• Fall 2012
November 1, 2012

Visit our website and events calendar for a complete listing of spring 2015 activities. Many of our events are captured on video and available to view on YouTube.

"Becoming Enemies" Emerges from US-Iran Project

The first book from the Center's US-Iran project was published in May—Becoming Enemies: US-Iran Relations and the Iran-Iraq War, 1979-1988. Published by Rowman & Littlefield, the book is the work of five coauthors who are the key players in the project: James Blight and Janet Lang (University of Waterloo), Malcolm Byrne (National Security Archive), Hussein Banai (Occidental College), and the Center's John Tirman. Bruce Riedel, who advised President Clinton on US-Iran issues, contributed a foreword. The project is designed to bring together policy makers from the US, Iran, and elsewhere to explore in detail, often for the first time as a group, the key events in a difficult relationship. The project asks if there were missed opportunities to improve the relationship, and why. Later works will examine the period of reform and the 2001-2009 period. It is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Arca Foundation, and an MIT alumnae family.

Urban Resilience: Cities Coping with Violence

Ordinary people show remarkable capacities for coping with and resisting violent actors in some of the world's most dangerous cities, a new study from the Center shows. "Urban Resilience in Situations of Chronic Violence," a two-year undertaking led by former MIT professor Diane Davis and Center executive director John Tirman, examined eight cities to answer questions about what adaptive strategies communities adopt in response to criminal and other forms of persistent violence. The study uncovers new insights into conditions of "positive" resilience, in which communities forge and utilize social relationships within their neighborhoods and negotiate productive relations with city and state officials, police, business leaders, and the like. Not all cities achieve this outcome, however. 

MIT graduate students and researchers from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva spent several weeks doing field research in Johannesburg, Kigali, Managua, Medellín, Mexico City, Nairobi, and São Paolo, with remote research on Karachi, under a grant from the US Agency for International Development. The 132-page main report was written by Diane Davis, now professor at Harvard's Graduate School of Design and a CIS Research Affiliate. Davis and Tirman presented findings to USAID and an audience of policy professionals at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in July. The study will be discussed in several more forums, emphasizing its utility to practitioners—governments, NGOs, multilateral agencies, and others. 

CIS Artist in Residence

The Center launched its first Artist in Residence Program. Joining MIT for one week in November was Kiana Hayeri. Hayeri is a young photojournalist whose work is represented by Reportage by Getty Images Emerging Talent. Hayeri grew up in Tehran but left in 2005 when she was 17 and moved to Toronto. She returned to Iran in 2010 to explore the dual lives of Iranian young women who are expected to behave a certain way in public yet behind closed doors act very much like her Canadian friends. Her CIS residency concluded with a public talk and viewing of her exhibit "Looking Beyond the Veil." Her work is on display at CIS and may be viewed during normal business hours.

Alice Amsden Memorial

DUSP hosted a commemoration of Alice Amsden in the new Media Lab building. A day-long symposium honoring her academic legacy was held October 19 followed by a memorial on October 20. A colleague noted on her memorial web site that "she will long be remembered as one of the best development economists, and political economists, of her time." 

Starr Forums

The Center hosted a variety of well-attended Starr Forums, including: "An American in China," James Fallows, The Atlantic; "Why Nations Fail," Daron Acemoglu, MIT; and "Attack of the Drones: the Ethical, Legal, and Strategic Aspects of UAV Use," Barry Posen and Kenneth Oye, both from MIT, Bryan Hehir, Harvard Kennedy School, with comments from Pakistani journalist Rabia Mehmood. Visit the video gallery to watch events. 

Rovner Wins ISSS Best Book Award

The International Security Studies Best Book Award Selection Committee announced the selection of Joshua Rovner, Fixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence (Cornell University Press, 2011) as the recipient of this year's prize. "Forty-seven very good books were nominated, but Rovner's book was the unanimous choice for its outstanding contribution—both methodologically and substantively—to the understanding of a challenging and understudied area of our field," said the Committee. 

SSP Wednesday Seminars

The Security Studies Program's lunchtime lectures included: Avery Goldstein, University of Pennsylvania, on "First Things First: The Present (If Not Clear) Danger of Crisis Instability in US China Relations"; Karl Eikenberry, Stanford University, on "The Future of the American Military"; and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post, on " Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan." A full list of SSP Seminars for fall 2012 is available here

CIS Audits the American Prospect in Post-Imperial Times

The "American Century" is now behind us. As a country, we have fallen pretty low. We are in an unacknowledged depression. Our politics are paralyzing and our fiscal situation is dire. Our longstanding grand strategy of containment succeeded and thereby became irrelevant. We've failed to adjust to the new world this remarkable success created or to develop an effective strategy to deal with it. The lack of situational awareness can have serious consequences, as 9/11 should have shown us. Technology is now such that anyone we bomb anywhere in the world can find a way to bomb us back. Yet I am optimistic about the United States of America. Read more of this Audit, taken from a Seminar XXI keynote address given by Ambassador Chas W. Freeman in September 2012.

Petersen Wins ENMISA Award

Roger Petersen's book Western Intervention in the Balkans won the ENMISA Distinguished Book Award. Awarded by the Ethnicity, Nationalism and Migration section (ENMISA) of the International Studies Association, the award recognizes the best book published over the past two years in the study of the international politics of ethnicity, nationalism or migration. The criteria for the award include the originality of the argument presented, quality of the research, ability to draw on the insights of the multiple disciplines, innovative methods or methodological syntheses, readability of the text and the policy or practical implications of the scholarship.