by Jason Warburg

Sightings

›› Central Coast Congressman Jimmy Panetta invited Anthony Musa MANPTS ’17 to be his guest at the State of the Union on February 5. Musa, a national security intelligence analyst in the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, was furloughed during January’s government shutdown. “As a federal employee serving to bolster our national security, Anthony is dedicated to protecting our country,” said Panetta. “Due to the shutdown, he and his colleagues could not properly execute their mission on our behalf.”

›› A column penned by Professor Lisa Leopold that offered advice to public figures on how to deliver a thorough and effective apology garnered significant interest in light of the current political climate. The column was initially published by The Conversation and then was republished by several other media outlets.

 

Presentations

›› Several dozen community leaders gathered to learn more about the Institute’s impact, both globally and locally, at the inaugural “Institute Impact” event in January. Guests, including local elected officials; leaders in the business, education, government, and nonprofit sectors; and the media, enjoyed interactive showcases of Institute programs and centers, and heard presentations from Dean of the Institute Jeff Dayton-Johnson and student Paula Granger MANPTS ’19.

›› Russian Ambassador to the United States Dr. Anatoly Antonov gave a presentation to Institute students, faculty, and staff in October before enjoying an informal lunch and conversation with Russian and American students from the Middlebury Institute and Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) dual master’s degree program in nonproliferation. Antonov was the guest of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) and its director, Dr. William Potter, and the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies (GIRS) and its director, Prof. Anna Vassilieva.

›› Profs. Moyara Ruehsen and Jason Blazakis spearheaded the Monterey Threat Financing Forum held at the Institute March 20–22. The conference aimed to provide private sector compliance professionals, federal and state regulators, law enforcement, multilateral agency financial crime experts, and sanctions consultants with up-to-date knowledge and tools “to help combat the growing threat posed by sanctions evaders, terrorism financing, WMD proliferation financing, cryptocurrency crime, and more.”

 

Awards and Achievements

›› The interpreting corps at last fall’s World Economic Forum meeting in Tianjin, China, included at least five Middlebury Institute alumni: Donglei (Dolly) Zhao MATI ’17, Yichi (Luna) Zhang MACI ’14, Shan Jiang MACI ’12, Pei (Peggy) He MACI ’14, and Mengnan Li MACI ’16. The conference was attended by more than 2,000 people from all over the world.

›› First-semester students Danielle Fultz MAIEM ’19 and Randall Yamaoka MAIEM ’19 beat out established professionals in the international education management field to win a case competition at the Region XII NAFSA international education conference in Reno, Nevada, in October. “We were given 21 hours to create an internationalization plan for a made-up university,” said Fultz.

›› The recent reclassification of the Translation and Localization Management (TLM) degree program as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program means that international students who earn the degree may now qualify to stay and work in the U.S. for up to three years after graduation. “The reclassification acknowledges that the TLM program requires high-level technical skills, including advanced computer skills and knowledge of programming languages,” notes TLM Program Chair Max Troyer MAT ’09.

›› The Institute announced the fall 2019 launch of its new Professional Certificate in Spanish Community Interpreting, offering students the opportunity to receive nine months of training to become medical or legal interpreters, with only five days of residency in Monterey required. “Students who earn this certificate qualify for some of the most in-demand jobs in the interpreting marketplace today,” said Patricia Szasz MATESOL ’06, associate dean for language and professional programs.

›› When celebrated author Éric Vuillard, winner of the Prix Goncourt 2017, toured the U.S. last fall to promote the publishing of the English translation of his award-winning novel L’Ordre du Jour (The Order of the Day), his interpreter was translation and interpretation professor Christiane Abel. “I was quite excited by this relatively rare opportunity to work with a prestigious author,” said Abel, adding that Vuillard gave elaborate answers to questions. The experience underscored to Abel the importance of constantly 18 working on improving your general knowledge, and “also the fact that even experienced interpreters can be stressed and have to work on managing their adrenaline.”

›› The winner in the category of Favorite Short Story in the first Favorite Speculative Fiction in Translation Poll was City X: A Novel in 101 Tweets by Alberto Chimal, translated from the Spanish by Institute students Sara Caplan MATLM ’20, Rita Correa MATI ’20, Mónica Bravo Díaz MATI ’20, Rachel Echeto MAT ’20, Emily Gilmore MATI ’20, Lauren Hammer MATI ’20, Hannah Mitchell MATI ’20, Matthew Mogulescu Ross MACI ’20, and LaTasha Weston MATI ’20, under the guidance of Professor George Henson.

The designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) is precedent setting. Never before has the FTO sanctions tool been directed at a state body.

 
— Prof. Jason Blazakis as quoted in a Wall Street Journal story, “U.S. to Designate Iranian Guard Corps a Foreign Terror Group.”

Collaborations

›› Alumnus Vincent Lauter MATESOL ’13 combined his English language teaching skills with his background in journalism and online content development by developing a special English for Modern Media Skills course for professional journalists in Turkey. The course grew out of collaborative work Lauter did with Turkish journalists, university communications faculty, and students in the U.S. Department of State’s American English E-Teacher Program. “Turkish journalists are very dedicated professionals who have endured a lot of politically and economically motivated stress in the last decade,” said Lauter, explaining that the primary goal of the project is “to raise the journalists’ English language proficiency in order to support interaction with international media outlets and provide the Turkish public with objective reporting.”

›› Working with Dr. Orion Lewis of Middlebury College, Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies student Chuck Woodson BA/MANPTS ’19 took on an ambitious directed study project to create Middlebury’s very own Special Operations Research Database. Their goal is to better document the experiences of the special operations community in order to draw analysis and lessons for future counterterrorism policy, and to create “a publicly facing database for researchers working on issues of asymmetric conflict,” such as government agencies, public policy think tanks, academic institutions, and nongovernmental organizations.

›› Lisa Donohoe MATESOL ’09 and Alicia Brent MATESOL ’03 of the Institute’s Custom Language Services program recently developed a hybrid program titled English Communications for Disaster Management. Initially delivered in India, the program has now been picked up by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of State, who have asked Donohoe and Brent to implement it at the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management in Jakarta. Interest in the course is particularly strong given Southeast Asia’s recent history of natural disasters and frequent use of English as a common language for intergovernmental communications.

›› When city officials in Nashville, Tennessee, were looking to reengineer the city’s proposal for a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ), city staffer and Institute alumnus Maxwell Dotson MAITED ’17 contacted program co-chair Robert Rogowsky, who in turn connected him with Prof. Warren “Wes” Small, along with Jennifer Romanin MAITED ’18 and Gunther Errhalt MAITED ’18, students in Small’s Trade Compliance course. The focus of the project was to develop a more effective approach to incorporating small and medium-size enterprises into the Nashville FTZ.

 

Publications

›› Multiple scholars connected to MIIS contributed to the new Routledge publication Understanding New Security Threats. Coedited by, and with an introduction coauthored by, Prof. Michel Gueldry, the book includes a chapter on global terrorism authored by Prof. Sharad Joshi and the late Crister Garrett MAIPS ’87. Another introduction coauthor was alumna Gigi Gokcek MAIPS ’97.

›› In recent months, Jason Blazakis, director of the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism, has published multiple opinion and analysis pieces in The Hill and other media outlets, as has student Shazar Shafqat MANPTS ’20.

›› Zachary Kallenborn MANPTS ’15 collaborated with Prof. Philipp Bleek on two articles on the dangers of drones as a delivery system for weapons of mass destruction, which appeared in War on the Rocks and CBRNe World.

›› Prof. Sharad Joshi also had an article published in the journal Asian Security titled “How Terrorist Actors in Pakistan Use Nuclear Weapons for Political Influence.”

 

Passages

›› Longtime MIIS community member Dr. Crister Garrett MAIPS ’87 died of cancer in March at the age of 56. He was the son of Stephen Garrett, a professor in the International Policy Studies program from 1972 to 2011. After earning his PhD, Garrett joined the Institute staff for several years, ultimately serving as an adjunct professor in 1998 and 1999. He then taught at the University of Wisconsin–Madison before moving in 2005 to the University of Leipzig in Germany, where he taught American history and contemporary politics and was regularly interviewed by the German media regarding American policy and politics. President Emeritus Steve Baker said, “I knew Crister as the engaging son of my colleague Steve Garrett; as a brilliant student; and as an incredibly effective professor. We lament his loss.” Former Director of Alumni Relations Leah Gowron MPA ’97 said, “Crister represented the true spirit of a MIIS alumnus—his commitment to international education, living and working in a number of countries and acquiring languages along the way. The fact that Crister shared and hopefully instilled that same spirit and desire for adventure and learning in generations of students will be his legacy in academia.”

›› Alumna and faculty member Esther Navarro-Hall MACI ’85 passed away in November after a short illness. Prof. Navarro-Hall was “a pioneer in the translation and interpretation field in the United States who was loved and respected by so many,” said her friend and colleague Laura Burian MATI ’98. When her native Mexico was hit with the strongest earthquake in a century, Navarro-Hall organized an “interpreter brigade” that focused on coordinating assistance and directly aiding people in non-Spanish-speaking areas. “As interpreters and translators, we are a vital link in the communication chain that is so essential to all aid efforts,” she said at the time. Longtime colleague and friend Professor Barry Slaughter Olsen MACI ’99 added that it was his “privilege to work with her in and out of the interpreting booth over the years, including teaching together.” Prof. Holly Mikkelson MAIC ’76 praised Navarro-Hall’s “brilliance, her warm heart, and her devotion to excellence in interpreting and in teaching.” Burian added, “I was thrilled to watch her travel to Mexico with Governor Brown to interpret for his visit with the Mexican president a few years ago.”

›› Jason Spindler, an American citizen killed in the January 15 terrorist attack in Nairobi, Kenya, was an adjunct professor who taught in the Institute’s Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) certificate program in 2015 and 2016. The cofounder and CEO of I-DEV International, an investment advisor in emerging markets, Spindler led FMS courses in Monterey, Washington, D.C., and Amsterdam. “Jason was a perfect role model for our FMS Fellows, who are seeking to build a career in enterprise and investment management while keeping true to high ideals,” said FMS cofounder Professor Yuwei Shi. Spindler, a 9/11 survivor, spent several years working at Salomon Smith Barney before joining the Peace Corps. “Our students benefitted from Jason’s knowledge and experience in so many ways,” said Shi. “Not only did he possess great technical excellence, but he also truly lived his vision for doing good and building a better world.”