précis Magazine


précis, the MIT Center for International Studies magazine, features essays by our scholars, covers the wide range of Center activities, and tracks the accomplishments of our research community. It is published twice yearly, once during each academic semester.

If you have story ideas or would like to write an article, please contact the 2021-2022 graduate student editor Eyal Hanfling or editor Michelle English.

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Spring ∕  Summer 2022
John Tirman National narratives and the US-Iran conflict

In memory of John Tirman, the author of this feature story, who passed away suddenly on Friday, August 19, 2022. Read the obituary and tributes.
Iran and the US have differing interests and grievances about each other, but their often-deadly confrontation derives from the very different national narratives that shape their politics, actions, and vision of their own destiny in the world. In Republics of Myth, a new book published by the Johns Hopkins University Press, Hussein Banai, Malcolm Byrne, and John Tirman argue that a major contributing factor to this tenacious enmity is how each nation views itself. Featured here is an excerpt written by John Tirman. He served as executive director of and was a principal research scientist at CIS.

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Evan Lieberman and his book From South Africa, a success story for democracy

In a new book, MIT political scientist Evan Lieberman examines a quarter-century of post-Apartheid government and finds meaningful progress. He hopes readers will both absorb the substantive case for regarding South African democracy as a success, while also considering that speaking up about the value of democracy is a part of sustaining it.

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Nina Miller Blame games: Malattribution and the Madrid train bombings

After an act of political violence, the first question most people ask is who is responsible. Blame can be a powerful political force that spurs anger and mobilizes people. When leaders shape the public narrative about blame, it can allow them to deflect criticism and pursue policy goals, explains Nina Miller, a PhD student in security studies and international relations in the Department of Political Science.

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Steve Simon précis Interview: Steven Simon

Steven Simon joined CIS in 2021 as its Robert E Wilhelm Fellow. He served as the National Security Council senior director for the Middle East and North Africa during the Obama Administration and as the council's senior director for counterterrorism in the Clinton White House. He sat down with précis to discuss his research at MIT, assess our nation’s security challenges, and offer advice to students pursuing careers in national security.

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Robert Wilhelm visit to CIS with VIPs CIS honors Robert Wilhelm

The Robert E Wilhelm Fellows Program brings real-world experience and new scholarship to CIS and is a vital part of its research community. Since its inception in 2004, the Center has hosted 18 Wilhelm Fellows from around the globe, including Egypt, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, United Kingdom, and the United States.

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Global World Map Activities

“War in Ukraine” compendium; CIS awards 17 summer study grants; Inspired by Israel: Arts education, and innovation at MIT; MIT x TAU webinar series returns for its second year; CIS congratulates the graduates; MIT-France celebrates seed fund anniversary; Emile Bustani Middle East Seminar; SSP Wednesday Seminar; Starr Forums.

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People taking notes Briefings

What Russia’s invasion of Ukraine means for the world; 3 Questions: The future of international education; Traveling the world to make a global impact; Mobilizing across borders to address global challenges; Congressional seminar introduces MIT faculty to 30 Washington staffers; Eleanor Freund receives Jeanne Guillemin Prize

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Compass pointing toward Excellence End Notes

End Notes features the professional achievements of our scholars, students, and staff. This includes recent awards, speaking engagements, and publications.​

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