Archive for MIIS Update

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

DPMI alumnus puts training to work in food security efforts in Ethiopia

IMG_1772Sitting down with Care Deputy Chief of Party and January 2015 Monterey DPMI Alumnus, Girma Hailu

During a 3-day trip to Addis Ababa after the DPMI Kenya training, I was able to meet-up with January 2015 DPMI Monterey alumus, Girma Hailu in his hometown of Addis, Ababa, Ethiopia.

Girma has been serving as Deputy Chief of Party, Food Security for Farmers (FSF) for CARE in Ethiopia since last fall.

The CARE Food Sufficiency for Farmers project (FSFP) is a 5 year project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and executed by CARE Canada through CARE Ethiopia. The project aims at ensuring sustainable food security of chronically food insecure women, men, girls and boys in selected districts of the Oromiya and Amhara regions. The project works in collaboration and builds on the Ethiopian government National Food Security Programs and targets over 34,000 households; among which 13 percent are female-headed. The project will be implemented through 3 main components: i) improving the enabling environment for food security; ii) diversifying economic activities for food insecure households and iii) improving resilience to climate risks.

Click here to read more

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.

Click here to read more

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

MIIS IPSS alumnus tracks illicit weapons trading around the world

Jonah_Leff_UN_Weapons_Inspector
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.

Click here to read more

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Creating a Broader Impact: MIIS’s Summer Peacebuilding Program

2015 is the inaugural year for the Middlebury Institute’s newest opportunity for professional and academic advancement, the Summer Peacebuilding Program (SPP). It is set to begin July 27 with a total number of 17 participants. The first cohort represents a varied background, from activists to students and entrepreneurs.

The program is set to run for three weeks and focus on bridging theory and practice regarding effective methodologies for facilitating peace in zones of conflict. Offered through the Center of Conflict Studies, SPP offers a fantastic opportunity to work with specialists and practitioners who have dedicated time to resolving some of world’s most pressing security issues. In its inaugural year, SPP participants will have the opportunity to utilize their newly found knowledge within the local community in Watsonville, CA.

For more information, please visit the Summer Peacebuilding Program website.

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Greater Middlebury alumni community comes together in Nairobi

IMG_1640 IMG_1633 IMG_1636 IMG_1635 IMG_1639A June 9th reception in Nairobi drew over 25 members from the entire Middlebury community including alumni from Middlebury College, the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS), the MIIS Frontier Market Scouts fellowship, and the MIIS Program on Design, Partnering, Management and Innovation (DPMI).

The event was held at the Aga Khan Graduate School of Media and Communications in the 9 West building in the Westlands neighborhood of Nairobi, the site of the June 2-11 DPMI Kenya training. The group welcomed the wonderfully diverse group of DPMI Kenya trainees to the alumni community. DPMI Kenya participants in the June training hail from over seven different countries (Kenya, Nigeria, Niger, Venezuela, the Philippines, South Africa, and the US).

Highlights from the event include how effortlessly the group of alumni from different Middlebury backgrounds connected as well as the short speech made by guest of honor, Dr. Beryl Levinger, a Distinguished Professor and Development Policy and Practice Program Chair at MIIS. During Beryl’s speech, she likened what many alumni are doing in the development and social enterprise space to a quote from Thomas Edison on the process of inventing the light bulb, ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. Beryl then told the group, “You fail many times trying to find the right approach. The common thread is that you are all here trying to make a difference.”

Click here to read more

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Throwback Thursday: DPMI Rwanda 2015

Check out this great footage from DPMI alum Anissa Bensaid during her time in DPMI Rwanda. What do you think about DPMI Rwanda? Let us know your thoughts!

 

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

20 Participants from Across the World Complete DPMI D.C.

DPMI DC 2015

20 students and professionals from all parts of the globe gathered in Washington, D.C. to attend a three-week intensive training program on the best practices for development. With such a diverse group, representing 13 different languages and cultures, discussions were rich and ideas flowed freely.

Throughout the duration of the program, participants were able to take advantage of their location and visit organizations such as the Institute of Peace and the World Bank. Case studies from Haiti, Zimbabwe and Nepal were also utilized to highlight opportunities for design and innovation. The most fascinating component for many participants was the opportunity to employ the skills they were learning, such as empathy mapping and social marketing campaigns.

Further delving into development  and innovation, the participants recreated the dynamic of  partnering diverse organizations to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues. In this simulation, groups were created representing different organizations, who then sent representatives to facilitate partnership agreements. Through the creation of these groups and partnerships, the D.C. cohort was able to conduct significant research both on the organizations and issues at hand. The end result was a combination of very realistic  partnerships and innovative projects.

The DPMI D.C. cohort cannot wait to utilize their newly found skills in the field.

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.”

Click here to read more

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Middlebury Institute Hosts Frontier Market Scouts Training

 

FMS photo

FMS participants doing hands-on work in the fields of social enterprise and impact investing. Photo credit: Sarah Sterling

The Middlebury Institute is hosting 26 students and professionals for the next two weeks (until June 12) for their Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) training, hosted by the Center for Social Impact Learning (CSIL). Over the session, participants will partake in a variety of seminars, lectures, and hands-on activities with a focus on social enterprise and impact investing. These courses are being taught by leading social impact sector practitioners. After completing the training, many FMS fellows use the skills they gained to do a field experience fellowship in these fields. Positions for these internships are available around the world. For more information on FMS or the CSIL, please click here.  For the full FMS blog, see here

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

MIIS Professors and Alumni Publish Book on Shanghai’s Pilot Free Trade Zone

China Cover 2.0

 

MIIS GSIPM professors Robert Rogowsky (trade and development) and Lijuan Zhang (economics), along with several MIIS students and alumni recently published an e- book titled China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone: An Experiment in Economic Reform. The MIIS students and alumni involved in the project included:

Malori DiPierro,

Shuyi Deng

Jiao Xu

Oscar Grijalva

Haibin Ren

Sharon O’Kello

Yongbin Jiang

Mrinalini Patnaik

 

The book is a compilation of several student research projects that discusses the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in the context of economic reform in China. The FTZ represents a new era of trade and financial liberalization in China. Themes analyzed throughout the book include foreign banks, American life insurers, money laundering risks, business-government relations, intellectual property rights, the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, and policy implications. The authors want to show how the new eleven-square-mile area will affect both local Chinese companies and multinational corporations business. A free download of the e-book is available here: HERE

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Directed by MIIS Professor and Alumna, Report on World’s Mothers Makes Headlines

Urban Disadvantage

Headed by Professor Beryl Levinger and MIIS alumna Nikki Gillete, along with Professor Fernando De Paolis and Sophie Dresser, MPA ’16, the 2015 Save the Children State of the World’s Mothers Report was recently released, concentrating on urban poverty and those affected by it in their everyday lives. Some of the statistics found in the research are unnerving. At the same time, the report also provides possible solutions for creating a better future for some of the world’s most impoverished, disadvantaged peoples.

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The 2015 Save the Children State of the World’s Mothers Report focuses on the “hidden and often neglected plight of the urban poor.” Its many findings have been featured by media around the world, reminding all of us of the true importance of Mother’s Day.

The report shows progress in reducing child death rates in many countries, but also growing disparities. Topping the list of best countries for mothers are Norway, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, and Sweden, with the United States in 33rd place. The ranking of countries, along with alarming statistics about cities in the United States that have some of the highest urban infant mortality rates among high-income countries, made for numerous media headlines in recent days. Washington D.C has by far the highest infant mortality rate among the 25 capital cities of wealthy OECD countries.

“The report, with its wide international audience, pinpoints where mothers and their children are especially at risk and what can be done to create a better future for the world’s most vulnerable populations,” says Professor Beryl Levinger, chair of the Institute’s Development, Practice and Policy program, who co-directed the research for the Report along with alumna Nikki Gillette BAIS ’06 MPA ’07 MBA ’08.

“I have worked closely with Beryl on the State of the World’s Mothers report for nine years now, first as a research assistant and then as research co-director,” shares Gillette. “I have Beryl to thank for the opportunity to do this good and meaningful work. She is brilliant and I have learned so much from her over the years, both personally and professionally.”

“There is nothing more exciting for me than bridging the worlds of academia, policy research and advocacy,” shares Professor Levinger, adding that for each of the last 15 State of the World’s Mothers reports, MIIS students, alumni, and occasionally faculty have contributed to this research. Working with Gillette and Levinger for the 2015 Report were Professor Fernando De Paolis and student Sophie Dresser MPA ’16.

Dresser says she had a great experience working with Gillette, that she found to be the perfect complement to the immersive learning opportunity she took advantage of with MIIS this January. “During DPMI Rwanda I was able to work with a public health-focused NGO and gain knowledge and insight into maternal child health issues globally, and in Rwanda specifically—skills that I built upon working on the State of the World’s Mothers report.”

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!

east asia

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/

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!

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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 immersive@miis.edu.

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

News about the East Asia Spring Break Journey!

 

 

News from the participants and professors was posted on the miis.edu front page.east asia

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

IPSS Fellow Blog Featured on LinkedIn

Aileen Yang

Check out current IPSS fellow and International Policy Studies student at MIIS, Aileen Yang’s blog article featured on LinkedIn.  Aileen is spending her last semester at MIIS as an intern at the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a distinguished IPSS fellow.  She is blogging about her experience in Geneva, relevance of MIIS classroom simulations, and life at the WTO.

You can check out the story here, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/from-simulations-reality-interns-reflection-aileen-yang?trk=hb_ntf_MEGAPHONE_ARTICLE_POST

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Don’t Miss the Sustainable Brands Conference

 

 

sb14-collage-2-450x450

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, http://events.sustainablebrands.com/sb15sd/about

All MIIS students can receive conference funding as well!

 

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Follow a Current IPSS Fellow’s Blog

 

 

Tom Gray, is in the Nonproliferation & Terrorism Studies (NPTS) graduate program here at MIIS.  His final semester at MIIS he is working at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria as an IPSS fellow.  Follow his journey through his blog, Every Wich Way.

Tom’s Blog offers an insightful perspective of what it is like working for a large international organization in the nonproliferation domain.

Enjoy the Blog!

http://sites.miis.edu/everywichway/

 

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

What are you doing this summer?

We’ve got a new page to help you answer that question: go.miis.edu/summer

summer

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

DPP Welcome Wine & Cheese Mixer

Development Practice and Policy: One Program, Two Degree Options 

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(Source: DPP Facebook Event Page

So, you’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about the DPP program – and now you can finally get the full scoop!

DPP will be hosting a wine & cheese mixer at the McCone Atrium (outside Irving Auditorium) on Wednesday, March 4th, at 5:00PM. If you are MPA, IPS, or IDP, you are now part of the larger umbrella of DPP. Join us at the mixer to hang out with DPP colleagues and faculty and hear more about the program!

Date: Wednesday, March 4th

Time: 5:00PM-7:00PM

Location: McCone Atrium (Outside Irving Auditorium)

RSVP on the Facebook Event! Or feel free to just show up!

And check out the MIIS DPP page for more information about the Program!

 

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Upcoming Info Sessions for IPSS, DPMI, and Tunisia

IPSS 2016

http://www.miis.edu/academics/monterey-abroad/service-semester

Info Session: Thursday, February 12, 2015, 12-1pm @MG100

Application Deadline: September 1st, 2015

 

DPMI, DPMI +

http://www.miis.edu/academics/short/development-management

Info Session: Thursday, Feb 26, 2015, 12-1pm @CF452

Application Deadline:

Summer 2015: Early Review – March 1st, 2015; General Application Deadline – April 1st, 2015

Winter 2016: Early Review – September 1st, 2015; General Application Deadline – October 31st, 2015

 

Tunisia’s Transition to Democracy – June 2015

http://www.globalmajority.org/, and more info here.

Info Session: Tuesday, February 10, 2015, 12-1pm @ MG100

Application Deadline: May 1st, 2015