to an increasingly global economy. Projects in that area examine the economic and political consequences of increasing integration of markets for goods, technology, and capital. A second set of projects centers on how economic, security and environmental externalities might be addressed efficiently and effectively. Projects in that area have included a full range of conceptual and empirical studies.


In 1991, the MIT Japan Program was named by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research as one of the first four United States-Japan Industry and Technology Management Training (JITMT) Centers in the nation. This grant was renewed two years later and again in 1995, reflecting the high level of the Program's accomplishments. With funding from this award as well as from MIT's Ayukawa Fund, the Starr Foundation, and its Corporate Consortium, the Program continues to be the largest, most comprehensive, and most widely copied center of applied Japanese studies in the world. Dissemination of the Program's accumulated knowledge and experience is pursued through three sets of coordinated activities: education, research, and outreach.

Education is central, with placement of MIT science, engineering, and management students as interns in Japan at the core. Educational activities during the period under review were as follows:

In research, the Program undertook the following projects during this period:

Significant outreach activities this year have included:

The Program's Corporate Consortium has 17 members, all of them large American multinationals--and the list of Japanese host organizations continues to grow.


The MIT International Science and Technology Initiative (MISTI) creates and supports programs for the internationalization of education and research at the Institute. MISTI's objectives are to expand core resources for studying foreign societies on campus and to share a growing MIT base of knowledge about foreign science, technology, and industry through outreach programs in the US. MISTI/China has been the first focus of the project offering internships in mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong to students who wish to have the experience of working in a multinational company, laboratory or public service organization. MISTI/China also facilitates collaborations between MIT faculty and researchers in outstanding universities and laboratories in China.


A new MISTI Program, the MIT Germany Program was launched in 1996 to provide 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 by working in German companies or research institutions.


Seminar XXI is an educational program held, in Washington DC, for senior military officers, government officials and industry executives in the national security and economic policy communities. Conducted under the auspices of CIS, Seminar XXI recently completed its eleventh year and continues to enjoy great success. Professors Oye, Posen, and Weiner (Political Science) serve as Co-Directors, while founder Professor Berger remains active as a member of the Executive Committee.

The main objective of Seminar XXI is to develop among the program Fellows new analytic skills for understanding foreign societies, including the instincts to ask different questions about the facts they receive on the job, and in turn, to search out alternative interpretations of that data. Seminar XXI meets nine times over the course of the year, with each session focusing on a different foreign country or policy issue. The approach is not meant to cultivate country or functional expertise, but rather to provide concrete examples of the program's essential point: different frames of interpretation through which societies are understood yield fundamentally different answers to the questions policy makers must ask and resolve. By considering the politics of each country through different frameworks of analysis, the range of possible explanations for these countries' behaviors is widened, as is the range of US policy options that can be considered systematically. Each of the nine sessions brings together distinguished faculty from US and foreign institutions.


As an off-shoot of the Seminar XXI Program, the Center runs a parallel program at the State Department's Foreign Service Institute in Washington in which American diplomatic trainees of varying rank participate in a series of workshops dealing with salient issues in global affairs. This series, also bringing together government officials and distinguished faculty and other experts from American and foreign institutions explores American strategies appropriate to a contemporary global environment. Workshops are led by Professor Emeritus Lincoln P. Bloomfield (Political Science). They are funded by a generous contribution of alumnus Harry Kalker.


Three fellowship programs provide funding for doctoral students and faculty seed research. The Program in Transnational Security, supported by the MacArthur Foundation is operated collaboratively with the Center for International Affairs at Harvard. Support is provided for research on (a) transnational economic security and (b) intergroup conflicts, human rights and refugees. Funding is available to doctoral students for academic year and summer support and to faculty for seed research support.

The National Science Foundation Traineeship in Democratization provides five fellowships annually for five years to support doctoral student training Doctoral students from all social science departments at MIT are eligible to apply.

The International Energy Policy Research Grant competition continues to provide funding to faculty, researchers, and advanced doctoral students working on any aspect of international energy, environment and related technology policy. In 1996-97 five awards were given to students from the Departments of Political Science and Urban Studies and Planning.

In addition to these three fellowship programs, CIS research and outreach activities provide substantial support for graduate education. For example, the China Coal project supports three graduate students and the Seminar XXI Program supports two graduate students. In 1996-97, CIS programs provided support for approximately 30 graduate student FTEs plus approximately 50 MISTI and Japan Program interns.


During 1996-97 CIS was host to visiting scholars from China, Russia, Israel, Turkey, Austria and Japan. In addition to the publications of the DACS (Security Studies) and Japan Programs, the Center publishes a bi-annual newsletter, PréCIS, and four working paper series. They are CIS Working Papers and Findings, a series of article-length summaries of recently completed social science dissertations in comparative and international studies. The latter is funded by a grant from an MIT alumnus. In addition the Center publishes the Migration Working Paper Series and the MacArthur Transnational Security Working Papers.

The Center draws its members from the MIT faculty and student body and its support staff through the MIT Personnel Department and our pool reflects the general commitment of MIT to affirmative action goals. General funds presently support part of the salaries of four people, one of whom is a woman. The Director of the Center is an Asian American and the Managing Director of the MIT Japan Program is a woman.

More information about this center can be found on the World Wide Web at the following URL:

Kenneth Oye

MIT Reports to the President 1996-97