Public Lectures: NEWS

25.05.2018

Victor Pinchuk Foundation Held a Public Panel Discussion on Cybersecurity and Disinformation

On May 24, 2018, Victor Pinchuk Foundation held a public panel discussion «Cybersecurity and Disinformation in Ukraine and the West». General Keith Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency (2005-2014) and CEO and President of IronNet Cybersecurity; Jared Cohen, bestselling author, former advisor to two secretaries of state, and CEO of Jigsaw; and Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia (2006-2016) took part in the event. Anne Applebaum, expert on International Affairs, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, moderated the discussion.

More than 400 Ukrainian students, scholars, opinion-makers, and security issues experts as well as the recipients of Zavtra.UA and WorldWideStudies scholarship programs of the Victor Pinchuk Foundation took part in the event.

When opening the discussion, Anne Applebaum commented: “Ukraine plays a very important role in the world in the context of the development of techniques of warfare. Ukraine is a kind of Petri dish where the Russian government has tested various kinds of techniques and strategies, different forms of warfare, new ways of using cyber and disinformation campaigns… I see Ukrainians as the people who best understand the subject and who will come up in the future with the best solutions.”

Speaking of the need to join efforts together, General Keith Alexander stressed: “I think that part of the solution is talking and understanding the problem. We talk about cyber in a very disparate way. We see what kind of things is going on, but we do not see the larger campaign… It takes companies working together, companies and sectors working together with the government, and nations working together to solve this problem. It is not a problem that anyone of us can unilaterally solve. It can only be solved by working together… We have to solve those problems, because every country will be challenged… We have to solve that, not only for Ukraine, but for the rest of the world. But you will lead in that area, and help solve that problem.”

In support to this idea, Jared Cohen said: “I suspect that if I pick up the top 5 tech companies in the US and indentify the 15 smartest and most capable engineers in those companies, put them all in the room, they will not know as much about technology in the world as the people sitting in this room. The reason for that is that all that we see playing out today in Ukraine represents the future challenges that the internet is going to encounter at scale… Ukraine is the early warning theater for all we are going to see playing out in the rest of the internet… The experience that you have is really something unique that is happening here, and it empowers people in this country to tell the rest of the world what are the challenges on the rise that you are seeing today. Because what seems to the rest of us as a fringe of a problem, will become a mainstream problem.”

Toomas Hendrik Ilves underlined the importance of Ukraine’s sharing its experience in best efficient ways: “Ukraine has a lot to teach to all of us. We should study you and not be talking to you… You really need to get your message out. You want to get your stories out as much as possible, in languages that don’t require journalists who don’t speak Ukrainian to understand… Get the message out, so that it can be used in the West, because it is of intense use.”

This was the second public panel discussion on security issues organized by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in Ukraine. The first one was conducted in December 2017 featuring leading world experts: Ash Carter, U.S. Secretary of Defense (2015–2017), Wesley K. Clark, NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (1997-2000), and Jack Keane, Chairman of the Board, Institute for the Study of War.

The public panel discussions are held as a part of Public Lectures project launched in 2006 by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation. For over a decade, the Foundation has regularly invited leading thinkers, politicians and public figures to Ukraine to discuss challenges facing the world and Ukraine. By organizing opportunities for dialogue between world leaders and Ukrainian students, the Foundation has for a decade contributed to fostering a new generation of responsible leaders.

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