MIT Reports to the President 1998-99


The Center for International Studies (CIS) promotes theoretical and applied international studies at MIT. The activities of the center, established in 1951, have broadened since the end of the Cold War, reflecting a more complex international security and economic environment. At the same time, the increasingly critical role of science and technology in the analysis and conduct of public policy is affecting the social sciences, both analytically and substantively.

Major research and training units within CIS include the Security Studies Program, the Development Studies Program, the MIT Japan Program, and the MIT Science and Technology Initiative (MISTI) programs on China and Germany. These established programs provide a rigorous base for new work on emerging issues. CIS traditional strengths in security strategies, development studies and political economy anchor major initiatives on international economic and social performance, technology policy and environmental issues, democratization and ethnic conflict, and migration and refugees. Outreach activities include Japan Program and MISTI internship training programs for scientists and engineers and Seminar XXI executive education programs for senior defense and foreign affairs officials.

The Center for International Studies 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.


The MIT Security Studies Program is a policy research and teaching component of the Center for International Studies. It focuses on the security concerns of states. The Program studies how security threats are identified; how national security strategies are devised; the technologies, systems, and doctrines that are used to build and implement military power; the causes of wars; and the ways in which armed conflicts among states and within them can be avoided, contained, and terminated.

The MIT Security Studies Program has over 60 associates, including faculty members who devote essentially all of their professional attention to security issues. About half are natural scientists and engineers and half are social scientists, thus giving the Program a strong interdisciplinary flavor. More than 30 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 missiles 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 nine such groups. The Asian Energy and Security Working Group is led by Professor Richard Samuels, who directs the MIT Japan Program, Associate Professor Thomas Christensen, a China expert, and Dr. Michael Lynch, an energy policy specialist. The Conventional Warfare Working Group is led by Professor Barry Posen, a political scientist noted for his work on grand strategies, military innovation, and, more recently, ethnic conflict. The Defense Technologies Working Group is directed by Dr. George Lewis, a physicist, and Professor Theodore Postol, a member of the MIT Science, Technology and Society Program and a nuclear engineer. The Defense Politics Working Group, chaired by Professor Harvey Sapolsky and Dr. Owen Cote, examines civil/military and interservice relations. The Defense Environmental Issues Working Group, led by Professor Sapolsky, works on the environmental legacy of the Cold War and has strong ties to the CIS Program on Regulation and the Environment. The Future of the Defense Industries Working Group, chaired by Professor Saplosky, focuses on life after the Cold War for defense contractors and arsenals in both Europe and the United States. The New Directions Working Group, led by Emeritus Professors George Rathjens and Carl Kaysen, explores new policies for the United States that would help shape a more peaceful international system. The Humanitarian Intervention Working Group is offered jointly with Harvard and chaired at MIT by Professor Stephen Van Evera, a member of the Political Science Department and an international relations theorist. The Counter Proliferation Working Group is led by Dr. Marvin Miller, a nuclear engineer specializing in weapons and energy policy issues.

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 mailing list. Several Breakthroughs articles have been reprinted by other publications and several working papers have been adopted for courses at other universities.


The Program in Development Studies draws on social science faculty 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 Program sponsors workshops, interdisciplinary research teams, and individual scholarly efforts in a variety of substantive areas including ethnicity and nationalism; international migration and refugee movements; poverty alleviation programs in developing countries; global environmental change; economic liberalism and trade reform; non governmental organizations; and transnational linkages between developed and developing countries.

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

The Committee runs a year-long seminar series. With a three year grant from the Mellon Foundation, the Committee also provides competitively awarded small grants for faculty, graduate students, and research scholars at member institutions to conduct research on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and forced migration. The Committee completed its comparative study of US and Japanese migration, citizenship and refugee policies, funded by the Center for Global Partnership, with the publication by Macmillan and NYU Press of a volume entitled Temporary Workers or Future Citizens? Japanese and US Migration Policies, edited by Professor Myron Weiner and Professor Tadashi Hanami (Sophia University). Several members of the committee participated in a related project by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on German-American Migration and Refugee Policies. This project was completed with the publication of a five volume series by Berghahn Press, edited by Professor Weiner.

Each year, a staff member of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees participates in the work of the Inter-University Committee on International Migration. In 1998—99 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. Other papers in the series were: "The Clash of Norms: Dilemmas in Refugee Policies," December 1998, Professor Weiner (MIT); "Protecting Internally Displaced Persons in Kosovo," May 1999, Anne-Christine Eriksson (UNHCR); and "A ‘Safety-First' Approach to Physical Protection In Refugee Camps," May 1999, Karen Jacobsen (Regis College).


With support from the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Program in Development Studies is completing a project on demography and security. A workshop held at the center in late 1998 employed ten commissioned studies on the political consequences of demographic changes and on the security implications of state policies to change demographic variables.

The Project on Race, Ethnicity and Censuses, conducted by Assistant 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 1998—99 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, will be published in 1999 by Stanford University Press.


The Joint Faculty Seminar on Political Development (JOSPOD) is co-sponsored by the MIT Center for International Studies and the Harvard Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. The Inter-University Committee on International Migration Seminar Series explores the factors affecting international population movements and their impact upon sending and receiving countries and relations among them. Mellon-MIT Inter-University Program on NGOs and Forced Migration, a seminar chaired by Sharon Stanton Russell meets in the fall semester. It features 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 CIS and Harvard's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, was initiated in 1996 with a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The Ford Methodology Workshop, a seminar funded by the Ford Foundation, focuses on methodological issues in field research with presentations by faculty, guest lecturers and dissertation candidates. 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.


The MIT Japan Program brings 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.

Since its inception, the MIT Japan Program has sent more that 500 student interns to Asia. Today, more than half of those students are working with U.S. corporations. 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.

Interns receive extensive training at MIT prior to going abroad, including a year-long course on the history and culture of Japan and East Asia, and two years of Japanese language. This helps them hit the ground running, and puts them in an excellent position to acquire insider knowledge of science, technology, and management in Japan and East Asia. 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. The MIT Japan Program actively engages in policy research on Japan and East Asia. The Program's current research agenda is focusing on a comparative study of technology development in several East Asian nations: specifically the ways in which, and to what extent, the Asian financial and political crises are changing technology innovation systems in Asia. In addition to providing its sponsors with uniquely trained global managers, the MIT Japan Program works with executives on strategy, and mid-level managers and engineers on tactics, in forging effective linkages with their Japanese counterparts. This information and advice is provided through "Target Seminars," both informal working groups and formal training sessions, that address such issues as building trust and effective negotiation with the Japanese.

The Program also conducts an annual three-day Executive Seminar for government, business, and technical managers who are directly involved with East Asian strategies and operations. Current topics include the Asian economic forecast; the future of the Japanese financial market; Asian opportunities for US firms; and China on the eve of the 21st century.

The Program is continuing its long distance education through broadcasts on current issues as well as through a long distance learning project in Technical Japanese. In addition, it disseminates research and educational materials through a number of printed and electronic media, including the MIT Japan Program Working Paper series, the JPNET (Japanese Network) Project, sponsoring exclusive World Wide Web section with PDF-readable publication access, video series, and the Web-based Materials Science Data Base.


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.

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 with subsidiaries in China. The Program also facilitates collaborations between MIT faculty and researchers with their colleagues in outstanding universities and laboratories in China. Students are placed in diverse host institutions such as Tsinghua University, Fudan University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Intel Corporation, Lucent Technologies, IBM, Ingersoll-Rand, Roche Pharmaceuticals, and General Motors. These internships are intended to serve as a first step in an individual's career path, not as a "study abroad" or "work abroad" program. Many MISTI interns return from China to take challenging jobs with the same or similar research organization and companies in the United States. They return with strong professional contacts and with what many companies have characterized as a "China expertise."

The mission of the MIT Computer Education Technology Initiative (MIT-CETI) is to build cross-cultural understanding between the younger generation of Chinese and American students through the development of computer-related educational projects, thereby strengthening U.S.-Chinese relations in the future. Fourteen MIT students were sent in 1998—99 to Chinese high schools for 6-week summer projects which involved setting up Internet nodes, connecting the schools to the Internet, enabling chat rooms between Chinese and American students, and teaching web design courses to Chinese high school students.

In 1997, MISTI placed 22 students in German companies and research institutes. In 1998, that number increased to 37 participants.

MISTI is helping to support the development of an MIT-India Program, now being planned by MIT alumni and friends in India and the United States. A pilot project in the summer of 1998 sent six MIT computer science students to a high school in Pune, Maharastra, where they connected students to the Internet, helped students and faculty create a school web site with local content, and taught students web programming languages.

Each year MISTI hosts six visiting scholars from a wide range of disciplines. Among these this year was Lu Mai of the Development Research Center of Chinese State Council, who spoke on "China's Urgent Challenge: Providing Goods in a Market Environment."


In addition to the 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: The MacArthur Foundation Transnational Security Project, The Working Group on Nuclear Waste and Proliferation, The Working Group on Asian Innovation and Crises, The Inter-University Committee on International Migration, The Asian Energy and Security Working Group, The Uncertainty and Regulation Working Group, and The China Environment Working Group.


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.

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. This group is co-chaired by Associate Professor Kenneth Oye and Dr. William W. Keller of MIT and Professors Dani Rodrik and Raymond Vernon of Harvard. It is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The Made by Hong Kong research project, led by Professor Suzanne Berger, Professor Richard Lester (Nuclear Engineering) and colleagues, was developed by MISTI and the Industrial Performance Center. The research team in 1998—99 examined economic and social effects of industrial restructuring, and suggested strategies to foster development of service enhanced products that would not be developed spontaneously.

CIS sponsors occasional seminars and workshops to probe issues of current importance. Three recent examples include:

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 regulatory 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, described below, divide along these two lines.

Asian Energy and Security Working Group: Professor Samuels and Dr. Lynch have assembled a team drawn from the Security Studies Program, MISTI and the Japan Program to examine 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 are examining local and international implications of and responses to Chinese coal combustion. These are CIS joint projects with Tsinghua University, Tokyo University and the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH).


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.

For the Kalker Seminars on American Foreign Policy, American diplomatic trainees of varying rank participate in 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 1999, the seminar examined issues concerning the Internet including privacy, encryption, intellectual property rights, and the structural impact of electronic commerce on industrial sectors. In 1998, the seminar offered a full range of views on the science and policy of climate change, with approximately 25 staff members attending "Climate Change: Risk and Response."


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:

Emile Bustani Middle East Seminar

Security Studies Program (SSP) Seminars

MIT/Harvard Future of War Seminar

Star Seminars

General James H. Doolittle Workshop and Dinner

Admiral Levering Smith Seminars

Ford Methodology Workshop

Seminar on Global Accords for Sustainable Development

MIT Japan Technology Forum Lecture

Joint Faculty Seminar on Political Development (JOSPOD)

Inter-University Seminar on International Migration

Peoples and States: Ethnic Identity and Conflict

Kalker Seminars on American Foreign Policy

MacArthur Program on Transnational Security

Lecture Series on Gender and Politics


The Center for International Studies administers a variety of fellowships for social science doctoral students at MIT. Five are administered directly by the Center for International Studies:

Mellon-MIT Inter-University Program on NGOs and Forced Migration

Ford Development

International Energy and Environment Policy Research

MacArthur Transnational Security

Inter-American Foundation

National Science Foundation Democratization Program

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

During 1998—99, CIS provided substantial support for approximately 16 graduate students through six major fellowship programs and for approximately 39 undergraduate students through the MISTI and MIT Japan programs.

In addition to the publications of the Security Studies, Japan and MISTI Programs, the center publishes a bi-annual newsletter, Precis, and several working paper series. These include CIS Working Papers and Findings, a series of article-length summaries of recently completed social science dissertations in comparative and international studies, the Rosemarie Rogers Working Paper Series (formerly the Migration Working Paper Series), and the MacArthur Transnational Security Working Papers.

CIS hosted a community forum on China on the afternoon of Premier Zhu Rongji's visit to MIT on April 14. Panelists included Associate Professor Christensen and Assistant Professor Zhiyuan Cui of Political Science, Professor Chiang Mei of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Professor Peter Perdue of History, and Professor Ed Steinfeld of the Sloan School of Management. Professor Oye moderated.

During 1998—99, CIS was host to a total of 16 visiting scholars from China, India, Israel, Japan, Korea, and Russia.

CIS Director Kenneth Oye and Executive Director William Keller, SSP Director Harvey Sapolsky, Japan Program Director Richard Samuels, MISTI Director Suzanne Berger, and Development Studies Director Myron Weiner continued to serve in these roles. Professor Weiner passed away on June 3, 1999, which is both a great personal loss to us and a deep intellectual loss to MIT. We are committed to maintaining the field of Development Studies at MIT; without his leadership and the high level of excellence that he brought to the Institute in this field, this may be one of our more challenging pursuits in the coming year. Staff members hired in the past year include Sonia Brathwaite (Seminar XXI), Anthony Duggins (HQ), Christine Lawrence (MIT Japan Program), and Brandi Sladek (SSP). 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. In the nine most senior CIS management positions, CIS currently utilizes one Asian American male and four women.

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

Kenneth Oye

MIT Reports to the President 1998-99