Announcements, News

Middlebury has received an anonymous gift of $2 million to expand the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism (CTEC) at its Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) and to provide financial aid to students in the MA program in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies (NPTS).

The gift will support staff positions and senior research scholars, giving CTEC the flexibility to recruit and retain an exceptional team, and positioning the center to identify and address threats to national security.

“This is the most significant gift CTEC has received since it was founded in 2018,” said Jason Blazakis, the center’s founding executive director. “This generous support will allow us not only to study the challenges of terrorism and extremism but also give us flexibility to develop innovations that can make the world a safer place.”

Supporting the Mission

The Middlebury Institute educates professionals to advance peace and drive change through degree programs that prioritize hands-on, real-world experience. CTEC conducts in-depth research on terrorism and other forms of extremism using analytic tradecraft, data science, and linguistics. The center focuses on crucial areas such as radicalization to violence, proliferation of extremist ideologies, terrorist use of the Internet, and threat finance and sanctions. Its research informs how governments, companies, and multilateral institutions understand and respond to terrorism threats.

“Over the past several years, we’ve seen a significant rise in hate-motivated attacks,” noted Middlebury President Laurie Patton. “The Institute’s research on the relationship between technology and violence is critical to countering the rise of extremism and terrorism, both international and domestic. The world needs more students and professionals focused on these topics, areas essential to the peacebuilding and social change mission of MIIS.”

Jeff Dayton-Johnson, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the Institute, said that through CTEC, students at the Institute “have the opportunity to apply and build their skills on real projects that provide just-in-time insights on the most critical issues of the day.”

Providing Financial Aid

The gift for financial aid will enable the Institute to educate the next generation of practitioners who want to hone their skills in the Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies program.

Jeffrey Knopf, chair of the NPTS program, said the gift will make it more affordable for students who are concerned about hate and terrorism to pursue a specialized master’s degree that prepares them to combat violent extremism, while also expanding opportunities for them to get practical training outside the classroom at CTEC.