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October 23, 2009

Tellis on the Taliban

Ashley Tellis delivers a talk entitled Reconciling with the Taliban? Toward an Alternative Grand Strategy in Afghanistan for the Brown-Harvard-MIT Joint Seminar on South Asia. Tellis served as advisor to Ambassador Blackwill in Delhi and is currently a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace. The talk will be at CIS (E40-496) on Thursday, November 5.


October 2, 2009

MIT announces global strategy

MIT's Global Council, co-chaired by CIS director and Ford International Professor of Political Science Richard Samuels, released two reports that will help frame MIT's international engagement strategy for years to come. "Our students' hopes for productive, sustainable careers increasingly depend on acquiring stronger, deeper, and more refined international skills and understanding. Society's best hope for scientific advance depends on our ability both to draw on knowledge from the entire world and to contribute to knowledge creation across national and cultural boundaries," said MIT President Susan Hockfield and Provost L. Rafael Reif in a letter announcing the reports to the MIT community. The new strategy underscores the need for both students and faculty to be involved in global research activities, which is a hallmark of the Center's MISTI Program, the largest international program at MIT.


September 25, 2009

Book talk with Kristof, WuDunn

CIS and Harvard Book Store are delighted to host New York Times correspondents and Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn for a discussion of their new book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Kristof and WuDunn set out to expose the struggles of women across Asia and Africa, to tell their human stories, and to follow the progress of women who are ultimately given the opportunity to seize control of their own lives. Introducing the authors will be Diane Davis, professor of political sociology at MIT and head of the International Development Group. Davis also directs the Center's Jerusalem 2050 Program. The event will be Monday, October 5, at 6 PM, at the Brattle Theatre. Tickets are available at Harvard Book Store. Image courtesy Jason Koski, Cornell University.


September 18, 2009

Luce Fellowship deadline Oct. 7

Wednesday, October 7, is this year's deadline for the Luce Scholars Program. The program is open to seniors, graduate students, and alumni from recent classes and junior faculty. Young scholars from a wide variety of intellectual fields will be placed in 10-month internships in selected countries in East and Southeast Asia. The fellowship is aimed for those with no prior experience in Asia.


September 15, 2009

Joint seminar on South Asian politics

The Center has joined together with the Watson Institute at Brown and the Weatherhead Center at Harvard to launch a new Inter-University Seminar on South Asian politics. The seminar is chaired by Ashutosh Varshney, professor of political science at Brown and visiting fellow at CIS. Meetings are scheduled for Thursdays at 4 PM, unless otherwise noted. More details on speakers and the series are here.


September 8, 2009

BBC journalist joins CIS

The Center welcomes Firle Davies, a journalist for the British Broadcasting Corporation, as its 2009-10 IWMF Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow. The fellowship, which is offered through the International Women's Media Foundation, gives a woman journalist the opportunity to focus exclusively on human rights journalism and social justice issues. A journalist for more than two decades, Davies has worked for the BBC since 2000. She has reported for domestic and world service radio, domestic and world television, and has produced online and current affairs documentaries. Davis has worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan and Zairee, among other countries. Davis will spend nine-months at CIS in a tailor-made academic research program. The fellowship is named for Elizabeth Neuffer, a Boston Globe reporter who was killed on assignment in Iraq in 2003. Press Release


September 8, 2009

Starr Forum on U.S.-Cuba relations

Cuban scholars Julia Sweig and Wayne Smith will be discussants at a Starr Forum entitled: Cuba-U.S. Relations: The Beginning of a Long Thaw? Sweig is a senior fellow and director for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. She is the award-winning author of Inside the Cuban Revolution, and, most recently, Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know. Smith is senior fellow and director of the Cuba Program at the Center for International Policy, and a visiting professor of Latin American studies at Johns Hopkins University. Smith served in the State Department as executive secretary of President Kennedy's Latin American Task Force and chief of mission at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. The Starr Forum event, which is free and open to the public, will be on Wed, Sept 23, at 4:30 PM, in the Wong Auditorium, MIT Bldg E51.


August 26, 2009

CIS moves to E40

CIS is delighted to announce our new location at E40-400. All of the Center's programs and people are now together on one floor, which will help foster better research and teaching. The Center will celebrate the new space with a formal reception soon after the fall semester commences.


August 4, 2009

MISTI interns share global insights

The Center's MISTI Program has placed more than 400 MIT students as interns in nine countries this year. Shirin Kasturia (Brain and Cognitive Science '10) is researching healthcare technology for elderly and disabled people at Innovaciones Socio Sanitarias in Valencia, Spain; Alyssa Roque (Mechanical Engineering '11) is developing thermal systems powered by solar energy at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology; Ken Lopez (Management '12) is working on a Braille screen at Tecnologico de Monterrey University in Cordoba, Mexico; and Julian Hernandez (EECS '09) is developing new iPhone technology at France Telecom in Paris—to name just a few. Learn more about the MISTI experience by reading the students' online posts from around the globe.


July 27, 2009

MIT-Italy Director receives Italian honors

Serenella Sferza, director of the Center's MIT-Italy program, was named Cavaliere della Repubblica Italiana for her work promoting Italian culture and research. She was one of five individuals honored at a ceremony by the Consul General of Italy in Boston on June 2, 2009. The honorees were selected by the president of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano.


July 13, 2009

Fearless Iranian exile speaks out

Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, a leading advocate of human rights and democracy in Iran, and a former visiting scholar at CIS, is profiled in the Boston Globe. Haghighatjoo, who has been in exile since 2005, first came to the United States with the help of John Tirman, executive director and principal research scientist at CIS. Since her time at CIS, she has been a visiting scholar at the Kennedy School at Harvard, the University of Connecticut, and now resides at UMass-Boston. Called fearless and outspoken, Haghighatjoo was a member of the 6th Majlis, Iran's reform parliament, and was the first to resign when the anti-reform measures of the Supreme Leader began to take shape. Haghighatjoo, a psychologist with a Ph.D. in counseling, was president of the student movement faction in the Majlis and a deputy in the Mosharekat Party. According to Haghighatjoo, "democratization is the central issue for Iran." Read article» 


June 26, 2009

Fotini on 'Flipping the Taliban'

Fotini Christia, member of the Center's Security Studies Program and assistant professor of political science at MIT, co-authored an essay on Afghanistan in the July/August 2009 issue of Foreign Affairs. The authors write, "Although sending more troops is necessary to tip the balance of power against the insurgents, the move will have a lasting impact only if it is accompanied by a political 'surge,' a committed effort to persuade large groups of Taliban fighters to put down their arms and give up the fight." Read the full essay: "Flipping the Taliban: How to Win in Afghanistan." Related is a Starr Forum event on Afghanistan featuring a discussion between Fotini and Admiral William Fallon, USN (RET). Watch the video» 


June 10, 2009

MISTI helps put anime on stage

How can MIT students bring to life the excitement and eccentricities of anime? The MIT Dance Theater Ensemble demonstrated the possibilities with its performance Live Action Anime 2009: Madness at Mokuba at the convention Anime Boston on May 22, 2009. The troupe then took the show to Japan, where they collaborated with Japanese students to perform the play at Tokyo University of the Arts on May 29-30, 2009. Part homage to anime history, part commentary on the plight of undocumented workers in the US, and over-the-top tribute to anime creators and fans worldwide, this original theatrical production features giant robots, a Japanese schoolgirl, a lovelorn fanboy, a masterless samurai, a gamer woman, evil media magnates, and a vengeful deathgod who all battle for truth, justice, and the anime way. MISTI's Japan program and its Global Seed Funds were among the co-sponsors. 


June 5, 2009

Starr Forums on video

The Center hosted multiple public forums in spring 2009 that are available on video: "The Challenges to the Global Economy," with Harvard economist Martin Feldstein and MIT Sloan School's Simon Johnson; "The MIT/Harvard Gaza Symposium," a series of panels on the role of U.S. and international actors, as well as human rights and international humanitarian law in the wake of recent events in Gaza; "The Most Important Number in the World," with environmentalist Bill McKibben; "Afghanistan," featuring a conversation between Admiral William Fallon, USN (RET) and Fotini Christia, an expert on Afghanistan; and "U.S.- Iran Relations," with policy and security experts Jim Walsh, Suzanne DiMaggio, Stephen Heintz, and Barry Posen. View all Starr Forum videos»


May 15, 2009

Symposium issues statement on Palestinian issue

The Israeli government should end the blockade of Gaza and negotiate with Hamas, and President Obama should engage more constructively on the Palestinian issue-including a demand to end the expansion of Israeli settlements-were among the findings and recommendations of a MIT-Harvard symposium on Gaza. The statement was issued a few days prior to President Obama's meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The symposium, which was co-sponsored by CIS, convened on March 30-31, 2009. Among the participants were Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA); Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; Karma Nabulsi, Oxford University and former PLO representative; Meron Benvenisti, former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem; Craig Mokhiber, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; and Husam Zomlot, a Palestinian diplomat.
Joint Statement | Press Release



May 7, 2009

Four 'CIS Students' receive Fulbrights

Four students affiliated with the Center have received 2009-10 Fulbright Fellowships: Nathan Cisneros, Greg Distelhorst, Erica Dobbs, and Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner. The students—all doctoral candidates in the political science department—are among 13 from MIT that received the scholarship. Cisneros will travel to Japan to examine the persisting dualism between workers with job protection and good wages with those without such security. Distelhorst will visit two southern Chinese manufacturing centers to investigate how local government and private firms have responded to new laws that improve labor conditions and expand worker rights while raising operational costs for employers. Dobbs will examine the role labor unions play in integrating recent immigrants into their communities in Ireland and Spain. And Kruks-Wisner will travel to India to complete her dissertation research on local governance institutions in rural India. Related news story» 


May 1, 2009

Starr Forum on U.S.-Iran relations

Should the U.S. build better relations with Iran? Can we live with a nuclear Iran? Do the Iranian presidential elections provide new opportunities for dialogue? A panel of international security and foreign policy experts will address such issues at a Starr Forum on Tuesday, May 5. Our featured speakers are: Jim Walsh, a research associate at the CIS Security Studies Program (SSP) at MIT, and Suzanne DiMaggio, director of the Asia Society. Stephen Heintz, president of Rockefeller Bros. Fund, will serve as the discussant and Barry Posen, Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of SSP, will chair. More details»


April 28, 2009

CIS releases video: '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 its viewers with an inspiring overview of the Center's aims in eight minutes. View Mind, Hand, World »


April 23, 2009

Fallon and Christia on Afghanistan

On Thursday, April 30, Admiral Willam Fallon, USN (RET), will be giving a public talk on Afghanistan. Joining the discussion will be Fotini Christa, an expert on Afghanistan. Fallon joined the Center for International Studies for the 2008-09 academic year as a Robert E. Wilhelm fellow. Christia joined MIT last fall as an assistant professor of political science and a member of the Security Studies Program. The April 30 Starr Forum on Afghanistan commences at 4 PM in the MIT Wong Auditorium. The event is free and open ot the public. For more details, visit the event page.


April 21, 2009

SSP scholar & students publish book

U.S. Military Innovation Since the Cold War, a new book about "how the US military reacted to the 'Revolution in Military Affairs' (RMA), and failed to innovate its organization or doctrine to match the technological breakthroughs it brought about," was published in April 2009. The book was edited by Harvey Sapolsky, professor of public policy and organization and recently retired from teaching political science and directing the MIT Security Studies Program (SSP), and SSP doctoral students Benjamin Friedman and Brendan Green.