The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on September 16, 2022, in government custody sparked what is commonly referred to as the "hijab protests" but the uprising is about much more, including such themes as agency, women rights, human rights, democracy, political freedoms, due process and justice. This panel investigates how women are at the forefront of resistance to the "Resistance State" in the struggle for "normalcy."
Susan Akram is a Clinical Professor at the Boston University School of Law and the Director of the International Human Rights Clinic. Her research and publications focus on immigration, asylum, refugee, forced migration, and human and civil rights issues, with an interest in the Middle East, the Arab, and Muslim world. She is currently leading the "Refugees Revitalizing Emptied Spain" project, which would place refugees and asylum seekers in municipalities that are struggling to survive in the face of massive population loss, as young people move to larger cities in search of economic opportunities.
Immigration, Refugees, Asylum, and Humanitarian Crisis
During each academic year, the Committee sponsors a seminar series on international migration, The Myron Weiner Seminar Series on International Migration, held at MIT's Center for International Studies. The seminars explore factors affecting international population movements and their impact upon sending and receiving countries and relations among them.
Development, Migration, Displacement, and Mobility
Robert E.B. Lucas is Professor of Economics at Boston University. His research has focused largely, though not exclusively, on developing countries. Most of the contributions are empirical with a few theory papers, encompassing international and internal migration, employment and human resources, income distribution and inter-generational inequality, international trade and industry, sharecropping, and the environment. His publications include seven books, the most recent of which are Migration and Development: The Role for Development Aid (2019) and Crossing the Divide: Rural to Urban Migration in Developing Countries (2021).
Development, Migration, Governance, Urban, and Rural
Panel discussion with experts :: Part of the Myron Weiner Seminar Series on International Migration
Azra Akšamija, an artist and architectural historian, is Director and Founder of the MIT Future Heritage Lab (FHL) and Associate Professor in the MIT Department of Architecture and the Program in Art, Culture, and Technology.
Raafat Majzoub, an architect, artist, and writer, is Director of The Khan: The Arab Association for Prototyping Cultural Practices and Editor-in-Chief of the Dongola Architecture Series.
Melina Philippou, an architect and urbanist, is Program Director of the MIT Future Heritage Lab, founder of Trapezui: Marble Objecthoods and Associate at the Department of City Planning, Ministry of Interior in Cyprus.
John Tirman is the executive director and a principal research scientist at MIT's Center for International Studies. Tirman is author, or coauthor and editor, of fourteen books on international affairs, including, Dream Chasers: Immigration and the American Backlash (MIT Press, 2015) and The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America’s Wars (Oxford University Press, 2011).
About the book, Design to Live: Everyday Inventions from a Refugee Camp:
The power of art and design to create a life worth living: designs, inventions, and artworks from the Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan.
This book shows how refugees use art and design to transform their living environments, restoring humanity within circumstances that seem aimed at depriving them of it. Featuring more than twenty projects created by Syrian refugees at the Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan, Design to Live offers a new way of understanding design as a subversive worldmaking practice and as tool for reclaiming agency in conditions of forced displacement. The projects—including a vertical garden, an arrangement necessitated by regulations that forbid planting on the ground; a front hall, fashioned to protect privacy; a baby swing, made from recycled school desks; and a chess set, carved from broomsticks—showcase the discrepancy between standardized humanitarian design and the real sociocultural needs of refugees.
Vladislav Zubok is professor of international history, with expertise on the Cold War, the Soviet Union, Stalinism, and Russia’s intellectual history in the 20th century. His most recent books are Collapse: The Fall of the Soviet Union (2021), The Idea of Russia: The Life and Work of Dmitry Likhachev (2017), Dmitry Likhachev. The Life and the Century (in Russian, 2016) A Failed Empire: the Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev (2007) and Zhivago’s Children: the Last Russian Intelligentsia (2009).
Carol Saivetz is a senior advisor in the MIT Security Studies Program. She is the author and contributing co-editor of books and articles on Soviet and now Russian foreign policy issues.
Elizabeth Wood is professor of history at MIT. She is the author most recently of Roots of Russia’s War in Ukraine. She is co-director of the MISTI MIT Russia Program, coordinator of Russian studies, and adviser to the Russian Language Program.
Cold War, Governance, Leadership, Conflict, and Empire
The main emphasis is the State's (mostly US, but some international angles) role in disaster management and the discrepancies between perception, legal frameworks, expectations and aspirations, as well as what that means moving into an anthropocenic era of more frequent, perhaps constant, crisis.
Governance, Leadership, Crisis Management, and Statehood
The fifth webinar in a seven-part series focused on various aspects of sustainable development in Africa.
Peris Nyaboe Bosire - co-founder of FarmDrive
Peris Bosire is passionate about inclusive financial systems and economic mobility. Her goal is to build meaningful technology platforms and digital financial services to drive capital where it’s needed most. She is a computer scientist with successful experience in using technology to innovate and distribute high-impact, scalable solutions.
Peris is the co-founder of FarmDrive, a technology company that applies data science and finance to build software that increases access to meaningful financial services. FarmDrive’s mission is to transform every smallholder farmer (SHF) and agriculture value chain SME in Africa into a sustainable and profitable business.
FarmDrive’s big bet is to increase the flow of capital to the agriculture sector in Africa, especially to smallholder farmers and SMEs working in the agriculture value chain.
Peris has led FarmDrive through exciting product rollouts and strategic partnerships. A notable achievement is a partnership with the largest telecommunication company in East Africa (Safaricom) to roll out DigiFarm, a neobank for farmers. FarmDrive’s work has led to a digital registry of over 1 million smallholder farmers in Kenya and unlocked a loan portfolio of over $40 million dollars so far in loans to farmers and small businesses across Kenya.
FarmDrive’s clients include but are not limited to mobile network operators such as Safaricom, commercial banks, micro-finance banks, saccos and cooperatives, non-bank financial service providers such as One Acre Fund, agricultural insurance providers and processors.
As the CEO of her venture, Peris spends her time implementing strategies to build a sustainable, transformative business that meets the needs and aspirations of clients and organizing the 1’s and 0’s to achieve this. She is a champion of financial inclusion and youth employment and has been supporting other entities such as The Mastercard Foundation to create inclusive youth engagement strategies for different countries in Africa.
Peris has a First Class Honours B.Sc. Computer Science degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. She is a 2023 Sloan School of Management MBA candidate.
Development, Governance, Leadership, and Regionalism
Taylor Fravel is Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science and Director of the MIT Security Studies Program (SSP). He studies international relations, with a focus on international security, China, and East Asia.
Eric Heginbotham is a principal research scientist at MIT’s Center for International Studies (CIS) and SSP. He is a specialist in Asian security issues. Before joining MIT, he was a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, where he led research projects on China, Japan, and regional security issues.
Ketian Vivian Zhang is an assistant professor of international Security in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. She studies rising powers, coercion, economic statecraft, and maritime disputes in international relations and social movements in comparative politics, with a regional focus on China and East Asia.
Ali Wyne is a senior analyst with Eurasia Group's Global Macro practice, where he focuses on US-China relations and great-power competition. He is the author of a forthcoming book, America's Great-Power Opportunity: Revitalizing US Foreign Policy to Meet the Challenges of Strategic Competition.
Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Hegemony, Strategic Competition, Rivalry, and Strategic Interests
China, Asia, North America, and United States of America
A book talk with Spencer Ackerman, national-security correspondent. A union of journalism and intellectual history, Reign of Terror is a pathbreaking and definitive book with the power to transform how America understands its national security policies and their catastrophic impact on its civic life.
Security, National Security, Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, Surveillance, Civil Rights, and Police State
Migrants are often considered to be ‘natural entrepreneurs’. This notion is based on a presumed inclination to take risks, an openness to new experiences, and a higher willingness to adapt than their local counterparts. Migrants found more businesses relative to the local population in many countries, despite facing additional challenges in the startup process. To support them in overcoming these challenges and to leverage their entrepreneurial potential, more and more organizations create targeted offers for this group of entrepreneurs — particularly in cities with vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems. Increasingly, these ‘newcomer entrepreneurs’ find that their particular needs are better recognised and taken into account. Despite this, it is still unclear which interventions actually work for which target group, and in which context. Which role do the different stakeholders and systemic mechanisms in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem play?
Economics, Entrepreneurship, Business, and Immigrants
Dmitry Gorenburg is a senior research scientist at CNA, where he has worked since 2000. Dr. Gorenburg is an associate at the Harvard University Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. His research interests include security issues in the former Soviet Union, Russian military reform, Russian foreign policy, and ethnic politics and identity.
Olga Oliker is the program director for Europe and Central Asia at the International Crisis Group. Her research interests include foreign and security policies of Russia, Ukraine, and the Central Asian and Caucasian successor states to the Soviet Union, domestic politics in these countries, US policy towards the region, and nuclear weapon strategy and arms control. She received her PhD from the MIT Department of Political Science.
Serhii Plokhii is the Mykhailo S. Hrushevs'kyi Professor of Ukrainian History and director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University. His research interests include the intellectual, cultural, and international history of Eastern Europe, with an emphasis on Ukraine.
Carol Saivetz is a senior advisor in the MIT Security Studies Program. She is a research associate at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute. Dr Saivetz is the author and contributing co-editor of books and articles on Soviet and now Russian foreign policy issues, including an assessment of the “reset,” Russian policies toward the other Soviet successor states, and current US-Russian relations.
Elizabeth Wood is professor of history at MIT. She is the author most recently of Roots of Russia’s War in Ukraine (Woodrow Wilson Center and Columbia University Press, 2016). She is co-director of the MIT Russia Program, coordinator of Russian studies, and adviser to the Russian Language Program.
Security, Defense Policy, War, Military Strategy, and Conflict
Working class women are using TikTok to express themselves. The app is also an avenue for fun or financial gain. Women across the region are using TikTok for activism, teaching, and learning. On this panel, academics, journalists, and activists from South Asia discuss how women have expanded their possibilities using TikTok, as well as the limitations the app poses.
Barry Posen is Ford International Professor of Political Science, MIT. His current research examines whether the diffusion of power away from the United States can best be understood as the emergence of a multipolar structure of power, and if so, how the United States should navigate this change. His most recent book is Restraint: A New Foundation for US Grand Strategy.
Security, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Conflict, and Rivalry
Russia, Europe, North America, and United States of America
Jimmy Carter’s one-term presidency is often labeled a failure; indeed, many Americans view Carter as the only ex-president to have used the White House as a stepping-stone to greater achievements. But in retrospect the Carter political odyssey is a rich and human story, marked by both formidable accomplishments and painful political adversity. In this deeply researched, brilliantly written account, Kai Bird expertly unfolds the Carter saga as a tragic tipping point in American history. Drawing on interviews with Carter and members of his administration and recently declassified documents on Israel, the Iranian revolution and the 1980 October Surprise, Bird delivers a profound, clear-eyed evaluation of a leader whose legacy has been deeply misunderstood.
Foreign Policy, Governance, Leadership, and Conflict
Navalny makes sense of this divisive character, revealing the contradictions of a man who is the second most important political figure in Russia—even when behind bars. In order to understand modern Russia, you need to understand Alexei Navalny.
Authoritarianism, Domestic Politics, Political Prisoners, and Opposition
Barry Posen, Ford International Professor of Political Science, MIT. He studies US grand strategy and national security policy. His most recent book is Restraint: A New Foundation for US Grand Strategy.
Juan Cole, Richard P Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History, University of Michigan. He is an expert on the modern Middle East, Muslim South Asia, and social and intellectual history. His most recent book is Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires.
Carol Saivetz, Senior Advisor, MIT Security Studies Program. She is an expert on Soviet and now Russian foreign policy issues; and on topics ranging from energy politics in the Caspian and Black Sea regions, questions of stability in Central Asia, to Russian policy toward Iran.
Vanda Felbab-Brown, Senior Fellow, Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology, Brookings. She is the director of the Initiative on Nonstate Armed Actors and the co-director of the Africa Security Initiative. She recently co-authored The fate of women’s rights in Afghanistan. She received her PhD from MIT.
Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Counter-terrorism, State Building, and Intervention
Afghanistan, Middle East, North America, and United States of America
What role has the international community played in Haiti’s struggle to achieve a stable constitutional and democratic order since the end of the Duvalier era in 1986 and the promulgation of the 1987 Constitution? In this Starr Forum, four leading experts on Haitian domestic and international politics discuss Haiti’s extended constitutional crisis and consider what steps (if any) the international community can take at the current time to help restore to Haitians a government that serves the needs of the vast majority.
Governance, Constitution, State Formation, and Political Crisis
Latin America, Caribbean, Haiti, and North America
On Friday, May 14, 20201, experts explored the current crisis, including: the historical and regional perspectives on resolution; the democratization and current protests; and the history and current situation of India and Burmese refugees.
Governance, Authoritarianism, Democracy, Refugee Crisis, and Humanitarian Crisis