Status: Open

The Defense Of Master’s Theses Of Students Of The 5th Cohort Of The Dual Degree M.A. Program In Nonproliferation Studies Took Place

July 6, 2022

MOSCOW. JULY 6. PIR PRESS.  «I am in awe of how these students have navigated the turbulent waters of the present tension between the United States and Russia and the epidemic, while still delivering outstanding dissertations. I am confident they will succeed in their future endeavors», – Dr. Ferenc (Jacob) Dalnoki-Veress, Adjunct Professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, USA (MIIS).

On June 29, 2022, the final exam and the procedure for defending master’s theses were held for the students of the 5th cohort (2020-2022) of the International Dual Degree M.A. Program Global Security, Nuclear Policy and WMD Nonproliferation (implemented jointly by PIR Center, MGIMO University and Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, USA, MIIS). Students Sarah Erickson and Chase LeMay demonstrated a high level of preparation at the end of the two years of studying on the Program, successfully passing exams and defending their master’s theses. This year, students presented the results of their research on political and legal problems and prospects for preventing arms race in outer space (Sarah Erickson) and the phenomenon of low yield nuclear weapons as a threat to global strategic stability (Chase LeMay). Both students received positive feedback from scientificsupervisors and from members of the State Examination Commission, as evidenced by their excellent marks.

Preparation of the master’s theses of 5th cohort students was supervised from the Russian side by AssociateProfessor of International Law Department of MGIMO University, member of PIR Center Advisory Board Mikhail Lysenko and Associate Professor at the Applied International Analysis Chair of MGIMO University Sergey Veselovskiy. Mikhail Lysenko noted: “From my point of view, the defense was brilliant. Sarah has thoroughly studied the topic that is relevant to global security. She managed to analytically integrate almost all issues: background, international legal framework, national and doctrinal approaches, diplomatic initiatives within the topic. The freshdocuments of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) have been introduced into scientific circulation. In general, the focus of PIR Center on the problems of global security justifies itself ”.

Sergey Veselovskiy also highly appreciated the work of his student: “Chase LeMay took a rather unconventional and difficult topic for a master’s thesis – the role of low-yield nuclear weapons in ensuring strategic stability. Such topic is, for obvious reasons, classified, so one of the first problems that he  had to solve was the search for relevant academic publications. Despite my initial doubts about the possibility of writing master thesis on that topic , Chase successfully  implemented his research task, providing the  Commission with a truly original, somewhat innovative study, which, I hope, will be transformed into a full-fledged academic publication in the future”.

Oleg Ivanov, Doctor of Political Sciences, Professor of the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, acted as Chairman of the State Examination Commission. Among the members of the Commission were also Lieutenant-General (Retired), Ph.D. Military Sciences, Chairman of PIR Center Executive Board Evgeny Buzhinskiy, Associate Professor of International Law Department of MGIMO University, member of PIR Center Advisory Board Mikhail Lysenko, Associate Professor at the Applied International Analysis Chair  of MGIMO University Sergey Veselovskiy, Academic Advisor of the Dual Degree M.A. Program in the Nonproliferation Studies (MGIMO-MIIS-PIR Center), Professor of MGIMo University, Director and Founder of PIR Center Vladimir Orlov and member of PIR Center Advisory Board Alexey Ubeev.

Regarding  Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, USA (MIIS) Professor and Chair of the Program Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies Jeffrey Knopf and MIIS Adjunct Professor Dr. Ferenc (Jacob) Dalnoki-Veress helped students prepare their master thesis. Dr. Jeffrey Knopf noted : ”I am very proud of Sarah Erickson and Chase LeMay for successfully completing the Dual-Degree Program during a very challenging two years. These students began their studies at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when all classes had to be done online. They finished the Program at a time of exceptional stress in the US-Russia relationship. Both students wrote high-quality master’s theses and conducted themselves very professionally. The ability of MIIS, MGIMO, and PIR Center to continue to work together to see these students through to the completion of the Dual-Degree Program is a positive sign for the future. I wish Sarah and Chase every future success”, – Jeffrey Knopf comments on the results of the 5th cohort students of the Dual Degree M.A. Program in Nonproliferation Studies.

The students also expressed gratitude to their mentors for the successful results and common work. ” “I am proud to have defended my thesis research “Political and Legal Problems and Prospects for Preventing an Arms Race in Outer Space”. I want to thank my research supervisors, Dr. Mikhail Lysenko and Dr. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress for their expertise and guidance. I would also like to thank MGIMO, MIIS, PIR Center, and CNS for the opportunity to learn in a cross-cultural and diverse environment”, – Sarah Erickson shares her impressions. For his part, Chase LeMay noted:  “Thanks to the Program, it was possible not only to comprehensively study the problems of WMD nonproliferation, but also to open up promising opportunities for my career.  The teaching staff of the ”rogram includes brilliant experts. The classes I were able to attend provided me with invaluable knowledge and experience”.

“They have the will to win”, – Vladimir Orlov, Director of PIR Center, Academic Advisor of the Program, commented on the results of passing exams and defending master’s theses by the students of 5th  cohort. He stressed that the achievements of Sarah Erickson and Chase LeMay are particularly indicative taking into account that their studies took place during an acute period in international relations associated with the coronavirus pandemic, which did not allow students to come to study in Russia but did not prevent them from successfully mastering the specialty on the problems of nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and global security. “We congratulate the 5th  cohort students and hope that their example will prove that nothing is impossible for the International Dual Degree M.A. Program in Nonproliferation Studies (MGIMO-MIIS-PIR Center). Wishing success to our 2022 graduates, we are looking forward to meeting new students who will start studying at the program in the fall of 2022”, – says Elena Karnaukhova, PIR Center Education and Training Program Coordinator.

Meanwhile, PIR Center continues to accept applications for participation in the contest for a scholarship covering part of the tuition fee for the International Dual Degree M.A.  Program Global Security, Nuclear Policy and WMD Nonproliferation in 2022-2024. Detailed information about participation in the competition can be found here.

Questions regarding education process at the Dual Degree M.A. Program “Global Security, Nuclear Policy and WMD Nonproliferation” can be sent to