Evan Lieberman named faculty director of MISTI, MIT's hub for global experiences

Evan Lieberman named faculty director of MISTI, MIT's hub for global experiences

The MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives—better known as MISTI—connects MIT students and faculty with research and innovation around the world. 

November 3, 2021 | Center for International Studies
Evan Lieberman
November 3, 2021
Center for International Studies

The Center is thrilled to announce that Evan Lieberman, Total Professor of Political Science and Contemporary Africa, will become faculty director of the MIT Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI), effective November 1, 2021. He succeeds Suzanne Berger, the Raphael Dorman-Helen Starbuck Professor of Political Science, who recently served as interim director. Berger was the founding director of MISTI and led the program from 1994-2011. Chappell Lawson, associate professor of political science, succeeded Berger in 2011 and directed the program for the next decade.

In this new role, Lieberman will continue to steer and nurture MIT’s international research and teaching opportunities for current students and into the future. MIT's primary international program, MISTI is a pioneer in “applied international studies”—a distinctively MIT concept.

MISTI helps MIT undergraduate and graduate students experience the world while advancing knowledge, tackling tough challenges, and preparing for lives of impact, service, and leadership in an interconnected global society.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to deepen my involvement with MISTI, a program that is so widely valued by MIT students and various stakeholders on campus and around the world. Although the pandemic continues to make international travel a challenge, the need for global learning and MISTI programs is as crucial as ever,” said Lieberman, who has served as the faculty director of the MISTI Africa Program since 2020.

A widely respected scholar, his award-winning work has focused on development and ethnic conflict in sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, he studies how social identities come to be politically salient and the consequences of identity politics for state-building, conflict, and human development. His next book, Until We Have Won Our Liberty: South Africa After Apartheid, will be published by Princeton University Press in May 2022.

Lieberman also co-founded the Global Diversity Lab, where he and colleagues study the relationship between human diversity, development, and dignity in the United States and around the world. He first travelled to France and to South Africa as an undergraduate at Princeton 1988-92. Prior to graduate school, he worked in international management consulting, traveling to more than ten countries in Asia, South America, and Asia. Before coming to MIT in 2014, he served as a professor and associate chair in the Department of Politics at Princeton University.

At MIT, Evan has also worked extensively with digital learning in the content of civil rights and global connections; he developed an illuminating edX course, “Democracy and Development in Contemporary Africa,” using on-location interviews with various African politicians, civil society leaders, and scholars, many conducted by MIT students.

“We at CIS are very pleased to welcome Professor Lieberman as he continues deepening the connection between MIT and its global mission. We very much appreciate his willingness to serve the Center, the School, and the Institute in this important way, and look forward to working with him as he guides MISTI to even greater prominence as the nation’s leading program of applied international studies,” said Richard Samuels, Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of the MIT Center for International Studies.

About MISTI:

MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) is MIT’s hub for global experiences. MISTI’s unparalleled internship, research, teaching, and study abroad programs offer students unique experiences that bring MIT's one-of-a-kind education model to life in countries around the world. MISTI programs are carefully designed to complement on-campus coursework and research, and rigorous, country-specific preparation enables students to forge cultural connections and play a role in addressing important global challenges while abroad. Students come away from their experiences with invaluable perspectives that inform their education, career, and worldview. MISTI embodies MIT's commitment to global engagement and prepares students to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world. 

The Center for International Studies (CIS) supports interna­tional research and education at MIT. It is the home of MIT’s Security Studies Program; the MIT International Science & Technology Initiative, its pioneering global education program; the Program on Emerging Technologies; and seminars and research on migration, South Asia politics, the Middle East, cybersecurity, nuclear weapons, and East Asia. The Center has traditionally been aligned with the social sciences while also working with MIT’s premier science and engineering scholars. CIS produces research that creatively addresses global issues while helping to educate the next generation of global citizens.