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ASU’s Future Security Forum looks to reimagine national security in the age of COVID-19

The four-day virtual event was co-hosted by New America, a Washington, D.C., think tank and ASU partner

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September 30, 2020

Although virtual this year, Arizona State University and New America on Sept. 21-24 co-hosted the sixth annual Future Security Forum, which focused on the pressing national security threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Future Security Forum is one of the signature events of the Future of War project — an ASU and New America partnership that analyzes emerging global threats, new technological applications and the changing nature of warfare in an increasingly interconnected world.

“We are in the midst of a pandemic that really forces us to rethink our definition of national security,” said Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of New America and Distinguished Professor of Practice at ASU’s Thunderbird School of Management, in her remarks opening the forum. “Almost a million people have died worldwide from a virus that only arrived in the United States at the beginning of this year, and has already killed more Americans than all wars since the Korean War combined. Events like these, hinge events, change the way people understand the world, and their concept of what both leaders and institutions must do to keep our country secure. This forum will explore those questions at a critical time.”

“The Future Security Forum is an outgrowth of a long-standing partnership between ASU, the nation’s largest public research university, and New America, a think-and action-tank based in Washington, D.C., that has been leading an effort to design and build a new kind of civic platform for engagement,” said James O’Brien, senior vice president of University Affairs and chief of staff to ASU President Michael Crow.

“The partnership between ASU and New America is particularly important because it reflects the very spirit of ASU as a public research university,” O’Brien told the conference in his remarks opening the second day’s agenda. “The questions that guide so much of our work at ASU are showcased during the forum, such as: How do we find more partners? How do we engage more people? How do we take the expertise, power and energy of our students and faculty and marry it with new ideas and new approaches to solving problems, in areas like conflict and war?”

Top policymakers, practitioners from government and the private sector and members of academia, including many ASU experts, convened during the four-day virtual forum to analyze and debate the most pressing global security issues of the 21st century, ranging from the many effects of the coronavirus pandemic to disinformation, artificial intelligence, political violence and Sino-American relations.

The Future of War partnership led to the creation of ASU’s Master of the Arts in Global Security, an interdisciplinary, online program that trains students to critically engage global conflict and international security issues in a comprehensive manner to aid professional advancement in military, government and private-sector careers. More than 160 students are currently enrolled in the program.

“I think there could be no time more important than this one, before a presidential election and the middle of a global pandemic, to take on these issues and find ways to address them, and bring new energy to the resolution of conflict in innovative ways,” said O’Brien.

Top photo by Pixabay 

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