CIS and the MIT-Africa Program partnered with the newly launched TRUE Africa University (TAU) to host a webinar series focusing on sustainable development in Africa. MIT alumnus and CIS research affiliate Claude Grunitzky, who spearheaded the new series, interviewed the thinkers, shapers, and doers whom he sees as the inventors of the future of Africa. The webinars featured: Taiye Selasi, the Ghanaian-Nigerian author; Jeffrey Sachs, the American economist; Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, the Nigerian serial entrepreneur behind some of Africa’s most valuable startups; Evan Lieberman, the Total Professor of Political Science and Contemporary Africa at MIT; and M Amah Edoh, the Homer A Burnell Assistant Professor of Anthropology and African Studies at MIT. The webinars will continue in spring 2022.
The MISTI Global Seed Funds (GSF) grant program promotes and supports early-stage collaborations between MIT researchers and their counterparts around the globe. This year, a total of 90 faculty international research projects received over $1.9 million in funding. The projects were selected from among 155 proposals submitted by faculty and research scientists across the Institute. Many of these joint projects lead to additional grant awards and the development of valuable long-term relationships between international researchers and MIT faculty and students. The next GSF Call for Proposals will launch on September 13, 2021, with a deadline of December 13, 2021.
Seventeen doctoral students in international affairs at MIT were awarded summer study grants, each receiving up to $3500. The competition is open to advanced doctoral students in international affairs, regardless of home department. This year’s awards were made to students in the Department of Political Science; the Department of Urban Studies and Planning; History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society (HASTS); Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS); and the Department of Architecture.
The Center hosted multiple virtual Starr Forums on global issues, including: "Israelis and Palestinians: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" with Peter Krause, Boston College; Stephen Van Evera, MIT; and moderator John Tirman, MIT; "The Haitian Constitutional Crisis and the International Community," with Robert Fatton, University of Virginia ; Georges Fauriol, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Sabine Manigat, Independent Researcher (Haiti); Amy Wilentz, University of California at Irvine; and moderator Malick Ghachem, MIT; "Myanmar and South Asia: Democratization, Authoritarianism, and Refugees," with Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhaya, Centre for Policy Research; Jonathan Saha, Durham University, UK; Yasmin Ullah, Rohingya Social Justice Activist; Harn Yawnghwe, Euro-Burma Office; and moderator Sana Aiyar, MIT; "On Causes of and Responses to Anti-Asian Violence" with Melissa Nobles, MIT; Paul Watanabe, University of Massachusetts Boston; Katharine Moon, Wellesley College; Tram T Nguyen, Massachusetts State Representative and House Asian Caucus; and moderators Kenneth Oye and Christine Pilcavage, both from MIT; "Advice for President Biden: Dealing with Putin’s Russia," with Andrey Kortunov, Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC); Angela Stent, Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies and Georgetown University; and co-chaireds Elizabeth Wood and Carol Saivetz, both from MIT; and "3.11 Ten Years Later: Disaster and Resilience," with Daniel Aldrich, Northeastern University; Miho Mazereeuw, MIT; Tatsujiro Suzuki, Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition at Nagasaki University (RECNA), Japan; and moderator Richard Samuels, MIT.
The Security Studies Program's lunchtime weekly series continued virtually and included: Rana Mitter, University of Oxford, on "How World War II Is Shaping a New Nationalism"; Jakana Thomas, Michigan State University, on "Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves: How Female Combatants Gender Peace Agreements in Civil Wars"; Kristin Ven Bruusgaard, University of Oslo, on "Explaining Change in Russian Nuclear strategy"; David Smith, Stimson Center, on "Is India a Strategic Asset for the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific Region or a Strategic Millstone Around the Neck?"; and Markus V Garlauskas, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security’s Asia Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council, on "Strategic Assessment of a Hard Target: North Korea."
Each semester the Bustani Seminar invites scholars, journalists, consultants, and other experts from the Middle East, Europe, and the United States to present recent research findings on contemporary politics, society, and culture, and economic and technological development in the Middle East. The spring lectures included "Youth and the October Revolution in Iraq; Between Sectarianism and Democracy," with Eric Davis, Rutgers University; and "US-Iran Relations: What Will It Take, on Both Sides, to End the 'Forever Enemies' Stalemate," with Ali Banuazizi, Boston College.
The International Migration Committee's seminar series explores global population movements and their impact on sending and receiving countries and relations. Recent events included: "Immigrant Incorporation in East Asian Democracies," Erin Aeran Chung, Johns Hopkins University; "Millionaire Mobility and the Sale of Citizenship," Kristin Surak, London School of Economics and Political Science; and "Race, Refugees, and Europe: A Look Back at the Last Decade," Eddie Bruce-Jones, Birkbeck University of London.
MIT's Global Startup Labs (GSL) program cultivates young innovation-driven entrepreneurs by empowering MIT students to teach entrepreneurship courses at partner universities around the world. MIT GSL student instructors give aspiring young entrepreneurs a valuable foundation in problem solving, principles of engineering, and entrepreneurial thinking while being enriched by a unique international experience. The program is administered by MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI). Since 2000, over 2,500 students have taken advantage of 84 GSLs. 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. (Erratum: In a prior issue of precis, Global Startup Labs was referred to as Global Seed Labs.)