APSIA Executive Director: Passion Need Not Apply
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“Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.”
This famous quote, often attributed to German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, reminds us of two things concerning policy in cyberspace: First, making laws and policy is a very complex undertaking, but has admirable and practical objectives for citizens. Second, it serves as a metaphor for how current policy makers perceive the cyber realm, although these perceptions are often very divergent from the problems that are actually addressed by the government.
Based on my opinion, governing the internet simultaneously represents an enormous opportunity and a considerable risk. Thus, I decided to dedicate my studies of International Relations to the nexus of policy and security in cyberspace. Making use of the diverse resources at the Maxwell School of Citizenship of Public Affairs, but also the innovative approach allowing me to take classes that are out-of-the-box in computer science, helped me to successfully pursue this unique academic journey.
The recent cyber attacks on Sony Pictures in 2014 and their unprecedented diplomatic implications on U.S. foreign policy were the first of its kind, but will not be the last. To be prepared for these kinds of interrelated challenges, future professionals in International Relations need to be equipped with a very broad range of skill sets in many different fields. This summer, I will continue this exploration as a Microsoft Research Intern in their Global Security Strategy and Diplomacy Team in Redmond, WA. As a graduate in International Relations, I feel aptly prepared to learn more about this interesting topic during my upcoming internship and future career.
Editors’s note: Mr. Benedikt Abendroth is a graduate international relations student at the Maxwell School. He is part of the school’s Atlantis transatlantic dual-degree program and will spend the summer semester working with the Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, Washington.
Diana Flora is a student at the Ford School of Public Policy and a project manager at Data Driven Detroit (D3). She is leveraging GIS mapping technology and local community members to create a comprehensive map of every property in Detroit. The goal: Urban blight removal.
In an effort to assist the City of Detroit’s Blight Removal Task Force identify and demolish vacant buildings that are in poor condition, the Motor City Mapping (MCM) project was created. Diana Flora and her team at D3 worked with two local organizations to collect information about the condition of every property in the city.
To document the condition of each of the city’s building, approximately 150 Detroiters took to the streets using an app created by Loveland Technologies that allowed them to capture data with smartphones and tablets. Flora was able to draw upon her knowledge of GIS to help design a strategy for collecting the needed data, and to analyze and synthesize it.
When asked why she pursued a Master of Public Policy in addition to her urban planning degree, she said, “I chose the dual Masters because of how well they complemented each other – urban planners often think about problems and their solutions from a historical and spatial perspective, while policy wonks can be strategic and analytical. I fit somewhere in the middle.”
The collaborative mapping project has been such a success that municipalities from across the U.S. have contacted D3 and its partners to express an interest in replicating the process.
Learn more about Diana and Data Driven Detroit here.