MIT Global Studies and Languages (GSL) is a hub for international languages and cultural studies within the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (SHASS) at MIT. Babel newsletter brings you GSL news and events.


  • Javier Barroso was named in September as Project Leader/Advisor for the Spanish section of the University of Kansas’ Open Language Resource Center, one of only sixteen federally-funded National Foreign Language Resource Centers working to increase the nation’s capacity to teach and learn foreign languages. Founded in 2018, the OLRC focuses on the creation of Open Educational Resources, broadly defined as teaching and learning materials provided to the public at no cost. He will be working with a consortium of teachers and academics from Stanford, the University of Kansas, and the University of Maryland, among others.
  • Nilma Dominique was appointed to the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA) Board of Directors and will serve starting January 2019 as the Portuguese Language Representative.
  • Hee-Jeong Jeong has become a certified ACTFL OPIc (Oral Proficiency Interview computer) rater.
  • Bettina Stoetzer received an honorary mention for the Junior Scholar Award by the Anthropology and Environment Society, a section of the American Anthropological Association.
  • Emma Teng was selected as the “Outstanding Humanities Scholar” by the Academia Sinica to deliver the humanities lecture in the Prospects in Science and Humanities Forum in Celebration of the 90th Anniversary of Academia Sinica on Nov. 13. She was also invited to deliver the Distinguished Wang Shih-lang Taiwan Studies lecture at National Taiwan University on Nov. 12.


Japanese language learners

The Japanese group, in collaboration with MISTI-Japan, hosted “Japan at MIT” on November 2. More than 50 students attended the event.  Rokuichiro Michii, Consul General of Japan in New England, brought words of support and encouragement to our students.  It was a wonderful event where all levels of students studying Japanese language and culture were mingled.

In other news, Brandon Perez, an advanced Japanese student at MIT, participated in the 18th Boston Japanese Speech Presentation at Wellesley College on November 3.  The title of his speech was, “A Shocking Event,” and he talked about how fragile our lives are using the metaphor of “the life of the cherry blossom.”

ACTFL conference

GSL was well-represented at the ACTFL Annual Convention and World Languages Expo November 14-16 in New Orleans. The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) is an individual membership organization of more than 12,500 language educators. Among the GSL participants was Javier Barroso, who gave an electronic-poster presentation titled “Acceso: Integrate an Open Educational Resource into Your Classroom.” Tong Chen chaired a panel and gave a presentation entitled “Re-introducing Translation in CFL Teaching and Learning.” Margarita Ribas Groeger, gave a talk titled “Beyond Words: Digital Storytelling Projects for Active Learning.” Min-Min Liang presented “Power of Image: Visible Thinking and Deep Learning in Mandarin Classrooms.” Min-Min is secretary of the Heritage Language Special Interest Group of ACTFL, and convened a meeting of that group at the convention.

…and more conferences presentations and talks

  • Javier Barroso was the keynote speaker at the annual Cena a las Seis event on October 27. He also gave the closing remarks at The Standard induction ceremony in October. The Standard is a program designed to holistically support the academic, personal, and professional success of MIT’s undergraduate men of color. First-year students apply and remain with the program until graduation.
  • Jane Dunphy coordinated and hosted a two-day visit (Nov. 7 and 8) with faculty from Imperial College London who want to learn about, with the hope to adopt, aspects of ELS’s administration and instruction of academic English/professional communication.  The guests met with members of the ELS group, observed classes, and learned about the history, philosophy and methods of the group in the GSL/MIT context.
  • Haohsiang Liao gave an online webinar titled “From Quantity to Quality: Pedagogical Advancements in Chinese Language Online Education,” at the National Council of Associations of Chinese Language Schools on November 11, 2018. He is also invited to co-chair the Academic Committee of the Fifth International Conference for Chinese Heritage Education in Baltimore, Maryland on August 3-4, 2019.
  • Bruno Perreau gave a talk, “Queering Intrasectionality,” to the Gender and sexuality program at Northeastern University, on November 1.
  • Bettina Stoetzer gave a talk November 16, titled “The Feral Lives of Urban Infrastructure” at a Panel on “Infrastructure, Environment and Life in the Anthropocene” at the American Anthropological Association Meetings in San Jose, CA.

Mindfulness and Medicine – March 8 – Hold the date!

Sister Dang Nghiem will speak on  “Mindfulness and Medicine” on Thursday, March 8, 2019. Sister Dang Nghiem is a monastic disciple of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and the author of two books Healing: A Woman’s Journey from Doctor to Nun and Mindfulness As Medicine. Sister Dang Nghiem, joined by sister Truc Nghiem, will also be leading a meditation session the following morning, on Friday, March 8. This event is the second in a series of annual lectures that are part of the T.T. and W.F. Chao Distinguished Buddhist Lecture Series.  MORE INFO

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