The Center is thrilled to announce that Evan Lieberman, Total Professor of Political Science and Contemporary Africa, will become faculty director of the MIT Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI), effective November 1, 2021. He succeeds Suzanne Berger, the Raphael Dorman-Helen Starbuck Professor of Political Science, who recently served as interim director. Berger was the founding director of MISTI and led the program from 1994-2011. Chappell Lawson, associate professor of political science, succeeded Berger in 2011 and directed the program for the next decade.
In this new role, Lieberman will continue to steer and nurture MIT’s international research and teaching opportunities for current students and into the future. MIT's primary international program, MISTI is a pioneer in “applied international studies”—a distinctively MIT concept.
MISTI helps MIT undergraduate and graduate students experience the world while advancing knowledge, tackling tough challenges, and preparing for lives of impact, service, and leadership in an interconnected global society.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to deepen my involvement with MISTI, a program that is so widely valued by MIT students and various stakeholders on campus and around the world. Although the pandemic continues to make international travel a challenge, the need for global learning and MISTI programs is as crucial as ever,” said Lieberman, who has served as the faculty director of the MISTI Africa Program since 2020.
A widely respected scholar, his award-winning work has focused on development and ethnic conflict in sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, he studies how social identities come to be politically salient and the consequences of identity politics for state-building, conflict, and human development. His next book, Until We Have Won Our Liberty: South Africa After Apartheid, will be published by Princeton University Press in May 2022.
Lieberman also co-founded the Global Diversity Lab, where he and colleagues study the relationship between human diversity, development, and dignity in the United States and around the world. He first travelled to France and to South Africa as an undergraduate at Princeton 1988-92. Prior to graduate school, he worked in international management consulting, traveling to more than ten countries in Asia, South America, and Asia. Before coming to MIT in 2014, he served as a professor and associate chair in the Department of Politics at Princeton University.
At MIT, Evan has also worked extensively with digital learning in the content of civil rights and global connections; he developed an illuminating edX course, “Democracy and Development in Contemporary Africa,” using on-location interviews with various African politicians, civil society leaders, and scholars, many conducted by MIT students.
“We at CIS are very pleased to welcome Professor Lieberman as he continues deepening the connection between MIT and its global mission. We very much appreciate his willingness to serve the Center, the School, and the Institute in this important way, and look forward to working with him as he guides MISTI to even greater prominence as the nation’s leading program of applied international studies,” said Richard Samuels, Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of the MIT Center for International Studies.
MISTI is MIT’s pioneering international education program and is part of the Center for International Studies within the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. For almost 40 years, MISTI has pioneered international education at MIT. MISTI works across departments, centers, and labs throughout the Institute to enable immersive, impactful learning experiences and research opportunities for students and faculty alike.