• Fall 2017
FALL 2017 : précis Activities
December 5, 2017

Visit our website to learn more about the Center's fall 2017 activities. Many events are captured on video and available to view on YouTube.

IPL sends delegation to UN’s Minamata convention

The MIT International Policy Lab (IPL) sent representatives to participate as observers to the first Conference of Parties (COP-1) to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, through a delegation led by Noelle Selin, associate professor in the MIT Institute for Data, Systems and Society and the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. The first conference of the convention, sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme, was held in Geneva, Switzerland, in September. Selin’s research focuses on understanding of how mercury, a toxic pollutant, travels and cycles in the environment, under various policy scenarios. The delegation from the MIT International Policy Lab consisted of Noelle Selin; and Amanda Giang, Helene Angot, and Sae Yun Kwon, all postdoctoral associates at MIT.

Thirty years of Seminar XXI

For more than three decades, Seminar XXI has offered an educational program for senior military officers, government officials, and executives in nongovernmental organizations in the national security policy community. In 1985, MIT became involved with the project under the direction of MIT professor Suzanne Berger and in 1986 Seminar XXI officially began as an educational experiment. The program is hosted in the Washington, DC, region, and is designed to provide a unique educational perspective and to afford an opportunity for frank and challenging exchanges of ideas between policymakers, university scholars, and Seminar XXI Fellows. This year's sessions covered a range of topics that included: Religion, Identity Politics and Civil Wars; Iran, Turkey, and Israel; Realism, Liberalism, and US-China Relations; National Economies in a Globalized World.

CIS mourns death of renowned Harvard professor Calestous Juma

World-renowned Kenyan author and Harvard Kennedy School professor Calestous Juma has died on Friday, December 15, 2017. Juma was a MIT DUSP MLK Visiting Professor for 2014-2015. His latest book: Innovation and Its Enemies: Why People Resist New Technologies, was published by Oxford University Press in 2016. "Calestous was that rarest of intellectuals—one who put his ideas into practice, and did so with a big, generous heart, filled with warmth and laughter. We enjoyed working with him immensely. His work and ideals will be a strong legacy for Africa and the developing world,” said CIS executive director and principal research scientist John Tirman.

MISTI media contest

The MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI)—MIT’s pioneering international education program —asked the 700-plus students who studied and worked abroad this summer to submit photos and short videos showcasing the ways in which MIT is making the world a better place through the MISTI program. From Chile to China, current MISTI students submitted one-minute videos and photographs focusing on their international projects and their experiences with different cultures. MISTI announced the contest winners via social media. Video winners received $300 and photo winners received $50.

Tackling complex Middle East statehood issues

Leila Faraskh (University of Massachusetts/Boston) and Peter Krause PhD '11 (Boston College) explored the complex forces and political workings behind national movements and the pursuit of statehood in separate lectures hosted by the Emile Bustani Middle East Seminar. Each lecturer offered a vivid look at the questions that concern any contested territory: Does a nation of people need a state to have self-determination, and if so, what is the most effective strategy for earning statehood? These questions have different answers in different historical eras, but represent one of the most fundamental debates in international studies, said Dain Goding, of the MIT Center for Art, Science and Technology, and an organizer of the Bustani Seminar. The Bustani Seminar brings distinguished speakers to discuss history, political science, economics, anthropology, architecture, and urban studies in the Middle East and North Africa.

In memoriam: Raymond Frankel, MIT '43

The Security Studies Program announced the passing of Raymond Frankel, MIT '43. Frankel was a supporter, counselor, and friend of the program for many years. He conceived of and funded the Frankel MIT Global Policy Fund, which underwrites the program’s efforts to bring its research to policy audiences, including the biennial Congressional Staff Seminar. As an undergraduate, Frankel was elected President of the Debating Society in 1941. He served in the US Navy in the Pacific in World War II, contributed to the birth of the State of Israel, became an early venture capitalist at the dawn of solid state electronics, and then moved into a successful career in asset management. He was an inveterate and intrepid traveler: when he wanted to know more about another country, he visited it, regardless of its politics.

Starr Forums

The Center hosted a series of public talks including: The Trump-Putin Phenomenon, with guest speakers Garry Kasparov (Human Rights Foundation) and Julia Ioffe (The Atlantic); North Korea: MIT Experts Consider the Options, with MIT experts Taylor Fravel, Vipin Narang, and Jim Walsh; Syria: Which Way Forward?, with Steven Simon (Amherst College) and Robert Ford (former ambassador to Syria), moderated by Steve Van Evera (MIT); Warnings, a book about the future of national security, threatening technologies, the US economy, and possibly the fate of civilization, with author Richard Clark SM ’79 (former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter-terrorism for the United States) and Joel Brenner (MIT); Rebel Power: Why National Movements Compete, Fight, and Win, with author Peter Krause '11 (Boston College) and Roger Petersen (MIT). All Starr Forums are available to view in their entirety on the Center’s YouTube channel.

Joint Seminar on South Asian Politics

The Joint Seminar on South Asian Politics, co-sponsored by MIT, Brown University, and Harvard University, explores the region with leading experts. Fall events included: Arjun Subramaniam (Visiting Fellow, Harvard Asia Center)  on War and Conflict in Contemporary India; Tara Beteille (World Bank); The Contentious Politics of Teacher Transfers in India: A Way Forward; Soledad Artiz Prillaman (Harvard University) When Women Mobilize: Dissecting India's Gender Gap in Political Representation.

SSP Nuclear Security Fellowships

With the support of the Stanton Foundation, the MIT Security Studies Program hosts a Nuclear Security Fellows Program for junior faculty as well as pre-doctoral and post-doctoral scholars. Applications for 2018-19 Stanton Nuclear Security Fellowships are being accepted until January 30, 2018.

Myron Weiner International Migration Seminar

The Myron Weiner Seminar Series on International Migration explores factors affecting international population movements and their impact upon sending and receiving countries and relations among them. The two events for fall 2017 were: Another History of the Refugee Convention's Additional Protocol, with Itty Abraham (National University of Singapore); and The Migrant Passage: Survival Plays and Clandestine Journeys from Central America, with Noelle Brigden (Marquette University).