Communique Spring 2017

Page 1

A CONVERSATION WITH AVNER COHEN On Israel and conflicts in the Middle East.


UNAVOIDABLE TRUTHS 12 Jan Black reflects on a remarkable career.

Communiqué SPRING 2017

Can’t Sleep? Institute scholars discuss the issues that keep them up at night. PAGE 14


We Need to Talk

I Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Institute Jeff Dayton-Johnson.


With this issue, Communiqué has increased its page count to 20 pages, while reducing its frequency to two times a year.



t’s been an eventful six months since our last issue of Communiqué; indeed, the U.S. presidential election and its aftermath have at times seemed to consume all of the oxygen on our Monterey campus. Many after-the-fact analyses of the election pointed to groups that have been feeling left out of the national conversation about the country’s direction. Furthermore, the tone and tenor of that national conversation have often made it appear that many of us have lost the ability or desire to listen to or understand our fellow citizens. This should be a deeply troubling development, because you can’t have a real conversation if everyone is talking and no one is listening. In order to accomplish anything of lasting significance, you have to find ways to communicate across barriers, whether they are social, economic, political, ideological, cultural, or linguistic. These sorts of essential conversations, about vital issues, across significant barriers that might otherwise keep people apart, are the reason why the Middlebury Institute exists. The Institute was envisioned by its founders in 1955 as a graduate school that would promote international understanding through the study of language and culture. That simple idea remains at the core of our mission and programs 62 years later. This spring we’re hosting a series of public discussions (the WorldViews

speaker series) featuring faculty members addressing vital international topics within the context of the Trump administration’s first 100 days. On March 1, Dr. William Potter, founding director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, addressed the “Global Implications of Administration Policies on Nuclear Weapons.” April 12 found us examining “Our Evolving Relationship with Russia” with Professor Anna Vassilieva, director of the Institute’s Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies. Finally, on May 10, a panel including Professors William Arrocha, Netta Avineri, and Jason Scorse explored the “Impact of Domestic and International Policies on Our Community.” The Institute also serves as a convener for outside speakers who are part of the national conversation. On April 13, the Institute hosted California State Senate Majority Leader Bill Monning, Assemblyman Mark Stone, and Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird for a discussion titled “Charting the Course: California Leadership in the Age of Trump.” As gaps in perception and understanding widen, these moments of dialogue about critical societal issues become that much more important. Whatever else one might care to say about these past six months, they have made it clear to me that the mission of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies has never been more relevant, or more essential. n

This should be a deeply troubling development, because you can’t have a real conversation if everyone is talking and no one is listening. COVER ILLUSTRATION BY ROBERT NEUBECKER




True Detectives They have been called the “Detonation Detectives” for their investigations into weapons of mass destruction programs around the world. The work of Jeffrey Lewis, Melissa Hanham, and their colleagues at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies—deciphering satellite images and examining every detail of official photographs and videos, as well as unclassified data, to learn more about what is really going on in North Korea—has garnered a lot of media attention recently. We learned that five minutes is just scratching the surface with them. Q: When did you become “detectives”? melissa: I graduated with a degree in international security policy in East Asia and I was a recent hire at the International Crisis Group in their Seoul, South Korea, office. A missile had been launched near a village called Musudan. I decided to find the village, and, thanks to Google Earth, I did. I found out what a missile pad might look like, and then I started searching. Using Google, I found a satellite image of the pad with the missile still on it. It was like magic. jeffrey: I was writing my dissertation. It was about China’s nuclear forces. The Chinese don’t publish a lot of detailed information, but there are a lot of historical accounts with great qualitative descriptions of what they did. But it is hard to put numbers on that stuff. So I got interested in looking at scientific papers or satellite pictures of facilities, or I would visit sites in China and take measurements of missiles in museums just to get the quantitative information that I needed to make sense of the qualitative stuff I had.


Q: Why do you think it is important for

private citizens, or people like you, to do this work? Why not leave it up to governments? jeffrey: The reason I got into this topic was the frustration I had with the government in the run-up to the Iraq war. There was a lot of “they’re doing these terrible things, trust us.” And there wasn’t a very robust public debate. I think that will never be the case again. We can really participate in a robust way.

is part of our mission at CNS. Now that we have these tools, we want to help people use them.

Q: Why are we in this mess with a nuclear North Korea?

jeffrey: Because to do something different would be harder. North Koreans early on wanted a different political relationship with the United States. But we don’t. Nobody wants to have a state dinner with Kim Jong-un while he presides over this country of starving people. I think people try to evade the moral responsibility by just saying the North Koreans are bad for building these missiles. My goal is to try to put that responsibility back on U.S. policy makers and say, “Well, it’s true, but you could make them an offer. But you don’t want to look weak and appear to be negotiating. If you continue to sort of scold them but do nothing, then you are choosing to let them do this.” I am trying to be deliberately provocative. melissa: Jeffrey is still teaching me how to be deliberately provocative. n

melissa: Agreed. And I do think it is leveling the playing field. Having well-informed citizenry means that we are better off and can speak truthfully with facts. It’s okay to question governments, even if you are another government. It used to be that small countries could not question the authority of the large countries with national technical means like satellites, but now they can purchase that satellite imagery and do their own analysis. Capacity building

Spring 2017 3


A Conversation with Amy Sands Amy Sands retired at the end of 2016 after a 20-year career at the Q: You’ve interacted with an entire genInstitute that saw her serve as deputy director of the James Martin eration of faculty and staff at the Institute. What is special about them? Center for Nonproliferation Studies (cns), dean of the Graduate The faculty and staff that I’ve known School of International Policy Studies, provost of the Institute, A: here are so dedicated to this Institute and and executive director for research centers and initiatives. work so hard to make it the best it can Q: You arrived at the Institute in 1996 A: from a senior position at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA). What attracted you to the field of nonproliferation?


I was always interested in international security and foreign policy, specifically the causes of conflict and approaches to resolving the problems underlying it. I had gotten into the field of nonproliferation because of the job I took at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which led to the opportunity in Washington at ACDA. The work was challenging and interesting, and nonproliferation was clearly an incredibly important topic within the broader field of international security.

Q: How did you first connect with the CNS and Bill Potter? A:

I had known Bill since I went to Livermore in 1983. When I decided to come back to California, I contacted him about a position he was advertising. After I applied, he called me and said, “I’ve realized I really need an associate director, and I wonder if you’d be interested.” I realized it was a perfect fit.

Q: How

did your experiences in Washington influence your approach to graduate students and teaching?



When I came to Monterey, I had a good sense of the kinds of skills and information students might need given the responsibilities they might have someday in Washington. It also helped that I could bring in some senior people from Washington for that practitioner perspective.

Q: You

were dean of the Graduate School of International Policy Studies when the Institute first began looking around for another institution to partner with. What was that like?

A: Initially, there were discussions with the University of California and others. Eventually, the connection with Middlebury was made, and it seemed like a good fit. There was a similar culture and focus on international education and the role of languages and the importance of taking on the global challenges. Both schools were focused on preparing students to be effective as global citizens. Q: Do you have a favorite memory from your time as provost? A:

For me, the highlight of the year is always Commencement—seeing these students, who are so dedicated to moving forward in their fields and making a difference, get to the point where they’re ready to go out and do that.

possibly be for the students who come through the doors. There’s a remarkable commitment to helping students find their way and giving them the language, skills, knowledge, and experiences they need to graduate and become colleagues. I would also say that there’s a feeling of a common cause here. Even as the faculty are doing their own research or consulting, they stay focused on making the learning that happens here high quality, relevant, and meaningful. I’ve worked with a lot of academics over the course of my career, and you just don’t find that kind of commitment and loyalty very often.

Q: What advice do you have for younger faculty and staff?


I would encourage them to think about how to balance their efforts so that they have time to think about how they teach and their pedagogy. It should never be static; it should always continue to grow. Secondly, I would encourage them to always think about how they can mentor students. Reach out and make sure they know your door is open. The important thing is to find ways to connect, because the students who come here are phenomenal. Finally, try to keep things in perspective and keep a balance in your life. Just keep trying to do the best you can in the context you’re in and hope that moves the pendulum in the right direction. n

Amy Sands Job Title at retirement Executive Director for Research Centers and Initiatives. past titles Provost; Dean of the Graduate School of International Policy Studies; Deputy Director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

I’ve worked with a lot of academics over the course of my career, and you just don’t find that kind of commitment and loyalty often.


Spring 2017 5


Everything Collapsed Overnight— Yet All Is Not Lost A young Iraqi educator reflects on the unmoored existence of life in a war zone.


t was a sizzling hot summer day in Mosul when my eldest brother called to check on me at work. So it was a normal day. Checking on each other had become a necessary habit, at least it had been since war came to our country in 2003. Yet something was different about my brother’s call; rumors were flying around the city that suggested unrest. Later that day my colleagues and I were told to leave our office at once; Iraqi security forces had imposed a curfew on the city. Just a year prior—in May 2013—I proudly stood at my graduation from



the Middlebury Institute. I had been elected to give the student commencement speech and was full of energy and enthusiasm, and I was excited to embark on a new career: teaching English in my native country. It took nearly a year to earn my placement at a university— nothing moves quickly in Iraq—and my joy was short-lived. Before I could begin my job teaching at the University of Nineveh, beasts entered my city and everything collapsed. I call them beasts because that is what they are. The mostly foreign-born Islamic State, or ISIS, fighters took my city, the second largest in the country, without much resistance from the government in Baghdad. In the beginning, they tried to make people believe they were good. They fixed streets, released people from the prisons, put fresh paint on buildings, and more. But the fresh paint did not mask their intentions. Wherever you went, you had to listen to the new rules they blasted from loudspeakers. Women must cover their faces; men must grow long beards. At first, there was no punishment for not following the rules. Then came brutal fines and public lashings. The punishment was meant to humiliate and send a message to the others forced to watch. Before long, the ISIS soldiers were rounding up people—former police officers, Iraqi military—who had been in hiding. Those captured were initially thrown in jail but later savagely executed.

The city became a blood pool, and I felt that all my dreams had collapsed with Mosul. My wife and I decided it was worth the risk to leave. Our families were sad but at the same time hopeful that we would be able to create a better life for ourselves somewhere else. Others thought we were foolish, believing the government would come to the rescue soon. We didn’t have such faith. After paying profiteers to smuggle us out of the city, we made our way to Erbil, 85 kilometers east of Mosul. There was no market for English teachers, so I used my degree and language skills to get a job with the U.N., helping other displaced people. Through this work I learned of the suffering of a great many people, and I was unmoored, too. I was one of the lucky ones; I had a good job, my wife and I were blessed with a son, the people of Erbil welcomed us. But it wasn’t home, and for three years we waited to return. Now, as Mosul is in the final stages of liberation, the devastation is overwhelming. My closest family was among those first to regain their freedom, and they are safe. But no one escapes the scars. By the time the siege ended, people were on the brink of starvation, and clean water was scarce. ISIS cut off the water supply, and while people dug wells wherever they could, the water they tapped was rarely potable. We are very worried about our other family members who are still trapped on the west side,


A Victory in Davos Four students win international case competition.


The view from Adnan’s family home in Mosul shows one of his ISIS-occupied Christian neighbors’ houses demolished after an airstrike.

desperately trying to escape death by collecting rain and eating tomato paste and leaves like other people there. Freedom can’t come soon enough. Liberation is only the first step. The beautiful spring days are marred by a dark cloud of sorrow. Those beasts sucked the soul out of my city. Even with the corruption that exists in Iraq, I am sure we will get running water and electricity again, and hopefully houses will be rebuilt, other services restored. I wonder if our Christian neighbors will return. Growing up in modern Iraq was to grow up in war. During the ’80s there was war with Iran. Then came war with


America—not once, but twice. Everything has been different since 2003. The international community wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussein but that came at the expense of our sovereignty, our security, and the unity of the people. Yet I remain hopeful. This spring, I received news that a position had opened for me at the University of Al-Hamdaniya satellite campus in Erbil. Though I took a pay cut when I left my position with the UN, I am thrilled to be doing what I was trained to do: teach English. My students are all internally displaced like myself. I am now filled with new energy and hope to be part of the change in my country and, eventually, in my city. My Mosul. n

t e a m o f f o u r Middlebury

Institute MBA students won the international Business for a Better World Case Competition in Davos, Switzerland, in January. Teammates Ben Grimmig MBA ’17, Shannon Nolan MBA ’17, Christina Lukeman MBA ’17, and Nicholas Fisher MBA/ Maiep ’17 beat out finalist teams from McGill University and York University, taking home $6,000 and a crystal trophy. The competition is a partnership between Corporate Knights and the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. This year teams were challenged to design a global equity portfolio that advances the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals while also maximizing returns. The Institute team’s proposal was titled “A Purposeful Tilt” and utilized the “tilting” strategy of a well-diversified portfolio to generate impact. The team gave added weight to firms based on their proprietary financial and impact evaluation, and created a dynamic model that can be adapted to meet the specific needs of a target market. The team formed during the fall semester Business Competition Immersion class developed and taught by Sandra Dow and Yuwei Shi, and was coached by the two professors. The win in Davos is the latest in a string of noteworthy successes for the Institute’s MBA teams. Student teams representing the Institute won the Economist case competition in 2015. Institute students took second place in the same competition in 2016 and third place in the Business for a Better World competition in 2014. n

Spring 2017 7


On Freedom What does it mean to be truly free? Tangut Degfay, a Middlebury College graduate currently enrolled in the Development Practice and Policy program at the Institute talks about the transformative role education has played in her life. Embracing New Beginnings I was born in a remote village in northern Ethiopia. At that time, we did not have schools at an accessible distance, so local children were expected to help their parents at the farm and later take over the farming tradition when they reached an age to marry and lead their own household. When I was five or six, my aunt offered to take one of my father’s children to the city and educate them. My parents said it was an easy choice. They sent me away because my personality was not compatible with what was expected of me as a young girl. Instead of spending my time with my



mother in the kitchen, I would follow my dad to the farm or the market. I do not remember having second thoughts about leaving my village. In fact, I was feeling ecstatic to experience the bus ride, which people tried to scare me with. Addis Ababa was two days away by bus on horrible roads. I was too small for the bus, so I was not given my own seat. I remember sitting under my aunt’s legs and holding tight onto her legs so that she didn’t leave me behind. Benefits of Being an Outsider Addis Ababa was a lot different from what

I imagined. Cars, buildings, pushy people on the roads. . . . Socially, I had a very difficult time at school. I did not make any friends. I was often treated harshly for the way I talked, for my unusual name, or because I had prominent traditional tattoos. But I thrived academically. You know those kids that are often inseparable from their teachers? That was me. In my new family there was constant pressure on me to behave a certain way. My academic performance was closely monitored by my parents because they were most proud when I performed well. I was expected to be even stronger and more independent than my new siblings. School was my getaway. It was also an outlet for me to experiment with my different personalities. I made sure to take advantage of every possibility to speak out and take leadership positions in student clubs. I even joined the boys’ soccer team.


The Wonders of Belonging I was selected to represent my school and my country at the United World Colleges (UWC), with a full scholarship to study for two years in Norway. Arriving in Norway felt like yet another beginning. It also felt like somewhere I belonged. I suddenly felt interesting and accepted because my peers from all around the globe seemed interested in my stories, my voice, and everything I had to say. They often asked about my traditional tattoo and what it meant, and I never felt bothered even once to share the history and culture it holds. My tattoo was no longer a mark of discrimination like in my old days, but an icon of recognition and a great conversation starter when I met new people. A Brave New World I came out of UWC feeling like a new person. I became more confident and outspoken. UWC was also my bridge to Middlebury College. I loved being a Midd Kid. I was part of the summer Language Schools for two summers with Japanese and Korean, which also allowed me to travel to Japan for my study abroad experience. I also took advantage of internship and volunteer opportunities locally and abroad. My irreplaceable experience with Middlebury led me to my graduate studies in Monterey. I continue to aspire working in the field of youth development. Right now I am looking into life and work in East Asia and how I can contribute to strengthening socioeconomic relations with Africa. I am a social butterfly, and I enjoy being busy, so I take on many extracurricular activities and projects. You could say I sometimes drive myself crazy intentionally, but I like the feeling of it. My Own Personal Freedom Education introduced me to my own kind of freedom, freedom from cultural and social restrictions, and freedom from what is expected of me as a girl. Most importantly, freedom to voice my concerns about anything and everything I care most about in the world. Because of it, I feel most comfortable with who I am. n


since 2008, the sustainabilit y council has pursued a series of initiatives designed to reduce the Institute’s carbon footprint, with notable results:


Percentage drop in electricity usage after the Institute replaced most interior lights with LED bulbs


Percentage of waste recycled weekly


Metric tons of CO2 emissions not emitted into the atmosphere, thanks to the switch to LED bulbs


Pounds of used batteries recycled since the Institute began collecting them in 2008


Total volume of CO2 emissions estimated in 2015–16


Total volume of CO2 emissions estimated in 2006–07 (measured in metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent)

Special thanks to sustainability graduate assistant Zara Currimjee MAIEP ’18 for her assistance in gathering this data.

Spring 2017 9


A Conversation with Avner Cohen On Israel, nuclear proliferation, and conflicts in the Middle East.

Q: In the epilogue to your groundbreaking book Israel and the Bomb (Columbia University Press, 1998) on the political history of Israel’s nuclear weapons program, you share some of the challenges you faced, both in terms of the difficulties finding sources and the personal cost of breaking the Israeli code of silence concerning the discussion of nuclear issues. Why was it important to you to persist with your research and ultimately publish? A: It was not just scholarship for me, but also citizenry. I believe there are certain issues that citizens have the right to know, and there is even a democratic obligation to inform them. My first book in this field was a series of essays I coedited, with my colleague and good friend Steven Lee, on the philosophical (primarily moral) dimension of living under nuclear deterrence. In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu, a technician working at Dimona, the super-secret Israeli nuclear weapons facility in the Negev desert, publicly disclosed for the first time details about the Israeli program. Around that time I started to look seriously at the oddities of the Israeli nuclear predicament. In 1989 I was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship to work on the

question of nuclear weapons and democracy with a focus on Israel. My current view is that even though opacity may have been the right policy strategically in the beginning, it is not the right way today to conduct the nation’s nuclear affairs. Total secrecy stifles open debate and undermines Israeli democracy.

Q: What was the response in Israel? A:

In 1994 I submitted an early, shorter version of the book to the office of the military censor in Israel and received a total ban on publication. I appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court. At their suggestion, a second version was submitted, but it was also banned. At that point I decided to expand the research, while holding a research position at MIT. It was ultimately published as Israel and the Bomb in 1998. That manuscript was never submitted to the Israeli military censor. By then the Israeli government tried to intimidate me against publication. Several times during that period I had to cancel travel to Israel after learning that I might be arrested upon arrival. Finally, in March 2001, I made the decision to go back and to face the issue head on. Hours before I arrived, we made

[Israel and the Bomb] was never submitted to the Israeli military censor. By then the Israeli government tried to intimidate me against publication.



a “deal” that I would not be arrested at the airport but would show up for the interrogation the next day. After about 50 hours of interrogation (not continuous), I was told that I could leave the country. A few years later I was informed that the case was closed. The authorities never officially announced that the reason was “no guilt.” At the end, my work was not able to change Israel’s official policy of nuclear opacity, nor did I expect that, but I believe it helped to change significantly the public discourse on the subject. Furthermore, in some ways I think that the case against me has left me now somewhat immunized, so that I can speak up on the subject safely and say more than what most Israelis can.

Q: It seems like you and Israel have a

complicated relationship. What are your thoughts on the current situation in the conflict with Palestine and President Trump’s suggestion that he would accept a one-state solution?


Yes, I have a complex relationship with my native birth country. My 92-year-old mother is a Holocaust hero and survivor who arrived by boat from Italy in Palestine in September 1945, three years prior to the establishment of the state of Israel. My late father, who arrived in Palestine as a baby in 1924, was a journalist who covered the Arab-Israeli conflict. I do have a great deal of nostalgia for my rather happy childhood in the 1960s, in a small neighborhood just outside Tel Aviv. In some ways the Israel I grew up in was more innocent, more peace seeking, than the Israel of today. While I still have a deep attachment to the country, I am deeply disappointed about the direction it has taken since the 1967 Six-Day War,

Avner Cohen Job Title Professor of Nonproliferation Studies and Senior Fellow with the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. areas of research Israeli nuclear program; nonproliferation issues in the Middle East; nuclear age and nonproliferation history; nuclear disarmament.

and even more so since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin in 1995. Israel is truly a unique country with an incredible amount of creativity, energy, and ingenuity, but politically, in terms of its future, it is going in a direction that will not allow it to reach normalcy, to reach reconciliation with its immediate neighbors, the Palestinians. And if it reaches some resemblance of normalcy, what some Israelis such as Ehud Barak call “being a villa in the jungle,” it will be at the expense of occupying the Palestinians. The sad fact is that Israel has become an occupier power. A one-state


solution would mean a predicament of apartheid for Palestinians as they would never be treated as equal citizens. A twostate solution is the only way to bring reconciliation of the conflict.

Q: What is your next research project? A:

Well, this summer is the big 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War. In those six amazing days, Israel defeated three Arab armies, gained territory three times its original size, and became the dominant military power in the region. It was then that Israel became an

occupier. For the Arabs, and especially the Palestinians, the 1967 war brought not only loss of territory but crushing humiliation. In the half a century since, a great deal has been said about those changes, but still little is understood about what actually led to crisis and then war. A project that I am working on with the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center at Washington, D.C., seeks to bring together Egyptian and Israeli scholars and sources for an in-depth reexamination of the nuclear dimension of the 1967 war. n

Spring 2017 11



Unavoidable Truths


he met martin luther king jr., spent a day with cesar chavez, hit the road with Sargent Shriver, and danced with Harry Belafonte. She studied graphic arts in college but went on to become a leading authority on human rights in Latin America. And she very nearly played piano in Elvis Presley’s band. Calling longtime Middlebury Institute professor Jan Knippers Black’s backstory “interesting” feels like an epic understatement. Here are a few of the lessons



she’s learned on her journey, including variations on some of the observations her students have come to know as “Black’s Laws.” Creativity is not a skill set, but a mindset. My first career was in music, as something of a child prodigy sidekick to my father, known as Tennessee’s “Singing Senator.” When I went off to college, everybody assumed I would go into music. Characteristically stubborn, I went into graphic arts instead. Somewhere along

the line, my advisor suggested I pick up a second major because “you’re an intellectual.” I said, “A whut?” I had no idea what he was talking about, but I soon realized it had something to do with insatiable curiosity. Most consequences are unintended. Before I graduated from college, I was working in TV program design in Nashville and playing piano at a local club, just for my own entertainment. The house band would come in and say, “Oh, keep


playing.” Finally, they asked me to join, but I wasn’t looking for a career in music and I let it go. That group was the Jordanaires, who were backing up Elvis Presley! Chase your passion. When I heard about the Peace Corps in 1961, I said, “That’s it! That’s where I’ll find myself.” I hopped on a bus up to Washington, D.C., and talked with the deputy director. He asked where I wanted to go, I said, “Chile,” and that was it! Returning from the Peace Corps, I was asked to travel around the country helping spread the word, often with Sarge Shriver, who became a good friend. Poverty and happiness are not mutually exclusive. The Peace Corps helped me gain a different kind of understanding of the lives of the impoverished. It was surprising to see how able and optimistic and happy most seemed to be. Americans tend to seek satisfaction in material things, and that’s not very fulfilling. In the business of development assistance, the first thing the West needs to learn is humility. In the U.S., we’ve always talked about how important it is to make sure we have buy-in and participation from the local people, and that we pass on our skills and work ourselves out of a job. We talk a good game, but practice has not changed for the better over the years; if anything, it may have changed for the worse. Stand up to bullies. While at American University for my PhD, I worked in a program underwritten by the government. I was assured there would be no censorship, but when my chapters for a book on Brazil came back from “across the river” (the CIA), my supervisor was livid. He beat his fists on the table, called me a hippie and a pamphleteer, and ordered me to rewrite the chapters or be fired. I said, “Fire me! I won’t rewrite a word.” He turned white as a sheet. He

I knew choosing to write my dissertation about U.S. involvement in Brazil was risky. Many people of influence did not want that story to be told. knew he was trapped. Very soon I had his job, which I hadn’t wanted. Meanwhile, my dissertation, inspired by that episode, won Best of the Year and became my first book, U.S. Penetration of Brazil. Making uncomfortable truths available isn’t enough: you have to make the truth unavoidable. If people can live in denial, they probably will. Moreover, speaking truth to power is not enough if power is not listening. If such speech carries no risk, it is carrying too little volume or too little truth. Get involved and you never know who you’ll meet. One of my mentors, Brady Tyson, was a leader in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and I was able to meet Martin Luther King Jr. I also spent a whole day with Cesar Chavez once when I was president of an organization called the New Mexico Progressive Political Action Committee. Don’t underestimate your potential impact. With Amnesty International USA [where Black is in her sixth year as a board member], I went to Taiwan to intercede for a woman who had been arrested for speaking at a human rights rally. I wasn’t allowed to visit her in jail, but I made sure the appropriate

government officials knew there was U.S. interest in her case. She was ultimately released early, but more important, she was able after my visit to get treatment in prison for her cancer; and she claims that I saved her life. In 2000, when Lu Hsiulien became vice president of Taiwan (then the Republic of China), she honored me at her inauguration. The risks we take help define who we are. I knew choosing to write my dissertation about U.S. involvement in Brazil was risky. Many people of influence did not want that story to be told. But I realized I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I understood what had happened to Brazil—and was likely to happen to Chile and Uruguay—and failed to tell people about it. Once I made the decision to take that risk, I knew who I was. Knowing who you want to be is an essential prelude to knowing what you want to do. It’s a waste of time trying to figure out what kind of career you want to have until you fully understand your own values and character and capabilities. In the beginning and in the end, you’re the one you have to live with, so you’d better focus on being comfortable in your own skin. n

Spring 2017 13


What keeps you up at night? As the world at large navigated through the eventful first 100 days of the Trump administration, we asked a cross-section of Middlebury Institute faculty members this question: What issues keep you up at night worrying under the new administration? I have lost sleep over this administration with its plutocrats, autocrats, and kleptocrats—not social justice role models. I worry the U.S. is becoming my worst nightmare: a country of limited standing and international engagement, rejecting diversity, fact-based discourse, and human rights. I am terrified that inequalities will grow while social safety nets shred, that checks and balances will erode, and that countless Americans will lose health care or the vote. I fear we will exhaust ourselves resisting, enabling Trumpism to become the “new normal.” — Beryl Levinger, Distinguished Professor and Program Chair, Development Practice and Policy People are talking only to those who already share their same way of speaking—their same “words.” We—new Americans, academics, urbanites, global citizens, travelers—need to learn to tell our stories in other people’s words, words that make sense to them. We also need to learn others’ ways of speaking, freeing those others to tell us their stories in their own words— the words that offer the teller the most freedom and comfort. This is what language education fundamentally is. —Thor Sawin, Assistant Professor, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages/Teaching a Foreign Language My greatest worry is the new administration’s apparent disregard for objective truth and disdain for rational thought. The administration appears to rely on hearsay and be motivated by personal gain instead

of using well-reasoned and informed decision making. To me, the current situation underscores the importance of quality education here in the U.S. and around the world. Citizens must be equipped to take up the hard work of thoughtful scrutiny and critical analysis of important domestic and international policies when governments do not. —Anne Campbell, Assistant Professor, International Education Management So far, President Trump and his administration have not strayed away from the worrisome predictions made after he won the election. I find myself dealing with a completely new breed of discourse type in class and it is a cause for concern for me. I use a wide range of speeches by government officials as class materials. The new administration’s divisive and belligerent discourses are at times very disturbing, especially in classes where the majority of students are immigrants and non-U.S. citizens. —Miryoung Sohn, Professor and Program Coordinator, Korean Translation and Interpretation I’ve been having sporadic Trump administration nightmares. What is literally keeping me up at night, and also making my sleep less restful, is a combination of the temperament of our new president and the dysfunctions of his both ill- and understaffed administration. The pathologies of governance we’ve seen so far will only be magnified by inevitable crises and likely conflicts. And those will play out in the shadow of nuclear weapons that could change and even end life on earth as we know it. —Philipp C. Bleek, Assistant Professor of Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies What alarms me most are the invisible “tipping points” we may soon reach. So far, the effects of global climate change and biodiversity loss have mostly been linear. But we’re starting to see negative feedback loops that show nonlinear rates of change. Once declines go exponential, it doesn’t take long to erode the conditions that make life on earth possible. Bottom line: four years of inaction now could lead to decades or centuries of negative, perhaps irreversible, consequences. —Jeff Langholz, Professor of International Environmental Policy n




Newly arrived refugees from South Sudan sell food at the Ngomoromo border post, on the Ugandan side.

A Tragedy in South Sudan


asting my vote for independence will be a bullet aimed straight at the heart of the problem,” said Middlebury Institute alumnus Mawuor Dior maips ’10 when he returned home to Sudan to participate in a referendum for independence and the creation of South Sudan in July 2011. Splitting the nation seemed for him and many others the only way to end decades of brutal civil war. Six years later, the world’s youngest nation is a failed state with millions facing starvation, tens of thousands killed, and no end in sight for the widening ethnic violence. How did it all go so wrong so quickly? South Sudan is one of the most underdeveloped countries of the world. It lacks some of the main foundations of a successful democracy. Yet it did have a lot going for it at the beginning: potential oil revenue, apparent unity of government, and the support of the international community. Aid organizations flocked to the new capital, Juba, and the U.S. and other nations provided financial support. “Priorities were all wrong,” says Dior from his new home in Alaska in early 2017. “Instead of focusing on peace and reconciliation for a nation that has been traumatized for years, and delivering PHOTOGRAPH BY ISAAC KASAMANI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

some much needed solutions, leaders focused on grabbing power.” “Before independence, the tribes were united in their opposition to the government in the north, but longstanding issues between them were not addressed,” says Scott Webb mpa ’07, who oversaw humanitarian operations for Relief International in South Sudan in 2013. That year in December, Webb and Kimberly Dixon mba ’06, as well as many other U.S. citizens, were airlifted out after violent fighting broke out in the streets. “We heard gun battles in the street outside the compound where we were staying. I learned later that there was straight-up genocide happening in the neighborhood,” says Webb. The violence revealed the deep rift between the Dinka and Nuer, the two main tribes sharing power, and ethnic violence has continued since, spreading to other groups and areas. “Tribalism played a big part in the failure,” Dior says,“but with good leadership I believe it would have been possible to create a national agenda inclusive of all groups.” He explains that a lot of power was given to ex-generals-turned-politicians, which in turn led to massive corruption and squandering of resources. Distrust of foreign aid groups, in particular

the United Nations, added to the problems. He says, “Even international aid groups have a political purpose.” Upon gaining independence from Britain in 1956, Africa’s largest and most culturally and geographically diverse country erupted into decades of civil war between the Arabic-speaking, largely Muslim North and the ethnic sub-Saharan, mostly Christian or Animist South. It was in the British interest to keep the two parts of Sudan together to ward off the threat of Egyptian colonization of the northern part. Independence exposed deep fault lines between North and South. When oil was discovered in southern Sudan in 1978, a fragile peace agreement from a few years earlier was doomed. By 1983 the second civil war ravaged the South. In the late 1980s, around 20,000 young boys fled their homes by foot to escape rebel recruiters hunting for young fighters. Dior was one of these “Lost Boys of Sudan.” He walked for thousands of miles, surviving harsh conditions, to reach a refugee camp on the other side of the border in Ethiopia. Thousands of other children making that journey did not survive. For him, reaching Ethiopia was only the beginning of an 11-year ordeal that finally saw him reach the United States as part of a special resettlement program. Dior did not return home until he was in his 30s, shortly after graduating from the Institute in 2010. It was a big moment for him to be reunited with his family. The dream was to transition a position with a U.S. aid agency into a role in politics, but the dramatic turn of events led him to flee again, this time with his wife and son. Although bullets in South Sudan appear to be aimed at everything but the heart of the problem, Dior has not given up hope. “I still believe it is possible to change course, but for that to happen we need real leadership.” n

Spring 2017 15


recent news from members of the institute community in monterey and around the world. SIGHTINGS ›› Managing Director Anu

Carnegie-Brown of UK-based STP Translation sang the praises of student Gayane Saghatelyan MATLM ’17 in a February blog post. CarnegieBrown served as a judge for the Globalization and Localization Association’s student essay contest, which generated entries from students at 30 different universities located in 18 different countries. Wrote Carnegie-Brown, “I particularly loved reading about a teacher at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California, telling their localization students that ‘the job you’ll have in five years probably doesn’t even exist yet.’” She went on to say that Saghatelyan, author of that essay, “had clearly understood and embraced the strategic role language professionals have at the intersection of language, business, and technology in our fast-moving world. Rather than introduce herself as a translator, she prefers to explain that her job is to ‘increase a company’s international revenue by creating a near-native experience for its users.’”

PRESENTATIONS October, Professor Jason Scorse participated in a panel on Climate Leadership in ›› In



Oceans and Adaptation at the Monterey Bay Regional Climate Action Compact’s third annual Climate Summit at the California State University, Monterey Bay. Scorse is chair of the International Environmental Policy program and director of the Institute’s Center for the Blue Economy. ›› The

same week, Professors William Arrocha, Edgard Coly, Wei Liang, and Anna Vassilieva participated in a panel discussion on the thenupcoming U.S. presidential election. The well-attended panel was organized and moderated by Professor of French and European Studies Michel Gueldry. The four professors each spoke in their respective national languages (Spanish, French, Chinese, and Russian), with all four languages interpreted into English by students, and all English comments interpreted back into the above four languages. ›› “Breaking

through Shades of Color: Transforming Race Relations and Conflict” was the theme of the annual November conference of the Center for Conflict Studies (ccs), building on the center’s 2015 conference focused on addressing race conflicts.

“The conference this year was about exploring the creative and innovative strategies that are used by individuals and institutions to mitigate and manage race conflicts,” said Professor Pushpa Iyer, founding director of CCS. Celebrated activist Dr. Peggy McIntosh gave the keynote address to a packed Irvine Auditorium on the topic of white privilege, describing how white allies can use this privilege to dismantle structural racism.

›› The

student-selected theme of the annual Fall Forum was “Home,” and sessions focused on current issues such as immigration and homelessness. As always, student participants expressed their views in their native languages— Chinese, French, Russian, German, Japanese, Korean, or Spanish—while second-year conference interpretation and translation and interpretation students interpreted. ›› The

›› Russian

Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak spoke with an invited audience of Middlebury Institute students, faculty, and staff on November 12 at a private seminar cohosted by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (cns) and the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies. Kislyak’s remarks and the subsequent discussion focused on the state of U.S.-Russian relations and the prospects for their improvement, with Kislyak and Dr. William Potter, CNS founding director, agreeing that the U.S.-Russian relationship had fallen to its lowest level since the end of the Cold War. The pair pointed to the new dual degree in nonproliferation studies being offered through the Institute, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, and the PIR Center in Moscow as examples of the potential for expanded interactions and collaboration in the educational sphere.

Berkeley Forum at UC Berkeley hosted Professor Philipp Bleek for a February 2 guest lecture on “Disarming Syria’s Chemical Weapons and Lessons for Reducing Threats Elsewhere.” Bleek’s talk drew from his experiences during a 2012–13 Council on Foreign Relations fellowship at the Pentagon, where he staffed the interagency Syria Chemical Weapons Senior Integration Group, a focal point for efforts to prepare for chemical weapons contingencies during the Syrian civil war. ›› Cyber

Initiative Postdoctoral Fellow Elaine Korzak spoke at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Center for Global Security Research on February 14, delivering a talk titled “Between Rhetoric and Reality: Evolving Cybersecurity Governance at the United Nations.” Dr. Korzak was featured as part of the center’s Information Strategy and International Security speaker series.

AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS ›› Just after our fall issue

went to press, the Peace Corps awarded alumnus Ravi Dutta MPA ’09 one of its highest honors: the Franklin H. Williams Award. “Serving in the Peace Corps was a life-changing experience,” said Dutta, who completed his Peace Corps service in Namibia between 2003 and 2005. “It made me want to work in international development, but I needed a bridge towards higher level work in the field, and the Institute was that bridge.” The award pays tribute to returned Peace Corps volunteers of color who continue the Peace Corps mission through their commitment to community service. Since graduating, Dutta has held positions with Save the Children in Indonesia, the Emerging Markets Development Advisers Program in Jordan, and the Carter Center’s South Sudan Guinea Worm Eradication Program. ›› Professor Kathi Bailey and

alumnus Ryan Damerow MATESOL ’10 received the 2017 TESOL International Association’s President’s Award in December for their contributions to the field through their leadership of the International Research Foundation for English Language Education. The TESOL President’s Award recognizes individuals or organizations who have demonstrated a commitment

to English-language instruction and helped TESOL further its mission.

that a translation of Ya Hsien’s Abyss by Professor John Balcom ba chinese ’84 was long-listed for the PEN America Literary Award for Poetry in Translation.

$878,000 over two years to support a new Monterey Summer Symposium on Russia and other programs, and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, led by Dr. William Potter, will receive $900,000 over two years to fund various nonproliferation training and education activities.

›› Alumni Ravi Kurani MBA

›› Alumna Cheryl Jordan

’11 and Nicole Sahin MBA ’05 were recognized by national publications for their accomplishments as entrepreneurs. In January, Kurani was honored as one of Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” in the Energy category for his start-up venture Sutro, which is developing innovative new strategies for water quality measurement and treatment. Sahin was profiled in Inc. magazine’s “Inc. 5000” list of “gritty start-ups” last fall in recognition of her accomplishments as founder/ CEO of Globalization Partners, a Boston-based firm that aims to “transcend barriers to global business by making it easy to hire internationally.” In February she was profiled again in a U.S. News & World Report feature titled “Executives Share Advice for Prospective MBAs.”

MAIPS ’88 was appointed superintendent of the 10,300-student Milpitas Unified School District in California after a 27-year career as a teacher and administrator in the district. Jordan told the Milpitas Post that she attended the Institute with plans to work for the United Nations or enter the Foreign Service, but ended up deciding to stay on the West Coast and make a difference in a different way: “I thought I could make an impact by going into education.” Her career with Milpitas Unified began in 1989 with her first assignment as a seventh grade history teacher.

›› In December, we learned

›› Carnegie Corporation of

New York awarded nearly $1.8 million in grant funding to a pair of innovative Institute programs. The Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies, overseen by Professor Anna Vassilieva, will receive

›› Student Kyle Pilutti

MANPTS ’17 won second prize in an international essay competition organized by the United Nations in collaboration with the Stimson Center. The contest drew submissions from students in 44 countries on how best to implement U.N. Security Council Resolution 1540, which establishes the obligation of all U.N. member states to halt the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and

biological weapons. The top two finishers received cash awards and the opportunity to travel to an award ceremony at Harvard University, and to present their ideas to U.N. officials. ›› Alumnus Jacob Jallah MAIEM

’15 was appointed assistant minister for technical services for Liberia’s Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism. Jallah is now responsible for research and planning as well as regulation and accreditation of media institutions and the motion picture industry. A former refugee, Jallah fulfilled the practicum requirement of his International Education Management degree back in Liberia, where he worked on government projects related to his passion for furthering peace, reconciliation, and development. “The work he did was incredible, thoughtful, and very inspiring,” says Jill Stoffers, Jallah’s practicum supervisor. ›› After 17 years on the faculty,

Professor Fredric Kropp departed at the end of fall semester. In an interview published on the Miis website, the longtime MBA professor said the most satisfying aspect of his time at the Institute was “mentoring students. . . . I have some lifelong relationships with students.” By the time you read these words, Professor Kropp will be in Ireland as a Fulbright scholar, doing research on social entrepreneurship. Bon voyage!

Spring 2017 17


If we take the president at his word, he intends to renegotiate our alliances to either extract greater compensation for what he views as undue American burdens or force allies to fend more for themselves. —Philipp Bleek, writing in Diplomatic Courier

›› Two alumnae of the

International Environmental Policy program were awarded California Sea Grant Fellowships, Heidi Williams MAIEP ’16 and Heather Benko MBA ’15/MAIEP ’16. Sea Grant Fellowships are awarded to graduate students “who are interested both in marine resources and in the policy decisions affecting those resources.” The program matches fellows with “hosts” in California state agencies for a 12-month paid fellowship. ›› Alumna Yuniya Khan MPA

’07 let us know that her former project, Emerge Salvador, which focused on raising awareness about the impact of Afro-Brazilian entrepreneurs in Salvador, Brazil, has evolved into a broader initiative. Through innovative storytelling and outreach, the Emerge Project ( aims to inspire and motivate young people of African descent around the world to do their part to generate positive change in their communities. The project will initially focus on telling stories from Brazil and South Africa, where Khan has spent significant time in recent years,



but she hopes over time to expand its universe of stories to other countries around the world.

the important role that translators and language professionals play” in the U.N.’s work.

›› After navigating a very


competitive screening process, student Ron Go-Aco MAIEP ’17 was awarded an Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Fellowship. Go-Aco will be working with Taylor Housing Commission in Michigan on a project aimed at improving the organization’s energy management practices. An international student originally from the Philippines, Go-Aco had been living and working in Canada prior to coming to school in Monterey.

›› A new “report card” designed

›› We learned in March that

Shuai (Ivy) Wang MATLM ’17 and Amy Mendenhall maci ’18 were two of the winners of the United Nations’ Saint Jerome Translation Contest for 2017. Launched in 2005 by U.N. translation staff in New York City, the annual contest commemorates International Translation Day. (Saint Jerome is the patron saint of translators.) The contest “serves to celebrate multilingualism within the United Nations, and highlights

to measure individual nations’ global citizenship in categories such as human rights, good governance, and poverty reduction made its debut at a November event hosted at the Middlebury in D.C. offices in Washington. The Global Citizenship Report Card is the outcome of a collaborative project led by Ron Israel, founder and director of the Global Citizens’ Initiative, with Kent Glenzer, dean of the Institute’s Graduate School of International Policy and Management, serving as research director. “The report card is designed to be an advocacy tool for the development community,” says Glenzer, “an asset we can use to encourage investments by donors and governments that promote good global citizenship.” View the report in full at www. ›› Lisa Donohoe MATESOL ’09,

Vanessa Hoffman MATESOL

’15, and Lucy Crouppen MATESOL ’16 traveled to Haiti in December to lead an intensive 30-hour training workshop for 33 English teachers. English is an important second language in Haiti for finding economic opportunities. Donohoe initiated “MIIS Team EFL Haiti” in 2013, prompting students in Professor Peter Shaw’s Curriculum Design course to take on a curriculum design project for St. Andre’s School, the site of the December training. Since then, six curriculum design teams have developed curricula for the school, some of them traveling to St. Andre’s to work with teachers and the community. ›› Four students and

two coaches traveled to Washington, D.C., to compete in the March 17–18 Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge, an annual competition organized by the Atlantic Council and hosted by American University. The contest is designed to provide students across academic disciplines with a deeper understanding of the policy challenges associated with cyber crises and conflict. The Institute’s team included students Michala Braun



Jason Warburg Eva Guðbergsdóttir DESIGNER

Paul Dahm

MANPTS ’18, Paula Granger MANPTS ’18, Jason Mak MANPTS ’18, and Danielle Preskitt MANPTS ’17, with Joe Shepard MANPTS ’17 serving as a student coach and Professor Philipp Bleek as faculty coach.

PUBLICATIONS ›› Professor Avner Cohen

celebrated two publications addressing the mysterious 1979 “double flash” in the South Atlantic, long speculated to have been a clandestine nuclear test by the state of Israel. The National Security Archive published an electronic briefing paper coedited by Cohen and titled “The Vela Incident: South Atlantic Mystery Flash in September 1979 Raised Questions about Nuclear Test,” while Politico published Cohen and collaborator William Burr’s analysis of the same materials, titled “What the U.S. Government Really Thought of Israel’s Apparent 1979 Nuclear Test.” ›› As the presidential

inauguration approached, Cohen and two faculty colleagues each offered their thoughts on nuclear issues and policy under the incoming

Trump administration. Haaretz published Cohen’s opinion piece titled “Are We Really Giving an Impulsive Novice Like Trump the Nuclear Codes?” while Diplomatic Courier published Philipp Bleek’s analysis piece “Trump: ‘Biggest Problem, to Me, in the World, Is Nuclear, and Proliferation,’” and the Journal of Contemporary Security Policy published Professor Jeffrey Knopf’s paper “Security Assurances and Proliferation Risks in the Trump Administration.” ›› In a March 8 post on the

National Security Forum blog on, Professor Jason Scorse argued that a lack of traceability poses a significant threat to the sustainable seafood industry. ›› The April issue of Scientific

American included an article coauthored by Professor Raymond Zilinskas, director of the Institute’s Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program, titled “Time to Worry about Anthrax Again.”

is a new volume coedited by Professor William Arrocha. “Compassionate migration” is a concept that applies principles of compassion to the legal, political, philosophical, and interdisciplinary dimensions of migration, and one that the editors hope to make part of a “hemispheric dialogue” on migration issues.

PASSAGES ›› Colleagues

at the Institute’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) mourned the passing of Dr. Lawrence Scheinman, codirector of the center’s Washington, D.C., office from its creation and later a distinguished professor at the Institute. Scheinman retired from CNS in 2012. Dr. William Potter, CNS director, described Scheinman’s “exceptional career in academia and government” and called him “a major contributor in shaping the field of nonproliferation studies and key elements of U.S. nonproliferation policy. He will be greatly missed by his many friends and colleagues.” n



Communiqué is published two times a year by the Middlebury Office of Communications. CALL FOR CLASS NOTES:

A new position, relocation, baby, publication, marriage? We want to hear from you. Send your update via the alumni website at or email it to

›› Compassionate Migration and

Regional Policy in the Americas

Spring 2017 19

Nonprofit U.S. Postage

PAID Middlebury, Vt. Permit #43

460 Pierce Street Monterey, CA 93940 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED

Leave a Legacy of Learning SHARE YOUR LOVE OF MEANINGFUL EDUCATION WITH FUTURE GENERATIONS Including the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in your estate plans is a simple way to support meaningful education and contribute to a more peaceful world. Build your legacy now by providing for the work of the Institute into the future. 866-496-6433