| by Jason Warburg

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


>>A TEDxMonterey 2014 segment featuring Professor Laura Burian MATI ’98, Professor Barry Olsen MACI ’99, and student Miguel Garcia MACI ’14 and demonstrating simultaneous and consecutive interpretation was named an Editor’s Pick in October on the official TEDxTalks page, where it had more than 15,000 views.

>>CNS experts Amy Smithson (senior fellow) and Ray Zilinskas (director of the Chemical and Biological Weapon Nonproliferation Program) were quoted in an October 24 Washington Post story on Soviet research into the use of Ebola as a biological weapon.

>>In October, Professor Meggan Madden represented the Institute at the Salzburg Seminar “Students At the Margins and the Institutions That Serve Them: A Global Perspective.”

>>The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth recently profiled Michelle Keating MATI ’93 in its magazine Imagine for her 20-year career as a United Nations interpreter.

>>In December, the Washington Post covered a major new report on ocean pollution from the Five Gyres Institute, cofounded by Anna Cummins MAIEP ’02, including data from 24 separate ocean expeditions and water sampling in 1,571 locations estimating that the oceans now contain over 5 trillion pieces of plastic, weighing more than 250,000 tons.

>>This fall we welcomed Lt. Col. Michael A. Davis as the first U.S. Army War College Fellow to be hosted at the Institute. Working closely with faculty advisers Dr. Sharad Joshi and Dr. Ed Laurance, Davis has focused his research on terrorism in Africa, specifically on the militant Islamist movement Boko Haram in Nigeria.

>>Dr. Lassina Zerbo, executive secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, visited the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) in September and participated in the opening session of the semester-long Nonproliferation Treaty simulation course taught by CNS Director Dr. William Potter.


>>International Education Management Program Chair Katherine Punteney and 39 students from the program attended the NAFSA Biregional Conference in Portland, Oregon in November. Punteney and Luz Vazquez-Ramos MAIEM-MPA ’15 presented a session on biculturalism and multiculturalism, while Juliet Tyson MAIEM ’14, Jayna Winn MAIEM ’14, Maritza Munzon MPA ’17 and Vazquez-Ramos presented a session on crisis-management lessons that study abroad programs can learn from NGOs and the Peace Corps.

>>At an October conference hosted by Brigham Young University, six of the 26 presenters were Institute alumni, including Professor Barry Olsen MACI ’99, Professor Adam Wooten MAT/MBA ’06, Dale Eggett MATLM ’11, Scott Jacobs MATLM/MBA ’12, Tyson Shelley MATLM ’11, and Tyler Smith MATLM ’12.

>>The annual Fall Forum, hosted by students in the Translation and Interpretation program, focused on the timely topic of water, with students delivering and interpreting presentations at six panel discussions in German, Spanish, Korean, French, Chinese, and Japanese.


>>Liu Chang MACI ’15 won third prize at the 5th Cross-Strait Consecutive Interpreting Competition held on October 19 at Xiamen University. The 25 participants were students from major Chinese T&I programs in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the U.S., and the U.K., and they were judged on their performance in consecutive interpreting of gist, conference, and dialogue.

>>CNS Research Associate Tamara Patton MANPTS ’12 won a Copernicus Masters award with her submission on using commercial satellite imagery to support nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament by improving verification capabilities.

>>An international business plan coauthored by Chuck Brown MBA ’13 during his last semester has moved from speculation to reality. The plan, written for a group called AguaClara that was designing gravity-powered water treatment plants for the developing world, resulted in the group forming the social enterprise AguaClara LLC in November 2012. Last fall they offered Chuck a position as director of development. “It’s an excellent challenge, and the value of my MBA has never been clearer than it is today,” said Chuck. The company also recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise money for its expansion into India.


>>With the success of the Frontier Market Scouts program and the recently launched Center for Social Impact Learning Center, the Institute is expanding offerings for students interested in developing credentials in impact investing and social entrepreneurship. Under a recent agreement with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC), the Institute was one of five business schools selected to work under the direction of impact-investing mentors to provide review and make recommendations on clean-cooking companies seeking investment from three key GACC venture grant funds. “This is an incredible opportunity for our students to gain impact investing experience and practical knowledge about the adoption of technological innovations in developing markets,” said Yuwei Shi, cofounder of the Frontier Market Scouts Program.

>>On behalf of the Institute, Professor Anna Vassilieva signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on academic exchange and cooperation with MGIMO (Moscow State Institute of International Relations) University and the PIR Center in Russia. The parties signed the MOU at a ceremony on October 25 and will explore the possibility of developing a dual-degree program between the MA in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies Program at MIIS and the WMD nonproliferation curriculum at MGIMO.

>>The Institute’s Center for Conflict Studies hosted a roundtable discussion on “Police Legitimacy in Communities of Color” on October 9. The Samson Student Center Reading Room was filled to capacity with students, members of the wider Monterey community, faculty, and staff, along with the three featured speakers, Rosemary Soto of Salinas, Will Matthews of the Northern California ACLU, and Kelly McMillin, Salinas Chief of Police. The roundtable format developed by Center for Conflict Studies Director Dr. Pushpa Iyer gave participants the opportunity to address issues directly with each speaker and to have an interactive conversation within groups. Sara Rubin of the Monterey County Weekly called the discussion “impressive” and praised MIIS students as “assertive and articulate.”


>>Mexico City was the setting for this encounter, from Naomi Arnold MBA ’08: “A few weeks ago, I accepted an offer for a new job. On a Friday afternoon, the director asked me if I could be in town by Monday morning. After a quick search on Airbnb, I found a great room to rent in a home with one other renter from the U.S.” Two weeks later, Naomi and her spur-of-the-moment housemate discovered that “we both went to MIIS!” Naomi and Susan Ayoob MAT ’07 are considering an alumni chapter in their new home base.

>>Four experts from the Institute’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies recently partnered with alumni in Kazakhstan to teach a course and promote nonproliferation education. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, Bryan Lee, Margarita Sevcik, and Masako Toki MAIPS ’00 travelled to Kazakhstan in Central Asia to visit Nazarbayev University, in the capital Astana, and Shakarim State University of Semey, in the city of Semey (formerly known as Semipalatinsk). The goal was to introduce CNS and MIIS programs to both universities and to teach a course on nuclear nonproliferation. In Semey, they joined Kazakhstani colleagues Dauren Aben MAIPS ’03 and Zhanibek Yessimbekov (CNS visiting fellow, Spring 2014) at Shakarim State University to teach an intensive course called “Introduction to Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security.”

>>On a December business trip to Washington, D.C., Professor Jeff Langholz stopped by the headquarters of Conservation International (CI) to see former students and ended up chatting with four of the seven alumni who are employed at CI.


>>Professor Jason Scorse, chair of the International Economic Policy program and director of the Center for the Blue Economy, coauthored an article in Yale’s Environment 360 online journal with Mark Schapiro of the Center for Investigative Reporting. The piece, titled “Oil Companies Quietly Prepare For a Future of Carbon Pricing,” notes that while U.S. oil companies haven’t yet had to pay a price for the contribution their products make to climate change, “internal accounting by the companies, along with a host of other signs, suggest that may soon change.”

>>A CNS analysis of the efforts of North Korean front companies to evade sanctions and traffic in nuclear technology drew wide attention in November thanks to an Associated Press article on the report authored by East Asia Nonproliferation Program Director Jeffrey Lewis and Research Assistant Catherine Dill MANPTS ’13.

>>A book coedited by Professor Minhua Liu of the Chinese Translation and Interpretation program, Aptitude for Interpreting, was recently published as a new addition to a series called Benjamins Current Topics. The book provides a comprehensive view of the challenge of identifying and measuring aptitude for interpreting. According to Liu, the papers in this volume “represent the cutting edge of research on this topic and should prove a milestone on the way toward supplying educators with reliable methods for testing applicants to interpreter training programs.”

>>Sean Upton-McLaughlin MBA ’09, who studied Chinese while at MIIS, is now sharing his knowledge of Chinese culture through his blog at chinaculturecorner.com. A recent post provided an in-depth examination of the Chinese concept of suzhi (素质), which Upton said “often refers to the quality of an individual or a group and their associated character and behavior,” i.e. the degree to which it meets Chinese cultural norms and expectations.

>>Jeff Swartz MAIEP ’08, international policy director at the International Emissions Trading Association, published an op-ed on the importance of carbon markets at the UN-sponsored climate talks in Lima on the news and analysis website Responding to Climate Change (rtcc.org).

>>Accidental Patriot: A Diplomat’s Journey in Africa Rediscovering America is a new book from Kirsten Bauman MAIPS ’99 about her experiences as an American expat in Africa. Kirsten has served as a U.S. diplomat in Paris, Athens, Addis Ababa, and Seoul.


>>Institute classmates, faculty, and staff were saddened to learn that recent graduate Harsh Varma MBA ’14 died in a car accident in San Jose on December 6. While at the Institute, Harsh served as a graduate assistant in the business office and research assistant to Professor Eddine Dahel. A native of Mumbai, India, he came to the United States after earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering. MBA Program Chair Sandra Dow described Harsh as full of promise and talent and said she will always remember his “generous smile, his calm spirit, a gentleness that we don’t see often enough.” Classmate Britney Rose Nemecek MBA ’13 posted a tribute on social media describing Harsh as “one of the most beautiful and genuine souls” she has ever had the privilege of knowing, adding that the “MIIS community and everyone you have touched around the world miss you already.”

>>Susan Mayer MATESOL ’14, who earned her master of arts in teaching English to speakers of other languages last May, died of cancer on January 9 after a brief illness. While at MIIS, Susan successfully negotiated an internship shadowing and assisting teachers with the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch, Germany. She also held master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Humboldt State University, where she served for several years as a lecturer in the Department of Government and Politics. Professor Kathleen Bailey of the TESOL program, one of Susan’s mentors, said she “loved teaching and learning. She was a delight to have in class and extremely supportive of other students. Her classmates thought of her as a positive person: kind, fun, and young at heart.” One of Susan’s classmates added that “Everyone loved her. She was an ideal MIIS student—a passionate environmentalist and teacher, whose worldview was informed by years of experience living and working abroad.”

>>Nancy Olsen MAIEP ’13, an alumna and highly regarded staff member of the Center for the Blue Economy (CBE) at MIIS, passed away on January 15 after a long battle with cancer. After graduation, Nancy joined the CBE as managing editor of its new journal, the Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics. Nancy, who also had a graduate degree in biochemistry, brought with her 25 years of experience in the field of scientific and environmental publishing. Her volunteer efforts in the fields of wildlife habitat and marine conservation took her to Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Mexico. “Nancy had her dream job as managing editor of our new journal,” said CBE Director Jason Scorse, adding that “she will be sorely missed by the CBE staff and the IEP community.” CBE colleague Charles Colgan said that Nancy’s “years of experience in the field of academic publishing combined with her love for the issues that CBE and MIIS are striving to address made her the perfect founding managing editor” for the journal.

For More Information

Eva Gudbergsdottir