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by Jason Warburg

Recent news from members of the Institute community in Monterey and around the world.

Sightings

›› As has been the case at every Olympic Games since the summer of 1984, the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, featured a substantial contingent of Middlebury Institute faculty, former faculty, and alumni among the interpreting corps. This year’s contingent included Julien Brasseur MATI ’02, Professor Andrei Falaleyev, Professor Andrea Hofmann-Miller MATI ’91, Jeanyoung Lee (former faculty member), Yun-hyang Lee (former faculty member), Andrey Medvedev MATI ’98, Katya Mostovaya MACI ’10, Alexandre Ponomarev MACI ’00, Jingbo Shen MACI ’06 (former faculty member), and Fernanda Strasser MACI ’91. In October we learned that Ponomarev and Maureen Sweeney MPA ’94 will serve as chief and deputy chief interpreters for the 2020 Summer Olympic games in Tokyo, Japan.

›› The West Coast Anti-Money Laundering Forum attracted a substantial cohort of Institute students and alumni, including a group of students invited by Professor Moyara Ruehsen, the driving force behind the Institute’s Financial Crimes Management specialization. Attendees included Amelia Childress BAIS/MAIPS ’08, Lauren Day MPA ’19, Geoffrey Fontana MAIPS ’05, Katya Gamolsky MAIPD ’18, Roger Gillespie MANPTS ’18, Brianna Hartley MANPTS ’18, Yona Koch-Fienberg MANPTS ’19, Mitchell Leong MANPTS ’18, Tracy Lyon MBA ’18/MANPTS ’19, Lizzie McGowan MANPTS ’18, Nate Riley MAIPS ’12, Rory Roccio BAIS/MAIPD ’19, and Vanessa Zhang MAIPS ’14.

›› On September 17 the Washington Post published an article coauthored by two participants in CNS’s Summer Undergraduate Nonproliferation Program, Jack Nassetta and Ethan Fecht. Analyzing a database of over 850,000 tweets collected following the April 2018 chemical attack in Douma, Syria, Nassetta and Fecht crafted a “cheat sheet” for users on how to identify Russian troll accounts on Twitter.

›› Professor Christiane Abel MATI ’96 interpreted for RadioFrance Internationale at the Global Climate Action Summit in September. Also attending and participating in the summit in various roles were Professors Kent Glenzer and Lyuba Zarsky; alumni Michael Blakeley MACD ’01, William Giller MAT ’18, and Lama Ranjous MAIPD ‘18; and student Nicolas De Golia MBA/MAIEP ‘19.
 

Presentations

›› In September, Professor Moyara Ruehsen traveled to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to conduct Counter Terrorism Financing Training and Counter Proliferation Financing Training for ministry officials, intelligence agency personnel, and police on behalf of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Terrorism Prevention Branch.

›› In June, Professor Sharad Joshi of the Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies program was invited to brief the Top Level Group of U.K. Parliamentarians for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation at the U.K. Parliament in London. The briefing covered a broad range of nonproliferation issues. Separately, Joshi also presented papers at the European Workshops on International Studies in Groningen, the Netherlands, and at the British International Studies Association annual conference in Bath, United Kingdom.

›› Kimberlie Hansen MATESOL-PCMI ’18 was serving her Peace Corps assignment in Dominica when Hurricane Maria struck the Caribbean, devastating the island. The school where she had been teaching was ruined, and she was evacuated. After returning to Monterey to complete her degree, she returned this summer to present the principal of the primary school where she had been teaching with “an enormous (84-pound) suitcase stuffed with school supplies” she had collected.
 

Awards and Achievements

›› This spring Sylvia Mishra MANPTS ’18 was one of three 2018 Scoville Fellows chosen from 180 applicants. The Scoville Fellowship is a highly competitive national fellowship program that provides recent graduates with the funding and opportunity to work with senior-level policy experts at leading think tanks and advocacy groups in Washington, D.C., for six to nine months. Mishra will be working with the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

›› Students Bryce Bray MAIEP ’20 and Siobhan Gibbons MAIEP ’19 each won a Boren Fellowship, the first time that two students from the International Environmental Policy program have been awarded a Boren in the same year.

›› Student Jaewon Oh MANPTS ’20 was awarded a Pickering Fellowship, which provides financial support for tuition and living expenses for a two-year master’s degree in a field related to the Foreign Service (up to $37,500 annually). Oh, a 2013 graduate of Middlebury College, hopes to work on nuclear policy relating to North Korea.

›› Amy Mendenhall MACI ’18 passed the United Nations’ extremely competitive language exams this spring, qualifying her to serve as an interpreter or translator at the UN. While many Institute alumni go on to pass these exams after graduating, Mendenhall achieved the rare feat of doing so while still a student at the Institute.

›› Jillian Flavin MBA/MAIEP ’18 and Khadija Hafiz MBA/MAIPD ’18 won first place in the student division of the Monterey Bay Start-Up Challenge. Their social enterprise, the BOHO (Buy One Help One) Marketplace, is an insurance marketplace that allows corporate clients, their employees, and eventually all individual consumers the option to coMPAre and purchase insurance policies while also helping provide insurance to a chronically underinsured individual or family in an emerging market. Flavin, Hafiz, and fellow students Celina Lima MBA/MAIPD ’18 and Ruth Lai MBA ’18 originally came up with the concept as a solution to a class assignment, and Professor Yuwei Shi encouraged them to take it further.

›› Student Theresa Waldhäusl MACI ’19 won the United Nations’ annual St. Jerome Translation Contest in the English into German category, traveling to Switzerland in May to accept her award at the UN’s Geneva headquarters. The contest, named for the patron saint of translators, is open to both current and former UN staff members (in the general division), and students from partner universities such as the Institute (in the student division).

›› Bella Wan MACI ’18 won silver in the highly competitive seventh Cross-Strait Interpreting Competition in Hong Kong. Wan competed against 27 other students representing the top translation and interpretation programs from Macao, Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, the U.S., and the U.K.

›› The student team of J. Ryan Bolt MANPTS ’19, Paula Granger MANPTS ’18, C. Scott Milne MANPTS ’19, and Yona Koch-Fienberg MANPTS ’19 was awarded “Best Written Brief” at the Atlantic Council’s Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge in Washington, D.C., for a brief judges described as best in the history of the competition. The team, coached by Dr. Elaine Korzak, advanced to the semifinals of the competition and ultimately placed fifth out of 38 teams.

›› “True Economics,” a blog authored by Professor Constantin Gurdgiev, was rated one of the top 100 economics blogs by the Intelligent Economist. Gurdgiev’s blog covers economic ideas and analysis of current news stories and global economic events.

›› Alumna Vera Hanaoka MATFL ’07 was selected as the sole winner in the nation of the Kobe College Corporation Japan Education Exchange Graduate Fellowship for 2018–19. Hanaoka will receive $30,000 toward the completion of her PhD in Japanese language and linguistics at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

›› Beating out PhD students in their chosen field of language education, two recent graduates, Tiffany Diebold MATESOL ’18 and Hiba Al Ghabra MATESOL ’18, were awarded “Most Innovative Research” at the UC Davis Symposium on Language Research this May.

The team began the research for the paper as a project for a class they both took with Professor Netta Avineri in the fall of 2017; the following semester Professor Thor Sawin suggested they submit their paper to the symposium.

›› Britt Johnson MATESOL ’02 received the University of Oregon’s University Senate award for Shared Governance, Transparency & Trust, which “is given to the administrator or other member of the UO community who has best exemplified the values of trust, transparency, and shared governance during the year.” Johnson works at Oregon’s English Language Institute.

›› Carol J. Yee MBA ’88, an owner and chief operating officer of the Arlington, Virginia-based development consultancy KANAVA International, was named to the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid. Yee was also selected to participate in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses (10KSB) program.

›› Alumna Randi Freeman MATESOL ’95 has been awarded a 2018 Doctoral Dissertation Grant from the International Research Foundation for English Language Education (TIRF). Freeman successfully competed with applicants from 34 countries and is only the second alumna to receive a doctoral dissertation grant from TIRF, after Dr. Joyce Kling MATESOL ’88 in 2012. Freeman is pursuing her doctorate at Anaheim University.
 

Collaborations

›› Staff of the Institute’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) were very active at the 2018 Nonproliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee Meeting in Geneva this spring. CNS Director William Potter served as advisor to the Chilean delegation, whose members included CNS Senior Research Associate Sarah Bidgood MANPTS ’16 and students Joseph Rodgers MANPTS ’18 and Paul Warnke MANPTS ’18. Maggie Rowland MANPTS ’18 and Daria Selezneva MANPTS/MGIMO ’18 participated as members of the Secretariat. Potter; Bidgood; Andrea Berger; and Angela Kane, Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-proliferation Senior Fellow, also participated in various side events, including one where Bidgood and student Tiara Shaya MANPTS ’18 both gave presentations.

›› A team of CNS researchers—including Jeffrey Lewis, Melissa Hanham, Dave Schmerler MANPTS ’15, and Grace Liu MANPTS ’18—used publicly available satellite imagery and geolocation analysis to locate a suspected covert uranium enrichment plant in Kangson, North Korea, resulting in widespread media coverage of their discovery.

›› Three students in the Institute’s International Trade and Economic Diplomacy program helped draft a new antidumping and countervailing duty law for the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Brigid Flay MAITED ’18 called the opportunity to work with Professors Robert Rogowsky and Warren “Wes” Small on the project “something really exceptional.” The team also included Richard Nworah MAITED ’18 and Cameron Small MAITED ’18.

›› In August, CNS Director William Potter convened a high-level workshop on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament for American and Russian experts and policy makers that included former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry, former Soviet and Russian Ambassador Sergey Batsanov, Congressman Jimmy Panetta, and Inga Yumasheva, a member of the Russian Duma. California Governor Jerry Brown delivered the keynote address.
 

Publications

›› Professor Kathi Bailey is the coeditor of a new book in the TIRF-Routledge series, Global Research on Teaching and Learning English. The new volume is a collection of research reports on language planning and policy in a range of international contexts. “One of the great things about this project,” said Bailey, “was working with TESOL student Kelly Donovan MATESOL ’17. She was an amazing editorial assistant and project manager.”

›› In August, CNS Director William Potter and Sarah Bidgood MANPTS ’16 of CNS celebrated the publication of their new coedited volume Once and Future Partners: The United States, Russia, and Nuclear Non-proliferation.

›› A translation by Professor John Balcom BA Chinese ’84, The Great Flowing River: A Memoir of China, from Manchuria to Taiwan by Chi Pang-yuan, was published by Columbia University Press.

›› Professor Avner Cohen and student (and Pickering Fellow) Ben McIntosh MANPTS ’19 coauthored an opinion essay for the Israeli newspaper Haartez critiquing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s presentation on Iran’s nuclear program.

›› “The Shadow Sector: North Korea’s Information Technology Networks,” a groundbreaking report by CNS researchers Andrea Berger, Cameron Trainer, Shea Cotton, and Catherine Dill MANPTS ’13, highlights how a North Korean global network of information technology front companies and intermediaries continues to operate in defiance of sanctions.

›› Graduate Joshua Morris MAIEP ’17 authored a report by the Nature Conservancy on sea level rise vulnerability analysis and conservation guidance, a project he began as an IPSS fellow in 2017.
 

Passages

›› Etilvia Maria Arjona Chang—known during her years at the Institute as Etty Arjona—passed away in her native Panama in September. Arjona was the director of the Translation and Interpretation (T&I) program at the Monterey Institute of Foreign Studies from 1974 to 1978. “She turned the T&I program into a serious professional school and set it on the path to becoming what it is today,” said Wilhelm (Bill) Weber, her successor and later dean of the Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation at MIIS. “For example, she brought in simultaneous interpreting equipment and booths for the first time.” In 1978, Arjona enrolled at Stanford, where she earned her PhD in education. Later, she was the founding director of the Graduate Institute of Translation and Interpretation Studies at Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan’s first graduate school of T&I. In 2005, her work in promoting the status and reputation of the translation profession at the international level was recognized by UNESCO’s International Federation of Translators Council, which presented her with its top professional award. Her iMPAct on the Institute was substantial and her legacy continues to this day. “Etty was a mentor to many students, including me,” said Professor Holly Mikkelson MAICC ’76 / Cert. Translation & Interpretation ’76. “If it hadn’t been for Etty, I wouldn’t have pursued a career in T&I.”

›› Dr. Raymond A. Zilinskas, the director of CNS’s Chemical and Biological Weapons Program and an adjunct professor for 20 years, passed away in September after a brief illness. Zilinskas was one of the world’s foremost experts on biological weapons and was frequently called upon to answer questions about both their technical aspects and policy implications by journalists, academics, and governments. CNS Director Dr. William Potter described him as “a towering figure internationally in the field. For two decades he was the ‘go-to’ person at CNS on these subjects. I’m not sure whether he was most proud of his major book publications, his work as an inspector for UNSCOM in Iraq, or the role he performed as a consultant to the classic television series The Americans.” His publications include The Soviet Biological Weapons Program (Harvard University Press, 2012), coauthored with Milton Leitenberg, and its sequel Biosecurity in Putin’s Russia (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2018), coauthored with his former student Philippe Mauger MANPTS ’16. Said Mauger, “Ray was my mentor and a dear friend. He invested countless hours into teaching and advising me, and many other students at MIIS. I will remember him for his meticulous working style and his frankness, and as someone who always seized opportunities to help others.” Added Philipp Bleek, acting chair of the Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies Program, “Ray will be deeply missed. He was a passionate teacher and mentor.” In recent years Zilinskas was the subject of feature stories in both Communiqué and Middlebury Magazine. His career as a researcher, writer, and teacher leaves a remarkable legacy of scholarship and mentorship.