• Fall 2016
December 8, 2016

Posen named Kissinger Chair at Kluge Center

Originally published here

Barry Posen has been appointed the next Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Library of Congress John W. Kluge Center. His residency began on Sept. 6, 2016. Posen is Ford International Professor of Political Science and the director of the MIT Security Studies Program.

While at the Kluge Center, Posen will use the Library’s collections to study the implications for the United States of a multipolar international order. According to Posen, the National Intelligence Council of the U.S. intelligence community has predicted a diffusion of power and the emergence of a multipolar system—when four or more nation states have nearly equal amounts of military, cultural and economic power—by the middle of this century.

"These are forecasts, and it is possible that they are wrong," Posen says. "Nevertheless, if the distribution of capabilities is indeed moving toward multi-polarity, it will be helpful to have thought through the challenges posed by such a system for the U.S. as well as for other states."

Posen has served on the faculty of MIT since 1987. Prior, he was an assistant professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. An elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Posen has received fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Ford Foundation, German Marshall Fund and Rockefeller Foundation. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. from University of California, Berkeley.

The Kissinger Chair is a distinguished senior research position; its holder is in residence at the Library for a period of up to 10 months. Using research facilities and services at the Library of Congress, the scholar is expected to engage in research on foreign policy and international affairs that will lead to publication and share his or her expertise, through public lectures and dialogues, with Congress and other policymakers.

The annual appointment of the Kissinger scholar is made by the Librarian of Congress upon the recommendation of a selection committee consisting of representatives from the academic community and foreign-policy experts. The appointment ensures that the subject of foreign affairs, taken broadly, receives reflective and considered treatment each year in Washington, D.C., by distinguished, experienced scholars and practitioners.

The John W. Kluge Center was established at the Library of Congress in 2000 to foster a mutually enriching relationship between the world of ideas and the world of action, between scholars and political leaders. The center attracts distinguished scholars to Washington, D.C., facilitates their access to the Library’s remarkable collections, and helps them engage in conversation with policymakers and the public. Learn more at


Lourdes Melgar awarded Robert E. Wilhelm Fellowship

The Center is thrilled to announce that Lourdes Melgar, Mexico’s former deputy secretary of energy for hydrocarbons, has been named a Robert E. Wilhelm Fellow. Melgar will be in residence at CIS for the 2016-2017 academic year.

A graduate from Mount Holyoke College, Melgar holds a MS and a PhD in political science from MIT.

Melgar played a key role in the design and implementation of Mexico’s historic energy reform. Her vision and leadership resulted in the inscription of key elements, including the electricity reform and the social component of the sustainability principle in the new regulatory framework. Her work has begun to transform Mexico’s energy sector into a modern and competitive environment aimed at enhancing energy security, developing regional value chains, and positioning Mexico as an energy hub. Mexico’s first oil contracts and transparent bidding process were designed under her leadership. Melgar has been a member of the board of Petroleos Mexicanos, Mexico’s National Oil Company, and of Commision Federal de Electricidad, Mexico’s public utility company.

Previously, Melgar was undersecretary for electricity and held various diplomatic positions; she was a member of Mexico´s foreign service from 1997-2005.

In the academic realm, she was founding director of the Center for Sustainability and Business at EGADE Business School of the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey. She has been a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and at the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy of the University of Texas. She has authored articles on energy security, transboundary reservoirs, sustainable development, and the transition to a low carbon economy.

Melgar is a national researcher of the Mexican Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT); a member of the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations and president of the Mexican Chapter of the International Women’s Forum. She was recognized as the 2015 Mujer de Retos, she has been awarded the Logro Energético Award and the Vasco de Quiroga Leadership Award both in 2012.

While at MIT, Melgar intends to write on Mexico’s energy reform and further research on women’s role in political and social transformation.

"It is an honor to welcome Lourdes back to MIT. She brings with her a prolific career of groundbreaking work in energy security and beyond. Her time with us will enrich the Center’s scholarship. We certainly hope she finds her time here equally rewarding." said Richard Samuels, director of the Center for International Studies and Ford International Professor of Political Science at MIT.

A generous gift from Robert E. Wilhelm supports the Center's Wilhelm fellowship. The fellowship is awarded to individuals who have held senior positions in public life and is open, for example, to heads of non-profit agencies, senior officials at the State Department or other government agencies, including ambassadors, or senior officials from the UN or other multilateral agencies. Previous Wilhelm Fellows include: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe (Sri Lanka); David Miliband, British Labour politician; Ambassador Barbara Bodine; Admiral William Fallon; and Yukio Okamoto, a former special advisor to the prime minister of Japan.


Human rights journalist Joins CIS

Jacey Fortin, a freelance journalist who is based in Africa, joined CIS as the 2016/17 IWMF Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow. The fellowship is offered through the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and is sponsored in part by CIS. The award provides a unique academic and professional opportunity for women journalists focusing on human rights and social justice reporting. Fontin will spend the seven-month fellowship as a research associate in residence at CIS. She will also complete journalism internships with The Boston Globe and The New York Times. She aims to use the fellowship to sharpen her investigative, finance, and data journalism skills to uncover the deeper trends that drive current events around the world. Since launching her freelance career three years ago, Fortin has covered human rights, politics, economic development, and media freedom in the Horn of Africa. She has focused on conflict as well, reporting on the civil war in South Sudan, militancy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and violent unrest in Ethiopia, where she is based. Her articles and photographs have appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Africa Report, Agence France-Presse, Al Jazeera, and others. Much of Fortin’s work revolves around the theme of human rights, with a focus on how people’s basic demands can be silenced through political repression, economic hardship, or conflict. Fortin is from New Bedford, Massachusetts, and earned her undergraduate degree at Northeastern University in Boston. She first entered the field of journalism in New York, where she worked for the International Business Times covering world news with a focus on the Middle East and Africa. In 2013, she moved to Ethiopia to jumpstart a freelance career. “I’m lucky that my freelancing work has led me to cover such a wide variety of issues, but that has also made it difficult to focus on any one thing,” Fortin said. “I know my reporting will be stronger if I can take the time to study subjects like trade, finance, and international law—subjects that are complicated but important, because they drive and inform the current events that I cover. The Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship will give me the opportunity I need to build that foundation of knowledge, and to learn from the best at The Boston Globe and The New York Times.” The fellowship was created in memory of Elizabeth Neuffer, The Boston Globe correspondent and 1998 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award winner. Neuffer died while reporting in Iraq on May 9, 2003. In collaboration with Neuffer’s family and friends, the IWMF started this program to honor her legacy while advancing her work in the fields of human rights and social justice. Fortin is the 12th journalist to win the fellowship. Neuffer Fellows advance their reporting expertise while exploring a wide range of issues including gender-based violence, indigenous rights and freedom of speech. For more information about the fellowship, visit


George W. Rathjens, 90, Professor Emeritus of Political Science

George W. Rathjens, a founder of the MIT Security Studies Program, passed away on Thursday, May 26, 2016. Prior to coming to MIT he had a distinguished career in government service including the Department of State and the Department of Defense. He is best known for his contributions to the theory and practice of nuclear arms control. As a trained scientist he was able to participate in policy discussions with a fundamental understanding of the weapons and technologies at issue. He was a major participant in the controversial debate in the late 1960s and early 1970s on the wisdom of deploying ballistic missile defenses. Among other achievements, he was the Secretary General of Pugwash (1998-2002), the international non-governmental organization dedicated to bringing 'scientific insight and reason to bear' on the risks posed by nuclear weapons. For many years he had been an active participant in that organization, which won the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize. He was also intensely interested in the principal international security problems of the 1990s—humanitarian intervention, sovereignty, and human rights, and under his leadership Pugwash took up these issues in a series of conferences. Professor Rathjens was held in deep affection by his graduate students and colleagues.