MISTI offers MIT-Eurasia and MIT-Ukraine Programs
The MIT-Eurasia Program, launched in spring 2022, matches MIT students with paid industrial internships, as well as research and teaching opportunities in Eastern Europe, the Baltics, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. Participating students come from diverse backgrounds including engineering, architecture, science, and management. Host organizations include local and international companies, start-ups, universities, architecture bureaus, research institutes, and NGOs. Katya Zabrovski is the Managing Director and the faculty directors are Areg Danagoulian, associate professor of nuclear science and engineering, and Elizabeth Wood, professor of history. The MIT-Ukraine Program was launched last fall and serves as a clearinghouse to bring together hosts in Ukraine, interested MIT faculty working in needed fields, and students seeking real world applications of their academic studies. While internships through MIT-Ukraine will be remote before the end of the war, the hope is that these experiences will have a major impact for both the students involved and for the country in this crisis situation.
Academic engagement in public policy
The MIT Policy Lab at CIS offered an IAP course for students, researchers, and faculty who want their research and their expertise to have an impact on public policy. The course provided a basic understanding of the role of research and evidence within the public policy environment, with a focus on the US Federal Government; the ability to identify and prioritize the public policy stakeholders relevant to your research areas; and strategies for engaging with policymakers with your research and expertise impact on public policy. The Policy Lab’s faculty director Chappell Lawson and managing director Drew Story modeled their talks off of the MIT Policy Lab’s EdX Course.
Starr Forums explored pressing issues in Iran, China, South Africa, the war in Ukraine
The Center hosted multiple virtual and hybrid Starr Forums on pressing global issues, including: "Iran and the Struggle for 'Normalcy': Woman, Life, Freedom," with Pouya Alimagham (MIT), Maryam Alemzadeh (Oxford School of Global and Area Studies), Yalda Hamidi (Minnesota State University), and Mahrou Zhaf (St Lawrence University); “Xi Jinping’s third term: Challenges for the United States,” with Yasheng Huang (MIT), M Taylor Fravel (MIT), Arthur Kroeber (Gavekal Economics), Susan Shirk (University of California San Diego), and Jessica Chen Weiss (Cornell University); “Speaking truth to a new power: Perspectives on the free press and democracy in South Africa,” with Emmanuel K Akyeampong (Harvard), Branko Brkic (Daily Maverick), Styli Charalambous (Daily Maverick), Eve Fairbanks (journalist), and Evan Lieberman (MIT). Events focused on the war in Ukraine included: “Energy as a weapon of war: Russia, Ukraine, and Europe in challenging times,” with Margarita Balmaceda (Seton Hall University and Harvard), Constanze Stelzenmüller (Brookings), Carol Saivetz (MIT), and Elizabeth Wood (MIT) and “An update on Russia’s war against Ukraine,” with Volodymyr Dubovyk (Odesa II Mechnikov National University, Ukraine), Michael Kofman (Center for Naval Analyses), Steven Simon (MIT), Carol Saivetz (MIT), and Elizabeth Wood (MIT). View all the Starr Forums on the CIS YouTube playlist here.
SSP Wednesday Seminars
The Security Studies Program offered a diverse selection of Wednesday seminars including: “Political obstacles in the US-China nuclear relationship,” with Tong Zhao (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace); “Authoritarians at the cutting edge: China, innovation, and the global balance of power,” with Jennifer Lind (Dartmouth); “Euromissiles: the nuclear weapons that nearly destroyed NATO,” with Susan Colbourn (Duke); “Leaders, bureaucracy, and miscalculation in iInternational crisis,” with Tyler Jost (Brown); “How Russia uses cyber proxies to respond to accusations of cyber attacks,” with William Akoto (Fordham); “Moderating extremism: the challenge of combating online harms,” with Tamar Mitts (Columbia University). View the seminars on the SSP YouTube channel.
As part of a campus-wide project, "South Asia and the Institute: Transformative Connections," the MIT-India Program helped organize an exhibit on campus that explores the history of South Asians at MIT and how that history intersects with the histories of MIT, South Asia, and the US more broadly. “The first South Asian student came in 1880...Walking around this [exhibit], you see how all of the South Asian countries are integrated into all of the different schools at MIT and really infused into the community,” remarked MIT-India managing director Nureen Das.
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. Recent talks included: “Lebanon’s struggle to survive in the post-Arab Spring Middle East,” with Hussein Ibish (Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington) and “The dual-pivot: the ups and downs of United States-Gulf relations, 2010-2022,” with Ibrahim Al-Assil (Middle East Institute).
Colleagues, family, and friends convened on November 4, 2022, to celebrate and honor the life of John Tirman. The event was held at the MIT Chapel and was followed by a reception at the MIT Stratton Student Center's Twenty Chimneys Room. Tirman served as the executive director of and principal research scientist at CIS since 2004. He passed away suddenly on August 19, 2022. To watch the service and to learn more, please visit the John Tirman memorial page.
MIT-Korea Program made headlines
The MIT-Korea Program was featured in The Korea Herald for its weeklong sessions at the Korea International School (KIS) in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, in January 2023. MIT and KIS students offered context-rich learning to middle and high school students in the fields of science, technology, mathematics, and engineering. The MIT-KIS partnership was launched in 2014 and had been on hiatus since January 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Special IAP seminars were offered by the current military fellows in the Security Studies Program, including: "US nuclear weapons accidents: A brief history and the evolution of response," featuring Lieutenant Colonel John D Turner; "Counterinsurgency from the ground up: A practitioner’s perspective on COIN in Iraq and Afghanistan," featuring Lieutenant Colonel Thaddeus Drake; "Army mental health from a battalion commander's perspective," featuring Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence Rangel; "The role of the national technology and industrial base (NTIB) in support of US national security," featuring Commander Michael Tomsik; and "Flexibility is the key to airpower: The past, present, and future of aerial refueling," with Lieutenant Colonel Derrick McClain.