MIT scholars offer advice to President Obama

A quick guide to pressing policy issues, published by MIT's Center for International Studies, offers fresh ideas to the 44th president
January 7, 2009

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Barack Obama will be flooded with advice on the many critical matters he must face as 44th president of the United States, as will 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-to-read publication that will be ready for release this week.

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 another forthcoming this month

-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

To request hard copies of the publication or interviews with CIS scholars, please contact Michelle Nhuch at or 617-253-1965.

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.