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MISTI selects two associate directors to help run program


Two new associate directors of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiative (MISTI) program at the Center for International Studies (CIS) have been named. The announcement was made by Professor Richard J. Samuels, director of the CIS, and Professor Suzanne Berger, MISTI director.

Patricia Gercik, managing director of the MIT Japan Program (the founding component of MISTI), and Bernd Widdig, a lecturer in foreign languages and literatures, were named to the posts in MISTI, which sends MIT students to China, India and Japan in Asia and Germany, Italy and France in Europe after preparing them at MIT in the language and culture of their host companies.

MISTI works closely with corporate sponsors, governmental agencies and private foundations, and also hosts meetings on issues pertinent to both students and sponsors.

Gercik and Widdig will coordinate the six MISTI country programs and ensure that students will be adequately prepared for the cultural differences they will confront in their host countries.

"Global education, the core of MISTI's mission, has never been more important to MIT and the nation. With two of our most dynamic colleagues on board as associate directors, we look forward to considerable growth and further development," Samuels said.

Widdig has taught German studies since 1989. His involvement in MISTI started in 1995 when he founded the MIT-Germany Program, which has sent more than 170 students to internships in German companies and research institutions.

As associate director, Widdig will coordinate the activities of the different country programs with a special focus on Europe, and help expand the educational structure which prepares students for the internships. He will also be involved in MISTI's fundraising projects, which are part of the Institute's capital campaign.

Widdig holds a Staatsexamen degree in political science and sociology from the University of Bonn and a Ph.D. in German studies from Stanford University. He is the author of numerous articles and two books on 20th-century German literature and culture, including "Culture and Inflation in Weimar Germany" (2000).


Gercik, who spent her first 20 years in Japan, is the author of "On Track with the Japanese," a collection of case studies illustrating her model for negotiating with the Japanese. She has been managing director of MIT Japan since the late 1980s and has led workshops on Japanese culture and negotiation practices at such companies as NEC, General Electric, IBM and Motorola.

Gercik's focus as MISTI associate director will be working with corporations improve their global initiatives through training, workshops, meetings and research on international issues. She will also develop train-ing materials to help students prepare for their time abroad, and will bring related cultural activities to MIT. She will continue to manage the Japan Program and will work with Widdig on developing additional MISTI programs.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 14, 2001.

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