Michelle Compton-Muñoz
Madison and Lila Self Graduate Programs

Policymaker, cybersecurity expert to give 2023 KU Self Graduate Fellowship Symposium Lecture

Tue, 02/21/2023

LAWRENCE — R. David Edelman, an American policymaker and academic who currently directs the Project on Technology, the Economy, and National Security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), will deliver the Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellowship Symposium Lecture at the University of Kansas. Edelman is one of the nation's foremost authorities on how new innovations are changing life and business around the globe. Dubbed the nation’s “chief cyber diplomat,” he has shared insights on issues like artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, data ethics and the geopolitics of technology that have shaped national and international policy at the highest levels.

Edelman will present “The Next Decade: Tech Trends and Innovations Shaping our Future” at 3:30 p.m. April 21 in Woodruff Auditorium at the Kansas Union. His talk is free and open to the public.

R. David EdelmanEdelman served in the Bush and Obama administrations, rising to become the youngest-ever director named to the U.S. National Security Council. As special assistant to the president in the Obama administration, he led the White House economic team’s work on technology, media and telecom policy. Edelman led the development of and co-wrote over a dozen legislative proposals, national strategies, executive orders and presidential policy reviews. As director for cybersecurity and international cyber policy at the National Security Council, he penned the government’s principal doctrine on cybersecurity and internet issues within U.S. foreign policy. He led White House engagement with top executives at over 100 companies in the technology, media and telecom sectors and managed the Obama administration’s policy development on issues like net neutrality, consumer privacy and patent reform.

Prior to his time at the White House, Edelman served at the State Department’s Office of Cyber Affairs and as the United States’ lead negotiator on internet issues at the United Nations, where he received the department’s Superior Honor Award and twice received its Meritorious Honor Award. He was named one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” leaders in Law & Policy.

At MIT, Edelman leads an interdisciplinary team of researchers, students and policymakers to address the challenges created by technological disruption – from the international concern of cyberattacks to the economic and regulatory consequences of artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles. He holds joint appointments in the Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab and the Center for International Studies.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University and a master's and doctorate in international relations at Oxford University. His groundbreaking dissertation, “Cyberattacks in International Relations,” examined which forces might restrain state use of cyberattacks.

The Self Graduate Fellowship Symposium Lecture is sponsored by the Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellowship. The mission of the Self Graduate Fellowship is to identify, recruit and provide development opportunities for exceptional doctoral students in business, economics, engineering, mathematics, biological, biomedical, pharmaceutical and physical sciences who demonstrate the promise to make significant contributions to their fields of study and society as a whole. The Self Graduate Fellowship is a unique opportunity for doctoral students at KU to fund their education and acquire valuable leadership training for their future careers. Throughout their four years as a fellow, students receive funding that covers their tuition, fees and graduate research assistantship appointment, as well as funding to pursue independent professional development opportunities. To prepare students for their future leadership roles, fellows attend professional development workshops, communication coaching and guest lectures.

The late Madison “Al” and Lila Self launched and permanently endowed the Self Graduate Fellowship in 1989. The creation of the Self Graduate Fellowship was motivated by Madison and Lila’s belief in the vital importance of developing leadership for tomorrow. They are the University of Kansas’ most generous private donors to date.

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