• Spring 2009
May 1, 2009

MISTI Awards Global Seed Funds

The MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives' (MISTI) Global Seed Funds Program selected its first recipients in spring 2009. The awards went to 27 of 104 proposals for grant money to jump-start international projects. The winning entries represent 26 MIT departments, involve 42 countries, and include projects ranging from the study of stem cell-based engineered tissues to the regional, economic, and environmental implications of dual ethanol technologies in Brazil. The selected teams, which are faculty led but rely on student participation, will use the awarded $457,400 to cover international travel, as well as meeting and workshop costs. MISTI will provide cultural preparation for participating students before their departure.

"By enabling MIT students to participate in faculty-led international projects, we hope to increase opportunities for hands-on, global learning and connection to innovation around the world," said Richard Samuels, director of the Center for International Studies.

Applications for the 2009-2010 Global Seed Funds are now being accepted. Visit to learn more.

Devon Cone Joins CIS as Research Associate

Devon Cone, Research Associate

Devon Cone, Research Associate

CIS welcomes Devon Cone, who joined the Center in the fall as a research associate working closely with executive director and principal research scientist John Tirman. Before coming to CIS, Cone was in Kenya working with Somali refugees under the banner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, with whom she had previously done an internship.

After receiving her bachelor’s from Brigham Young University, Cone worked for an NGO in Thailand and Ghana before heading to the Fletcher School at Tufts University. She received her master’s degree from Fletcher in law and diplomacy in May 2008.

Her main research interests lie in gender issues and human security, which she sees as located at the intersection of human rights and larger international relations issues of war and peace.

Cone currently is working on three CIS-related projects. She is assisting Tirman on a project that addresses mutual (and often incomplete) perceptions in the U.S.-Iran relationship. She is also working on an assessment of U.N. Resolution 1325, which calls for states to involve women in higher numbers in positions tasked with the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict. The resolution was passed in 2000, so the project is designed to assess its impact as we approach the tenth anniversary of its signing. Finally, she is working on an interdisciplinary project with members of CIS and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning that examines how individuals and institutions within cities adapt to chronic violence in their region.

Cone will continue her work with CIS next year and welcomes discussions with students and faculty who share her research interests.

MIT Scholars Offer Advice to President Obama

CIS scholars offer 23 fresh ideas for the 44th president

CIS scholars offer 23 fresh ideas for the 44th president.

Barack Obama has been flooded with advice on the many critical matters he must face as 44th president of the United States, as has the new Congress. To that end, scholars at MIT’s Center for International Studies (CIS) offer fresh ideas, succinctly stated, on issues ranging from security strategy to the financial crisis to human rights. The short essays are presented in an easy-toread publication and was released in January 2009.

Drawing on CIS scholars’ deep knowledge and experience, the publication contains 23 forward-thinking essays, including thoughts from Admiral William Fallon (USN-Ret.), a Robert E. Wilhelm Fellow at CIS and former head of CENTCOM; and Barry Posen, Ford International Professor of Political Science, director of the Security Studies Program at CIS, and noted expert on security policy.

Among the topics covered are:

Getting Asia Right, by Richard Samuels, Ford International Professor of Political Science, director of CIS, and one of America’s leading Japan experts;

Real Diplomacy with Iran, by Jim Walsh, research associate at CIS Security Studies Program, and co-author of “A Solution for the U.S. Nuclear Standoff,” New York Review of Books, March 20, 2008, and "How to Deal with Iran,” New York Review of Books, February 12, 2009;

Create a West Bank Security Force, by David Weinberg, a doctoral student in political science, and former congressional staffer with responsibility for the Middle East;

Change Course in Afghanistan, by Fotini Christia, assistant professor of political science, who has done extensive work on peacebuilding in the country;

Reform Financial Regulation, by David Singer, assistant professor of political science, and author of Regulating Capital: Setting Standards for the International Financial System;

Manage the Mexico-U.S. Border, by Chappell Lawson, associate professor of political science, and former White House adviser;

Meet with Medvedev, by Carol Saivetz, research associate at Harvard’s Davis Center and a visiting scholar at CIS;

Put a Science Advisor in the White House, by Eugene Skolnikoff, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, and member of the White House science adviser’s office under Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Carter;

Frustrate Terrorism, by John Tirman, executive director and principal research scientist at CIS, who has headed several international projects on political violence.

CIS Releases DVD: Mind, Hand, World

CIS Releases DVD: Mind, Hand, World

CIS Releases DVD: Mind, Hand, World

Why have a Center for International Studies at MIT? What is the MISTI experience? How do CIS scholars impact policy makers? Why study war? How do we prepare students to compete in a global society? These are a few questions that are addressed in a new video about CIS entitled: Mind, Hand, World. The video, produced in collaboration with MIT’s Academic Media Production Services, provides an inspiring overview of the Center’s aims in eight minutes.

To view the video, visit:

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