Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey


The Colloquium centers around the understanding of how our brains filter the world, deploy cognitive heuristics and biases, and the interplay between neurochemistry, perception, and decision-making.  


The World Bank’s Executive Directors believe that standard policy tools are not always effective; many remaining development challenges may require alternative understandings of human behavior; and recent findings from across the social sciences provide ideas for expanding policymakers’ toolkits based on these alternative understandings. 

This is creating new and unknown frontiers at the intersection of biology, chemistry, psychology, objectivity, analytics, data, and human behavior. Dan Kahnemann’s Thinking Fast, and Slow was a benchmark publication in the emerging, interdisciplinary field.  Beyond this Nobel Prize winner’s work is an important body of pracademics related to behavioral economics, behavior change communication, long-standing work on satisficing and mental models, and hard science research into brain chemistry which is troubling the distinctions between brain and mind.

Our Spring Colloquium 2016 will inquire into this new interdisciplinary arena, pursuing questions about how policy, programs, enterprises, and higher education itself needs to be rethought.

Course Information: Register via BannerWeb starting November 2016

Timing: February through May 2016

Location: TBD


2015 Colloquium: Commercializing Impact Investing 

Practical and inspiring perspectives focused on bridging the gap between commercial and impact investments. 

Impact Investment is investment made with the intention to generate measurable social, environmental and financial return. Impact investing deploys multiple sources of capital – private, philanthropic and public to address pressing global challenges. Impact investing has the potential to unlock significant sums of commercial capital, but challenges to the commercialization of impact investing remain significant. The struggle, however, may shed light on how capitalism as we know of today can and will be transformed and leveraged for maximizing welfare and wealth creation. This course engages students with thinkers and practitioners in the impact investing sector who will share their perspectives and experiences in bridging the gap between commercial and impact investments, and explore and envision a better future. 

2015 Featured Speakers 


Stephanie Rupp, CEO of Toniic

April 2, 2015

Stephanie has over a decade of experience in global impact investing, impact fund design and implementation, microfinance, and more recently in crowd funding. Stephanie served as an executive team member of Razoo, a crowd funding platform where she led business development. She spent five years with Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm, managing investments in debt, equity, LoC and grants for US, South Asia, West Africa and Latin America enterprises focused on property rights and microfinance. 

Follow Stephanie on twitter: @StephCohnRupp


Sonal Shah, Former White House Director of Social Innovations

April 9, 2015

Sonal is Professor of Practice and the founding Executive Director of the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation. Sonal, an economist and entrepreneur, has spent her career focused on actionable innovation in the public and private sectors. Most recently, she was the Deputy Assistant to the President and founding Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. 

Follow Sonal on twitter: @SonalRShah

Robert Rubinstein, CEO of TBLI (Triple Bottom Line International) 

April 16, 2015

Robert is a social entreprenuer and the founder and driving force behind TBLI (Triple Bottom Line Investing) Group, an organization that specializes in environmental, social and governance ESG and impact investing, using Triple Bottom Line principles. 

Follow Robert on twitter: @tbli

Cynthia Muller, Senior Director at Arabella Advisors

April 23, 2015

Cynthia leads Arabella Advisors impact investing practice. She has an extensive background in social enterprise and mission investing includes connecting public policy, programs, and capital for emerging social innovations to increase economic opportunities for under-served and marginalized communities.  

Follow Cynthia on twitter: @cynmull

Mike Lin, CEO of Fenix International

April 30, 2015

Mike is a serial entrepreneur who previously founded an award-winning design firm, and B.MIMIMA, an eco-solutions company. He has consulted for  Apple on climate change and environmental toxins and worked with Al Gore on the "Inconvenient Truth" presentation. Mike is a LEED accredited professional, a recipient of the EPA's People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) Award, Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award and BusinessWeek IDEA Award. Mike earned both his BS and MS in mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.

Follow Fenix International on Twitter: @fenixintl


Jenny Kassan, CEO Cutting Edge Capital

May 7, 2015

Jenny is CEO of Cutting Edge Capital, a sister business of Cutting Edge Counsel. She earned a masters degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley and earned her J.D. from Yale Law School.  She worked for eleven years at the Unity Council, a nonprofit community development corporation in Oakland, where she served as staff attorney and managed numerous community economic development projects. Click here to learn more about Jenny's tremendous and values-driven work. 

​Follow Cutting Edge Capital on Twitter: @cuttingedgecap


The Global Problems and Solutions Colloquium is hosted annually by the Institute’s Graduate School of International Policy and Management (GSIPM). The Colloquium is offered to graduate students across a variety of degree programs and offers an unambiguous demonstration of the Institute's instructional model for transformative professional education. The combined coursework and lecture series is designed to bridge theory to practice and prepare the world’s future leaders.