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They arrived from Kazakhstan and Jamaica, Ecuador and Senegal, France and Japan, Ukraine and Australia. They lived, worked or studied previously in Russia and China, Brazil and Bangladesh, Rwanda and Norway, Dubai and Indonesia. Among their number are cancer survivors, Iraq War veterans, recent college graduates and parents with children. 

They are the 386 incoming students attending orientation this week at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and they include citizens of 32 countries, speakers of 25 languages, and nine Fulbright scholars. They are both statistically notable and, in the context of this highly international graduate school, simply more of the same remarkable diversity that has for decades made the Monterey Institute a renowned training ground for future diplomats, non-profit leaders, U.N. interpreters and international entrepreneurs.

Of the 11 degree programs this group of incoming students had to choose from, though, none has generated more buzz in recent months than the Institute’s brand-new master of arts degree on Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies (NPTS). 

Announced last October for launch this fall, the new NPTS degree program is the only one of its kind in the world. The program draws heavily for its curriculum on the expertise and resources resident in the Institute’s James Martin Center of Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) and the Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program (MonTREP). In the program’s very first year, students seeking an NPTS degree will make up over 10 percent of the Institute’s total student body.

CNS, the world’s largest research center devoted to combating the spread of weapons of mass destruction, celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. MonTREP conducts in-depth research, assesses policy options, and engages in public education on issues relating to terrorism and international security. According to CNS Director William Potter, the new degree program will help to fill an urgent need in many governments and international organizations to replenish an aging generation of analysts and policymakers knowledgeable about both policy and technical issues and proficient in foreign languages and area studies.

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Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir