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The biggest global conference on cybersecurity for students

On May 31st, The Bridge launches its global “Cybersecurity Roadshow 2021-22”. The year-long program includes conferences and discussions between leading global experts and students on cybersecurity.

May 19, 2021 - New Eastern Europe - Events

Speakers for this global encounter with students include Ambassador Jürg Lauber, Chair of the Open Ended Working Group on Cybersecurity (OEWG) and a select group of special guests:

– General (Ret) Keith Alexander, former NSA Director / Commander of US Cyber Command during the Bush and Obama Administrations, Amazon Board Member, Founder and CEO of IronNet Cybersecurity;

– Bruce Schneier, Harvard Kennedy School, cryptographer, security expert, Tor Project Board Member;

– Colonel Jeffrey Erickson, Army Cyber Institute Director, United States Military Academy, West Point 

The unexpected story behind this conference includes a report, New Roadmap for Cybersecurity Education, prepared by students from technical universities (IT/engineering), business, law and medical schools, and military academies that was presented to Ambassador Lauber as the contribution from youth leaders to improving global cybersecurity governance through education and awareness by improving university program content in terms of cybersecurity education in the different fields of study. 

In October 2020, the roadmap was delivered to Ambassador Lauber and is now found on the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) website platform LINK. The United Nations, through Ambassador Lauber and the OEWG circulated the report to all Members States as an excellent capacity-building initiate to take-up to improve their cybersecurity landscape.

The Cybersecurity Roadshow owes its origins to the Regional Cyber Labs that are run by students and as platforms for cybersecurity education and awareness across Poland. After six months, they already attained global reach resulting in the creation of the Global Cyber Lab, under which this event is taking place. This initiative that started in Poland, has gained the recognition of international experts and opinion leaders as a benchmark in shaping an inter-disciplinary approach to cybersecurity education and the challenges of the digital transformation. This innovative approach created a new potential for communication, exchange and cooperation between experts, diplomats and students around cybersecurity that now resonates globally. 

The project enjoys great interest among students. It gives them the opportunity to integrate cybersecurity into their field of study and shapes an interdisciplinary approach to the subject. The digital transformation, including in the private and public sectors, to a 4.0 economy model demands new skills and a holistic understanding of our new reality. These skills are not for the future, they are already essential now! These young people interact with outstanding experts from business, public administration, defence, cyber-diplomacy and the world of science. This mentorship helps them widen their horizons and spread their wings. The upcoming conference is the largest global event for students on cybersecurity. We partner with global student organizations, institutes, think tanks and universities from Europe, the Americas and Asia, such as: ELSA- European Law Students Association, IAPSS- International Association for Political Science Students, United States Military Academy, Council for Strategic and Defence Research in New Delhi, Concordia University Engineering School in Montreal, ACFE Association of Certified Fraud Examiners – Margo Koniuszewski, President of The Bridge Foundation.

Project genesis

The current RCL structure emerged from the Cybersecurity Challenge PL2020 tournament organised by the Bridge Foundation under the patronage of the Ministry of Digital Affairs (currently the Cyber Security Department of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland). This innovative competition aimed to create good practices and establish cross-sector communication and cooperation channels. It brought together outstanding students from 65 universities: polytechnics, faculties of law, management/economics, medical schools and military academies – a community of 700,000 students. 16 provincial five-member interdisciplinary teams of so-called “tiger groups” took on the role of government advisors during a massive cyber crisis. The scenario was prepared in collaboration with experts of the Digital Affairs Ministry.

Regional Cyber Labs 

The potential created by the tournament enabled the creation of Regional Cyber Labs LINK – local structures that bring together students, opinion leaders and researchers working on cybersecurity issues. As part of their activities, they run educational projects for university and high school students to build awareness on the cybersecurity ecosystem and related challenges. LINK

Next steps

This launch sets in motion an educational series with exchanges between students and experts on various aspects of the cybersecurity ecosystem including cybersecurity-health, cybersecurity-finance, cyber-diplomacy and the need for cooperation in cyberspace, cybersecurity-law, cybersecurity-military. 

The Bridge Foundation

Non-profit organization with special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It operates in Switzerland, Canada and Poland. It implements educational programs to address socio-economic and security challenges.

New Eastern Europe is a media partner for the Bridge Foundation.

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