Student Council ELECTIONS 2009-2010 Positions

Below are the responsibilities for the positions on Student Council. Nominations will be accepted through The Foghorn from March 30 – April 10. (Yes, you can nominate yourself). Nominee speeches will take place on April 16 from 12 pm – 1 pm on April 16 at the Samson Center. The election will take place from April 16 – April 24. Finally, winners will be announced on April 24 at 6 pm at Happy Hour at the Samson Center. Nominations accepted on Doodle.

The President shall have the general responsibility for coordinating the activities of the Student Council and for directing and publicizing the affairs of the Student Association. S/he shall preside at all Student Council meetings. The President shall be the lead representative of the Student Association in dealings with Monterey Institute’s faculty and staff, and with the community. S/he shall be the officially appointed student representative at meetings of the Monterey Institute Boards of Trustees.


The Treasurer shall be the custodian of the Student Association’s funds. S/he shall keep all financial records, disburse funds, and present monthly and annual accounts of financial status of the Student Association to the Student Council and the Student Association. The Treasurer shall chair the Budget Committee and has the power to disburse otherwise unallocated amounts no larger than $250 a month upon the unanimous approval of the Executive Officers, but must report any such allocations at the next Student Council meeting. S/he is also the signing officer of all Student Council’s budgetary expenses and reimbursements. S/he shall preside at Student Council meetings in the absence of the President and Vice-President.

Program Representatives
Program Representatives shall provide leadership by representing their Programs on the Student Council and coordinating various projects and activities within their Programs that will further the purpose of Student Council (see Article IV of the Constitution). They shall represent the Student Council members of their respective Programs in meetings with the Academic Deans of the Monterey Institute. Program Representatives shall present monthly and annual accounts of their activities to the Student Council and the Student Association. They shall also assist the other Officers in the administration of the Student Association.

CI (Conference Interpretation)

IEP (International Environmental Policy)

IPS (International Policy Studies)

MBA (International Business)

MPA (Public Administration)

TESOL/TFL (Teaching English to Students of Other Languages)

T & I (Translation & Interpretation)

T/TLM (Translation & Localization Management)

Nominations accepted on Doodle.

For more information on Student Council positions or to read the Student Council Constitution, visit the Student Council First Class conference. Further questions can be directed to Addi Matthews (2nd Year MPA Rep), Luniya Msuku (1st Year IPS Rep) or Ashley Arrocha, Director of Student Affairs.


Mary O` Brien of Seagate Talks on Export Compliance

By Damon Shulenberger

On Friday, March 22 Mary O`Brien, Trade Compliance Manager at Seagate Technology in Scotts Valley spoke at a Trade Club lunchtime discussion on the issue of export compliance. 

Working currently in the private sector, O`Brien has had a long career in government. Starting in the Social Security Administration, she had minimal exposure to trade issues during her first dozen years in Washington. She said one of the benefits of a government job is that it is relatively easy to switch departments and she was able to successfully apply for a job at the Commerce Department in export compliance. 

One of the things O`Brien enjoyed about working in that field was the ability it afforded her for travel to places like Russia, India, Pakistan and Yemen. For example, she travelled to inspect a Pakistani scientific institute because there was a proposed export to the facility where Pakistan developed its nuclear weapons.  She recalled driving through a dry brown landscape to the facility and remarking on a couple of hills that seemed strangely green. As they drove closer these turned out to be anti-aircraft weapons arrayed on the hills to protect the facility from aerial attack.

After returning to Washington in 2001, O`Brien became an export control officer for the Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) in the Commerce Department. The FCS runs commercial offices around the world out of US embassies.  O`Brien recommends the FCS as a stop on a career in international trade because one gets to learn a lot about how a region`s trade operates.  When O`Brien was in the UAE with Commerce, her job was 50% Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and 50% FCS work. Because FCS is involved in trade promotion and BIS in trade security, O`brien sometimes found herself “walking a fine line.” On the FCS side she often worked with US companies looking to expand their opportunities into the UAE, particularly because the UAE has a lot of money,  they “love the newest toys” and they have Iran directly across the Strait of Hormuz. While Iran is the UAE`s largest non-oil trading partner they clearly have some significant security concerns.  

The FCS is concerned about numerous front companies in the UAE that divert high technology goods imported from the US to Iran.  In her two years in the UAE O`Brien visited in excess of 200 companies, targeting companies that had applied for a US export license; for example if a US company wanted to send them sensitive (non-munition) products––a machine tool or a mass-spectrometer––they needed to go through a FCS screening beforehand.  O`Brien also inspected companies after products had been shipped, making sure the products were being used for their stated purposes. She would ask the company, “Okay, show me the product and show me where you are going to use it.” Or–– “if you don`t have it, whose got it?” O`Brien categorized about 30% of the companies she inspected as “not being on the up and up”. She recalled one company trying to set up an elaborate wood-working facility in order to justify ordering machine tools: “There wasn`t even sawdust on the floor––the company had gone someplace and bought some pre-finished carved doors and some blanks. Those were sitting in there, and they had a big long lathe and some Pakistani workers using the lathe, but it was nowhere near a functioning enterprise.”  O`Brien guessed the intended destination of the products to be a third country and their export license application was turned down. 

If companies are deemed to be untrustworthy they are put on the Commerce Department`s “unverified” list which is a list of companies that haven`t cooperated with US checks. There are about 13 companies on that list specifically because they would not cooperate with O`Brien or because she found they had sent product to Iran. 

After leaving the UAE O`Brien went back to the US and started looking at private sector employment opportunities.  She found there to be many companies out there that had trade compliance departments and could use her expertise, from weapons makers to auto companies. She finally decided to go with GE`s jet engines department, which is heavily regulated by the Department of State. While Commerce has jurisdiction over the export of commercial and dual-use technologies, State has jurisdiction over munitions. Working with GE she developed an appreciation of the hurdles companies have to go through to get an export license from the State Department.  

Take a situation in which a company such as GE wants to set up a joint venture with a French company using the advantages of both companies to develop a fighter jet engine.  First, they have to obtain permission from State to share enough technical information in the negotiations to even come to a contract. Then, after signing the contract, they have to get a technical assistance agreement that allows the GE people to consult with the French people on whether the engine is being built to specs. They also have to get a manufacturing licensing agreement which allows GE to provide certain information to the French company so that the French company can manufacture the contracted parts.  On top of that, they need State Department licenses in order to physically send goods from the US to France in order make the engine. For one transaction that`s four licenses–– pages and pages of documentation that can take 6-8 months to process. Further, if the French company hires Polish workers, one part of the technical assistance agreement needs to be drafted to cover the transfer of technical knowledge to those non-French workers. This is why O`Brien believes that companies that fall under the jurisdiction of State Department export regulations offer attractive places to work in terms of job security.  However, she found dealing with all the licenses frustrating and overwhelming––it is one of the reasons she now resides at Seagate.

Companies whose products fall under the jurisdiction of Commerce export compliance licenses have a much easier time of it than those whose products fall under State jurisdiction.  Many Commerce regulated products don`t require license––in the past 18 months since O`brien started working at Seagate only two items have required export licenses. 

Seagate does have to worry about whether exports are going to “bad” places. As it expands its business model to international direct sales Seagate has had to carefully screen customers to make sure they aren`t diverting product to countries like Iran.  This is because, as in the case with exports to the UAE, Commerce non-license rules apply only to trade with friendly countries.

There are also some possible military application issues O`Brien must deal with in her position.  Seagate makes a line of ruggedized hard drives designed to withstand heavy impacts in cars. The ruggedized hard drives have a possible dual military use in artillery vehicles. The rule is, as long as the same model of hard drive that is sold for commercial purposes is utilized militarily, it falls under Commerce jurisdiction. Modifications to these drives for military customers are problematic because as soon as you make a modification for any military entity it is subject to cumbersome International Trafficking and Arms regulations (ITAR)––i.e. State Department jurisdiction. 

In closing her informative presentation, Ms. O`Brien gave attendees specific job-hunting advice for the private sector and  pointed out that although she prefers the living in California, Washington DC offers so many opportunities in trade compliance generally that it`s a very worthwhile place to make a stop for a few years.

What would you do if you could do it all again?

The Foghorn Investigates

By Maureen Daniel-Fura

What would you do if you could it all again? After asking myself the same question in my chapter two, task seven in the Artists Way workbook by Julia Cameron I set out to ask some of our MIIS community the same question. Their answers are fun and inspiring and shall I say a little unexpected. I hope their answers not only entertain but get you asking the same questions of yourself.


What I’m doing now…only from the start!

Max Perelman, Dual-Degree: MBA/ IEP
Continue reading

MIIS Students Found NGO:

One Less-Una Menos 

has proven itself as a Strong Human Trafficking Awareness Organization

Sheena Nayak, Alethia Jimenez, Michelle Gregory and Mindy Chiang

Alethia Jimenez, Sheena Nayak,  Michelle Gregory and Mindy Chiang

by Amy Beck

When I asked Mindy Chiang, one of the co-founders of One Less-Una Menos, about the most important lesson she has learned at MIIS, she told me that she learned not shy away from trying to do something big. And Mindy certainly has done something big. Along with four of her classmates, Mindy started an NGO, One Less-Una Menos, a human trafficking awareness organization. Mindy and the other founders, Alisha Ngyuen, Sheena Nayak, Michelle Gregory and Alethia Jimenez, were inspired to create One Less-Una Menos after their team project for their Data Analysis class. The project compared the degree of women’s empowerment to the incidence of human trafficking. They quickly found that there is not a lot of data on human trafficking, the main source being the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. One of their main conclusions was that, “the TIP report is not the most neutral take on Human Trafficking.”

So, they wanted to do something. Their first idea was to publish the paper and take it to a conference: get the word out and hopefully spark change. Instead, they took a longer, harder route: they founded One Less-Una Menos, to pursue the same goals.

One Less-Una Menos has already had a strong impact in its approximately yearlong life. Its mission is based on the Three Es: Educate the public about human trafficking; Empower victims; and Eradicate Human Trafficking. They partnered with university students and local government officials in Teluca, Mexico to hold a two-day awareness campaign.  Co-founder Alethia led the training program, focusing on education and human trafficking-related issues. The event was a success, and the local government invited One Less-Una Menos back to hold another awareness campaign. One Less-Una Menos is still looking for funding.

On MIIS’ campus, One LessUna Menos held a human trafficking awareness week in Fall 2008. The week-long campaign featured four main events. The first was a panel discussion with Sergeant John Vaneck, San Jose Policy Department Anti-Trafficking Task Force; Lynette Parker, J.D. Law Professor at Santa Clara University; Special Agent Alex Kosanetz, San Jose FBI; and Sister Sheila Novak, co-director of the Salvatorian Anti-Human Trafficking Project. The panel discussed what Human Trafficking is, the current reality of human trafficking in California, and what the government is doing about it.

The second event was a week-long campaign of letter writing to local congress people to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which guarantees funding for domestic and international awareness programs, promotes measures to prevent Human Trafficking, and mandates the annual TIP report. They are happy to report that the Act was reauthorized.


Alisha Ngyuen, Alethia Jimenez, and Michelle Gregory at the Letter Writing Campaign


The third event was a film screening of, “Trade,” a dramatization “inspired by Peter Landesman’s chilling NY Times Magazine story on the U.S. sex trade, “The Girls Next Door,” TRADE is a thrilling story of courage and a devastating expose of one of the world’s most heinous crimes.” The final event was a women’s self-defense class with a karate instructor.

Una Menos hopes to hold a project similar to the Mexico awareness campaign in India this year alongside the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in Kerela, India. This time, the workshop will have a more participatory approach. They will work with trafficking victims from Nepal and other neighboring countries into India to do a vulnerability assessment. Una Menos will analyze what the women need and write grant proposals for possible joint initiatives with SEWA.

They also plan to hold another Human Trafficking awareness week on campus. Raising awareness in the United States is one of their fundamental goals. They are currently in the process of applying for tax exemption to be a 501(3)(c) organization.

If you want to support One Less-Una Menos, Mindy and the other founders encourage you to attend their events. If you’re passionate about the cause, get involved! Do something! Tell your family and friends about Human Trafficking. Be part of the awareness campaign: help One Less-Una Menos spread the word one person at a time. If you want to know more about One Less-Una Menos, get involved or join them, contact Mindy (

New TLC Workshop this Friday