Archive for Immersive Learning (MIIS & External Ops)

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

IMMERSIVE LEARNING INFO SESSION

WHEN: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20th at 12:00 PM

WHERE: CASA FUENTE 434

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Experiential learning is a cornerstone of the MIIS experience. While you are here, you are able to participate in a wide range of international and domestic immersive learning opportunities during the January term and spring break. Practica provide students with opportunities to explore real world contexts as freelance consultants, field researchers, and junior-level professionals.

Immersive Learning recently announced 2017 Practica and now invite you to an informational session to discuss the variety of opportunities available. Where can you picture yourself —Colombia, Czech Republic, East Asia, Egypt, Nepal, Peru, Rwanda, Spain or here in California?

For complete details on 2017 opportunities visit http://go.miis.edu/practica.

Friday, May 6th, 2016

IPSS Fellow Gaelen Hayes Writes About Her IPSS Journey

gaelen_hayes

Gaelen Hayes, IPS, 2015 IPSS Fellow

Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development, Calca, Peru

1. Please describe your experience at MIIS (your program, courses, what motivated you to apply for IPSS, and any other details that you think are relevant).

I was in the IPS (now IPD) program at MIIS. When I first came to MIIS I was having a hard time deciding between IPS and MPA, and I ultimately decided on IPS because it allowed greater freedom to customize my degree. I ended up taking a lot of MPA classes as my electives, so I think I got the best of both worlds.

I applied for IPSS because I had a personal research project that I wanted to pursue, and IPSS allowed me to get credit (and financial aid!) to do it. IPSS seemed like the best fit for my project because of the flexibility it allows in how you complete your service project. I worked with several mentor professors prior to and throughout my IPSS semester, and their help and support was crucial. One of the most valuable things I took away from IPSS was these professional relationships. I still regularly turn to these professors for advice, despite the fact that IPSS is over.

In terms of describing my experience at MIIS, I would say that I learned that these opportunities can be as much or as little as you make them. To get the most out of my time at MIIS, or my IPSS semester, I had to decide to put myself out there and to put in effort to make connections, take on projects, and to participate whenever an opportunity presented itself. Historically I am a fairly passive person, so this was a big lesson for me to learn!

2. What were your career aspirations when you applied for IPSS?  Did these change during or after your immersive learning experience. If so, how?

When I applied to IPSS my career aspirations were still somewhat vague- I knew I wanted to work in community development. The people I worked with during IPSS helped me to realize what I am good at. Identifying these strengths clarified the type of position I should pursue within the development field.

3. Describe your career now.  How did your time at MIIS/during your immersive learning program prepare you for this career or lead you to this career (if applicable)?

Following IPSS I was hired by the organization I did my placement with. My role involves steering our organizational development (putting those DPMI skills to use!), helping to design and implement community research, and growing the experiential learning side of our organization. Because my job description is so broad, it allows to me to use the spectrum of skills I learned at MIIS, from strategic planning to survey creation.

4. What was most valuable about your MIIS experience?  What was most valuable about your IPSS experience?  Is there anything you would have done differently?

I learned many valuable and applicable skills at MIIS, which have led me to the position I am in currently. I guess this would be the most valuable thing I took away, the tangible skills. A close second is the relationships I built in the short time I was there. This network of professionals in my field will be a resource that I take with me wherever I go. From the first day of orientation MIIS stresses the importance of networking, but I never saw myself as someone capable of doing this, so I kind of blew it off. Turns out it is pretty important, and not as hard as it sounds.

The most valuable thing I took away from my IPSS experience, besides the professional contacts, was a clearer understanding of my own capabilities. By having the opportunity to take the skills I had learned and run on a project of my own design, I realized how much I had actually internalized from my classes at MIIS. I also learned what I am not so good at, and this helped me to understand the best way for me to add value to the organizations where I applied to work.

5. What advice or thoughts do you have for MIIS students exploring similar opportunities?

Take advantage of opportunities like IPSS, DPMI+, and other internship type situations. It is a great way to take the training wheels off in a situation that is still safe and supportive. Through MIIS and the community there are many chances to practice what you learn in class; take advantage of as many as you can!

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

DPMI+ Fellow Jeanine Willig on her experience at Social Impact

Jeanine Willig (far left), DPMI+ Fellow & IPS 2016 student

Organization:  Social Impact

Title: Performance Evaluation Intern

Location: Washington, D.C.

Social Impact contracts with lots of different organizations, mainly for performance and impact evaluation and capacity building.  As a Performance Evaluation Intern, Jeanine’s been working to support the impact evaluation team on Social Impact contracts with USAID.  Last month, Jeanine helped conduct a literature review for FHI360’s Rural Teacher Retention Program in Ghana.  She also worked on an impact evaluation of a WASHPlus project in three districts of Bangladesh that are highly impacted by climate change and experience constant flooding.  Jeanine loves the variety of projects she gets to work on at Social Impact and says she never gets bored.  “I have days where I look up and I haven’t noticed the time go by,” Jeanine says.  “It’s been a HUGE learning curve.  I can’t believe it’s been a month already.”

Jeanine has recently signed up to assist with the evaluation of a Millennium Challenge Corporation anti-corruption project in Honduras.  The goal of the project was to help the Honduran government meet anti-corruption standards in order to be eligible for funding for development.  The evaluation with which Jeanine will assist involves quantitative and qualitative methods to measure impact and entails a comprehensive 23 evaluation questions (typically impact evaluation involves three to six evaluation questions).

How did MIIS prepare you to succeed as a Performance Evaluation Intern at Social Impact?

Jeanine credits Beryl Levinger’s Program Evaluation class with preparing her most directly for her work with Social Impact, which so far involves heavy use of data-evaluation methods, understanding and analyzing qualitative data, and “really getting into the nitty-gritty.”  Another class that was particularly useful was Ed Laurance’s Intro to Human Security & Development.  The “on-time assignments” in this class gave her the skills to be able to research and sort through information rapidly and effectively.  When asked what advice she had for MIIS students interested in similar work, Jeanine recommended that all students take Data Analysis (she wishes that she had).  She also said, “Finance and budgeting is such a NEED in this industry.  People who currently do it are doing it because no one else can and they have just taught themselves.  Skills in finance or budgeting will make your job application stand out.”

Any other advice for current students?

Jeanine wants other MIIS students to keep in mind that “people will care about you and last minute stuff is okay.  When an advisor says that you’ll find a spot, have faith.  Having a good attitude about the job search is important.  You’ve got to keep it in perspective.  Keep your ears open – there are things out there you don’t know about and opportunities you can’t even imagine, so just keep an open mind.  There’s so much out there.”

Find out more…

You can read more about Jeanine’s experiences on her blog.

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Reminder: Apply for DPMI+ for summer/fall 2016

DPMI+ Application Deadline

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

From MIIS to IPSS & Beyond

IAEA_Photo_Tom Gray

Thomas Gray, NPTS 2015

IPSS 2015: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

It’s always inspiring to speak with current IPSS fellows in the field, but I’m also curious about where students end up afterwards and how their IPSS experience fits into their longer term career path.  Thomas Gray, a 2015 IPSS fellow and former NPTS student currently working at the IAEA in Vienna, graciously agreed to share his experiences and speak about his path from MIIS to IPSS and beyond.

MIIS to IPSS

Tom came to Monterey after six and a half years in the U.S. Navy.  As an incoming NPTS student, Tom knew he wanted to do a professional internship and had hopes for the IAEA due to his interest in international nuclear safeguards.  The connections that the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies has with different international professional organizations and the history of MIIS interns at the IAEA were a large part of Tom’s motivation to attend MIIS.

Tom applied for an IPSS fellowship with the IAEA as a second year NPTS student.  Previously, the NPTS students from MIIS that had interned at the IAEA had all worked in the Office of Public Information.  However, the year Tom applied, a position in the Department of Safeguards was available– this was a stroke of luck for Tom, as it matched up with his interests even more.

IPSS and Beyond

After his four month IPSS fellowship at the IAEA, Tom began a yearlong graduate fellowship program in the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in Washington, D.C.  This is another opportunity frequently pursued by MIIS students: there are typically at least one or two former NPTS students per year.  During the NNSA fellowship, Tom found out about another fellowship newly established by the Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation in honor of Dr. Ian Hutcheon, a scientist who worked for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  This fellowship is a two-year assignment as a Junior Professional Officer in support of the IAEA’s  Division of Nuclear Security.  Tom was the first fellow selected – he decided to leave his fellowship with the NNSA a few months early in order to pursue this opportunity and go back to working with the IAEA.  When I spoke with him he had been on the job for a week and a half.

Current Work

Tom attributes his selection for his current fellowship in part to his previous experience at the IAEA, which also allowed him to hit the ground running upon his return.  Tom’s primary task at the moment is to help organize a conference that the IAEA is hosting at the end of 2016.  Right now is an important time for the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Security.  Eight years ago, Obama announced the Prague Agenda, his plan to secure the world’s nuclear material from use in terrorism.  According to the plan, a nuclear security summit has been hosted every two years since.  The last summit is happening this month in D.C.  The IAEA has been identified as one of the institutions responsible for continuing the progress made over the last 8 years, and the conference Tom is organizing will set the tone for how the international community sees nuclear security continuing after the Obama Administration.

Tom’s Advice

For NPTS students, IPSS can be a strategic choice because NPTS is a field where you need connections…  you never know who will lead to a job.  The NPTS field can be a hard field to break into and a strong professional network is critical.  If you decide to do IPSS, Tom recommends setting your internship up for as long as possible.  The first few months at any job involve a steep learning curve; the more time you have at your internship, the more time you’ll have to apply what you learned in those first few months and the more time you’ll have to impress your new boss.

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

IPSS fellow Danny Pavitt speaks about his work at Conservation International

Danny

IPD student and IPSS fellow Danny Pavitt is currently in the field working as an Environmental Peacebuilding Intern at Conservation International.  Conservation International (CI) has been around for 30 years and was established with a vision that included not only the conservation of nature, but also the well-being of humans in relation to nature.  As Danny puts it, the overarching mission of CI is to promote healthy ecosystems globally and improve human well-being (ensuring a healthy, productive planet for everybody).

At CI, Danny is one of four staff members working in the Peace and Development Partnerships department of the Policy Center.  Environmental peacebuilding is at the intersection of capacity development, conflict resolution, and environmental conservation.  One of the central goals of the Environmental Peacebuilding Department is to raise awareness about the interconnectedness of conservation and peacebuilding.  Environmental conservation is not impossible in conflict areas; you can actually use environmental peacebuilding to mitigate conflict.  Promoting healthy ecosystems and mitigating conflict are not mutually exclusive and in fact can work more effectively in tandem.

Danny is currently working with his team to develop a training manual for global field staff to help them better incorporate conflict-sensitive programming.  The manual will have about 10 modules that are all parts of environmental peacebuilding and will address questions such as: How can we analyze conflict that exists? and How can we tie in different parts of environmental peacebuilding?  So far, Danny has completed a Conflict Analysis Module.  This module is helps engage local stakeholders in a conversation in order to become as informed as possible about situations of conflict in a given area.  The idea is that if you understand the situation, conflict, root causes, and main players, you can implement sustainable conservation programs while being conflict-sensitive.

Danny describes his experience at CI as full of learning.  He notes that “it’s been really eye-opening to be in an organization that’s so well-established in what it does and in the field” and has enjoyed collaborating with people who are influential in the environmental conservation world.  Since starting at CI, Danny has realized how connected everything is: “It’s no longer just about environmental conservation – you can’t really think about environmental conservation without thinking about gender, equality, capacity development, infrastructural growth, the economy, international development…  These things are no longer separate for me and they never will be.”

Danny took a leap of faith after his first semester at MIIS and decided to enroll in the 2015 Summer Peacebuilding Program despite being totally new to the subject matter.  This experience opened his eyes to the opportunities out there surrounding environmental peacebuilding.  Some of the courses at MIIS that prepared him for his current work include Organizational Sustainability with Professor Ortiz and Human Security and Development with Professor Laurance.  Danny encourages current MIIS students to explore different and intriguing things they’re curious about but don’t necessarily have experience in (like the Summer Peacebuilding Program for him).  Danny got to his current position by really putting himself out there to explore and understand different parts of international development and to figure out what he didn’t want to do.  In his role now, he enjoys what he’s doing so much it doesn’t even feel like work.

For a glimpse into the work of Conservation International, check out their Nature is Speaking advertising campaign.

Friday, March 11th, 2016

IEP student Whitney Berry to present on behalf of the International Union for Conservation of Nature

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This April, International Environmental Policy student and IPSS fellow Whitney Berry will be presenting at a Geneva workshop titled, “The Application of Genomic Tools for Benthic Monitoring of the Marine Environment: From Technology to Legal and Socio-Economical Aspects.”   She will be giving a presentation at the Natural History Museum in Geneva on behalf of the IUCN, the organization she is working with as an IPSS fellow.  The workshop is sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the University of Geneva.

More About the Workshop

Rapidly increasing impacts of industrial activities on marine biodiversity strongly affects marine ecosystem health and services. Yet, the growing demand for measuring and mitigating these impacts can hardly be satisfied by classical monitoring based on morphological species identification. New genomic tools based on analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA) could potentially overcome these limitations, but their application for biomonitoring is still very limited. The main objective of the workshop is to examine the effectiveness of eDNA method for seabed monitoring from ecological, legal and socio-economic perspectives. The workshop will discuss the need to modify regulatory requirements and legal instruments for incorporating eDNA data into biotic indices. The participants will also learn about the advantages and challenges of using the eDNA to explore biodiversity and valuing ecosystem services. The event will bring together molecular biologists, ecologists, environmental managers and policy makers interested in integrating genomic tools in environmental impact assessment of industrial activities in marine environment.

 

Check out Whitney’s blog for a firsthand account of her experiences as an IPSS fellow at the IUCN.

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

Reminder: Apply for IPSS 2017 by March 31st

IPSS 2017! (1)

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

Announcing Sarah Meek Travel Grant for Research in Africa

africa-151640_1280Up to four travel grants of $1,500 each will be awarded to MIIS students conducting research on social change in Africa. The research can be either independent or part of established immersive learning program such as IPSS, DPMI+ or Frontier Market Scouts. The research must be conducted in Africa for a duration of 3-4 months or more.

To receive this grant, students must submit a research design that focuses on a social condition in Africa of the applicant’s choosing; e.g., poverty, environment, crime, armed violence, gender equality, conflict, disease, education, refugees, etc., with the goal of making policy/program recommendations that can change that condition.

The application must include the following elements:

1)      A two-page statement that includes a complete research design, to include a preliminary literature review that shows a need for this research; the who, what, where, and how of the project and its potential impact on the social condition. A description of the deliverable and plan for presenting it back to the MIIS community should be included in this statement. A timeline and preliminary budget should be attached as separate documents.

2)      A letter of support from an organization which is hosting or assisting you with your project.

Send applications via email to Jennifer Hambleton-Holguin at  jhamblet@miis.edu by no later than March 1st. A committee of faculty judges will evaluate all applications and determine the recipients of the award by March 15th. Awards will be given as reimbursement for travel to Africa.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss the eligibility of your planned research for this award, please make an appointment with Jennifer via Zócalo. She can also forward a sample application from last year to those interested.

These awards are made possible by a continuing donation from the family of Sarah Meek, a MIIS alum of 1996 whose life was cut short while working to improve social conditions in Africa.

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

IPSS, IONP, DPMI Plus, IEM Practicum, FMS, and Student Exchange Placements for 2016 Announced

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 3.27.24 PMFor spring 2016, a total of 61 Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey students will participate in our distinguished semester long immersive learning programs, to be placed around the country and the globe. Domestically, students are as close as the San Francisco Bay area and as far away as Washington, D.C. Internationally, they are spread across five continents.

Programs include the International Professional Service Semester (IPSS), the International Organizations and Nonproliferation Program (IONP), DPMI Plus, the International Education Management (IEM) Practicum , the Student Exchange Program, and the Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) Program.

Below is a list of current participants, their organizations, and their locations.

 

International Professional Service Semester (IPSS)

Name

Placement

Location

Shen Li WTO Geneva, Switzerland
Melis Okter CA Sea Grant: Coastal Commission San Francisco, CA
Jennifer Adams State Dept. ASST SEC, OCEANS & INT L ENVIR  & SCI AFFS and Montery Bay Aquarium Policy Division Washington, D.C.
Emma Tonge NOAA Oakland, CA
Mairi MacEachern UNGC Network office Toronto, Canada
Whitney Berry IUCN Geneva, Switzerland
Zachary Foco FAO Rome, Italy
Marina Binsack San Francisco Bay Joint Venture Sacramento, CA
Sophia Kirschenman Conservation International Social Policy and Practice Division Washington, D.C.
Thomas Stagg NOLS Patagonia Chile
Jamie Stanton UNIDIR Geneva, Switzerland
Elin Orre UNODA CAB New York, NY
Hussain Alhowaidi UN Office at Geneva: Biological Weapons Convention Implementation Support Unit Geneva, Switzerland
Margaret Coleman US State Bureau of Human Rights, Democracy, and
Labor
Washington, D.C.
Daniel Pavitt Conservation International Peace and Development Partnerships Washington, D.C.
Miranda Salinas Alliance for Peacebuilding Washington, D.C.
Li Ma Stimson Center Washington, D.C.
Kathleen Lucitt IRS Criminal Investigations Branch (International Operations division) Washington, D.C.
Stephanie Gentle IUCN SEE Belgrade, Serbia
Jenny Cho Council on Foreign Relations Washington, D.C.
Phil Goldstein Department of Defense/Pentagon Washington, D.C.
Emily Summerlin San Francisco Business Council on Climate Change San Francisco, CA

International Organizations and   Nonproliferation Program (IONP)

Name

Placement

Location

Hussein Alhowaidi United Nations
Implementation Support Unit of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (BWC)
Geneva, Switzerland
Geraldine Mande United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) New York, NY
Satomi Tamura United Nations Conference on Disarmament (CD) Geneva, Switzerland
Irene Yu Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Vienna, Austria

DPMI Plus

Name

Placement

Location

Judie Henderson Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) Rwanda
Laura Preston Peace Corps Cameroon
Madison Shepard SHE-CAN Mill Valley, CA
Sophie Dresser OneVillage Partners Sierra Leone
Jeanine Willig Social Impact Washington, D.C.
Alina Aslanian International Organization for Migration Bangkok, Thailand
Sonia Esquibel Catholic Relief Services Zambia
Karla Gregorio Program Fellow Oakland, CA
Susan Asselin Peace Corps Senegal
Alcide Guillory III GSIPM Immersive Learning Team Monterey, CA
Julia Meli International Organization for Migration or Search for Common Ground Middle East and North Africa
Tom  Ford Peace Corps Nicaragua
Amanda Kruse

Peace Corps

Burkina Faso

International Education Management (IEM) Practicum

Name

Placement

Location

Kaela Conroy Brown University – Office of International Programs Providence, RI
Tessa Fancher Middlebury College Middlebury, VT
Maria Gleason-Maddox University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Center for Global Education Madison, WI
Michelle Gloster PLUS Education U.S. Corp USA
Talia Gottlieb Pearson College UWC Canada
Emily Greenblatt Intercultural Communication Institute  Portland
Alcide Guillory III GSIPM Immersive Learning Team Monterey, CA
Courtney Jackson American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) Bethesda, MD
Sydney McLoughlin  To be determined
Peter Seilheimer California State University at Monterey Bay Monterey, CA
Abbey Wallace CIEE Portland, ME

Student Exchange Programs

Name

Placement

Location

Jordan Fernandez Middlebury Schools Abroad Amman, Jordan
Janet Addoh Middlebury Schools Abroad Madrid, Spain
Eli Hatch Waseda University Tokyo, Japan

Frontier Market Scouts (FMS)

Name

Placement

Location

Julianne Scott Pulsera Project Granada, Nicaragua
Tony Chow  To be determined
Angelina Skowronski  To be determined
Ben Grimmig  To be determined
Clover van Steenberghe  To be determined
Kenji Tabery  To be determined
Nenneya Shields  To be determined
Sherry Sybertz  To be determined

Best of luck to all of you!!!

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

J-term in Chile, Peru, Rwanda, Nepal, and Spain

For J-term 2016, we had 70 students travel to  Chile, Rwanda, Peru, Nepal, and Spain.

Team ChileConner Anderson, who is on the Chile Practicum on human rights and Chile’s vulnerable populations, sent me the following photo of his cohort (to the left).

In their first three days in Chile, 23 Middlebury Institute student delegates have had the pleasure to meet with several Chilean champions of human rights, including politicians, professors, judges, community activists, everyday citizens, all working to make progress in this time of transition for Chile, but not at the expense of forgetting the injustices of the past.

Conner Anderson wrote the following about his journey so far, “We have been learning about the human rights violations under the dictatorship of Pinochet in Chile. But what has had such impact is that these aren’t just theories and stories, these are the emotions, the actions, and the lives of those that not only were impacted by the injustices, but are also those fighting to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”  Conner also wrote about one of the most impactful interactions the students have had so far was with Gabriella Zuñiga, a wife of a Disappeared, who told the student delegates, “To remember is to pass it again through your heart.”

Rwanda

Melissa Hewitt, who is currently attending the cultural immersion portion of Design, Partnering, Managing, and Innovation(DPMI) training at Partners in Health Rwanda, wrote, “Our trip to Rwanda has been inspirational and an incredible learning experience. We have been able to see and experience the transformation the country is currently undergoing. I feel that the lessons I am learning will stay with me and influence me for years to come.”  Ayako Yamada, also participating in DPMI Rwanda, wrote, “Before coming to Rwanda, even with the pre-assigned readings, I was blown away with how little I knew about Rwanda. All I knew was about the genocide and I’ve learned that Rwanda has been a successful country in slowing down the spread of HIV and managing it.  But I didn’t know as much about ICT and gender equality.  It has shown me how little I was paying attention to Africa.”

Stay tuned for more comments from Nepal, Peru, and Spain!

 

 

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Internship advice from former IPSS and DPMI Plus Fellows

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 10.33.30 AMIPPSers and DPMI Plusers will soon begin a new adventure at their internships in Geneva, Washington D.C, New York City, San Francisco, Chile, and Zambia.  These respective internships are essentially an audition for work at UNHCR, the State Department, the Peace Corps, Catholic Relief Services, the IAEA, and/or the IUCN to name a few.

As this years fellows are not the first to embark on such an adventure, we would like to share advice from last years cohort.

Last year, we asked fellows, what challenges did you experience that MIIS didn’t really prepare you for?

IPSS and DPMI Plus Fellows mentioned the following challenges:Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 1.16.29 PM

-email chains with over 10 cc’ed co-workers and navigating who to cc on which email.

-saying yes to everything and taking on too much

-social media management

-not being assertive about project selection

How can IPSS and DPMI Plus fellows mitigate these challenges?

IPSS and DPMI Plus 2015 fellows offered the following suggestions:

  1. Have a strong backbone
  2. Stay organized
  3. Keep an open mind
  4. Don’t take on too much
  5. Manage your expectations
  6. Be creative and come up with an innovative project proposal
  7. Remember that knowledge gained at MIIS is not the end-point
  8. Learn office culture and adjust your style accordingly
  9. Send an introductory email with a list of your skills and interests
  10. Nurture relationships.

Forbes, LinkedIn, and TED also have a number of recommendations:

  1. Ten ways interns can create a great first impression
  2. TED Talk with Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are 
  3. The ultimate intern to-do list 
  4. 6 simple steps to make a good first impression 

 

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

MIIS Students in London for UN’s International Maritime Organization Meeting

imoLast week a group of 7 students, led by Professor Patrick Cotter, went to London to attend the London Convention and London Protocol on ocean dumping of wastes and other matter at the UN’s International Maritime Organization(IMO) in London. Before leaving for the London Meeting students were asked prepare a position paper on the topics that were going to be discussed by the delegates. The topics for the papers were front-line environmental issues being considered at the meeting, including, marine geoengineering, carbon dioxide capture and storage, compliance with the treaties, technical cooperation and assistance, ship recycling, disposal of mine tailings, marine litter, environmental effects of chemical munitions disposal, and 25-year review of radioactive waste disposal in the ocean. The students were able to then listen to the discussions and debate on issues during the meeting.

During breaks for tea or lunch, they had the opportunity to interact with delegates who expressed their positions during the plenary session, including delegates from the Canada, Panama, Turkey, the US, GreenPeace and the London Convention/London Protocol Secretariat. In total there were 49 Contracting Parties (nations) at the meeting, 2 associate members, 11 observer nations, 5 NGO observers, 3 UN agencies, and MIIS student observers at the meeting.  The meeting was chaired by Nigeria with support from the London Convention/London Protocol Secretariat.

The MIIS Digital Learning Center setup a chat for the group using “SlackBot”.  During the meeting, Professor Cotter was able to comment instantly on points that were being made to allow the students to understand the importance or implications of an intervention by a national representative.

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

DPMI and DPMI Plus Application Deadline for January Trainings is October 31

DPMI WI 2014

Design, Partnering, Management, and Innovation (DPMI) is 3-week training open to development professionals, career-changers, and graduate students.  The modules include (1) Managing Development Projects, (2) Social Change and Participatory Development, and (3) Strategic Partnership and Social Entrepreneurship. DPMI uses a cross-sector approach, taking promising practices from the development field and combining these tools with successful concepts drawn from the private sector.

DSC_7964The focus of this course is to apply and practice leadership methods within the areas of international development project management and social change.  We are looking for a diverse group of individuals whose passion revolves around the development and empowerment of communities at large.  Apply for January programs offered in Monterey and/or Rwanda by October 31.

 

20140117_154420With DPMI you will….

-Learn ground-breaking and ‘tried and true’ tools to solving problems, motivating staff, and establishing partnerships.

-Use the tools and standards set by major non-profits that break down and quantify processes through the lifespan of a project.

-Gain critical project management skills.  And learn how to put your training into action.

After participation in DPMI, Middlebury Institute students have the opportunity to go into the field for 3-9 month professional internships and be part of the DPMI Plus program. Read more about this opportunity on our DPMI LinkedIn Blog. Apply for DPMI Plus by October 31.

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Immersive Learning in Mindanao

Theiline Cramer in the field in Mindanao. Photographed by Maritza Munzon

Theiline McMahon Cramer in the field in Mindanao (Photographed by Maritza Munzón)

Theiline McMahon Cramer (Talie), duel degree candidate in TESOL and IEM, participated in last January’s Center for Conflict Studies field course entitled, Challenges to Peacebuliding in Mindanao led by Dr. Puspha Iyer.

Talie’s blogs speak to the immersive learning experience at MIIS, “I’m basking in the opportunity to reflect on my own experience as I learn a mile-a-minute.  It’s day one and my mind is full of preconceptions and is ready to be filled and sculpted and filled with the knowledge of the people that live in this very foreign world. ”  Her stories from Mindanao are very introspective and humble, “the longer we are here, the more I learn – and more and more I realize I know nothing at all.”

Tylie’s blog posts also highlight profound learning moments, “Going from meeting to meeting, community to community, I’ve begun to zoom in on the details of an individual’s experience, what the meaning behind a certain man or woman’s answer to a question about their experience with peace education may mean on a broader scale.  This trip is so rich with knowledge and experience that, honestly, I had started to focus in on the details – the details that lead you to the broader picture that these international organizations maintain.”

Read more about Tylie’s and her cohorts experiences in Mindanao on the field course blog Challenges to Peacebuilding in Mindanao>>>.

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Immersive learning in Japan and China

Merideth Bush touring the Japanese Diet in Tokyo.

The Dean of the Graduate School of International Policy and Management, Dr. Kent Glenzer, describes immersive learning as, “flying in a plane while you build it.”  Merideth Bush, duel degree candidate in IPD and MBA, participated in last Spring Break’s East Asia Practicum course, on foreign policy, trade, and security led by Dr. Tsuneo Akaha and Dr. Wei Liang.  During the seminar, Merideth “flew her plane” with a great deal of openness, awareness, and humor.

Thinking back on her experience, Merideth wrote, “I think of a region where I was impacted by the blend of the ancient with the modern, something that for me, as an American and and therefore a citizen of a very young country, was new and fascinating.  –I remember standing in the middle of Tiananmen square trying to imagine the immense plaza 26 years earlier, packed with passionate university students like myself, many of whom would meet tragic deaths in the very place where I stood.”

She also remembers, “a hilarious tutorial on how to eat noodles with chopsticks and a memorable first-experience with a high tech toilet fully equipped with a heat seat, sound effects, and frankly a rather over zealous bidet.”

Merideth concluded, “the political education I received in Tokyo and Beijing was invaluable, but it is the cultural experiences that will stay with me for years to come.”  Read more about Immersive Learning experiences available this January-term 2016 and Spring Break 2016>>>.

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

MIIS Center for the Blue Economy fellow gets surprise visit from MIIS staff at Nairobi UNEP Headquarters

IMG_1707On the day of my departure from Nairobi, I ventured to the Gigiri neighborhood of Nairobi to visit the 140 acre United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON). The complex houses over 20 UN offices including the headquarters for the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). Both UNEP and UN-Habitat headquarters were established in Nairobi in the late 1970s.

After you pass through UNON security you are greeted by a beautiful winding walking path lined with international flags ending at life-size bronze elephants and 10 meter high “KaribuUN” letters. The compound offers the chance of observing local wildlife such as red duikers, squirrels, marsh mongoose, vervet monkeys and olive baboons.

As I toured the conference center, I made my way to the new UNEP offices to visit our unsuspecting Center for the Blue Economy Fellow, Emma Tonge, currently serving as an intern on the Marine Litter Project. Emma follows in the footsteps of 2015 CBE fellow, Kelsey Richardson (IEP ’05) whose summer 2014 UNEP Marine Litter Project research is now being used in two published UNEP reports including: “Valuing Plastics: The Business Case for Measuring, Managing and Disclosing Plastic Use in the Consumer Goods Industry” and a second report on the use of microplastics in personal care and cosmetics products. Kelsey is now serving as a MIIS International Professional Service Semester (IPSS) fellow at the Secretariat of Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in Apia, Samoa.

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Thursday, June 18th, 2015

MIIS IPSS alumnus tracks illicit weapons trading around the world

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Information provides governments and policymakers with arms data previously never available.

It was my first year working at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) at Monterey when I met MIIS IPS ’06 alumnus Jonah Leff. He was studying the effects of conventional and small arms violence under the tutelage of MIIS professor Edward Laurance, a pioneer in the field of small arms and light weapons trade treaties and research. Jonah was also a fellow serving an internship at the United Nations Office for Disarmament Research (UNODA) through the MIIS International Professional Service Semester (IPSS) program. The IPSS program is designed to help students jump-start their careers through junior-level internships in their field during their final semester of graduate schoo.

Jonah currently serves as Director of Operations at Conflict Armament Research and is based out of Nairobi, Kenya (where we recently met). It’s been wonderful reconnecting with Jonah over the years and to see the MIIS and Middlebury College students he has supported in entering the important field of preventing armed violence.

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Monday, June 8th, 2015

DPMI Kenya Course Focuses on Designing Solution Strategies for Local Systems

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Group includes 13 wonderfully diverse participants from seven countries

Update from Nairobi, Kenya: We are halfway through our 8-day certificate training jointly offered by the Locus Network and the Program on Design, Partnering, Management and Innovation (DPMI) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS).

Participant Profiles

The group includes 13 participants from seven countries (Kenya, Nigeria, Niger, South Africa, the Philippines, Venezuela, and the United States). Participants include Locus Network members from Pact, MIIS graduate students, and other international development practitioners. One Locus participant commented, “I’ve enjoyed meeting others in the group, and it has been a tremendous opportunity to learn from Dr. Beryl Levinger given her decades of experience in international development and teaching.”

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Monday, May 4th, 2015

Mark Your Calendars: East Asia Presentations this Thursday!

Presentations at Irvine Auditorium this Thursday, May 7th, 6:30-8:30pm, Reception 8:30-9:30pm!

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The students that went on the first ever two-country program through MIIS Immersive Learning Programs, the East Asia: China and Japan trip, will be presenting this Thursday at Irvine, with a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception to follow. The presentations will be very interesting as this program included a semester long seminar which concluded in robust papers, and the feedback from the journey has been very interesting!

The East Asia Practicum was an investigative tour of Tokyo, Japan and Beijing, China, where participants met with and interviewed policymakers, former politicians, and renowned scholars. With unique research topics looking into the the international relations of the region, students were able to seek first-hand information on the dynamics of the two major players: Japan and China. The rise in status of either nation will set the political and economic tone for the region. By experiencing and researching within each nation, students will be able to provide original ideas on the current state of Sino-Japanese relations and the future of region.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/466841256799447/