2017 Speakers

Cyber Security & Cyber Warfare

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Vice Admiral (Ret.) John M. “Mike” McConnell

President George W. Bush named Vice Adm. McConnell to become the second Director of National Intelligence in 2007. In that role, he managed the 17-agency, 100,000-person national Intelligence Community, working closely with the White House, Cabinet, Congress, international leaders, and the business community. From 1992 to 1996, McConnell served as Director of the National Security Agency (NSA). He led NSA as it adapted to the multi-polar threats brought about by the end of the Cold War. Under his leadership, NSA provided global intelligence and information security services to the White House, Cabinet officials, the United States Congress, and a broad array of military and civilian intelligence agencies. He also served as a member of the Director of Central Intelligence senior leadership team. In 1996, McConnell retired from the Navy as a vice admiral after 29 years of service – 26 as a career Intelligence Officer. He holds the nation’s highest award for service in the Intelligence Community. Adm. McConnell also served as the Chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance. He is currently Vice Chairman at Booz Allen Hamilton.

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Sarah Davidson Evanega

Sarah Davidson Evanega, a plant scientist and Cornell University professor who is a leading supporter of genetic engineering as a key tool to promote global food security and protect habitats, spoke on “GMOs: Fostering a Climate for Change.”

As Director for the Cornell Alliance for Science, Evanega oversees a global communications effort that promotes evidence-based decision-making in agriculture. She is also part of an interdisciplinary team that recently started up an online course on the science and politics of GMOs at Cornell University.

Polls show that many Americans are concerned about the presence of GMO’s in the food supply. A 2015 Pew Research Center study found that 37 percent of American adults considered genetically modified foods to be unsafe while 88 percent of AAAS scientists had the opposite view.

Evanega points out that as global climate change continues to threaten agricultural systems, particularly in developing countries, crops that are genetically engineered to withstand harsh weather conditions or damage from insects are going to be critical to raising farm productivity and minimizing the negative impacts of agriculture on the environment, as well as addressing global food insecurity as the world’s population continues to expand.

 

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Ambassador Mark C. Storella

Ambassador Mark Storella, a member of the Senior Foreign Service, has a longstanding commitment to humanitarian affairs and human rights. He joined the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration in June 2016 with responsibility for admission of refugees to the United States and refugee programming in the Near East and Asia regions.

Ambassador Storella previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission at Embassy Brussels where he was deeply involved in counterterrorism and countering violent extremism efforts. As U.S. Ambassador to Zambia 2010-2013, he oversaw $450 million in development assistance, with a focus on innovative health and governance programs. Ambassador Storella was the Senior Coordinator for Iraqi Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in Baghdad from 2009-2010 and served as Counselor for Refugee and Migration Affairs and subsequently as Deputy Permanent Representative at the U.S. Mission in Geneva from 2006-2009. In that capacity, he engaged with over 50 UN agencies and international organizations, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Organization for Migration and the International Federation of the Red Cross. From 2001-2003, Ambassador Storella was adjunct professor at Georgetown University where he taught graduate and undergraduate courses on humanitarian action.

Ambassador Storella was Deputy Chief of Mission in Cambodia and Executive Assistant to the Counselor of the State Department; he also served on the Japan and NATO desks and was posted in Bangkok, Paris and Rome.

Ambassador Storella is the recipient of several State Department Superior and Meritorious Honor awards. He is also the recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award presented by American Citizens Abroad and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Excellence in Service Award. His languages are French, Khmer, Italian and Thai. He is a graduate of Harvard College and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and has written on such diverse topics as multilateral arms control and humanitarian action in conflict situations. Ambassador Storella is married with two sons.

 

Michael Twiss

Michael Twiss, Director of the Great Rivers Center at Clarkson University. Dr. Twiss’ research focuses on the interactions of microbes with nutrients and toxic substances in lakes and rivers, with particular focus on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River ecosystems. As director of the Great Rivers Center he is involved in the REASON Project, which is using a network of water quality sensors to understand how water level regulation schemes influence and impact water quality, pollution tracking and fish migration.

 

 

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