>> Professor Ed Laurance retired in January after 25 years at the Institute, during which he specialized in small arms control while collaborating with alumni, students, and fellow activists around the world. In December he gave an in-depth interview published on the Institute website and shared news of five of his former students—Manu Miralles MPA ’13, Jonah Leff MPA ’07, Rachel Stohl MAIPS ’97, Himayu Shiotani MAIPS ’11, and Maria Olavarria MAIPS ’12—who met up at a conference on implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty in Geneva, Switzerland.

>> Women in Foreign Relations ( profiled Andrea Berger, senior research associate with the Institute’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), noting her strong interest in North Korea export controls and sanctions policy issues. “The Center for Nonproliferation Studies has always excelled in these areas,” Berger told them, “so it is a wonderful opportunity to learn more.”

>> In a January 16 op-ed piece in the New York Times, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra cited data from a study published by the Institute’s Center for the Blue Economy to illustrate the economic value of coastal tourism and the resulting dangers to the economy posed by offshore oil drilling.

>> The remarkable work done by the team of geolocation and nuclear technology experts at CNS led by Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, East Asia Nonproliferation Program director, to analyze and detail the progress of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs was spotlighted by multiple major media outlets over the past several months, including the Wall Street Journal (10/5/17), Washington Post (11/20/17), Bloomberg News (12/4/17), PBS Newshour (2/21/18), and MSNBC (3/2/18).

>> A pair of recent podcasts featured Institute faculty sharing their expertise. First, Professor Barry Slaughter Olsen MACI ’99 was featured on the Globally Speaking podcast from language services giant Moravia, and then Professor Moyara Ruehsen spoke to The Scholar’s Circle podcast on the topic of money laundering.

>> Navindra Gunawardena MANPTS ’14 and Rae Sterrett MATESOL ’14 were married last October in Portland, Oregon, in a ceremony attended by Charlie Thorsen MANPTS ’14, Marc Quint MANPTS ’14, and nonproliferation professor Philipp Bleek.


>> Professor Wei Liang, co-chair of the Trade and Economic Diplomacy program, spoke at a Council of Foreign Relations symposium in Washington, D.C., in October, serving on a panel titled “China and the United States: Governing a Contentious Bilateral Trade and Investment Relationship.” Students also had the opportunity to attend parts of the symposium and meet the keynote speaker, Roberto Azevêdo, director general of the World Trade Organization.

>> Students in the Institute’s Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies program had the opportunity to discuss a wide range of current issues with Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov at a November 30 event hosted by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Antonov replaced Sergey Kislyak—who spoke with NPTS students the previous November—as the Russian Federation’s top diplomat in the United States in August. Both men were invited to speak with students by CNS Director Dr. William Potter.

>> Grace Earley MAIEM ’16 had a practicum experience in Washington, D.C., that included the opportunity to testify before the District of Columbia Council’s Committee on Education on the importance of bilingual education.


>> For the second year in a row, a team of Institute students won the Business for a Better World international case competition. Team members Ameen Beydoun MBA/MAIPD ’18, Alexandra Cohen MBA/MAIPD ’19, Arti Dhar MBA ’19, and Dan Swinyard MBA ’18 presented what one of the judges called a “stunning” idea and comprehensive approach to this year’s challenge “to deliver an actionable idea that will enable meaningful investment in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while creating new growth opportunities for BNP Paribas CIB division.” The competition is held each year in Davos, Switzerland, alongside the annual World Economic Forum. 

>> Another team of Institute students—Jillian Flavin MAIEP/MBA ’18, Ruth Lai MBA ’18, Celina Lima MAIPD/MBA ’18 and Khadija Hafiz MAIPD/MBA ’18—traveled to Thailand to compete in the finals of the Bangkok Business Challenge, Asia’s only global intercollegiate postgraduate start-up competition. They finished as one of four runners-up.

>> The 2018 Danica Seleskovitch Prize was awarded to alumnus Luigi Luccarelli MAICC ’79. The prize was created in 1991 to honor Danica Seleskovitch, former director of the School of Interpreters and Translators (ESIT) at the University of Paris III - Sorbonne Nouvelle and former executive secretary of the International Association of Conference Interpreters.

>> Congratulations to Professor Jason Martel, who, along with two colleagues, won the Freeman Award for Best Published Article from the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages—recognition made even more special by the fact that the award is named in honor of Stephen A. Freeman, who taught at Middlebury College for 45 years and served for many years as director of the Middlebury Language Schools. Martel himself is a Middlebury alumnus, having earned his MA in French from Middlebury College in 2003.

>> Tangut Degfay MAIPD ’18 won the 44th annual Japanese Speech Contest, sponsored by the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco, while her colleague Jingyu (Ellen) Zhong MAIPD ’19 was awarded third prize in the same contest. 

>> Alumna Dr. Lora Saalman MAIPS ’04 joined the EastWest Institute in January as vice president of its Asia-Pacific program, where she leads its strategic direction and continued facilitation of dialogues involving political, military, government, academic, and business leaders addressing key issues in the region.

>> Alumna Christina Irvine MAIEM ’15 was recently appointed director of the Community College of Denver’s Intercultural Center. “I’ll be accompanying students and faculty on our first study abroad trip to Cuba in May and making an inaugural recruiting trip to Japan in the fall,” she said. “I know that I wouldn’t be here so shortly after graduation without the opportunities presented to me in the IEM program,” she told Program Chair Katherine Punteney. “I use knowledge and experience gained from every single course and seminar on a daily basis.”

>> Kelly Donovan MATESOL ’17 wrote to Grace O’Dell MPA ’12 of the Center for Advising and Career Services to share the news that she has accepted a position with the English Language Fellow (ELF) Program in China.

>> Four Middlebury Institute graduates, including Kyle Pilutti MANPTS ’17 and Thais Ramo MANPTS ’17, received the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Graduate Fellowship Program award this year, which includes the offer of full-time, one-year salaried positions with the NNSA beginning this summer. “The fellowship is the perfect springboard for what I want to do in my career,” said Pilutti.

>> Three Middlebury Institute students—Erin Lannon MAIEP ’19, Karl Larsen MBA/MAIEP ’18, and Iris Nolasco MAIEP ’17—were offered the opportunity to spend summer 2018 as paid fellows with nonprofit Think Beyond Plastic’s Mesoamerican Reef Project, living and working on the Bay Islands off the northern coast of Honduras.

>> William Toerpe MPA ’10 touched base to tell us that, after founding the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Angola last August, he went on to serve as the senior foreign commercial service officer in Luanda, Angola, for two months.


>> We can now add “chair of the board” to Professor Constantin Gurdgiev’s résumé, as the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation (IMHO)—a nonprofit he cofounded several years ago that offers support to distressed mortgage holders—recently elected him chair of its board. Gurdgiev’s activities have also created opportunities for students: last year a group of Institute students compiled a comprehensive methodological framework for a social impact assessment of IMHO, and Gurdgiev expects students’ involvement to continue into 2019. 

>> On February 28—International Mother Language Day—an international group of language scholars from around the world released the Salzburg Statement for a Multilingual World, coauthored by (among others) the Institute’s own Gabriel Guillen, a professor of Spanish whose innovative work on tandem learning in Monterey County has been covered previously in Communiqué. The statement, which can be found on the Salzburg Global website (, has been translated into at least 38 languages and calls for multilingualism, language learning, and language rights to be valued, protected, and promoted. 

>> The annual student conference of the Critical Issues Forum (CIF) drew high school students from Russia, Japan, and all over the United States to the Institute’s Monterey campus March 30–31 for a conference focused on the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The CIF, one of CNS’s key nonproliferation education initiatives, is managed by Masako Toki MAIPS ’00. Keynote speakers at the conference included Jon Wolfsthal, former deputy director of CNS and former senior director for nonproliferation and arms control at the National Security Council, and currently a fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center; and Susan Southard, author of Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War.

>> In October, the Institute hosted 15 secondary school teachers from nine countries for a two-week professional development program sponsored by the U.S. State Department. The program, Classroom Management Strategies for International English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Classrooms Exchange, brought in teachers from all over the world—Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Honduras, Mauritania, Mexico, Nepal, Niger, Panama, and South Africa—and most of them were visiting the United States for the first time. “It’s such a privilege to work with these amazing teachers,” said Patricia Szasz MATESOL ’06, assistant dean for language and professional programs.

>> Even though Middlebury Institute graduate Natalia Weinberger MATLM ’15 was a recipient of the scholarship Linda Childs Hothem BAPS ’85 created to support women from Latin and South America, the two had never met before spring Commencement 2015, when Weinberger graduated and Hothem was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award. Hothem told Weinberger about her long-held dream to create a foundation to provide arts education for underserved children and youth in the San Francisco Bay Area. Weinberger now serves as the foundation’s CEO for localization, managing projects and handling most of the translating, while also working with donors and prospective partners.

>> Alumni from the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Teaching Foreign Language (TFL) degree programs have trained more than 80 teachers in Haiti since 2015, with 24 of the 80 trainees carrying on to train another 226 teachers in their communities, illustrating the “multiplier effect” in action, and marking a major milestone for the program known as Team EFL Haiti. The team is led by Lisa Donohoe Luscombe MATESOL ’09, with support over the last three years from Stephen Spanos MATESOL ’17 PCMI, Vanessa Hoffman MATESOL ’15, Lucy Crouppen MATESOL ’16, and Ruth Castillo MATESOL ’15.


>> Professor Jeffrey M. Bale celebrated the publication of his two-volume series The Darkest Sides of Politics by Routledge Press. The first volume focuses on the history of underground neofascist networks around the world since World War II, while the second volume looks at religious extremists, the threat of CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear) terrorism, and the nexus between organized criminal and extremist groups.

>> Biosecurity in Putin’s Russia, a new book from Professor Raymond A. Zilinskas and his colleague Philippe Mauger, documents and analyzes the buildup and modernization of Russia’s biodefense establishment under the Putin administration. Zilinskas also recently authored an article titled “Biological threat reduction” for the International Animal Health Organization journal, Scientific and Technical Review.

>> CNS Senior Research Associate Sarah Bidgood MANPTS ’16 and Sylvia Mishra MANPTS ’18 reach out to China, India, and Pakistan in an article titled “Join the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty’s International Monitoring System,” published by the Stimson Center.