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


>> Managing Director Anu Carnegie-Brown of UK-based STP Translation sang the praises of student Gayane Saghatelyan MATLM ’17 in a February blog post. Carnegie-Brown served as a judge for the Globalization and Localization Association’s student essay contest, which generated entries from students at 30 different universities located in 18 different countries. Wrote Carnegie-Brown, “I particularly loved reading about a teacher at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California, telling their localisation students that ‘the job you’ll have in five years probably doesn’t even exist yet.’” She went on to say that Saghatelyan, author of that essay, “had clearly understood and embraced the strategic role language professionals have at the intersection of language, business and technology in our fast-moving world. Rather than introduce herself as a translator, she prefers to explain that her job is to ‘increase a company’s international revenue by creating a near-native experience for its users.’” 35 students sent essays from 30 different universities located in 18 different countries.


>> In October, Professor Jason Scorse participated in a panel on Climate Leadership in Oceans and Adaptation at the Monterey Bay Regional Climate Action Compact’s third annual Climate Summit at the California State University, Monterey Bay. Scorse is chair of the International Environmental Policy program and director of the Institute’s Center for the Blue Economy.

>> The same week, Professors William Arrocha, Edgard Coly, Wei Liang, and Anna Vassilieva participated in a panel discussion on the then-upcoming U.S. presidential election. The well-attended panel was organized and moderated by Professor of French and European Studies Michel Gueldry. The four professors each spoke in their respective national language (Spanish, French, Chinese and Russian), with all four languages interpreted into English by students, and all English comments interpreted back into the above four languages.

>> “Breaking Through Shades of Color: Transforming Race Relations and Conflict” was the theme of the Center for Conflict Studies’ annual November conference, building on the center’s 2015 conference focused on addressing race conflicts. “The conference this year was about exploring the creative and innovate strategies that are used by individuals and institutions to mitigate and manage race conflicts,” said Professor Pushpa Iyer, founding director of CCS. Celebrated activist Dr. Peggy McIntosh gave the keynote address to a packed Irvine Auditorium on the topic of white privilege, describing how white allies can use this privilege to dismantle structural racism.

>> Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak spoke with an invited audience of Middlebury Institute students, faculty and staff on November 12 at a private seminar co-hosted by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies. Kislyak’s remarks and the subsequent discussion focused on the state of U.S.-Russian relations and the prospects for their improvement, with Kislyak and Dr. William Potter, CNS Founding Director, agreeing that the U.S.-Russian relationship had fallen to its lowest level since the end of the Cold War. The pair pointed to the new Dual Degree in Nonproliferation Studies being offered through the Institute, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), and the PIR Center in Moscow, as an example of the potential for expanded interactions and collaboration in the educational sphere.

>> The student-selected theme of the annual Fall Forum was “Home” and sessions focused on current issues such as immigration and homelessness. As always, student participants expressed their views in their native languages—Chinese, French, Russian, German, Japanese, Korean or Spanish—while second-year Conference Interpretation and Translation and Interpretation students interpreted.

>> The Berkeley Forum at UC Berkeley hosted Professor Philipp Bleek for a February 2 guest lecture on “Disarming Syria’s Chemical Weapons and Lessons for Reducing Threats Elsewhere.” Bleek’s talk drew from his experiences during a 2012-13 Council on Foreign Relations fellowship at the Pentagon, where he staffed the interagency Syria Chemical Weapons Senior Integration Group, a focal point for efforts to prepare for chemical weapons contingencies during the Syrian civil war.

>> Cyber Initiative Postdoctoral Fellow Elaine Korzak spoke at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Center for Global Security Research (CGSR) on February 14, delivering a talk titled “Between Rhetoric and Reality: Evolving Cybersecurity Governance at the United Nations.” Dr. Korzak was a featured as part of the center’s Information Strategy and International Security speaker series.


>> Just after our fall issue went to press, the Peace Corps awarded alumnus Ravi Dutta MPA ’09 one of its highest honors: the Franklin H. Williams Award. “Serving in the Peace Corps was a life-changing experience,” said Dutta, who completed his Peace Corps service in Namibia in 2003-05. “It made me want to work in international development, but I needed a bridge towards higher level work in the field, and the Institute was that bridge.” The award pays tribute to returned Peace Corps Volunteers of color who continue the Peace Corps mission through their commitment to community service. Since graduating, Dutta has held positions with Save the Children in Indonesia, the Emerging Markets Development Advisers Program (EMDAP) in Jordan, and the Carter Center’s South Sudan Guinea Worm Eradication Program.

>> Professor Kathi Bailey and alumnus Ryan Damerow MATESOL ‘10 received the 2017 TESOL International Association’s President’s Award in December for their contributions to the field through their leadership of The International Research Foundation for English Language Education (TIRF). The TESOL President’s Award recognizes individuals or organizations who have demonstrated a commitment to English-language instruction and helped TESOL further its mission.

>> In December, we learned that Professor John Balcom’s translation of Ya Hsien’s Abyss was long-listed for the PEN America Literary Award for Poetry in Translation.

>> Alumni Ravi Kurani MBA ’11 and Nicole Sahin MBA ’05 were recognized by national publications for their accomplishments as entrepreneurs. In January, Kurani was honored as one of Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” in the Energy category for his startup venture Sutro, which is developing innovative new strategies for water quality measurement and treatment. Sahin was profiled in Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000 list of “gritty startups” last fall in recognition of her accomplishments as founder/CEO of Globalization Partners, a Boston-based firm that aims to “transcend barriers to global business by making it easy to hire internationally.” In February she was profiled again in a U.S. News & World Report feature titled “Executives Share Advice for Prospective MBAs.”

>> Carnegie Corporation of New York awarded nearly $1.8 million in grant funding to a pair of innovative Institute programs. The Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies (GIRS), overseen by Professor Anna Vassilieva, will receive $878,000 over two years to support a new Monterey Summer Symposium on Russia and other programs, and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), led by Dr. William Potter, will receive $900,000 over two years to fund various nonproliferation training and education activities. 

>> Alumna Cheryl Jordan MAIPS ’88 was appointed superintendent of the 10,300-student Milpitas Unified School District in California after a 27-year career as a teacher and administrator in the district. Jordan told the Milpitas Post that she attended the Institute with plans to work for the United Nations or enter the Foreign Service, but ended up deciding to stay on the West Coast and make a difference in a different way: “I thought I could make an impact by going into education.” Her career with Milpitas Unified began in 1989 with her first assignment as a seventh grade history teacher.

>> Student Kyle Pilutti MANPTS ’17 won second prize in an international essay competition organized by the United Nations in collaboration with the Stimson Center. The contest drew submissions from students in 44 countries on how best to implement U.N. Security Council Resolution 1540, which establishes the obligation of all U.N. member states to halt the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The top two finishers received cash awards and the opportunity to travel to an award ceremony at Harvard University, and to present their ideas to U.N. officials.

>> Alumnus Jacob Jallah MAIEM ’15 was appointed assistant minister for technical services for Liberia’s Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism. Jallah is now responsible for research and planning as well as regulation and accreditation of media institutions and the motion picture industry. A former refugee, Jallah fulfilled the practicum requirement of his International Education Management degree back in Liberia, where he worked on government projects related to his passion for furthering peace, reconciliation and development. “The work he did was incredible, thoughtful and very inspiring,” says Jill Stoffers, Jallah’s practicum supervisor.

>> After 17 years on the faculty, Professor Fredric Kropp departed at the end of fall semester. In an interview published on the MIIS website, the longtime MBA professor said the most satisfying aspect of his time at the Institute was “mentoring students… I have some lifelong relationships with students.” By the time you read these words, Professor Kropp will be in Ireland as a Fulbright scholar, doing research on social entrepreneurship. Bon voyage!

>> Two alumnae of the International Environmental Policy program were awarded California Sea Grant Fellowships, Heidi Williams MAIEP ’16 and Heather Benko MBA ’15 / MAIEP ’16. Sea Grant Fellowships are awarded to graduate students “who are interested both in marine resources and in the policy decisions affecting those resources,” and the program matches fellows with “hosts” in California state agencies for a 12-month paid fellowship.

>> Alumna Yuniya Khan MPA ’07 let us know that her former project Emerge Salvador, which focused on raising awareness about the impact of Afro-Brazilian entrepreneurs in Salvador, Brazil, has evolved into a broader initiative. Through innovative storytelling and outreach, The Emerge Project ( aims to inspire and motivate young people of African descent around the world to do their part to generate positive change in their communities. The project will initially focus on telling stories from Brazil and South Africa, where Khan has spent significant time in recent years, but she hopes over time to expand its universe of stories to other countries around the world.

>> After navigating a very competitive screening process, student Ron Go-Aco MAIEP ’17 was awarded an Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Climate Corps Fellowship. Go-Aco will be working with Taylor Housing Commission in Michigan on a project aimed at improving the organization’s energy management practices. An international student originally from the Philippines, Go-Aco had been living and working in Canada prior to coming to school in Monterey.

>> We learned in March that Shuai (Ivy) Wang MATLM ’17 and Amy Mendenhall MACI ’18 were two of the winners of the United Nations’ Saint Jerome Translation Contest for 2017. Launched in 2005 by UN translation staff in New York City, the annual contest commemorates International Translation Day (Saint Jerome is the patron saint of translators). The contest “serves to celebrate multilingualism within the United Nations, and highlights the important role that translators and language professionals play” in the UN’s work.


>> A new “report card” designed to measure individual nations’ global citizenship in categories such as human rights, good governance and poverty reduction made its debut at a November event hosted at the Middlebury in DC offices in Washington. The Global Citizenship Report Card is the outcome of a collaborative project led by Ron Israel, founder and director of the Global Citizens’ Initiative, with Kent Glenzer, dean of the Institute’s Graduate School of International Policy and Management, serving as research director. “The report card is designed to be an advocacy tool for the development community,” says Glenzer, “an asset we can use to encourage investments by donors and governments that promote good global citizenship.” View the report card.

>> Lisa Donohoe MATESOL ‘09, Vanessa Hoffman MATESOL ‘15, and Lucy Crouppen MATESOL ‘16 traveled to Haiti in December to lead an intensive 30-hour training workshop for 33 English teachers. English is an important second language in Haiti for finding economic opportunities. Donohoe initiated “MIIS Team EFL Haiti” in 2013, prompting students in Professor Peter Shaw’s Curriculum Design course to take on a curriculum design project for St. Andre’s School, the site of the December training. Since then, six curriculum design teams have developed curricula for the school, some of them traveling to St. Andre’s to work with teachers and the community.

>> Four students and two coaches traveled to Washington, D.C. to compete in the March 17-18 Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge, an annual competition organized by the Atlantic Council and hosted by American University. The contest is designed to provide students across academic disciplines with a deeper understanding of the policy challenges associated with cyber crises and conflict. The Institute’s team included students Michala Braun MANPTS ’18, Paula Granger MANPTS ’18, Jason Mak MANPTS ’18, and Danielle Preskitt MANPTS ’17, with Joe Shepard MANPTS ’17 serving as a student coach and Professor Philipp Bleek as faculty coach.


>> Professor Avner Cohen celebrated two publications addressing the mysterious 1979 “double flash” in the South Atlantic, long speculated to have been a clandestine nuclear test by the state of Israel. The National Security Archive published an electronic briefing paper co-edited by Cohen and titled “The Vela Incident: South Atlantic Mystery Flash in September 1979 Raised Questions about Nuclear Test,” while Politico published Cohen and collaborator William Burr’s analysis of the same materials, titled “What the U.S. Government Really Thought of Israel’s Apparent 1979 Nuclear Test.”

>> As the inauguration approached, Cohen and two faculty colleagues each offered their thoughts on nuclear issues and policy under the incoming Trump Administration. Haaretz published Cohen’s opinion piece titled “Are We Really Giving an Impulsive Novice Like Trump the Nuclear Codes?”, while Diplomatic Courier published Philipp Bleek’s analysis piece “Trump: ‘Biggest Problem, To Me, In the World, Is Nuclear, And Proliferation’” and the Journal of Contemporary Security Policy published Professor Jeffrey Knopf’s paper “Security Assurances and Proliferation Risks in the Trump Administration.”

>> In a March 8 post on the National Security Forum blog on, Professor Jason Scorse argued that a lack of traceability poses a significant threat to the sustainable seafood industry.

>> The April issue of Scientific American included an article co-authored by Professor Raymond Zilinskas, director of the Institute’s Chemical & Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program, titled “Time to Worry About Anthrax Again.”

>> Compassionate Migration and Regional Policy in the Americas is a new volume co-edited by Professor William Arrocha. “Compassionate migration” is a concept that applies principles of compassion to the legal, political, philosophical, and interdisciplinary dimensions of migration, and one that the editors hope to make part of a “hemispheric dialogue” on migration issues.


>> Colleagues at the Institute’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) mourned the passing of Dr. Lawrence Scheinman, co-director of the center’s Washington, D.C., office from its creation and later a Distinguished Professor at the Institute. Scheinman retired from CNS in 2012. CNS Director Dr. William Potter described Scheinman’s “exceptional career in academia and government” and called him “a major contributor in shaping the field of nonproliferation studies and key elements of U.S. nonproliferation policy. He will be greatly missed by his many friends and colleagues.”