This week, Arizona State University’s Center on the Future of War welcomed two ASU Future Security Fellows who are a part of New America’s Class of 2021 National Fellows. The highly competitive program, one of the signature programs of the Washington, D.C., think tank, selected 10 individuals out of nearly 400 applicants for the 2020–21 academic year.
For over more than two decades, the New America National Fellows program has supported established thought leaders and helped launch dozens of careers by supporting innovative journalists, scholars, filmmakers and others working on some of the world’s most pressing issues. The ASU Future Security Fellows are part of a six-year partnership between ASU and New America to explore the future of global security. This year’s ASU Future Security Fellows are Jennifer Daskal, an international law professor at American University who is writing a book about the challenges to rights and security posed by the digital revolution, and Yi-Ling Liu, who is researching how locals creatively navigate the boundaries of the Chinese internet.
In addition to working on their projects, ASU Future Security Fellows are also invested in the university, presenting public lectures as part of the Center on the Future of War Spring Speakers Series and mentoring the center’s research fellows, among other activities.
“The best part of the program for me is linking the ASU community with an exceptional array of top, creative thinkers,” said Daniel Rothenberg, co-director of the Center on the Future of War and a Senior Fellow at New America. “We also try, wherever possible, to integrate ASU Future Security Fellows at New America with our educational and outreach programming.”
One of those key events is the Future Security Forum, which will be held virtually this year from Sept. 21 to Sept. 24. Top policymakers, practitioners from government, the private sector and academia convene for the four-day forum to analyze and debate top global security issues. This year’s focus is reimagining national security in the age of COVID-19.
New America’s goal is to support its National Fellows three ways: through funding, community building and providing connections to beneficial platforms and partnerships — like ASU. As a result of ASU’s innovative partnership, two former fellows are now ASU faculty: Anand Gopal is an assistant research professor at the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and the Center on the Future of War, and Azmat Khan is a professor of practice in the School of Politics and Global Studies.
“There’s a deep and rich history of impassioned success that we’ve been able to support over the course of over 20 years now,” said Awista Ayub, director of the New America Fellows program. “Supporting smart, interesting, passionate people is in our DNA.”
Due to COVID-19 precautions, the National Fellows program will be slightly modified this year. Many of the events, like orientation and the much-anticipated cohort gatherings, are being hosted virtually. New America and ASU are committed to helping the National Fellows build a community from afar, ensuring they have the space and support to connect with colleagues who are like-minded, and who may be going through the same challenges.
“My goal is to ensure that their experience this year is no different from fellows in previous years,” Ayub said. “My hope is that by the end of the year they will still have felt like a community was formed and that they were able to benefit from the support that that community can provide them.”
Since 1999, New America has supported 235 National Fellows, resulting in many notable achievements:
- 124 books published.
- 13 New York Times bestsellers.
- 10 feature-length documentary films.
- One Pulitzer Prize winner; three finalists.
- Three MacArthur "Genius" Fellows.
This year’s National Fellows program runs from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31, 2021.