• Fall 2019
FALL 2019 : précis Activities
December 12, 2019

Visit our website to learn about all of the Center's fall 2019 activities. Many events are captured on video and available to view on YouTube.

MIT Starr Forums address populism, immigration, digital feminism in the Arab Gulf States, and more

The Center hosted a series of public forums including: "The Global Rise of Populism" with Suzanne Berger (MIT), and Jan-Werner Mueller (Princeton); "America's Immigration Dilemma" with Cristina Rodriguez (Yale) and Justin Steil (MIT); "Digital Feminism in the Arab Gulf States" with Mona Eltahawy (American-Egyptian journalist) and Hala Aldosari (Saudi scholar, activist and Robert E Wilhelm Fellow at CIS); and "Iran Reframed" with Narges Bajogli (Johns Hopkins University) and Mahsa Rouhi (International Institute for Strategic Studies). Visit MIT Starr Forum for more information, including upcoming and past events, videos and transcripts.

CIS hosts consuls general meeting

The Center hosted Boston-area consuls general for a foreign policy briefing by our faculty and scholars. Several local journalists attended, as well. Seventeen consuls and officials attended the September 26 event at the Samberg conference center. The talks, followed by a question-and-answer session, covered a range of topics: Trump’s grand strategy (Barry Posen), Russian politics (Elizabeth Wood, Carol Saivetz), cybersecurity’s new challenges (Joel Brenner), the new nuclear age (Vipin Narang), China’s military strategy (Taylor Fravel), Japan’s grand strategy (Richard Samuels), Asian strategic dynamics (Eric Heginbotham), human rights in Saudi Arabia (Hala Aldosari), winning a war of ideas against ISIS (Richard Nielsen), and the US-Iran confrontation (Jim Walsh).

Human Rights & Technology Fellows announced for 2019-20

In its second year, the Human Rights & Technology Program has awarded seven research fellowships to MIT students, with a total of ten fellows, six undergraduate and four graduate students. The fellowship is co-directed by John Tirman (executive director and principal research scientist at CIS) and Anat Biletzki (CIS affiliate and professor of philosophy at Quinnipiac) and is intended to produce new knowledge about the relationship between human rights and technology. 

Remembering Jeanne Guillemin, sociologist of science and national security

The Center announced that its longtime colleague Jeanne Guillemin passed away peacefully at her Cambridge home on November 15. Guillemin was trained in medical sociology and anthropology at Harvard and Brandeis Universities. She is an authority on biological weapons and has published four books on the topic. She had been a research associate and senior advisor at the MIT Security Studies Program since 2006. An obituary in the Washington Post pays tribute to her prolific accomplishments. 

Earlier this fall, she established an endowed fund at CIS to provide financial support to female PhD candidates studying international affairs. In her memory, the family has requested gifts to be directed to the Jeanne E Guillemin Fund

Oye named member of NIH Research Advisory Committee 

Kenneth Oye, professor of political science and data, systems and society and director of the Center's Program on Emerging Technologies, was named a member of the National Institutes of Health's Novel and Exceptional Technology and Research Advisory Committee (NExTRAC). NExTRAC provides advice to the director, National Institutes of Health (NIH), on matters related to the conduct and oversight of research involving emerging technologies in biomedical science (also referred to as emerging biotechnologies). NExTRAC also makes recommendations on research involving the use of, and developments in, emerging biotechnologies and will address scientific, safety, ethical, and social issues associated with areas of emerging biotechnology research for which the NIH requests advice or guidance.

Fravel named director of the MIT Security Studies Program

M Taylor Fravel, Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science, became director of the MIT Security Studies Program on July 1. Barry Posen, Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of SSP since 2006, announced the leadership transition. Posen will continue his research and teaching responsibilities at MIT. At SSP, he will continue leading the Grand Strategy, Security and Statecraft Initiative. Read more here.

Narang receives the ISSS "Emerging Scholar" award

Vipin Narang, associate professor of political science, has won this year’s “Emerging Scholar” award from the International Studies Association’s International Security Section. The award recognizes scholars who have made the most significant contribution to the field of security studies. One committee member praised Narang's research for "challenging core tenets of our previous understanding of nuclear issues and emphasizing the heterogeneity of the experiences of nuclear-armed states."

Expanding education: From Africa to Cambridge and back again

Mgcini "Keith" Phuthi ’19, who majored in physics and minored in mechanical engineering, was looking for a particular combination of purposes in his third experience with the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI): a return to his home continent of Africa and a chance to explore his passion for education. Ari Jacobovits, the managing director of the MIT-Africa program, matched the student with an opportunity to directly impact education policy in Sierra Leone. Among the projects Phuthi helped develop was the national education dashboard for K-12 schooling, one of the first of its kind. Read more here

Lamborghini and MIT-Italy build supercharged partnership

Serenella Sferza, co-director of the MIT-Italy program, describes how MISTI opens avenues for research and innovation that include meaningful student experiences. In this case, after connecting Lamborghini to MIT professors Mircea Dincă and John Hart, Sferza also recruited mechanical engineering student Patricia Das ’17 and chemical engineering and chemistry student Angela Cai ’19, whose research at Santa Agata Bolognese cemented and advanced the Lamborghini-MIT collaboration. Two years later, the team is celebrating its first major collaborative victory by filing a joint patent that will serve as the technological base for a new generation of supercapacitors. Read more here.

Over 1,000 MIT students, researchers to India in last two decades

A recent event organized by the Indian Embassy highlighted the activities of MISTI's MIT-India Program and discussed a path forward to achieve greater collaboration with MIT to meet future science and technology goals in India. Professsor Pawan Sinha, who leads the MIT-India Program, discussed various activities to engage MIT with institutions in India. For example, MISTI's Global Startup Labs cultivate and empower young tech entrepreneurs in India and includes a six to eight-week entrepreneurship boot-camp taught by MIT students. The courses focus on mobile and internet technologies, and are designed to awaken participants to the commercial possibilities of these technologies. 

Remembering Pat Gercik, visionary manager of the MIT Japan Program and of MISTI

Pat Gercik, the visionary manager of the MIT Japan Program and of MISTI in its early years, passed away after a long illness at her home in Cambridge. She was raised in post-war Japan (her family having immigrated to the country in 1918), joined the MIT-Japan Program in 1987 and was with MISTI and MIT-Japan for 26 years. She authored "On Track," a Japanese case-study book about building trust across cultures; and “The Outsider," set in the chaos of post-war Japan, a vivid exploration of the political turmoil between the Japanese right and left and the impact of the American occupation through the eyes of a child.

Focus on Russia

Each semester the MIT Security Studies Program, together with the MISTI MIT-Russia Program, and the MIT Center for International Studies, presents a speaker series entitled “Focus on Russia,” which considers a number of current issues in Russian domestic and foreign policies. The fall semester's events included: "The Lands in Between: Russia vs The West and the New Politics of Hybrid War" (Mitchell A Orenstein, University of Pennsylvania) and "The Kremlin's Global Outreach: From Cyber to Russians Abroad” (Andre Soldatov, a Russian investigative journalist and Russian security services and Irina Borogan, a Russian investigative journalist).

SSP Wednesday Seminars

The Security Studies Program's lunchtime series included: Bear Braumoeller, Ohio State University, on "International Order and the Persistence of War"; Jacquelyn Schneider, Stanford University, on "Wargaming "War Games": How Likely is Thermonuclear Cyber War?"; Mary Sarotte, Johns Hopkins University, on "How to Enlarge NATO: The Debate Inside the Clinton Administration, 25 Years On"; Mary Ellen O'Connell, University of Notre Dame, on "Killer Robots Killing the Rule of Law?"; and Cynthia Roberts, Hunter College, CUNY, on "Blowback and Escalation Risks from the US Weaponization of Finance"; and Rosemary Kelanic, University of Notre Dame, on "Oil and Great Power Strategy". A complete list of SSP Wednesday Seminars for fall 2019 is available here.