WorldViews: 2021: Moving Forward, Together

The year 2020 was one of gloom on many fronts. The Spring 2021 WorldViews Speaker Series offers the perspectives of Middlebury Institute faculty experts on what we’ve learned and how we, together, can build a path forward.   


General Information

Due to COVID-19, our spring 2021 speaker series will take place online via Zoom. Free to attend. Includes Q&A session. Sponsored by the Gerry Taylor Seminars Endowment Fund. Zoom webinar details will be provided after you register. All times are Pacific (PDT/PST). 

Spring 2021 Schedule

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 
12:30–1:30 p.m. Pacific Time

Professors Netta Avineri and Mahabat Baimyrzaeva

COVID-19 as a Prism to Reexamine the Past and Imagine a New Future

COVID-19 has forced us to reexamine our reality in relation to foundational issues such as democracy, education, and societal inequities. How has the pandemic exaggerated and exposed our limits, illusions, and doubts, and how has it shaped and reshaped our perspectives and actions? Professors Netta Avineri and Mahabat Baimyrzaeva cotaught (with colleagues Fernando DePaolis and Phil Murphy) a fall 2020 course, COVID-19: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on the Pandemic, which facilitated students’ exploration of the local, broad, and global impact of COVID-19. This WorldViews talk will discuss COVID-19 as a prism to critically view the past and the future, with an eye to leadership, higher education and pedagogy, media, and public discourse.

Dr. Avineri

As an applied linguistic anthropologist, Professor Netta Avineri is deeply committed to exploring the roles of culture and community in social change. She serves as chair of the Institute’s Intercultural Competence Committee, a CoLab planning team member, and academic director of the Middlebury Social Impact Corps. She also teaches service learning and teacher education courses at California State University, Monterey Bay. Dr. Avineri’s research and practice focus on building meaningful community partnerships—through critical service learning and narrative, interculturality, language and social justice, and heritage and endangered language socialization. 

Mahabat Baimyrzaeva profile photo

As the Middlebury Institute’s 2019 Faculty Excellence Award recipient, Professor Mahabat Baimyrzaeva strives to bring out the best in her students. She works at the intersection of organizational development, leadership, innovation, and learning. Her recent research is focused on the future of work. She has extensive intercultural experience leading multiple organizational health assessment and strategy sessions. In her teaching, research, and practice, Dr. Baimyrzaeva integrates insights from organizational leadership and management, ethics, culture and behavior change, cognitive and behavioral sciences, adult learning, human-centered design, social and organizational innovations, and problem solving in complex systems. She is fluent in English, Russian, and Kyrgyz and also speaks Turkish. 


Wednesday, April 7, 2021
4:00–5:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Vice President Jeff Dayton-Johnson

Freedom and the U.S. Economy: From Trump to Biden

How is the U.S. economy performing? What changes can we expect under the Biden administration? We’ll look at America’s freedom and challenges in the post-pandemic economy.

Jeff Dayton-Johnson portrait

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Institute Jeff Dayton-Johnson is the Institute’s chief academic officer and works in tandem with the senior leadership team to ensure the overall success and functioning of the Middlebury Institute. As both a student and a practitioner of economic and political development, particularly in Latin America, he offers unique expertise on emerging economies, immigration, poverty, inequality, and natural disasters.


Previous WorldViews Recordings

The previous series WorldViews recordings are available here:

Additional Faculty Talks

For additional faculty talks, check out the schedule for Middlebury’s Faculty at Home Speaker Series here! Also be sure to check out the Fall 2020 Center for the Blue Economy and Environmental Justice & Sustainability Speaker Series at