Archive for MAIEM

Friday, May 8th, 2015

OpenIDEO – Accepting Ideas for Refugee Education Challenge

Refugee Education Challenge is now accepting ideas to improve education opportunities for children in refugee camps.


“Now is the chance to share an idea you have for how to improve education for refugees. We’ve partnered with UNCHR and UNICEF – so even if you aren’t able implement your idea yourself, there’s an opportunity you to submit a winning idea that could be implemented through partnerships with organizations already working with UNICEF and UNHCR.

Winning ideas on our shortlist will attend a design support bootcamp hosted by designers, where participants will learn how to apply human-centered design to their challenge idea. A handful of these ideas will be selected to receive a share of $500,000 in funding and design support.”

Design Principles for Refugee Education:

  • Focus on what we can do now
  • Design for gender equality
  • Keep resource limitations in mind
  • Design for uncertainty
  • Take an inclusive approach
  • Be culturally sensitive

Click to find out more about OpenIDEO and to submit an idea!

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Immersive Learners Champion Seven Countries through Nine Programs

I sat down with Maritza Munzón (MPA/IEM ’15), and Rafael Hernandez (MPA ’15) at a local coffee shop last week to interview them about MIIS’s Immersive Learning Programs. Maritza has traveled on five trips to six countries through MIIS (Peru, Cuba, Kenya, Mindanao, and East Asia), and Rafael has gone to four (Peru, Cuba, Rwanda, and East Asia). Both had a lot to say, much more than I can fit into this interview; I can’t encourage you enough to talk with your peers about their experiences abroad.

Q: What made you choose the immersive learning programs you chose?

Maritza: For me it’s always about “why not?” It is always a question of “if I don’t go, will I regret it?” And the answer is almost always “Yes”. So I do everything I can to take advantage of the opportunity to travel. MarRafFurthermore, because I am in the IEM degree program and want to conduct these trips myself one day, the best way to learn how to do this is to go on as many as I can!

Rafael: I was eager to begin traveling right away when I got here. That was the reason I picked this school over many other options – the traveling component. Right off the bat I could go on this Peru trip, that had a practical application of policy analysis, – and so I went.

M: I don’t think many people have traveled the way we travel here at MIIS.

There is only so much reading you can do about culture, practice, and so on, but you need to embed it in your muscle memory to learn and understand.

Q: Have you gone on any trips together?

Both went to Peru (but in different communities), as well as Cuba, and East Asia.

M: Peru started my obsession with these trips; the experience got my feet wet and then I wasn’t scared, anymore, to do the others.

Q: Are there any programs you especially wish you could have gone on?

R: I would have liked to go to the Philippines.

M: I would have done the El Salvador trip if I had the time. But I am always torn between what is familiar and what is less accessible. El Salvador is within my reach because of language, so I decided to take the leap and go on trips that I was less likely to do on my own:  Kenya, East Asia, and the Philippines.

Q: How did the programs and learning styles compare?

Both: Cuba was more like learning tourism, while Peru and East Asia where more research based: we did academic research in Asia, and field research in Peru.

M: I was a guinea pig for many of the trips – for example:  Kenya, Peru, and East Asia. Cuba was established. Being on a program in its first incarnation is a valuable experience for someone learning about how these programs are conducted.

R: I learned a lot about different types of intelligence and understanding. You know there is the computer competency type, where you either know it or you don’t. And if you don’t, you can ask help from someone who does – and there are no ego problems associated with that. Cultural competency, on the other hand, and especially at this school, is more complicated in that way. Then there is emotional intelligence (EQ) versus the IQ. When you go to speak to someone in a village, everyone on these trips is so concerned about being politically correct, which makes them all self-conscious. I found that the best way to take to people is honestly and openly.

Q: Since you have gone on so many of these programs, do you have any constructive feedback?

R: Like I said, these trips are one of the reasons why I chose this school. And we are so grateful for these experiences.

M: Growing up the way I did, I would have never been able to do this on my own. And I am grateful, and the best way I can give back is by applying my IEM knowledge and skills and giving constructive feedback. I was able to design a pre-departure training for the Peru trip, which was very well received, but not yet implemented. Based on our experience in Peru, Cortney Copeland and I designed a pre-departure workshop and assessment for that trip through our IEM Design and Assessment Class. In the workshop we wanted students to bond with the people in their groups, learn each other’s working styles and strength, while also getting to practice giving the surveys and entering the data. There are always hiccups with international travel and our goal was to develop cohesive groups before departure to help student better work through some of those unpredictable moments. The assessment consisted of a simple survey that students took before and after the trip to better inform staff and faculty of what is working and what needs improvement.

One of my frustrations with the organization of these trips is that the system that puts these trips together does not value the experience that the students going already have. Because the information isn’t coming from a respected magazine or periodical, but from the mouth of a student, who has had the personal experience or cultural experience growing up – but they didn’t write a paper on it, so…. We don’t get a diploma for growing up bilingual or for living similar lives to that of the people we are studying.

R: So if professors and institutions have a way, for better or worse, of validating those experiences, for example, “here is Maritza, she grew up in a culture that…..” and by doing that, it validates the person, and symbolically validates the peers that have experienced this. People come back like “I was shocked to see this and that”, and that is the only thing that gets the spotlight. But there are people who have lived this their whole lives.

M: Out of the bad comes the good. MIIS is proud of its international diversity on campus, but now there are also conversation on national diversity and socioeconomic diversity as well, which is something that came out of a critique on one of these trips. We go on these trips, and learn, and some things are difficult, but the important thing is to take the bad with the good and make something out of it. For some of us, that meant creating the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which highlights domestic diversity on campus and is working on assessing the needs of all students, whether international students, first generation college students, student of color, LGBTQ, or second career seekers. We not only wanted to address diversity by identifying the needs of all students on campus but to make sure it is something that continues to be addressed in the institution after we are gone.

Professors should also make a point to make focus groups mandatory. A format of how to measure the trips as a whole, but also each trip individually, so it can be improved upon, but that responsibility also shouldn’t sit solely on the professor’s shoulders.

Q: Any advice for students who will travel on these programs in the future?

M: Some things you can’t prepare for. Keep an open mind, don’t sweat the small stuff. Like dirt, bugs-

R: – and cold showers –

M: – and so on because it distracts from the experience. Don’t fight the discomfort.

R: You don’t need language to communicate with people. You shouldn’t necessarily know a language perfectly – keep the willingness to go at the forefront. Don’t be catered to: we chose to go, to help. Be the one helping, not the helped. Own your decision to go.

Language should not be a barrier to communicating with people. In fact, I learned from my inability to speak the local language, which became a resource of information, connection, and interaction. When I ask you, “how do you say this?”, I become your student and switch the power dynamic. People love to teach you, to speak from authority. There is laughter, and it breaks the ice and opens new things. They think, “Here is a person who wants to know my language.” It helps equalizing the playing field.

Q: Is there something you never travel without?

M: I carry medicine for altitude sickness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, congestion, and allergies; but I also carry hydration salts and EmergenC to try and prevent getting sick as well. You never know how sick you are going to get and might not be able to get to a pharmacy right away or be able to communicate what you need so its good to carry some meds you trust. Oh! and Baby wipes.

R: Baby wipes! Pen and notepad.

*shows us his pen and notepad, which, sure enough, are in his back pocket*

M: That’s what I picked up, now I’ll do that.

R: I like to record sounds from the trips, it brings you back. *plays recording*

M: Learn how to say a greeting, and please and thank you in the local language.

R: So important!


smaller headshotKatya Gamolsky (joint BA/MA ‘17) is a first year student who works for the Immersive Learning Programs Office. She recently went on the Los Angeles trip that focused on Homelessness, with Dr Iyer, and will be attending DPMI DC this summer. If you have any questions, comments, or would like to know more about our Immersive Learning Programs, please email her at

Friday, April 24th, 2015

IEM Practicum Symposium – Spring 2015



MIIS International Education Management

Cordially Invites You to Our

IEM Practicum

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Please join us for a series of presentations
by our graduating IEM students on their practicum experiences.

There are two (2) sessions – please attend as you like!
See attached document for list of topics and presenters.

Session 1:  10am-12pm, McGowan 102
Session 2: 4pm-6pm, McGowan 100

or join us online at

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Team El Salvador Looking for a Team Leader!

Students from all MIIS Programs are encouraged to Apply!

TES Leader

TES Leader 2

 Description of Responsibilities 

TES Leader 5

Leadership term lasts early May 2015 to early May 2016

For more information check out the Team El Salvador Blog or email any questions to teamelsalvadormiis@gmail !

Send Resume & Cover Letter to by Sunday, April 14th!


Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Don’t Miss the Sustainable Brands Conference




At the Sustainable Brands Conference 2015 San Diego, nearly 2,000 thought leaders, brand innovators, designers, and global business leaders will gather to explore various topics and issues pertinent to sustainability. Whether through plenaries, workshops, the Activation Hub, the Innovation Open, or networking events, this conference has been designed to benefit everyone from NGOs and small business owners, to CEOs and global brand leaders. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to join them in discovering how to tap emerging innovations to successfully scale sustainability Now.


Check out the website here,

All MIIS students can receive conference funding as well!


Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Update on the Sarah Meek Travel Grant for Research in Africa

Summer and Fall Applications Invited

In January several students applied for this grant but none were awarded. In every case the requests were for the summer because there was little time for anyone to prepare a travel grant proposal for the spring immersive learning programs.

The result is that all the money available for travel grants is now available for summer and fall travel for research on social change in Africa. The research must be conducted in Africa for a duration of at least 2 and a half months.

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 inequality, 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. Dates of research
  2. Location of research, to include a letter of support from an organization which is hosting or assisting you with your project.
  3. A two page statement that includes a complete research design, to include a research question, a literature review that shows a need for this research, evidence generation methods, and its potential impact on the social condition.
  4. A description of the deliverable and date of completion.

Applications must be received between now and 1 April. A committee of faculty judges will evaluate all applications and determine the recipients of the award by 15 April. Awards will be given as reimbursement for travel to Africa. Only enrolled students may receive a travel grant. If two students will be conducting the research together, the award will be split between the two students with a cap of $1500 per award. Travel will not be awarded for an internship, unless appropriate research will be conducted as part of the internship.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss the eligibility of your planned research for this award, please make an appointment with Professor Ed Laurance at He can also be reached at 831-402-2631.

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.

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Analyst Program with the World Bank Group


Check out this great opportunity with the World Bank Group!







Monday, December 15th, 2014

Boren Awards: Scholarships and Fellowships

Upcoming Application Deadline for Fellowship – January 27th, 2015

Great opportunity for those who are studying or who want to study less commonly taught languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Swahili – among MANY others. Boren Awards also has an African Flagship Languages Initiative, for those interested in studying Akan/Twi, French, Portuguese, Swahili, Wolof, or Zulu. Check out Boren Awards website for a complete list of languages as well as Country Preferences, fields of study, and length of study.

Boren Fellowships, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. graduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded.”

“Boren Fellows represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena. In exchange for funding, Boren Fellows commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.” – Retrieved from Boren Awards Website

Not just national security:

Boren Awards views National Security  broadly, to include “the challenges of global society, including sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness.” – Retrieved from Boren Awards Website

This is a great opportunity to study a unique or uncommonly taught language – perfect for MIIS Students!

For more information check out their Website:

Application Deadline: January 27th, 2015

Friday, November 14th, 2014

2014 Fall Graduation Group Photo Session

On Tuesday, November 18 GSIPM will be holding our 2014 Fall Graduation Photo Session beginning at 11:45 a.m. The pictures will take place on the steps of City Hall, adjacent to Friendly Park. The photos that will be taken are group photos, so we are asking that you arrive as close to 11:45 a.m. as possible. Our photographer will not be taking any individual photos.

Due to professional courtesy, family and friends will not be permitted to take photographs while our photographer is working. Shortly after the photo session, GSIPM will follow up with an e-mail explaining ordering and payment options.

The dress code for this event will be business attire. So please be prepared to dress appropriately for the occasion.


Friday, November 14th, 2014

GSIPM Dean’s Seminar: Design Thinking to Design Doing


Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Lets get Sprintensive.



IPS and MPA students

Join us tomorrow evening to learn more about the upcoming change to DPP and the alternative learning semester, Sprintensive!

Wine and Pizza reception will follow! 


Monday, October 20th, 2014

Cuba J-Term Information Session – Wednesday, October 22nd

Curious about Cuba? Spend J-Term with us!

Dr. Jan Black will host an info session about the practicum on Wednesday, October 22, 6:00 -7:30 pm in McGowan 100.

If you’re thinking about joining the J-Term trip to Cuba, please come to the info session to find out more. This opportunity is open to all current MIIS students.

If you’re not able to make it to the info session, but are interested in the trip, please email us for more details.

Contact persons:

Dr. Jan Black,

Carolyn Taylor Meyer,

Molly Moreland,

Please include all three of us in your email so we can get back to you as quickly as possible.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

USTR Representative to Speak at MIIS



Trade club brings MIIS Alum and Director of Europe and Middle East Affairs of the United States Trade Representative to campus.

Trade club blog

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Elections Workshop with Congressman Sam Farr



Monday, October 6th, 2014

Come learn about IEM organizations!

IEM Poster Fair Invite copy (1)

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Trade Club hosts special guest Bryan O’Bryne

Bryan Flyer Final copy (1)

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Apple Pie and Pineapple Sorbet: U.S. and Cuban Nationalism

Why is Cuba such a contradiction? Because Cuba is characterized by everything I was told the world should not be!  Socialist not democratic, communist not capitalist, systemic human rights violations, a dictatorship, inefficient, unproductive; should I continue?  I was able to get a sense of this notorious island during a seven day immersive learning excursion with twenty-seven other MIIS students and the renowned Professor Jan Black.

There was a time when I imagined Cuba as a socialist utopia. I had thought Cuba was going to be the national anthropomorphization of Eugene V. Debs famous quote that is “opposing a social order where it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives to secure barely enough for a wretched existence.  But, there is no substitute for actually visiting the country – after seven days in Cuba, I’ve realized that the little island nation, and the United States, are a lot more complex than I was led to believe in the comfort of my Midwest upbringing.

As an American, I grew up on the smell of apple pie; lightly toasted crust, crisscrossed across the top, somehow evoking feelings of liberty, justice…righteous stuff. You see, Cuba, at least for United States citizens, is one gigantic contradiction and trying to digest and make sense of the country through the nationalistic viewpoint from which my mind has been programmed to think, whether I like it or not, is no easy task. Close your eyes and think about apple pie. Now, envision biting into pineapple sorbet.  So, I apologize now if, and that is a big if, you get to the end of this blog and you walk away more confused than you started. That’s fine though. Cuba could be the poster child for the phrase; the more you know the less you think you know.

Our professor and guide Dr. Jan Black told us to experience Cuba using our five senses. I would like to take the liberty of taking you, my reader, along for the ride with the idea of trying to engage your five senses. Unfortunately, I am less likely to engage your sense of smell.  But, here we go:

We met with all different types of people, from Cuban foreign ministers to a diplomat from the U.S. Interest Section. We also met with individual Cubans, both pro-government and oppositionist. We met with U.S. expats working with the Cuban health system and Cuban students studying international relations. What was so trying after listening to all of them was that you could easily pick each one up and place them into two buckets, Cuban Nationals (CN) or U.S. Nationals (USN). Whether we were speaking to Cuban oppositionists or expat sympathizers of the Cuban government their rhetoric fit, nicely, within these two buckets. Their world-views and indeed those of us students had been systematically crafted by the nations from which they grew up and regardless of their support for either side or not they continued to use rhetoric that perpetuated the conflict between the United States and Cuba. What was most contradictory of all was that these two worldviews of the same conflict were like hearing two completely different stories for two completely different historical events told perpetually for generations upon generations without change.

How are these national worldviews constructed within a citizenry? It is often much more subtle than one would assume.  Irrespective of whether we understand nationalism as a positive or negative force, it is generally acknowledged that nationalism places the nation on the highest pedestal and viewed as the supreme agency of meaning, collective identity, and moral justification.  Critically noting that one of the powerful ways in which nationalism becomes historically instated is through its presumption that the nation is sacred, likening it to be equivalent to the church.  Interestingly, if nationalism is being valued as sacred within the population we can see its physical manifestation in the ritualized images of national leaders and national public ceremonies that are underscored by the nations presumed history of greatness. Harry Anastasiou, a professor of Conflict Resolution at Portland State University and world-renowned leader in the settlement process in Cyprus, goes as far to claim nationalism can be a justification for divine election.


Click here to read more

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Spring and Summer Opportunities in Russia!

Applications Invited for a Trip to the Russian Far East in Spring 2015:

The Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies is pleased to announce that two MIIS and two Middlebury students will participate in a research trip to the Russian Far East under the supervision of Professor Tsuneo Akaha (GSIPM). The trip is designed to introduce the participants to the political and economic issues of contemporary Russia, with a focus on her Far Eastern territories, and relations with the neighboring countries. Students will take part in meetings with faculty, researchers, and students of Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok and the Economic Research Institute in Khabarovsk, as well as local community representatives in these two largest cities in the Far East. The students will develop a research report based on their trip and pre-trip and post-trip research. Students who wish to earn academic credit will consult with Prof. Akaha and Prof. Vassilieva.

The entire cost of the trip will be covered by the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies, a MIIS project funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Preference will be given to students with advanced Russian language skills.

Two MIIS participants will be selected through the following procedures:

  1. An essay describing the applicant’s background and interest in Russia (including the Far East) and her relations with the regional neighbors, including Korea, Mongolia, China, and Japan. The essay should be three-pages long and submitted by email to Prof. Akaha and Prof. Anna Vassilieva by Friday, November 7, 2014.
  2. An up-to-date resume, to be submitted along with the above essay.
  3. An oral interview after review of the above submissions.

Applicants will be notified of the results of the selection by Friday, November 14, 2014.

Inquiries may be addressed to Prof. Akaha at or Prof. Vassilieva at

Applications Invited for Research Trips or Internships in Russia in Summer 2015:

The Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies is pleased to announce that there are funds available for four MIIS students to undertake an internship and/or research in Russia in the summer of 2015.

The entire cost of the trip will be covered by the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies, a MIIS project funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York. The available funding covers round-trip travel, accommodation allowance, and miscellaneous expenses. Only students with advanced Russian language skills will be considered.

Four students will be selected through the following procedures:

  1. An essay in Russian describing the applicant’s background and interest in Russia. The essay should be three-pages long and submitted by email to Prof. Anna Vassilieva by Sunday, March 1, 2015.
  2. An up-to-date resume, to be submitted along with the above essay.
  3. A detailed research/internship proposal, including desired placement, focus of research/internship, and deliverable.
  4. An oral interview after review of the above submissions.

Applicants will be notified of the results of the selection by Sunday, March 15, 2015.

Inquiries may be addressed to Prof. Vassilieva at

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Upcoming lecture by Mr. Han Dong-man, Consul General of the Republic of Korea in San Francisco


A Vision of the Inter-Korea Relations and the U.S. Korea Alliance

Mr. Han Dong-man has been serving as Consul General of the Republic of Korea in San Francisco since May 2013. Consul General Han received his Bachelor’s at Yonsei University in Korea and his Master’s in International Organization Law at the Pantheon-Sorbonne University in Paris, France. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1985 and has held Secretary posts in Algeria, the United Kingdom, and Australia as well as in the Office of the President in Korea. In 2002, he served as the Director of the Security Policy Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and as Consul at the Korean Consulate General in New York. He also served as the Ministry-Counsellor at the Korean Embassy in Washington D.C. Prior to his post in San Francisco, he served as the Director-General of the International Economic Affairs Bureau of the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2011 – 2013). Consul General Han received the Order of the Service Medal in 2012 and he has written four books, including The Next 10 Years of Korea, an insightful look at the future of Korea on the international stage for the next decade to come. He is married and has two sons.

Event details:

Open to the public

Irvine Auditorium, Monterey Institute of International Studies

6:00-7:30 pm, Thursday, October 2, 2014

This lecture is co-sponsored by The Center for East Asian Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies and The Gentrain Society of Monterey Peninsula College.

For inquiry, contact Prof. Tsuneo Akaha, Monterey Institute of International Studies at (831) 647-3564.

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

GSIPM Dean’s Seminar Series with Professor Beryl Levinger


Participation: Guiding Value or Empty Buzzword?

During Professor Levinger’s recent sabbatical, she worked with 14 international organizations in 16 different contexts and countries. The one thread that bound this set of amazingly diverse experiences together is that each organization claimed to embrace participation as a value that guided their work. Her talk will explore the very diverse meanings that organizations attach to the term “participation,” and what this means for the future of development work.

All are welcome.

When: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 from 12:15 – 1:45 PM

Where: McGowan 100