Author Archives: Carolyn Meyer

Middlebury graduate and undergraduate students explore the ‘China Dream’ through 2-week practicum

For two weeks, students from Middlebury Institute (MIIS) and Middlebury College, alongside Professors Yuwei Shi, Wei Lang, and Jessica Teets, traveled across China. They spoke with over 50 people, including graduate students, policymakers, researchers, members of the business community, social entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders. Through round-table discussions and lectures, the students attempted to answer the question – what is the “China Dream?”

The group included 13 Middlebury Institute students from the US and China representing five graduate degree programs (MA International Policy and Development, MA Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, MBA, MA Translation and Localization Management, and MA Translation and Interpretation) and five Middlebury College students representing three undergraduate degree programs (Philosophy, International Politics, and Economics).

The practicum began in the spring with an in-depth study of Chinese domestic politics, foreign policy, and social science research methods. Each student was encouraged to identify research topics they were particularly interested in exploring. The group landed first in Beijing, and visited several universities across the capital to engage with their Chinese peers in far-reaching discussions. They also met with representatives from the Foreign Affairs University and Microsoft China, and learned about subjects ranging from citizenship and patriotism in the digital space to China’s artificial intelligence development. To cap off their stay in the capital students attended a weekly press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and joined a round-table discussion with the manager of Investment Operations at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) Beijing, Dr. Ke Fang.

“Perspectives on Development.” Photo courtesy of Katharine Moody Wong, MPA/IEM ’19

From Beijing, the group traveled to Suzhou and Shanghai where they spoke with the dean of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics on innovation and entrepreneurship in China, received a tour of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, learned about nonprofit incubation and social investing at the Shanghai Non-Profit Incubator, and even visited New York University’s Shanghai campus.

Moving south, the students visited Kunming, capital of Yunnan province – which borders Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam – to study conservation efforts and China’s grand Belt and Road Initiative. After Kunming, the group finally arrived in Shenzhen– just across the bay from Hong Kong, in the Pearl River Delta – and received instruction from several nongovernmental organizations on urban planning, conservation and the intersection of technology and charity.

Like the archetypal “American Dream”, definitions of the China Dream differ depending on who you ask, as Professor Shi discovered.

“A key take-away was understanding the diversity in perception of the China Dream among the Chinese. We expected a more uniform talk, but people shared directly about how they are (or are not) thinking about the China Dream. Being on the ground and learning about the kinds of lives the speakers have lived helped us understand this diversity in perspective. You could not grasp this lesson in a classroom. We [the faculty] thought teaching about the China Dream by going to China was a better way to learn. I walked away thinking this is the only way you can learn about this topic.”

MiddCORE comes back to Monterey!

The award-winning 4-week MiddCORE program returns to Monterey this July with classes held at the downtown Middlebury Institute campus and participants residing at the beautiful Asilomar Conference Center, home to a breathtakingly gorgeous 107 acres of ecologically diverse beachfront land and a short walk from a monarch butterfly migration stopping ground. On July 3 Middlebury Institute Professor Shalini Gopalkrishnan joined mentors Christal Brown, and Erin Quinn for sessions on Networking, Leadership, and Financial Literacy.

MiddCORE is a mentor-driven, experiential-learning program that builds skills, creates opportunities, and expands networks for tomorrow’s leaders and innovators.

One person with an idea, even with a great idea, changes nothing. Visionaries succeed with leadership skills, communications skills, and entrepreneurial insights. Building those skills and insights is the CORE of MiddCORE.

The key to the MiddCORE experience is our mentors. Each has a proven record of accomplishment in their fields, and a demonstrated ability to teach others the tools for success. MiddCORE mentors develop hands-on challenges that inspire students to think creatively, operate outside their comfort zone, and deal with ambiguity. They help students build capacities, identify opportunities, and become effective leaders. Students leave confident, resourceful, and prepared to lead. (See our testimonials).

View the latest updates. #middCoreSum18

New ‘Magical Pinhole Photography’ Exhibit in Samson Reading Room

The Committee for Art in Public Places at MIIS will feature 10 images by photographer Martha Casanave starting July 19 in the Samson Center Reading Room.

Casanave’s work includes dreamy images of Leningrad in winter in 1988 using a pinhole camera (film camera with no lens) as well images of Monterey and the Central Coast of California. 

Those on the MIIS campus or in the area are invited to an opening reception from 4:15-7pm in the Samson Reading Room Thursday, July 19.

The exhibit will be in conjunction with a visit later that week from the former US Ambassador to the former Soviet Union 1987-1991, Jack Foust Matlock Jr.

For more information, contact Eduardo Fujii at or visit

Summer training on international development brings together College and Institute students and alumni

The Design, Partnering, Management and Innovation (DPMI) Program will bring together graduate students from the Middlebury Institute (MIIS), undergraduates from the College as well as alumni and current practitioners for two week trainings in Monterey and DC this summer. The two programs will include 36 current and aspiring international development professionals representing 11 nationalities including India, Japan, Germany, Uganda, Mozambique, the Dominican Republic, Liberia, Jamaica, Nepal, the Philippines and the US. The Monterey program includes five Middlebury College students and 16 Middlebury Institute students. The DC program includes eight Middlebury College participants, two alumni (one from the College and one from MIIS), and one Middlebury Institute graduate student.
The program immerses participants in the challenges of international development and social change learning while providing a set of tools preparing participants for positions in the international development sector. Faculty include Dr. Beryl Levinger, Chair of the Development Practice and Policy Program at the Middlebury Institute and Academic Director of the DPMI Program and Evan Bloom, founder and managing partner of Root Change, an international nonprofit focused on helping social innovators scale-up enduring solutions to social and economic problems.
The program in Monterey will take place between May 21-June 1 with an identical training offered at the Middlebury Center in DC  June 4-15. The program looks forward to again welcoming MIIS, Middlebury College, and alumni to the next program offering January 7-25, 2019 in Monterey. For more information contact Carolyn Meyer at or 831-647-6417.

MIIS CAPP Launches Three New Photo Exhibits with a Purpose

If you are based at our Monterey campus or visiting, we encourage you to check-out three new exhibits sponsored by the MIIS Committee on Art in Public Places.

The McCone atrium features the work of local photographer, Oliver Klink, and his exhibit on glacier ice melt “55 inches.” Klink’s work has been featured in National Geographic.

Thanks to a grant from PhotoWings, MIIS CAPP was able to continue to explore our connection to the local community with six metallic prints from the latest Middlebury Magazine. These photos are on display in the Holland Center.

The Casa Fuente’s largest classroom, 434, includes three small exhibits featuring the Monterey community including students in action completing an agriculture survey in Salinas as well as photos taken in our beloved Big Sur and on the Monterey Bay.

Learn more about these exhibits and our plans for a student art exhibit on the CAPP Projects Page.

MIIS CAPP is also excited to welcome our Middlebury College colleagues Pieter Broucke and Richard Saunders for a site visit and cross-campus collaboration plan in early 2019 thanks to One Middlebury funding.

New Students and the Community Photo Exhibit in Middlebury Institute Samson Center

Thanks to a 5,000 grant from PhotoWings, the Middlebury Institute Committee for Art in Public Places (CAPP) is proud to showcase a 10-story photo narrative following the local connections of our students. Photos show the friendships, volunteer and work experiences, as well as past times of MIIS students that connects them with people outside of the MIIS campus in the local and regional community.

The exhibit will be on display for approximately 1 year. A related exhibit will showcase other local connections and approaches that are part of the MIIS mission including the focus on sustainable community development practiced by the MIIS-alumni developed Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development and the Spanish Language course developed by Gabriel Guillen that led to Team Tandem connections between MIIS and South County native Spanish speakers. The photographer for the exhibit is TLM ’19 candidate, Hanqui Wang.

To learn more about the exhibit and the MIIS CAPP, visit