Dual Degree MA Program in Nonproliferation Studies celebrates its 5th anniversary!

24.09.2021

MOSCOW, SEPTEMBER 24, 2021. PIR PRESS. «This is a unique opportunity at a time when there are so few channels for cooperation between the countries where you came from – the United States, France, Russia. In such areas as nonproliferation, disarmament and arms control, our countries have common interests that we can develop together, despite all political differences. You can contribute to maintaining the dialogue by using the knowledge acquired during the Program to formulate new approaches to solving acute global security problems. As a representative of Rossotrudnichestvo, I will also emphasize your potential role in the development of humanitarian cooperation and information support in the field of nonproliferation. You have a great responsibility. Good luck!», - Dmitry Polikanov, the Deputy Head of Rossotrudnichestvo.

Opening meetings were held in Moscow in order to welcome 6th cohort students and professors of the Dual Degree M.A. Program Global Security, Nuclear Policy and WMD Nonproliferation, developed jointly by MGIMO, Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS, USA) at Monterey and PIR Center.

2021 is a special year for the Dual Degree M.A. Program in Nonproliferation Studies: it has crossed the five-year milestone since the first cohort of students started studying there. Over the years, more than 40 people have received qualifications in the field of nonproliferation and global security, 4 cohorts of students from Spain, Ireland, Canada, China, Mexico, Russia, the United States, and the Republic of Korea have passed through the M.A. Program. Now our graduates are achieving great success and high results on the professional path. And the successful defense of master's theses and an active enrollment campaign prove that this initiative of the three educational centers has rightfully earned support and recognition not only in Russia, but also abroad.

On September 13, 6 cohorts - 11 students from Russia, the USA, Italy and France - started studying at the Program. The welcoming meeting was held within the walls of MGIMO, where Andrey Baykov, Vice-Rector for Science and Research and Dean of the School of International Relations made an opening speech. Pointing to the well-deserved success of the Program, he stressed its importance in the modern realities of bilateral relations between Russia and the United States, as well as against the background of acute global security challenges facing humanity. "As students of this Program, you have already entered the history of joint Russian-American initiatives in the field of education. The quality of your education directly determines how our countries will talk about strategic stability and security in the future. You will acquire unique competencies, join the circle of experts and professionals in this field, which will help you become highly qualified specialists. The Program combines the potential of MGIMO, MIIS and PIR Center, which in recent years has given a powerful impetus to the career growth of graduates of the Program," said Andrey Baykov.

Vladimir Orlov, Academic Advisor of the Dual Degree M.A. Program Global Security, Nuclear Policy, and WMD Nonproliferation, director of PIR Center, also addressed the students: "This year our program is celebrating its 5th anniversary. Much remains to be done, but it is also worth noting the path that we have traveled since the idea of bilateral cooperation in this area was first conceived and supported within the walls of MGIMO and MIIS. Today, we are working together on a better understanding of international security. This work is of great importance for the whole world. As well as the dialogue started by us and supported by the new generation of nonproliferation activists because very soon they will sit down at the real negotiating table. And perhaps they will decide the fate of the whole world." At the end of the official part, Adlan Margoev, a graduate of the 1st cohort of the Program (2016-2018) and a member of the PIR Alumni Community, who currently works as an analyst at the MGIMO Institute of International Studies, shared his tips and recommendations with the students.

Later, the students got acquainted with PIR Center, its activities and professors of the Dual Degree M.A. Program in Nonproliferation Studies. This year, students will study the author's courses of PIR Center Director Vladimir Orlov and PIR Center Advisory Board member Alexey Ubeev. The professors told the students about the content of the curriculum: for a semester in Russia, they will be given a course on introduction to the nuclear nonproliferation regime, Russian foreign policy in the field of nuclear nonproliferation, as well as peaceful nuclear energy and nuclear security. Lieutenant-General (Retired), Chairman of PIR Center Executive Board Evgeny Buzhinskiy, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (ret.), Associate Professor of the Department of International Law of MGIMO, Member of PIR Center Advisory Board Mikhail Lysenko, General Director of the IUEC Gleb Efremov also took part in the meeting with 6th cohort students.

The special guest of the evening was the Deputy Head of Rossotrudnichestvo Dmitry Polikanov. He addressed the students, assessing the value of the program from the point of view of a practitioner in international relations: «This is a unique opportunity at a time when there are so few channels for cooperation between the countries where you came from – the United States, France, Russia. In such areas as nonproliferation, disarmament and arms control, our countries have common interests that we can develop together, despite all political differences. You can contribute to maintaining the dialogue by using the knowledge acquired during the Program to formulate new approaches to solving acute global security problems. As a representative of Rossotrudnichestvo, I will also emphasize your potential role in the development of humanitarian cooperation and information support in the field of nonproliferation. You have a great responsibility. Good luck!»

Albert Zulkharneev, Advisor to Director of PIR Center, who was at the origins of the Dual Degree M.A. Program in Nonproliferation Studies, thanks to his "creativity", the first contours of the future program were born, also addressed novice nonproliferation specialists: "Today, the master's degree is not just a training program, it is a core around which an "ecosystem" of scientific research, cooperation with the largest decision-making centers in the field of nonproliferation, platforms for constant discussion about the most pressing problems of global security has been created. Five years of the Program, four cohorts and more than 40 graduates, most of whom work in their "specialty" around the world. Students are involved in international scientific projects.  More than one report was published, which was attended by students, and now PIR Center is preparing a book, half of the authors of which are graduates of the Program, and the other half are outstanding scientists and diplomats. And this book is also the result of a large international scientific project, in which young scientists took an active part. It is remarkable that this year the Program is developing, despite all the circumstances – students from abroad were able to arrive in Moscow in time for the start of their studies. I am pleasantly surprised that this year, together with the guys from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Vladivostok, graduates of the world's best universities with research experience at MIT, the universities of Colorado, Leiden, San Paulo, Rome and other interesting places have entered the Program. This is a model of what a master's degree should look like, many people are thinking about how to come to this. PIR Center, MGIMO and MIIS did it. It is important not to stop and do everything to solve the problems of security and nonproliferation."

During the evening, students of the 6th cohort from Russia, the USA, Italy and France told about themselves, wishing each other a successful academic semester in Moscow. Later, some of them spoke warmly about the initiative of PIR Center to gather students and teachers at the first informal meeting. "Participation in this program combined several of my great desires: to study at MGIMO, to study in the United States and, most importantly, to build a career in the field of nuclear nonproliferation. I feel literally inspired! I thank PIR Center, MGIMO and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies for this opportunity! I would also like to mention the welcome dinner organized by the PIR Center. It is always very valuable to communicate in a friendly atmosphere with those who already have a high status in the field of nonproliferation, and whose works I study myself," Galina Salnikova, a student of the 6th cohort (2021-2023) of the Dual Degree M.A. Program. Rebecca Pantani, a student of the Master's Program who came from Italy, also noted: "The opening meeting was a wonderful experience and the beginning of our journey. The speeches of Professor Orlov and other guests of PIR Center were inspiring, and I really can't wait to delve into our research! I look forward to expanding my understanding of nonproliferation issues from Italy's point of view and studying US-Russia relations in more detail both here at MGIMO and later at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies".

Thanks to the efforts of the PIR Center staff, a friendly atmosphere was created, which was also facilitated by the participation of graduates of the Dual Degree M.A. Program in Nonproliferation Studies of previous years. So, according to the graduate of the 4th cohort of the Program (2019-2021), Collin Patrick McDowell, "It was great to meet with the next generation of students at the very beginning of their unique experience in the master's Program." "I am sure that such events are very useful for all participants - students and those who have recently graduated, they help to join the environment of masters of their craft; for teachers, this is an opportunity to meet with young people in an informal setting, to assess the potential of the younger generation. In addition, the meeting was truly multinational, and I have no doubt that the soft power tool will bear fruit in this case," Inna Rodina, an alumnus of the 4th cohort (2019-2021) and currently international training specialist at the Technical Academy of Rosatom, said.

Vladislav Chernavskikh, a graduate of the 3rd cohort (2018-2020), and currently Research Associate in Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS), shared his impression: "I congratulate PIR Center, MGIMO and James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) on the successful launch of the next cycle of the unique Dual Degree M.A. Program, and the students of the 6th cohort on the beginning of their first academic year.  It is incredibly pleasant to see that the Program, thanks to which my professional path in the field of nuclear nonproliferation began, continues to attract young talents, forming a new generation of Russian and American experts." Alumnus of the 4th cohort (2019-2021) Allison Anne Owen, who currently works as a Research Analyst at RUSI, Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies, said: "I am very impressed with the new cohort of students and their experience that they will bring to the development of the Dual Degree M.A. Program in Nonproliferation Studies. Each of them has unique abilities, and it was very interesting to learn about what they have already been able to achieve. These guys will really contribute to the study of nonproliferation problems." Another graduate of the Dual Degree M.A. Program (2016-2018), now a Research Associate at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Noah Mayhew, also shared with the 6th cohort his vision of the value of the Program: "I would like to congratulate the new cohort of students who have entered this important Program, which unites young specialists from Russia and the United States within the framework of a joint educational initiative in the field of nuclear nonproliferation. I advise you to pause sometimes, take a breath and rethink what is happening around you. The best specialists and the most up-to-date information in the field of nuclear nonproliferation and Russian-American relations are always available to you during the training, so that you can make the most of this experience. This program can be a powerful start for your career, but only if you are ready to work seriously."

The combined format of the meeting made it possible to connect representatives of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies to it, who managed to raise their virtual glasses with the guests in the hall, which did not prevent them from achieving the main goal of the event – to establish a live contact between scientific mentors and students. The future mentors of the students from Monterey addressed them with warm greetings. "It was very pleasant to participate virtually in the opening event for new students of the Dual Degree M.A. Program in Nonproliferation Studies. They are an amazing group of students, and I look forward to working with them when they arrive in Monterey. They embody our hope for future Russian-American cooperation in the field of nonproliferation," William Potter, Director of James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, said noting the importance of further development of the Dual Degree M.A. Program through the joint efforts of students and teachers and wishing the first-year students a successful semester at MGIMO. The students were also able to meet via video call with Professor and Program Chair of Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) Dr. Jeffrey W. Knopf: «As chair of the M.A. Program in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies in Monterey, it was a pleasure to be able to join over Zoom the welcome session for the new cohort of students who are beginning the Dual-Degree Program between MIIS, MGIMO and PIR Center. And it was exciting to see that students are again able to attend in person in Moscow. The eleven new students have very strong backgrounds. I am confident that they will do well. We hope they enjoy their time in Moscow, and we look forward to when they will arrive in Monterey next January».

The meeting was moderated by PIR Center Education & Training Program Coordinator Elena Karnaukhova, who supervises the interaction with students on behalf of PIR Center. During her speech, Elena noted: “The Dual Degree M.A. Program in Nonproliferation Studies is truly unique. Three leading world educational centers - MGIMO, MIIS and PIR Center - have managed to combine highly qualified specialists, ambitious students, as well as many years of experience in education and training activities of our countries, Russia and the United States, in the field of nuclear nonproliferation and global security. I strongly believe that an exciting journey full of discoveries and challenges awaits our students».

 

We congratulate the students of the 6th cohort on the beginning of their studies on the Dual Degree MA Program Global Security, Nuclear Policy and WMD Nonproliferation and wish them great success!

 

For all questions related to the Dual Degree MA Program in Nonproliferation Studies, please contact PIR Center Educational & Training Program Coordinator Elena Karnaukhova by e-mail [email protected].

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