The fall semester for the 1st-year students of the International Dual Degree MA Program in Nonproliferation Studies is officially over. PIR Center is assessing the results

15.02.2021

MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 15, 2021. PIR PRESS. «We are holding our meeting in a unique historical moment as regards of developing arms control and nuclear nonproliferation regime. Agreement to extend New START without any additional terms was achieved by the presidents of Russia and the US. It means that the very tedious work for the future of strategic stability and global security is waiting for all of us, and it is touching upon both Russian and American experts in these fields», - Dr. Vladimir Orlov, Academic Advisor of the Dual Degree M.A. Program in Nonproliferation Studies from PIR Center.

On January 27, 1st-year students of the International Dual Degree M.A. Program «WMD Nonproliferation Studies, Nuclear Policy, and Global Security» closed exam session in Russia. In face of coronavirus pandemic, the dual degree program did manage to overcome all difficulties caused by flight cancellations, lockdown, and closed borders.

Since the establishment of the dual degree program in nonproliferation studies in 2016 1st-year students spent their 1st semester in Russia, attending courses at MGIMO and PIR Center. The educational process was traditionally characterized by the diversity of the curriculum and extra-curricular activities. For example, they studied theory and history of international relations, methodology of research, Russian foreign policy as well as an introduction to the nuclear nonproliferation regime, modern arms control and disarmament, international cooperation in peaceful use of nuclear energy and nuclear security, nuclear nonproliferation policy of Russia, regional challenges to WMD nonproliferation, security issues in cyberspace, etc. Besides students always visited Russian corporations, organizations, and authorities such as the MFA and the State Duma of the Russian Federation. The second and third semesters were held in the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS, USA). Finally, the last semester before graduation students devoted to an internship in international organizations (IAEA, UNODA, CTBTO, OPCW, etc.) or some national entities and finishing their research papers.

Educational process in 2020 was not an exception. During the 2020 fall semester 1st-year students of new 5th cohort took courses on non-traditional security threats, megatrends and global challenges, global security and international conflicts, strategic intelligence, methodology of international political research at MGIMO as well as on foreign security policy on nuclear nonproliferation of the Russian Federation, introduction to nuclear nonproliferation regime. The two last courses were organized by PIR Center.

Moreover, PIR Center organized some extra-curricular activities. On November 27, the II Timerbaev debate took place. During the event, students discussed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and its influence on global security. The debate was attended by reputable foreign experts such as Tariq Rauf, the former Head of the Verification and Security Policy Office at the IAEA, and Thomas Hajnoczi, the former Head of the Disarmament Department in Austrian MFA. They commented on the students’ arguments and gave them some practical recommendations to present and defend their positions in a more effective manner.

On December 11, PIR Center together with James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies held the online seminar «Russia-US Dialogue on Nuclear Nonproliferation: History and Looking to the Future» for the 1st and 2nd years students of the dual degree master program. Russian students presented the US views on current Russian nuclear policy when American students talked about views from Russia on US nuclear policy. All participants discussed recommendations to overcome misperceptions in relations between the two states. Summing up the seminar Academic Advisors from PIR Center and MIIS sides, Vladimir Orlov and William Potter, stressed the importance of preserving and encouraging the US-Russian dialogue on the expert-level.

On December 23, PIR Center organized an online meeting of the students of the dual degree program with Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Ryabkov. The discussion was held under Chatham House Rules and was devoted to current challenges in the spheres of strategic stability, arms control, and disarmament as well as Russian approaches to those issues.

The 1st semester is officially over. This year the exam on the course Foreign&Security Policy on Nuclear Nonproliferation of the Russian Federation was conducted in an untraditional way. Instead of pulling exam papers students presented their researches. Such a format let them find creative solution for passing the exam, express views in a freer manner and demonstrate skills of applied analysis of the nuclear nonproliferation issues. American students presented their research papers on Russian and French attitudes to nuclear arms control and Russian-French interaction in this sphere, as well as on Russian peaceful nuclear energy sector, its role in Russian foreign diplomacy and on international projects of Rosatom State Corporation. Russian students covered the problems of politicization of the IAEA safeguards, Russian attitudes to strategic stability and the prospects of Russian-American relations in the future.

Together with Vladimir Orlov Sergey Veselovsky, part-time Associate Professor at the Applied International Analysis Chair, MGIMO University, also participated as an examiner and instructor. «There are no failures, but no discounts», with those words Vladimir Orlov summed up the results of the 1st semester.

The courses within the 2nd (spring) semester are to be held remotely by the MIIS, but the 3rd semester will take place in-person at Monterey. So, in summer the 1st-year Russian students are planning to be on their way to California, the USA. Due to the principle of liberal arts students have opportunities to draw up individual program of education. Thus, they can choose such disciplines as introduction to terrorism, science and technology for nonproliferation and terrorism studies, CBRN terrorism, etc. Regarding 2nd-year students, during the spring semester they are going to have an internship and finish their research papers. Anyway, PIR Center does not withdraw from educational process till new cohort. 1st semester debriefing, organization of Midweek brainstorming sessions with invited experts and preparation to master thesis defense lie ahead.

The International Dual Degree Program «WMD Nonproliferation Studies, Nuclear Policy and Global Security» is the first international M.A. Program on WMD Nonproliferation. The Master's program is developed by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS), Moscow State Institute of International Relation (MGIMO), and PIR Center. For the more information on admissions, entry requirements and educational process do not hesitate to contact us via [email protected].

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