• Tearing Up Trade Agreements Won’t Help Workers: A More Responsible Approach Just May

    Newport, R.I. – The current heated debate over international trade is the outcome of a flawed public policy and political framework.

    With growing public sentiment against trade and political leaders on both the left and right opposing international trade agreements, the United States needs a new approach to international trade that addresses the inequities many believe damage America’s national interest while preserving the good that trade does in the world.

    In a new report from the Pell Center at Salve Regina University, Karen Tramontano lays out an ambitious approach to trade.  Building on the “good” in recent trade pacts, Tramontano describes an approach with three critical elements: a more robust social safety net for American workers who lose their jobs due to trade; labor rights protections for American workers and for workers in trading partners to level the playing field; and integration of the benefits of trade into the discussion of foreign assistance.

    “This paper isn’t about the Trans-Pacific Partnership or NAFTA or any other trade deal that’s been negotiated,” said Tramontano.  “It’s about an approach to America’s role in the world and the vital economic and foreign policy tool that is trade,” she continued.  “In the current political environment, we need a new, holistic approach to trade in which everyone, including American workers, win.  Fortunately, such a framework is achievable by building on recent progress.”

    “The United States will never cease to be a trading power,” said Pell Center Executive Director Jim Ludes. “But the debate around foreign trade today harkens back to some imagined era of American economic independence that simply never existed,” he said.  “The policy framework Karen Tramontano presents here is an important step forward if we are to preserve America’s economic leadership.”

    Author Karen A. Tramontano is the Chief Executive Officer at Blue Star Strategies, LLC, an international government and public affairs firm that provides global corporations and foreign governments with results-oriented strategies.

    The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy is a think tank on the campus of Salve Regina University focused at the intersection of politics, policies, and ideas.

    Download the report here.

  • 2016-2017 Nuala Pell Leadership Program Fellows Reflect on D.C.

    The 2016-2017 cohort of Nuala Pell Leadership Fellows traveled to Washington, D.C. in October, 2017, to explore leadership. Evie O’Callaghan, a fellow in the program, shares her experience in the following blog post:

    Day One: Washington

    Early in the morning, on Sunday 16th October, fourteen bleary eyed Fellows gathered at Rodgers Rec, excited to take on a whirlwind trip to Washington D.C.! By lunchtime, we had our feet firmly on the ground in the US capital. There was great hustle and bustle between getting from the airport to the metro to the hotel, and we quickly took off again on foot to visit the newly opened National Museum of African American History & Culture on Constitution Avenue. It was an honor to visit a place of such importance to the African American community and it carries immense educational value. With interactive exhibits spanning multiple floors, one can learn about African American culture and history from the time of the colonists all the up to the present day. We considered how African Americans fought for change in their nation and strove for liberty and equality.

    After seeing the museum, we dispersed around the center of the capital and enjoyed a late lunch from the food trucks parked around the perimeter of the museum, enticed by the smells of spices and the melodies reminiscent of the mix of cultures present in the city that play over the sound of chatter and engines.

    That evening, we met for dinner at the beautiful Old Ebbitt Grill, and were joined by guests Tom Hughes, former Chief of Staff to Senator Pell, and Jay Ghazal, former legislative assistant and advisor to the Senator. They spoke fondly of the Senator and his wife, whose lives had been devoted to making the world a better place through leadership and an attitude of servitude. We aimed to gain a snapshot in to the political world of Senator and Nuala Pell and to see how leadership effects change in the capital and beyond.

    Day Two:

    Come morning, we were again ready to go and explore the big city! Our first appointment was at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a think tank that promotes peace through the development of new policies. Toby Dalton, Co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program and Saskia Brechenmacher, an associate of the Democracy and Rule of Law Program, took part in a question and answer session focused around their careers and the work done at the Carnegie Endowment. They spoke about how, in their jobs, they have the space to do a lot of research, to write, and to spread ideas.

    Next, we hopped on the metro to Union Station, then walked to the Capitol building. We were seated in the room in which the Senate Foreign Relations Committee meets, which is really exquisite, and those walls have seen many extremely influential figures, even the Dalai Lama. We met with the Rhode Island Chiefs of Staff for Congressmen Cicilline (Kristin Nicholson) and Langevin (Peter Karafotas) who talked about career paths on Capitol Hill, and made it clear to us that to get ahead on the Hill, you need to be prepared to work hard and not think that anything is below you.

    After a quick bite to eat, we went to Pennsylvania Avenue and met with Bernie McKay, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Intuit, a computer software company. He is also a trustee of Salve Regina University. He highlighted the value of critical thinking in a workplace, and even went as far as to say that it can outshine other skills, such as public speaking and charisma, that people might often associate with success. However, it is also vital to show humanity, as Mrs. Pell did, in her more subtle style of leadership, “soft diplomacy,” which can be even more effective than leading overtly.

    Our next destination was the Hart building, the location of Senator Reed’s Washington office, where we met with the Chiefs of Staff for Senators Reed (Neil Campbell) and Whitehouse (Sam Goodstein). They too spoke about their career paths, and taught us some of the fundamental attitudes that one must show to be part of the staff. For example, one must work hard as it is an honor to be there, one must have a team-oriented attitude, and must remember to be a strong negotiator, but not too strong as not to alienate people.

    We hopped on the metro from Union Station back to our hotel, and Elliot Maxwell, a Consultant and Trustee of Salve Regina, joined us to talk about digitalization and its benefits and drawbacks, as well as some of the gaps in the job market at the moment that will help to propel new discoveries in technology. The world needs big new ideas.

    After a fast-paced day in the capital, the Fellows headed in to the city to explore some of the sights, as for some, it was their first visit to Washington D.C. A few people had dinner at a well-regarded Chinese food restaurant, some people went to Dupont Circle, and others headed over to Georgetown on the metro and polished off some cupcakes.

    Day Three:

    On our last day in city, we knew it was going to be a good one! We watched the morning sun over the Potomac River before entering the Embassy of Liechtenstein to meet the gracious new Ambassador Kurt Jaeger. He gave us an insight into some of the wisdom that he has gathered over the years, as well as a brief overview of Liechtenstein and how it is similar to and differs from the US.  We learned that cultural norms are quite different and that some pieces of legislation were approved in Liechtenstein much later than in the US.

    Next, we were fortunate enough to visit the World Bank, a sprawling skyscraper of breathtaking capacity that does some very important work on a global scale. Its aim is to end poverty and is a lender of money to governments instead of individuals. Bayo Oyewole (Lead Partnership Specialist, IFC), Claudia Zambra Taibo (Consultant), Bledi Celiku (Economist), Adrienne Hathaway (Research Analyst), and Rebecca Gilsdorf (Communications) met with us to discuss some of the pathways to a career at the World Bank, some of the work that they have carried out, and some of the challenges they face every day as well as what makes the job so worthwhile. They explained that every project is meticulously researched, and is designed specifically to meet goals of the region, which might range from working to end hunger in one area of the planet to building a road in another. They opened the discussion to questions from the Fellows, and then, we had lunch at the large and diverse cafeteria.

    We then left to meet with Rear Admiral Barry Black, 62nd Chaplain of the US Senate. He gave a compelling presentation about how to ‘stupid proof’ one’s life. His background is inspirational; he had grown up in poverty, and had access to just one record, by a former Chaplain of the US Senate, which he learned verses verbatim, and can, to this day, recite. This showed us that with persistence, we can get to wherever we want to go in life.

    Wrapping up the day, we toured the Capitol building, including the Senate Chamber and the Press Gallery with John Mulligan, who was very informative and answered our questions very well. We saw terraced phone booths in the press office where people in days gone by would make their phone calls. The Senate Chamber was very grand and we learnt about where certain Senators would have sat.

    As a final destination before we went to the airport, we visited the National Portrait Gallery and admired the architecture while relaxing and mulling over all that we had seen and done on our swift trip.

    To sum up, there was a lot of value packed into two wonderful days of learning and discovery and it is a trip that none of the Fellows will ever forget. – Evie O’Callaghan, Marketing, England, United Kingdom


  • Pell Center Partners with ISACA-RI for Cybersecurity Event Series

    Newport, R.I. ­­­­­­­­­­- The Pell Center at Salve Regina University is partnering with the Rhode Island Chapter of ISACA to offer an additional series of in-depth cybersecurity workshops and seminars as part of the Rhode Island Corporate Cybersecurity Initiative (RICCI).

    ISACA is a trusted source of knowledge, standards, networking, and career development for information systems audit, assurance, security, risk, privacy, and governance professionals. The Pell Center’s RICCI initiative is designed to develop senior business leaders and decision makers who can affect change and make Rhode Island’s business community and critical industries safer, more resilient, and prepared to confront emerging threats.

    “We’re excited to announce this new partnership and continue to increase awareness of cyber risks among business leaders” said Francesca Spidalieri, Senior Fellow for Cyber Leadership at the Pell Center. “By partnering with ISACA-RI, the Pell Center is working to make Rhode Island more secure and resilient to cyber threats.”

    The first joint event, “Understanding Cyber Threats: From the Boardroom to the Workforce,” will take place on November 29 and will feature three renown experts in the field: Scott Baron, Chief Information Security Officer at Finance of America Holdings; Joe Provost, CEO of Syncstate; and Dan Gortze, Security Manager – SRC Incident Response & Forensics Consulting at SecureWorks. Mr. Baron will discuss the responsibility that corporate leaders have in understanding cyber risks inherent to their sector, building a team of trusted information security professionals, and developing a comprehensive security program that meets risk and governance requirements and strengthens the company’s overall cybersecurity posture. Mr. Provost will examine various case studies involving cybercrime and cyber-enabled attacks to better understand how the adversary may manipulate an organization’s system or computer network to infiltrate it, so that potential victims can develop stronger proactive measures to safeguard their digital assets. Mr. Gortze will delve into real-life scenarios where security technologies failed, and even worst cases where threat actors used an organizations’ own security technologies against them.

    For more on upcoming RICCI events, please click here.


  • Dr. Mark R. Jacobson joins Pell Center as Adjunct Senior Fellow

    Newport, R.I. – The Pell Center at Salve Regina University announces the addition of Mark R. Jacobson as an adjunct senior fellow. Dr. Jacobson has extensive experience in the federal government, international organizations, and academia working on some of the most complex and politically sensitive national security issues facing the United States. He is currently an advisor at Dūcō and a Professorial Lecturer at the Elliott School of International Affairs.

    “I’ve known Mark Jacobson for more than 15 years,” said Dr. Jim Ludes, executive director of the Pell Center. “His dedication to serving the United States—often in some of world’s most dangerous places—is a testament to his love of country. He’s a scholar, a soldier, and experienced public servant. We’re lucky to be able to work with him at the Pell Center.”

    Dr. Jacobson has held various roles in the U.S. government including as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense and Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy. From 2009-2011 Jacobson served in Kabul, Afghanistan as the Deputy NATO Representative and Deputy Political Advisor at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and in these roles advised Generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal on the international political dynamics of the mission.

    Earlier in his career Jacobson served at the Pentagon in multiple roles and was in his office on September 11, 2001 when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the wing where he worked. On Capitol Hill, Jacobson worked for Senator Carl Levin on the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee where he participated in the inquiry into the treatment and interrogation of detainees in U.S. custody.

    A combat veteran, his military service includes time as both an Army and Navy reservist including mobilizations to Bosnia in 1996 and to Afghanistan in 2006. As an academic Jacobson focuses on military history, the use of propaganda, and the use of history to better inform public policy and statecraft.

    Jacobson grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan and holds degrees from the University of Michigan, the King’s College, London and a Ph.D. in Military History from The Ohio State University.

  • We Know What a Fair Election Looks Like

    In a remarkable election season, with one candidate speaking frequently about voter fraud and “rigged” elections, we asked an experienced international election observer how we would know if the election was fair.  Here is his response.

    Standing amidst the rubble of war, a woman stood against a cold and bitter wind. I asked the woman why she stood patiently waiting in a line with hundreds of her neighbors. “I have waited ninety years to cast my vote,” she said with a smile. “I can wait just a little longer.”

    In the autumn of 2001, I had the privilege to be with this woman and thousands of others like, for the first parliamentary elections in war-torn Kosovo.  For decades, the people of this East European land had been ruled by kings and dictators, and occupied by Nazis and Communists. But at the dawn of a new century, with American help, they emerged from the shadow of genocidal war and put their faith in a future decided by free and fair elections.

    In the past quarter century I have had the honor to work alongside people in over a dozen countries on four continents to help advance the democratic process by holding free and fair elections.  Here at home I worked on a team that called in the U.S. Justice Department to push back against voter intimidation against African-Americans in East Texas. As a member of the National Association of Secretaries of State, I have stood with Republican and Democratic election officials to ensure that the integrity of our electoral system is respected and protected.

    That’s why I’ve taken claims that our election system is “rigged” very seriously.  Once faith in the integrity of the electoral system is undermined, the legitimacy of government is called into question. Democracy itself cannot long endure in such an environment.

    Fortunately, there are some internationally accepted guidelines that help us determine if an electoral system is “rigged.” First, there needs to be a legal framework that specifies the time, place and manner of holding elections.  We’ve got that—it’s in the U.S. Constitution along with fifty state constitutions and countless local regulations.

    Second, there should be universal and equal suffrage and non-discrimination when it comes to voter eligibility.  This has not always been the case in the United States. It could be said that elections in which African-Americans and women were denied the vote in the past were “rigged,” but, fortunately, that is no longer the case.

    Third, electoral management bodies should be formed that can hold and monitor the conduct of elections. In the United States, each of the fifty states separately controls conduct of the electoral process through their respective offices of the secretary of state. Today, the majority of these officers are, in fact, Republicans. All of these offices are staffed with career professionals. At the local level, tens of thousands of municipalities across the United States have town or city clerks or registrars of voters who administer elections and count ballots.

    Fourth, provision should be made for election observers to be present during the casting of ballots, as well as being present during tabulation of the ballots.  These duties are carried out by hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans at polling sites across the country. Thank them when you see them this November 8th.

    Working in places like Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, I have seen men and women literally put their lives on the line to organize and participate in elections. They did it because they believed democracy offered them a way forward. They saw it as a flawed system, but one with more hope than the one from which they emerged.

    Those who denigrate our own democracy with groundless claims not only insult the thousands of officials and hundreds of thousands of poll workers who make the system work, they risk undermining the faith that millions across the globe have placed in democracy as the best system to advance equality of opportunity and protect the rights of the individual and the dignity of all.

    By any measure, America’s electoral system is a wonder to behold, for on this Election Day, one of the most diverse populations on the planet will show the world—once again—that free people can govern themselves.


    Scott Bates is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina University. He is the former Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia and has worked on U.S. funded democracy assistance missions in over a dozen countries. Bates is a resident of Stonington, CT.




  • Podcast: Iskander Rehman

    The Pell Center’s newest Senior Fellow, Dr. Iskander Rehman, joins Executive Director Jim Ludes for a podcast discussing Dr. Rehman’s career, research interests, his work at the Pell Center, and more.


  • October 2016: “White House Chronicle: Story in the Public Square”

    This weekend, “White House Chronicle: Story in the Public Square” hosts G. Wayne Miller and Jim Ludes welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Adam Zyglis to the show.

    In this episode, Zyglis talks about a cartoonist’s unique form of storytelling and the wide range of topics he has covered in his dozen years of professional cartooning. He has tackled everything from national and international politics, to the environment, to sports, to domestic violence, to gun control and much more. Zyglis, 34, has been with The Buffalo News since 2004. His cartoons are internationally syndicated and have appeared in publications such as The Washington Post, USA Today, the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.img_4524

    Zyglis also discusses his own working-class origins, his early talent with art, and his years at Jesuit Canisius College, where he majored in computer science and embraced the Jesuit values that inform much of his work. Despite the country’s and planet’s many problems, Zyglis, a young father, feels a sense of optimism as he looks to the future.

    “As Jim and I explored our reach deeper into the many forms of public storytelling, we knew that editorial cartooning was a must-have topic for our show, and we could think of no one as distinguished as Adam who could best bring us that discussion,” said Visiting Fellow G. Wayne Miller, director of the Story in the Public Square program. “His Pulitzer speaks to the high caliber of his work — and his half hour walking us through it and editorial cartooning in general was completely compelling. With examples of his best work that viewers will see as he tells the story behind the story, this is definitely must-see TV!”

    “White House Chronicle” airs nationwide on some 200 PBS and public, educational and governmental (PEG) access stations; and worldwide on Voice of America Television and Radio. An audio version of the program airs four times every weekend on SiriusXM Radio’s popular POTUS (Politics of the United States), Channel 124: Saturdays at 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. ET, and Sundays at 1 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. ET.

    In Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts, the program airs Sundays at 11:30 a.m. on Rhode Island PBS, Digital 36.1, and other carriers; and 7 p.m. Sunday on PBS Learn, Digital 36.2, and other carriers.

    Story in the Public Square is a partnership of The Pell Center at Salve Regina University and the Providence Journal.

    Locally, the broadcast will be aired on Sunday, October 9, 2016 at 11:30 a.m. on Rhode Island PBS (WSBE).

    You can watch the episode here:


  • Books on a bookshelf, blurred background and sharp focus on the title "Toy Wars" by G. Wayne Miller.

    Pell Center Visiting Fellow G. Wayne Miller Will Co-Executive Produce “Toy Wars”

    Pell Center Visiting Fellow G. Wayne Miller will co-Executive Produce “Toy Wars,” a limited dramatic series for Amazon.  Based on Miller’s 1998 book “Toy Wars: The Epic Struggle Between G.I. Joe, Barbie and the Companies that Make Them,” the project brings together some of Hollywood’s best creative talent, including Josh Gad; Josh Schwartz; and Seth Gordon.

    “Toy Wars” tells the tale of G.I. Joe and Barbie, produced by Hasbro and Mattel, respectively. Miller spent years chronicling Hasbro’s efforts with G.I. Joe, acquisitions, attempted takeover by Mattel in 1996, and Hasbro’s milestone successes and failures.

    Hasbro, Inc. has been a pillar of Rhode Island since it was founded in 1923.  The company remains headquartered in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Pell Center Executive Director, Jim Ludes, and Miller co-hosted an episode of “Story in the Public Square” featuring an interview with Brian Goldner, Hasbro’s current CEO, chairman, and president. Click here to watch the episode.

    Ludes praised Miller’s success, saying, “Wayne Miller is a tremendously gifted storyteller whose accomplishments in so many different media—from his day-job with The Providence Journal, to his books, his documentaries, and our collaboration with Story in the Public Square—signal his exceptional talent and diverse skills.  We’re lucky to work with him and wish him every success in this new project.”

    Miller directs the Pell Center’s Story in the Public Square initiative and co-host’s the Center’s television show of the same name.

  • Image from a Fall 2016 Lecture on Pope Francis' encyclical.

    Fall 2016 Event Series Announced

    Today the Pell Center announced a wide array of events for fall 2016, encompassing topics ranging from the ethical challenges of new technologies to the history and legacy of slavery in New England. In addition, there are several events covering the 2016 presidential race. Tickets to Pell Center events are free. Please RSVP in advance for each event on the Pell Center’s Eventbrite page, as seating is limited to 100. Call 401-341-2927 with any questions or concerns. For more information, visit pellcenter.org or email pellcenter@salve.edu.

    Please note, all events this fall will take place at the Pell Center, Young Building, 518 Bellevue Ave, Newport RI 02840 and space is limited.


    Who Stole Conservatism?

    September 20, 2016, 7:00 p.m.

    Mario DiNunzio, Ph.D., Providence College

    Traditional conservatism was captured, distorted, and harnessed to the service of laissez faire capitalism. In the process classic conservatism virtually disappeared from the American political scene and remains largely absent.



    Debate Watch: Presidential Debate

    September 26, 2016, 8:30 p.m.

    Join the Pell Center staff and friends for a spirited discussion and to watch the first debate. We will survey the audience before and after the debate to see how opinions have changed.



    The Ethical Challenge of New Technologies

    October 5, 2016, 7:00 p.m.

    Lewis M. Duncan, Provost, U.S. Naval War College

    Humanity is on the verge of multiple new technological revolutions that will change how people work as well as the quality and length of their lives. Join us for a compelling discussion of the ethical and societal implications of these new technologies.



    Debate Watch: Presidential Debate

    October 19, 2016, 8:30 p.m.

    Join the Pell Center staff and friends for a spirited discussion and to watch the final debate. We will survey the audience before and after the debate to see how opinions have changed.



    Hacking the Election

    October 24, 2016, 7:00 p.m.


    • Shawn Henry, President, CrowdStrike
    • Sean Kanuck, former National Intelligence Officer Cyber Issues
    • B. David Mussington, Ph.D., Center for International Governance Innovation
    • Francesca Spidalieri, Pell Center
    • Brent Turner, Secretary, National Association of Voting Officials

    In recent years, state-sponsored hackers and proxies have breached targets from the White House to the State Department to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to the DNC, and attacks against electoral candidates and the parties they represent are likely to continue up until the presidential election in November and beyond. More troubling is the possibility that foreign governments may seek to manipulate election results directly or indirectly by affecting turnout, disrupting election sites, and ultimately undermining confidence in the US electoral system itself.

    As the United States moves towards the 2016 presidential election, how might recent hacks impact the outcome? What can be learned from the recent breaches of the OPM, DNC, and states’ voter registration databases?  Is the vulnerability of the US electoral system (including voter registration databases and voting machines) to cyber attack a real threat?  If so, how can those breaches be detected? And what can the US ultimately do to protect the integrity of its elections from hacks?

    A panel of distinguished experts will discuss these and other timely issues on the ability of the US government and local state jurisdictions to maintain the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of our most sensitive information systems and networks.



    Memorializing our Conflicted Past: Historic Preservation and Slavery in New England

    November 1, 2016, 7:00 p.m.


    • Brent Leggs, National Trust for Historic Preservation
    • Jon Marcoux, Ph.D., Salve Regina University
    • Joanne Pope Melish, Ph.D., University of Kentucky
    • Penny Outlaw, Royall House and Slave Quarters
    • Keith Stokes, 1696 Heritage Group

    The panel will address the following areas:

    • Historical Perspective on Slavery in New England- A brief outline of slavery in New England and its legacy
    • Preservation of slavery and post-emancipation sites and memorials – A discussion of the importance of preserving these historical places and presenting history to the public. What story or stories should be told through memorials? The debate over erasing the legacy of slavery… (Harvard, Yale, etc.)
    • History as a tool to start a dialogue about contemporary issues of race– How can we use historical sites and memorials to engage the entire community in a conversation by linking the past to the present?



    Now What? A Panel Discussion of the Election Results

    November 9, 2016, 7:00 p.m.


    • Karen Bordeleau, Retired Executive Editor and Senior Vice President, The Providence Journal
    • Robert Hackey, Ph.D., Providence College
    • Jim Ludes, Ph.D., Salve Regina University
    • Ted Nesi, Reporter, WPRI

    Elections can signal a public desire for change or a broad commitment to the status quo. One night after the American people select their next president, join a panel discussion of what comes next: from the mechanics of a presidential transition to the policy challenges facing the new president.



    Lessons for the Next President from America’s Wars of the 21st Century

    November 29, 2016, 7:00 p.m.

    Joseph Collins, Ph.D., National Defense University

    Professor Collins’s research effort began with two questions from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs: what were the costs and benefits of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and what were the strategic lessons from those conflicts. His presentation will cover the difficulty of learning from experience and then outline the strategic lessons derived from our experience in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those lessons will cover a number of subjects from civil-military interaction to unity of effort to the changing character of war. He will also discuss the costs and benefits of these conflicts, and their applicability of his research to the war against ISIS.




    Photography for Salve Regina Viewbook.


    Pell Center—Young Building

    Salve Regina University

    518 Bellevue Avenue (intersection of Ruggles Ave.)

    Newport, RI 02840

  • Title page of "Understanding Cyber Threats: Lessons from the Boardroom," a publication from the Pell Center

    Pell Center Releases New White Paper, “Understanding Cyber Threats: Lessons for the Boardroom”

    Newport, R.I. – Cyber risk is an underrated but all too real threat to organizations of every size, industry, and sector. From the boardroom to the server room, employees and board members must be aware of cyber risk and play an active role in the overall security posture of an organization operating in the digital age.

    In a newly released White Paper titled, “Understanding Cyber Threats: Lessons for the Boardroom,” Senior Fellow Francesca Spidalieri provides an overview of existing frameworks, toolkits, and other resources that organizations can consult to stay informed about cyber threats, develop and update comprehensive cyber risk management strategies, and learn about some of the best practices and effective mechanisms deployed in the field to combat cyber threats. Core to this paper is the notion that senior leaders can no longer treat cybersecurity as an isolated ‘IT problem’ best left to their IT department and must instead integrate cybersecurity front and center into their decision making process in a holistic and comprehensive manner.

    “Today, cyber risks affect all industries and all markets and can represent an existential threat – especially to smaller companies that have limited resources and have often built their business around one line of products or services,” said Spidalieri. “Modern boards and C-suite executives must view cybersecurity as an enterprise-wide risk issue, and develop sound strategies to protect their organizations’ sensitive information and digital investments. This requires them,” she continued, “to have a deep understanding of the cyber context in which they operate, the ability to make informed decisions based on cyber risk metrics and integrate them in the overall business process, and the willingness to ask tough questions when necessary.”

    The White Paper is based on content presented during an Executive Seminar for senior leaders and business managers hosted by the Pell Center and Bank of America Merrill Lynch in May 2016. Multiple subject-matter experts and practitioners participated to the event and shared lessons learned and best practices to prevent, manage, and mitigate some of the most pressing cybersecurity issues companies currently face.

    “It has become an unfortunate truism that there are only two types of organizations: those that have been hacked, and those that don’t yet know they have been hacked,” said Pell Center Executive Director Jim Ludes. “This White Paper clearly outlines practical steps senior leaders can take to respond to a dynamic and rapidly-evolving array of cyber threats.”

    “Understanding Cyber Threats: Lessons for the Boardroom” is part of the ongoing Cyber Leadership Project at the Pell Center and follows previous reports that investigate critical issues in cybersecurity leadership development across the United States.

    The White Paper is available for download here.

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