Experiencing the culture from afar
In the absence of international travel, MISTI's MIT-India Program organized numerous opportunities to help interns learn about their host country’s culture at home. Nureen Das, MIT-India program manager, said that all of the MIT India students met every few weeks for virtual check-ins with program staff. In these sessions, staff discussed with students how to prepare a quiet remote workspace, and how to excel in cross-cultural, virtual communication. Before the pandemic, the MIT-India office didn’t schedule regular group check-ins. However, these meetings proved successful enough that the office hopes to continue them even once international travel has resumed. “During those sessions, we asked people to just reflect a little bit on what they were learning,” Das says. “We weren’t sure if students would want to meet as often as we did. But from our experience, it turns out that they did really enjoy these meetings.” The country programs of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) continue to offer remote internships. Read the full article here.
Starr Forums explore both domestic and global issues
The Center hosted multiple virtual Starr Forums that explored both domestic and global issues, including: "President Biden's Foreign Policy Challenges: Views From Abroad,” featuring former CIS Wilhelm Fellows Naomi Chazan (Israeli academic, activist, and politician); Paul Heer (Center for the National Interest); Shivshankar Menon (Indian diplomat); Lourdes Melgar (Baker Institute Center for Energy); and Richard Samuels (MIT); “Democracies on the Rocks?” with Susan Hennessey (Lawfare); Neeti Nair (University of Virginia); Steven Levitsky (Harvard); Daniel Ziblatt (Harvard); and Richard Samuels (MIT); “Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism,” with Anne Case (Princeton); Angus Deaton (Princeton); and John Tirman (MIT); “Russia’s Information War on America, “ with Nina Jankowicz (Wilson Center); Peter Pomerantsev (London School of Economics); Elizabeth Wood (MIT); and Carol Saivetz (MIT); “Beyond 9/11: Homeland Security for the 21st Century,” with Juliette Kayyem (Harvard); Alan Bersin (Harvard); Stevan E Bunnell (Libra Association); Chappell Lawson (MIT); Admiral Peter Neffenger (Northeastern); Amy Pope (Atlantic Council); and Seth Stodder (Holland & Knight LLP). Visit the Starr Forum web site for a full listing of upcoming events, including an archive of videos and transcripts from past events. Visit the CIS YouTube Channel to watch Starr Forums on demand.
SSP Wednesday Seminars
The SSP Wednesday Seminar Series are now being offered as virtual talks and available as livestream on YouTube. The fall lunchtime discussions included: "How Insurgency Begins: Rebel Group Formation in Uganda and Beyond," (Janet Lewis, George Washington University); "The Emperor's New Road: China and the Project of the Century," (Jonathan Hillman, Center for Strategic and International Studies); "Reputation for Resolve: How Leaders Signal Determination in International Politics," (Danielle Lupton, Colgate University); "An Open World: How America Can Win the Contest for Twenty-First-Century Order," (Rebecca Lissner, US Naval War College); "Trump’s maximum pressure policy towards Iran and the road ahead for a Biden administration," (Negar Mortazavi, Journalist); "Military Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate War," (Neta Crawford, Boston University. These talks are archived on the SSP YouTube channel. A schedule of upcoming talks are available here.
Myron Weiner Seminar Series on International Migration
The International Migration Committee's seminar series explores global population movements and their impact on upon sending and receiving countries and relations among them. The fall events included: "Future Aspirations among Refugee Youth in Turkey between Integration and Mobility," (Ayşen Üstübici, Koç University); "Immigration and Epidemics: An Historical Perspective," (Alan Kraut, American University); "Offshore Citizens: Permanent Temporary Status in the Gulf," (Noora Lori, Boston University); and "One Mighty and Irresistible Tide," (Jia Lynn Yang, The New York Times). Videos and transcripts are available on the program's web site.
Eight students receive Human Rights and Technology Program fellowships
Eight students, including one two-person team, have been awarded Human Rights & Technology Fellowships. Three undergraduates and five graduates will be exploring human rights issues that are either aided or exploited through the use of technology, including cryptotechnology, surveillance technology, social media, and internet censorship. The program is in its third year and intends to produce new knowledge about the relationship between human rights and technology. It is co-directed by CIS research affiliate Anat Biletzki and John Tirman, CIS executive director and principle research scientist.
Twenty years of cultivating tech entrepreneurs
MIT Global Startup Labs' (GSL) grant program promotes and supports early-stage collaborations between MIT researchers and their counterparts around the globe. Many of the joint projects lead to additional grant awards and the development of valuable long-term relationships between international researchers and MIT faculty and students. Since 2000, nearly 2,500 students have taken advantage of GSL. Many of them gain the skills to translate their ideas into one or even multiple startups, creating jobs and forging new avenues of economic development. Read more here.
The Independent Activities Period (IAP) is a special four-week term at MIT that runs from the first week of January until the end of the month. The Center's programs offered a wide variety of activities this year from remote internships through MISTI to contemporary military topics through the Security Studies Program. Other offerings included a course on Ikebana: Japanese flower arranging organized by the MIT Japan Program; a Swahili language course co-organized by the MIT Africa Program; and workshops on Capoeira, dance and percussion co-organized by the MIT-Brazil Program.
Faculty seed projects grow into pandemic research opportunities
Global partnerships are a fundamental component of research at MIT—even during this time of suspended travel. MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) supports those connections via MISTI Global Seed Funds (GSF). GSF enables participating faculty teams to collaborate with international peers, either at MIT or abroad, to develop and launch joint research projects. MISTI GSF is comprised of a general fund open to any country, as well as numerous country, region, or university-specific funds. Read the full article here.