April@MIIS: World Class Speakers, Cultural Events, Conferences


TEDxMonterey returns to the Monterey Institute on April 26 with a look at “Edges.”

April is an exciting month at the Monterey Institute with a plethora of activities, including many events that are open to both the campus community and the larger Monterey Bay area community. Upcoming include:

  • Friday, April 4: The annual International Trade Conference, focusing this year on “U.S.-China Agriculture Trade Barriers,” starting at 8:00 a.m. in the Irvine Auditorium. (Free and open to the public; please register online.)
  • Friday, April 11: The Monterey Institute welcomes Steve Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA, delivering the keynote address "Bringing Human Rights Home" at the annual Human Rights Fair in the Irvine Auditorium at 6 p.m. (Free and open to the public; no registration required.)
  • Saturday, April 12: The annual International Bazaar is one of the most cherished events of the year at the Monterey Institute, where students and other community members come together and enjoy food and entertainment from the various cultures represented on campus. The Bazaar always coincides with Spring Visit Day, offering prospective students and their families the opportunity to visit campus. (International Bazaar is for the MIIS campus community only; prospective students may sign up for Visit Day online.)
  • Thursday-Friday, April 17-18: "Ukraine, Russia and Cyber Threats" is the very timely topic of a unique cyber security conference co-hosted by “Suits and Spooks” and the Monterey Cyber Security Initiative, featuring speakers from Ukraine, Russia, Great Britain, Estonia and the United States discussing the current Crimean crisis and global cyber security risks. (Open to the public; registration fee for public attendees; free registration for MIIS faculty, staff, and students.)
  • Friday, April 18: As part of the Spring 2014 Colloquium on Economic Diplomacy and Statecraft, the Institute will host renowned political economist and commentator Francis Fukuyama for a public lecture in the Irvine Auditorium at 6 p.m. The title of his talk is "Economic Diplomacy and Global Governance in a Multi-polared World." (Free and open to the public; no registration required.)
  • Saturday, April 26: In its fifth year at the Monterey Institute, the theme for TEDxMonterey 2014 is "Edges" - a celebration of what emerges when we embrace the edge: discovery, invention and transformation. A diverse group of speakers will share their stories, insights and scientific discoveries, and audience members will have ample opportunity to interact with each other as well as presenters during breaks, over lunch and at the reception to be held after the program concludes. (Open to the public; ticket purchase and registration online.)

In addition, the week of April 21 will also feature a host of activities organized by Monterey Institute staff, faculty, and students to celebrate Earth Day, with each day of the week be devoted to an issue or area such as energy, food, and water.

Whatever your area of interest might be, we hope to see you on campus this month! 


Monterey Institute Professor Interprets for First Lady Michelle Obama During Visit to China

Laura Burian in China

Prof. Laura Burian (center-left) of the Monterey Institute interpreting for First Lady Michelle Obama in China. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

“It was very inspiring to see our professor in action and working with such high-profile individuals,” says Joan Li-Chun Wang (MATI ’14) of the photos in national and international media showing Professor Laura Burian of the Monterey Institute next to First Lady Michelle Obama, serving as official interpreter during her visit to China.

It was no surprise to her students that Translation and Interpretation Prof. Burian is a highly accomplished and respected interpreter who works with the highest levels of government, but seeing her appear in media coverage of the First Lady’s visit to China hit home for many of them. “It serves as motivation for us, reminding us that we are not far away from interpreting at the top level,” says Weihao Zhang (MACI ’14), “and if we work hard, maybe one day we will be able to have such opportunities as well.”

Weihao Zhang was especially “thrilled” to hear that the First Lady had included his home high school in her itinerary. “In addition to its pioneering strides of connecting remote schools in rural areas with online classrooms, Chengdu #7 High School really stands out in its focus on international education and partnership.”

Joan Wang says that she could see from media reports and videos how crucial Prof. Burian’s role was in facilitating communications between the First Lady and the people she met. She adds that she thinks it was “nice to see how important to role of the interpreter is, especially to students of interpretation.”

Prof. Burian says that it was very exciting to participate in this trip: “I am truly honored to have been entrusted with this assignment.” For Weihao Zhang it was further evidence “that our education here at MIIS is provided by the most prestigious practitioners in the field, which is truly valuable.”


Immersive Learning Programs Send 36 Students Off to Assignments


Emily Patrick's (MPA '12) DPMI Plus assignment took her to Namibia.

This spring, 36 students are heading off to assignments with a diverse range of domestic and international organizations all over the world--including in the U.S.--as part of the International Professional Service Semester (IPSS) and Development Project Management Institute Plus (DPMI Plus) programs. The students will gain professional experience and the opportunity to test many of the theories and lessons from the classroom in the field as part of their master’s degree program.

Among the organizations students will be working at for the next three to six months are the United Nations, the Nature Conservancy, the International Labour Organization, the World Bank, and the National Renewable Energy Lab. Students' assignments take them all over the world to places like Jordan, Tanzania, Colorado, Costa Rica, Washington D.C. and Bangkok. IPSS and DPMI Plus are among the more established immersive learning opportunities offered to Monterey Institute students and both have impressive records of students leaving their internships with solid job offers.

The Development Project Management Institute also offers intensive summer professional training programs, in Monterey May 19-June 6 and in Washington D.C. May 26-June 13.


Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine to Lecture on Russian Power Diplomacy at MIIS on March 24


Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer will speak at the Monterey Institute on March 24.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer, currently director of the Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative at the Brookings Institute, will give a public lecture on "Russian Power Diplomacy and Eurasian Intergration" in the Monterey Institute’s Irvine Auditorium at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 24.

Ambassador Pifer is a senior fellow with the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence and the Center on the United States and Europe in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings. Pifer's career as a foreign service officer centered on Europe, the former Soviet Union and arms control. Pifer also had postings in London, Moscow, Geneva and Warsaw, as well as on the National Security Council. At Brookings, Pifer focuses on arms control, Ukraine and Russia issues.

This lecture is free and open to the public, and is part of the Monterey Institute's spring 2014 Colloquium on Economic Statecraft and Diplomacy.

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MIIS Student Wins Projects for Peace Fellowship for Cholera Prevention Project in Haiti

Wesley Laine

Wesley Laine (MAIPS ’14) holding one of the beneficiaries of his innovative water project.

“I am really grateful to MIIS and the Kathryn Davis Foundation for believing in the project, Cholera Prevention: Service, Solidarity, and Peace,” says Wesley Laine (MAIPS ’14). The foundation’s Projects for Peace initiative encourages students at the Davis United World College Scholars Program partner schools to design grassroots projects that promote peace and address the root causes of conflict among parties. The fellowship is funded by the Davis family in honor of Kathryn W. Davis, a lifetime internationalist and philanthropist, who died last year at the age of 106. She founded the program when she turned 100 years old, challenging young leaders to “bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war.”

Wesley is very passionate about his bottom-up approach to form a real partnership with people in rural Haiti to improve hygiene with the aim of preventing waterborne pathogens, especially cholera. His work has been featured at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting (see news story from October 2013). He is likens the project to a marathon and says: “I am in it until the end. That is my promise to my compatriots in Haiti.”

Applicants for Projects for Peace fellowships are encouraged to use their creativity to design projects and employ innovative techniques for engaging project participants in ways that focus on conflict resolution, reconciliation, building understanding and breaking down barriers which cause conflict, and finding solutions for resolving conflicts and maintaining peace. Wesley has designed his project to “empower the individual agency with a focus on establishing a preferential option for the poor.” He is very happy with the many professional growth opportunities he has been provided with through his studies at the Monterey Institute, including a semester in Paris with Middlebury Schools Abroad and Development Project Management Institute intensive training program in Rwanda this January.


Seeing the Unseen…

Middlebury professor Andrea Olsen returns to the Monterey Institute for a residency the week of March 24, joined by her colleague, artist Josie Iselin. Josie’s images of seaweed are on display in the William Tell Coleman Library. Please stop in and see the exhibit, and join us for the accompanying lecture/performance on March 27:


JOSIE ISELIN is a California-based photographer, writer and bookdesigner celebrating the release of her seventh book: An Ocean Garden: The Secret Life of Seaweed. Iselin holds a BA in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard and an MFA in Photography from San Francisco State University. Please visit at www.josieiselin.com to view her work.

ANDREA OLSEN is a professor of dance and faculty member in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College in Vermont, and author of a trilogy of books on dance and the environment, including her recently released work with Caryn McHose, The Place of Dance: A Somatic Guide to Dancing and Dance Making.

Funded in part by a ONE MIDDLEBURY Faculty Grant, Middlebury College





GSTILE Professor Wins Prestigious Award

By Dr. Kathi Bailey

netta_picture_2 We are pleased to announce that TESOL/TFL Professor Netta Avineri has won the Russ Campbell Young Scholar Award in Heritage Language Education. The award was established in honor of Professor Russell Campbell, whose work was instrumental in launching the field of heritage language studies. What is Dr. Campbell’s connection to MIIS? At UCLA he was a professor for Jean Turner, Kathi Bailey, and Ruth Larimer while they were graduate students. He was also a colleague of Peter Shaw when Peter taught there before coming to MIIS.

Netta will receive this award at the 2014 International Conference on Heritage/Community Languages. This award was created to recognize outstanding scholarship by individuals who are currently working on a dissertation, or who have filed one within the last five years, which focuses on topics related to heritage language.


Summary Plan Description (SPD)

SPDs are designed as brief, handy, easily understandable explanations of important benefit plan provisions.  Below please find a link to the 2014 version of the Middlebury College Health & Welfare Benefits Plan SPD which provides current information on our: medical, dental, vision, life, voluntary life, short-term disability, long-term disability, flexible spending accounts, and employee and family assistance program benefits.  All employees are eligible for the employee and family assistance program (EFAP); those employees classified as “benefits-eligible” are eligible for the full range of health and welfare benefit offerings.  You can also find this SPD by visiting the Benefits page on the Human Resources website.  If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of the 2014 SPD, please let me know, or stop by the Human Resources Office, and a paper copy will be provided to you.


Please do not hesitate to contact the benefits team with questions about the change to our EFAP provider or the 2014 Health & Welfare SPD.

Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)

For many years our EFAP benefit has been administered by The Wellness Corporation.  Recently, The Wellness Corporation was purchased by E4 Health, a leading provider, under the brand name Lifescope, of holistic life services and wellness solutions for organizations nationwide. The merger of The Wellness Corporation and E4 Health – two experienced and professional organizations – will mean expanded service offerings for our faculty and staff plus continuation of the high quality services and capabilities that we have been accustomed to through our long-standing relationship with The Wellness Corp.  Please take a moment to review the two brief documents attached, which give an overview of our new Lifescope resources as well as updated phone and web contact information.  Please note  -  if you are currently accessing EFAP counseling or other benefits arranged through The Wellness Corporation you will not need to do anything different to continue to see your current provider; this change will be seamless to you.


Bleek speaks on efforts to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons

In February, Philipp Bleek gave a talk at the local Park Lane seniors’ center, reflecting on serving as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Secretary of Defense while on leave from MIIS during the 2012-13 academic year. Among other topics, he spoke about his experience staffing the interagency “Syria Chemical Weapons Senior Integration Group,” whose existence was classified until recently, but has now been made public in the context of ongoing efforts to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.