Tag Archives: MIIS News & Events

25 Years at the Middlebury Institute with Moyara Ruehsen

Moyara Ruehsen, Associate Professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, recently passed her 25-year mark of employment.  She overseers the Institute’s Financial Crimes Management program and is a well-respected expert in money laundering, terrorism and proliferation financing, and cyber-related financial crimes. Moyara took a few minutes from her busy schedule to share her thoughts of “Life at the Institute” over the past two and a half decades.

What did you do prior to coming to work at the Middlebury Institute and where were you located?

I was a post-doc at UC-Berkeley and an Adjunct Professor at MIIS.

What job titles have you held while working at the Middlebury Institute?

Assistant and Associate Professor

Take us back to your first year as an employee at MIIS. What were the most significant things happening in your life outside of work then?

Juggling a new baby, a new job, and new course preps!  Those were crazy times.  I have to give a lot of credit to Steve Baker for having enough confidence in me to hire this visibly pregnant woman with a May due date, who looked younger than her 30 years. I assured him that I would be ready to hit the ground running in August 1994, following in the footsteps of my mother, who famously took only one month off from her medical career to have both of her kids.  I was true to my word.  I never took any maternity leave the entire time I was at MIIS, timing both of my pregnancies to deliver in May so I would be ready to teach again by the end of August.

What are the most significant things happening in your life outside of work now (that you’d like to share)?

That “new baby” is now 25 and his younger sister is 22.  They are both successfully “launched” in their lives and careers, so this mama is a happy empty nester living her best life.

Have your interests/hobbies/athletic endeavors changed over the past 25 years? Have any of these been influenced by your work at MIIS or due to your association with others who work here?

Toastmasters was a hobby I picked up in 2009 with the idea that I might want to venture into politics someday.  Sitting through one too many City Council meetings and County Supervisor meetings quickly killed that inspiration, but the dedication to Toastmasters continued.  I have been able to bring those interests and skills into my classroom, encouraging students to pursue and deliver multimedia projects like narrated videos, podcasts, and pecha kucha-style summary presentations.

What is your fondest memory or experience that you’ve had while working at MIIS?

That’s easy.  The MIIS Follies.  I’ve probably contributed in some capacity (as an actor, dancer, MC, video director, sketch director, or script writer) to between 10 to 15 productions over the years.  I have tended to work behind the scenes in recent years, but it’s a labor of love that never gets old.

Many people change jobs/careers multiple times in their working life. Something must have kept you here for 25 years. Is it anything that you can put into words?

The students.  MIIS draws students who have the maturity and global perspective that’s often missing in an undergraduate institution, and they have such noble motivations.  I also appreciate that we are a professional school, first and foremost.  We are in the business of helping students launch into exciting careers where they are making a real, positive difference in the world.  I live vicariously through them and their exciting professional accomplishments.

What are your plans for the next 25 years? 

Getting a new online M.S. in Financial Crime Management launched.  But I’d like to think that it won’t take that long.

Do you have a favorite place on campus?

My cozy office.  But being in the classroom with my students is a close second.

Is there any person on campus (or retiree, former employer) that mentored you, or you feel helped you grow into your job, grow to enjoy your work and your time at the Institute?

Steve Baker and Amy Sands were excellent bosses and mentors, who helped encourage me and guide me whenever challenges arose.

If you could give one piece of advice to a new employee at MIIS, what would it be?

Volunteer to perform at the Follies!  If we can’t occasionally take time out to laugh together and at ourselves, then we’re doomed.

Anything else to add?

Thirty years ago I had the opportunity to sit down and talk for nearly an hour with the late Senator J. William Fulbright.  As I got up to leave he asked, “So are you going to go out there and make a difference?” I promised him that I would try. I would like to think that training the next generation of public policy professionals and financial crime management professionals is one way of doing that.

MIIS Staff Mark the End of the Academic Year

Middlebury Institute staff came together to celebrate the end of the academic year. The annual event brings staff together during a relatively quiet time of year to celebrate the hard work of the past 12 months. The event honored departing staff members for their service.

During the event, MIIS alumna, Lauri Pastrone, (MIIS BA in International Economics ’84) gave a short presentation on Peace by Piece International, an organization dedicated to sourcing socially conscious gifts.

During the event, each staff member received a card holder handmade from pineapple leaves.

Lauri shared fond memories of her time at the Institute, including visits to the 100 square foot snack stand affectionately called “The People’s House” that used to stand in the Holland Center courtyard.

New Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Requirement for CA Employees

As part of the 2018 Legislative Session, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 1343, which expands existing harassment training requirements.  The new regulation requires existing non-supervisory employees to undergo harassment training by January 1, 2020.  Specifically, SB 1343 requires employers with five or more employees to provide:

  • Two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all supervisors; and
  • One hour of sexual harassment prevention training to all non-supervisory employees.

The law requires that employees be trained during calendar year 2019. Employees who were trained in 2018 or before will need to be retrained. Under the regulations, the definition of “employee” includes full-time, part-time, and temporary employees. Both managerial and non-managerial employees must receive training by January 1, 2020. After January 1, 2020, employees must be retrained once every two years.

To meet our training obligations, we will enroll employees in the SafeColleges online training system beginning the week of July 15.  Employees will receive an email from SafeColleges which will provide them with a link to the site. The training can be completed at the employee’s own pace; however, employees will receive reminders until the training is completed.

Middlebury is committed to maintaining a campus environment free from discrimination and harassment and where people are treated with dignity, decency, and respect.  Participation in this training initiative will help ensure we live up to this obligation.

Inaugural Monterey Threat Financing Forum March 20-22

The Middlebury Institute Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism is hosting the Monterey Threat Financing Forum this March. The event will take place on the Monterey campus and feature experts from government, FinTech, and the finance industry. The event is geared towards professionals in the threat finance, sanctions, and anti-money laundering fields with 3-5 years of relevant work experience. Current graduate and undergraduate students are welcome to attend.

The Middlebury Institute’s Center on Terrorism, Extremism and Counterterrorism (CTEC) and its Financial Crime Management program are hosting the first Monterey Threat Financing Forum (MTFF), an ambitious international conference featuring government and private sector speakers in the field of counter-terrorism financing, counter-proliferation financing, threat financing investigations, and sanctions compliance. The conference will be held on the Institute’s Monterey campus on March 20-22.

“We’re excited to be hosting this inaugural event,” says Professor Moyara Ruehsen, director of the Financial Crime Management Certificate. “No other educational institution can match the Middlebury Institute’s curricular focus and expertise when it comes to threat financing. And thanks to our sponsors, we’re also excited to be able to provide this learning and networking opportunity to professionals in the field at minimal cost.”

“One of CTEC’s three core focus areas is threat finance and sanctions,” adds CTEC Director Jason Blazakis. “The discussion led by top notch experts in the area of sanctions and threat finance at the MTFF fits squarely within the CTEC mission.” Participants can earn 12 Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) credits by attending this conference.

Organizers announced this week that the keynote speaker will be Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the U.S. Department of the Treasury Andrea Gacki. OFAC is the federal agency charged with implementing and enforcing economic sanctions on behalf of the U.S. government. Before joining OFAC 10 years ago, Gacki spent eight years at the Department of Justice’s Civil Division in the Federal Programs Branch. She holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Participants can earn 12 Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) credits by attending this conference. Sessions will cover the latest sanctions evasion typologies, and how blockchain forensics can trace cryptocurrency transactions, supplemented by break-out workshops that offer the chance to analyze a fictitious terrorism financing case, trace the transnational workings of a real North Korean proliferation-financing operation, and learn how network analysis tools can aid investigators.

For the full agenda and more information about the conference visit the Monterey Threat Financing Forum website.

Staff Advisory Team Announces Spring Staff Meet-Up Schedule and Training Opportunties

MIIS staff are encouraged to save the date for these spring events. Please visit http://sites.miis.edu/staff for past meeting notes and more information.

Future Staff Meet-Ups (12-1pm in MG 102)

Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Project Management Workshop

Tuesday, January 15

10:30-12pm, CF 452

Sign up: go.miis.edu/projectmanagement

Oratory Now Workshop

Monday, February 4

10:30-12pm, Morse B106

Sign up: go.miis.edu/oratory (space is limited to 18 participants)

MIIS Community Surpasses Food Bank Donation Goal

The Middlebury Institute community collected 624 pounds of food for The Food Bank for Monterey County, whizzing by its 500 pound goal.

The campaign kicked-off with a presentation by Food Bank for Monterey County Executive Director Melissa Kendrick ’94 during the annual MIIS Staff Halloween party.

Naomi Braswell coordinated the effort and shared this message with faculty and staff:

“Simply put, if it wasn’t for our wonderful Staff and Faculty, we couldn’t and wouldn’t have made a dent in the much needed food donations. So thank you for supplying the can foods, dry foods and cash donations that we needed to make a difference in the lives of those who struggle with hunger, right here in our own County and local community. Your generosity will make an immediate difference in the lives of those that these donations feed and enable many to gather around their tables for a wholesome meal this holiday season in an atmosphere of dignity and respect!”

MIIS faculty and staff interested in volunteering at the Food Bank for Monterey County can contact:

Sandra Nunez at (831) 758-1523 | snunez@food4hungry.org
Stephanie Robles (831) 758-1523 | srobles@food4hungry.org

SAT November Meeting Notes and December 4 Save the Date

The Middlebury Institute Staff Advisory Team (SAT) would like to share the following updates:

1.) November Staff Meet-Up recording and notes are available on our blog.

2.) Save the date for our December 4 meeting from 12-1pm in MG 102. This meeting will feature presentations from Jeff Dayton-Johnson on our financial sustainability goals and Patricia Szasz on the new structure of Language and Professional Programs.

Learn more about SAT and other staff news in our monthly newsletters.