This April, the Middlebury Institute of International Studies became the first graduate school to be named a Fair Trade University. Over the course of this academic year, students have been working to complete a fair trade campaign for the Institute. This process entailed increasing the number of fair trade products for sale on campus, integrating fair trade dialogues into the classroom, and creating a resolution about the Institute’s commitment to fair trade that is passed through the administration. This process has brought awareness of fair trade to the campus for current students, but the commitment of the administration represents a continued dedication to fair trade in years to come.
On April 14, a public forum took place at MIIS entitled “Setting the Course: California Leadership in the Age of Trump”. Three state government officials sat on the panel: Assemblymember Mark Stone, State Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird and the State Senator Bill Monning, who was previously a faculty member at the Institute. The Forum addressed the discrepancies between state and federal views on climate change and the responsibility of the state government to stand strong on environmental issues under the current administration. Alongside environmental issues, the panel addressed social issues such as California’s high incarceration rate. Panelists reminded attendees that no issue is isolated, and drew immigration policy and economic opportunities into the discussion of climate change.
Nonproliferation experts at MIIS have played critical roles in media coverage of North Korea’s nuclear program over the past few weeks. Recent tests of weapons as well as a military parade in honor of the nation’s founding leader on April 15 have heightened international coverage of the country’s nuclear program, and a variety of experts from MIIS’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies have been sought out as resources as national and international media sources work to analyze news and images related to North Korea’s nuclear program.
The United Nations’ annual translation contest awarded two out of its six 2016 student prizes to students of the Middlebury Institute on April 21. Shuai Wang won the student prize in the Chinese category, and Amy Mendenhall won the student prize in the English category, translating from Spanish. Shuai and Amy are studying translation and localized management and conference interpretation, respectively.
The Institute is one of 23 international institutions that have signed memorandums of understanding with the UN, ensuring cooperation in training future language professionals for the UN’s language examinations. Membership in this network allows students at the Institute to submit to this annual St. Jerome Translation Contest, and students are competing with future professionals in the fields of translation and interpretation across the globe.
The Middlebury Institute stretched earth day into earth week this April, with events ranging from April 17 up until the 27th. The week began with an invitation for students to sign a no-plastic-pledge for the week as the Ocean Club brought students’ attention to our impact on the oceans. Events featured complimentary fair trade coffee, tea, and cookies as the Institute seeks to integrate more fair trade products into the school’s events. The week featured trivia, an earth day fair, and a vegan tour of whole foods. Over the weekend, students attended a Volunteer Day at the Big Sur Land Trust and a climate summit hosted at the Institute. This 10-day earth week event perpetuated the excitement on campus over the Institute’s recognition as a fair trade university earlier in the month and raised students’ awareness of further positive impacts they can have on our community and the environment.