Guidelines for Hosting International Dignitaries


Guidelines for Hosting International Dignitaries1

MIT welcomes international visitors seeking meaningful dialogue and academic connections/collaborations with members of the MIT community. The Institute hosts a variety of visitors including government officials, university leaders, and distinguished professionals in various fields, and the stakes are particularly high for visits from international dignitaries. These often involve complicated issues of diplomacy, security, media coverage, coordination, and logistics. This document outlines important guidelines to ensure such “state visits” go smoothly for all involved.

The Office of the Associate Provost for International Activities (OAPIA) defines a “dignitary” as an incumbent head of state/government (visits by the partner/spouse of an incumbent head of state/government are also covered by these guidelines) or royalty.

Invitations

All members of the MIT community who are considering extending invitations to international dignitaries to visit campus or participate in an off-campus MIT event (e.g. conference) should first contact Jennifer Camacho, OAPIA’s Manager of External Relations (camachoj@mit.edu). This initial consultation with OAPIA is required before an invitation may be extended to a dignitary. Please try to allow at least a 4-week lead time.

OAPIA will coordinate internal vetting of the request, with a focus on the background questions outlined in the attached form, and additional advice and assistance may be provided for issuing such invitations and planning the subsequent visit.

Visits by other high-level international guests (e.g. cabinet officials, university leadership) may be managed directly by schools, DLC’s, student groups, etc.. However, we encourage faculty, staff, and students who are preparing such invitations to plan with us in advance if their international visitor may draw elevated interest – including potential attention from non-governmental organizations, local government entities, and media. In such cases, we encourage you to reach out to Jennifer Camacho.

Please note: If the involvement of the MIT President is requested for a visit by an international government or academic official, it will be vetted by OAPIA, and if approved, Jennifer Camacho will work with the MIT host and the President’s office on next steps. If the President’s participation is not deemed appropriate or he is not available, OAPIA will work with the MIT host to identify an alternative (if necessary).

Media

The MIT host, in collaboration with their local DLC communications officer, will be responsible for coordinating traveling press and other media (if applicable). Any official filming or outside media attendance and coverage should be discussed in advance with the Office of the Vice President for Communications. Contacts: Steve Bradt, Executive Director of the News Office (sbradt@mit.edu), and Kimberly Allen, Director of Media Relations (allenkc@mit.edu).

Security

MIT’s Executive Protection Unit should be notified of the planned visit. Secret Service and/or State Department protection may be required for the visiting dignitary. MIT Police will coordinate security needs with local, state, and/or federal law enforcement partners. Any internal security costs associated with the visit will be the responsibility of the MIT host. Contact: MIT Police Sergeant Mary Beth Riley (mbriley@mit.edu)

Students

For student organizations seeking to invite an international dignitary to an event, including for a conference or speaking engagement, it is imperative that – before you issue the invitation – you contact Leah Flynn Gallant, Associate Dean for Student Leadership and Engagement (laflynn@mit.edu). Leah will then coordinate directly with Jennifer Camacho.

 

1 These guidelines have been developed by the Office of the Associate Provost for International Activities in consultation with Institute Events, Division of Student Life, MIT Police, Office of the General Counsel, Office of the President, Office of the Vice President for Communications, MIT Sloan School of Management, and Resource Development

 

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