Tech and Geopolitics: DCA Global Events Speaker Series Starts With Cybersecurity Expert

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The intersection of technology and geopolitics is the theme of five speakers in Darien Community Association’s latest Global Issues Speaker Series, starting today, Thursday. Two of the speakers will focus on China’s use of technology to influence the world.

The series begins Thursday, Jan. 11 with a talk by Josephine Wolff, a professor of cybersecurity policy.

an announcement from Darien Community Association

Ticket buyers may attend in person at the DCA or virtually, online.  All lectures are followed by a Q&A session with the expert.

Here are descriptions of the lecturers and the theme of each talk:

THURSDAY, Jan. 11 – 10:00-11:30 a.m.

Josephine Wolff, Associate Professor of Cybersecurity Policy at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, “International Cyber Conflict: Past, Present, and Future.”

DCA Global Issues speaker series 2024

Contributed photo

Josephine Wolff

Josephine Wolff  has been at The Fletcher School at Tufts University since 2019. Her research interests include liability for cybersecurity incidents, international Internet governance, cyber-insurance, cybersecurity workforce development, and the economics of information security.

Her first book “You’ll See This Message When It Is Too Late: The Legal and Economic Aftermath of Cybersecurity Breaches” was published by MIT Press in 2018.

Her second book “Cyberinsurance Policy: Rethinking Risk in an Age of Ransomware, Computer Fraud, Data Breaches, and Cyberattacks” was published by MIT Press in 2022.

Her writing on cybersecurity has also appeared in Slate, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Wired. Prior to joining Fletcher, she was an assistant professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a fellow at the New America Cybersecurity Initiative and Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

THURSDAY, Jan. 18 – 10:00-11:30 a.m.

Zack Cooper DCA Global Issues speaker series 2024

Zack Cooper

Zack Cooper, Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), “How Technology is Changing the Face of War.”

Cooper studies U.S. strategy and alliances in Asia. He is also a lecturer at Princeton University, a partner with Armitage International, and co-host of the Net Assessment podcast for War on the Rocks.

Dr. Cooper previously served on staff at the U.S. National Security Council and Department of Defense.

He is completing a book about the rise and fall of great militaries, which examines the changing role of technology on warfare.

TUESDAY, Jan. 23 – 10:00-11:30 a.m.

Paul Scharre, Executive Vice President and Director of Studies at Center for A New American Security (CNAS), “Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.”

Scharre is the award-winning author of Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. His first book, Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War, won the 2019 Colby Award, was named one of Bill Gates’ top five books of 2018, and was named by The Economist one of the top five books to understand modern warfare. TIME magazine named him in 2023 as one of the “100 most influential people in AI.”

Paul Scharre DCA Global Issues speaker series 2024

Paul Sharre

Scharre previously worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) where he played a leading role in establishing policies on unmanned and autonomous systems and emerging weapons technologies. He led the Department of Defense (DoD) working group that drafted DoD Directive 3000.09, establishing the department’s policies on autonomy in weapon systems.

He also led DoD efforts to establish policies on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance programs and directed energy technologies. Scharre was involved in the drafting of policy guidance in the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, and secretary-level planning guidance.

Prior to joining OSD, Scharre served as a special operations reconnaissance team leader in the Army’s 3rd Ranger Battalion and completed multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a graduate of the Army’s Airborne, Ranger, and Sniper Schools and Honor Graduate of the 75th Ranger Regiment’s Ranger Indoctrination Program.

Scharre has published articles in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, TIME, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Politico, and USA Today, and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, and the BBC.

He has testified before the House and Senate Armed Services Committees and has presented at the United Nations, NATO, the Pentagon, the CIA, and other national security venues. He holds a PhD in war studies from King’s College London and an MA in political economy and public policy and a BS in physics from Washington University in St. Louis.

THURSDAY, 2/1 – 10:00-11:30 a.m.

Sarah Cook, Senior Advisor for China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan at Freedom House, “Beijing’s Global Media Influence: Key Trends, Emerging Tactics and Their Implications.”

Sarah Cook DCA Global Issues speaker series 2024

Sarah Cook

Cook previously served as Research Director for China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, in which capacity she directed the China Media Bulletin, a monthly digest in English and Chinese providing news and analysis on media freedom developments related to China.

She is also the author or co-author of five special reports about China: Beijing’s Global Media Influence (2022), Beijing’s Global Megaphone (2020), The Battle for China’s Spirit (2017), The Politburo’s Predicament (2015), and The Long Shadow of Chinese Censorship (2013). Her comments and writings have appeared on CNN, The Wall Street JournalForeign Policy, and the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

Before joining Freedom House, Ms. Cook co-edited the English translation of A China More Just, a memoir by prominent rights attorney Gao Zhisheng, and was twice a delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva for an NGO working on religious freedom in China.

She received a B.A. in International Relations from Pomona College and as a Marshall Scholar, completed Master’s degrees in Politics and International Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

Feb 7 (Evening): ‘U.S.–China Relations & The Geopolitics of Data Flows’

WEDNESDAY, Feb.7: 7:30 reception, 8-9:30 p.m. Tickets for the evening event are sold separately from the series.

Samm Sacks is a Senior Fellow with the Yale Law School Paul Tsai China Center and New America. She is writing a book (University of Chicago Press) on U.S.-China relations and geopolitics of data privacy and cross-border data flows. Her research examines China’s information and communications technology (ICT) policies, focusing on China’s cybersecurity legal framework, the U.S.-China technology relationship, and data governance.

Previously, Sacks launched the industrial cyber business for Siemens in Asia and worked as an analyst and Chinese linguist with the U.S. government. She also led China technology analysis for the political risk consulting firm Eurasia Group.

She has published in outlets including, The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, MIT Tech Review, among others. She testifies regularly before Congress on China’s technology and cyber policies. She is widely cited in media including New York Times, Politico, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post and has appeared in TV and radio including NPR, Bloomberg, CNBC, and MSNBC.

A former Fulbright scholar in Beijing, Sacks reads and speaks Mandarin. She received her AB in Comparative Literature/Literary Translation (Chinese) from Brown University and MA from Yale University in International Security Studies. Sacks also advises private clients navigating China’s evolving technology regulations and U.S.-China relations.

If You’re Going — or Attending Online …

Tickets for the evening speech are sold separately. Series tickets only include the morning events.

All morning events are in person at the DCA at 10 a.m. All attendees will receive a Zoom link the day before the event, regardless of attendance plans.

Recordings will be available for a limited time for paid attendees who are unable to attend in person or via Zoom. Please email to request a recording.

Register here for tickets to ALL FOUR talks in the morning series. (Series tickets only include the morning talks, not the final evening talk.) — members, $90; non-members, $120 

Register here for any of the SINGLE talks — members, $30; non-members, $40.

Register here for the EVENING TALK on Feb. 7 — members, $30; non-members, $40

About the Speaker Series

Every January since 1956, the DCA Global Issues Speaker Series, formerly known as the Academic Lecture Series, has brought topical issues in focus, offering attendees first-hand knowledge of pressing global issues.

In past years topics have been wide ranging and speakers have included government officials, journalists, scholars, and representatives from many research institutions. Past attendees have had the opportunity to hear, in person, the opinions of many experts including: Bonnie Glaser, Fiona Hill, Susan Thornton, Elizabeth Economy, Robin Wright, Evan Osnos, Richard Haass, Steve Coll and Ian Bremer, just to mention a few.

Each year, the Series features four morning lectures and one evening lecture that focus on a current geo-political “hot spot.”.


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