Innovation in the “Age of Accelerations”


Global Resilience and Cyber Knowledge Networking

26 April 2018

A Symposium and Workshop

Held by George Mason University and the PfP Consortium Emerging Security Challenges Working Group in collaboration with the Global Challenges Forum Foundation in partnership with NATO Allied Command for Transformation, the United States Atlantic Council, and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research


DRAFT as of March 2, 2018
Unless indicated (C), named participants are not yet confirmed
Event is subject to timely U.S. Continuing Resolution budget funding


George Mason University Science and Technology Campus
Manassas, Virginia



 “Indeed, there is a mismatch between the change in the pace of change and our ability to develop learning systems, training systems, management systems, social safety nets and government regulations that would enable citizens to get the most out of these accelerations and cushion their worst impacts.  This mismatch … is at the center of much of the turmoil roiling politics and society in both developed and developing countries today.  It now constitutes probably the most important governance challenge across the globe.”
–Thomas L. Friedman
Pulitzer Prize Winner and bestselling author of “Thank You for Being Late”

Growing access to knowledge and accelerating technological change bring enormous benefits, while also increasing both vulnerabilities and threats.  A combination of increased awareness and changing conditions compound both natural and man-made stresses and shocks.  Meanwhile, resilience to a widening range of emergencies should not just aim to return to the status quo after a crisis.  The goal is to become continually stronger—to “be prepared to bounce forward better.”  To achieve this, Tom Friedman’s group of “learning systems, training systems, management systems, social safety nets and government regulations” must be be tuned to fast-changing conditions.  Such resilience requires adaptability and innovation, as well as self-organized and emergent behavior, to empower effective, decentralized actions that complement strategic responses.

As a benchmark for measuring progress, security must be defined broadly—freedom from want and freedom from fear.  Complex emergencies are particularly imperative, such as shared global threats to the environment and challenges to health, maritime, cyber, and energy security, as well as threats posed by terrorism and hybrid warfare.  New knowledge-sharing capabilities contribute greatly: they build trust and collaboration, enhance readiness and resilience, connect generations, and cultivate new global partnerships, even as potential downsides are identified and mitigated.

The event, hosted by George Mason University, takes place on 26 April 2018 at the Science and Technology Campus in Manassas, Virginia, followed by a by-invitation workshop on 27 April to bring forth actionable recommendations.  These will be developed in collaboration with the Partnership for Peace Consortium’s Emerging Security Challenges Working Group.  Other Partners include the NATO Allied Command for Transformation (NATO ACT), the Atlantic Council of the United States, and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

This event builds on a series of previous workshops and strategic dialogues in the United States, Europe and the Middle East that identified key challenges and pointed toward collectively owned opportunities.  They began with the establishment of the “Global Resilience Readiness Initiative” at the launch of Global Knowledge Networking (GKN) in Geneva, Switzerland in September 2015.  This is the 2nd GKN Symposium and is dedicated to the exploration of enhancing global resilience in the “Age of Accelerations.”  The George Mason University sessions will focus on ways that innovation, especially in cyberspace, can help future leaders, their organizations, and institutions address global security challenges in a complex world, by making knowledge actionable.

Day One is a Symposium with distinguished speakers and expert panels to create a framework for tangible progress on emerging security challenges and interconnected global problems. 

  • The “Emerging Challenges” Symposium will commence with the Opening Keynote on Transformation by NATO Admiral Manfred Nielson, who will share his vision to promote shared knowledge and building trust by “Building Resilience Through Collaboration.”
  • The remarks will speak to the NATO Resilience Commitment and Cyber Defense Pledge of the Warsaw Summit, with emphasis on extensive civil-military collaboration.  The Symposium agenda on Day One sets the stage for the Featured Keynote by Thomas Friedman on building resilience through “Innovation in the Age of Accelerations.”

– Symposium Program –

Symposium on Emerging Challenges


08.10               Meet in Hotel Lobby

08.15               Movement to George Mason University Venue

08.40 – 08.50  Welcoming Remarks – Mr. Michael Gaul (C) / Dr. Jean-Marc Rickli (C), Partnership for Peace Consortium Emerging Security Challenges Working Group Co- Chairs

08.50 – 09.00  Introduction to 2nd Global Knowledge Networking Symposium

Dr. Walter CHRISTMAN (C), Founding Director and Chairman, Global Challenges Forum Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland

09.00 – 09.30   Welcome Speech- Pursuing Resilience in the 21st Century

Dr. Ángel CABRERA (C), President, George Mason University


09.30-10.00     OPENING KEYNOTEBuilding Resilience Through Collaboration”

Admiral Manfred NIELSON (C)

Deputy Commander, NATO Allied Command for Transformation


10:00 – 11:00  PANEL 1Emerging Security Challenges

Addressing the need for coalitions of partners and greater collaboration in global networking for resilience to meet today’s peace and security challenges.


Chair: Ambassador Sorin DUCARU (C), former NATO Asst. SECGEN for Emerging Security Challenges

Rear Admiral (UK-Ret) James MORSE, President, Rabdan Academy, United Arab Emirates

Ambassador (US-Ret.) Wendy CHAMBERLIN, President Middle East Institute and former Deputy High Commissioner, UNHCR

Honorable Katherine HAMMACK, former Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, presently in climate change and sustainability

Mr. Samuel CARTER, Managing Director, Resilience Program, Rockefeller Foundation


11.00 – 11.30  Coffee Break










11.30 – 12.45  PANEL 2:Exploring Resilience through Training Readiness – What`s new? What to provide?  What to expect?”


Enhancing resilience has become a strategic task. The panel will detail examples of diverse challenges and wicked problems that require comprehensive approaches and partnerships to address.


Chair:  Mr. Frank DIGIOVANNI (C), Asst. Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, US Navy

Mr. Alex MEJIA (C), Executive Director, United Nations Institute for Training and Research

Dr. Lydia KOSTOPOULOS (C), Advisor, AI Initiative, The Future Society, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Major General (SWE) Michael CLAESSON, Chief of Plans, Sweden Armed Forces

Dr. Claudio CIOFFI-REVILLA, Director, Center for Social Complexity, George Mason Univerity

Major General (JAF-Ret.) Mohammad FARGHAL, Director, Center for Strategic Studies, Jordan Armed Forces

Rear Admiral (USN) Ross MYERS, Director, Plans and Policy, US Cyber Command


12.45 – 14:30  Lunch


14.30 – 15.15  FEATURED KEYNOTE ADDRESS“Resilience and Innovation in the ‘Age of Accelerations’”

Mr. Thomas FRIEDMAN (Confirmed)

Pulitzer Prize Winner and author of “Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations”


15.15 -16.15    PANEL 3:   Education, Training, and Networking


Exploring strategies to design resilience education via Mr. Friedman’s identified priorities of “learning systems, training systems, management systems, social safety nets and government regulations.”


Guidance for Following Day Workshop:


  1. Imagine what a resilient society looks like.
  2. Think about the challenges and opportunities posed to resilience in the digital age.
  3. What do you think are the greatest threats and risks that may come from cyberspace?
  4. Develop first principles and attributes of a Cyber Knowledge Network in response to those threats and risks.


Chair:  Dr. Walter CHRISTMAN (C), Chairman, Global Challenges Forum Foundation

Dr. Linton WELLS, II (C), George Mason University C4I & Cyber Center

Mr. John ROBB, Global Guerrillas

Dr. Kathryn LASKEY, Associate Director, GMU C4I Cyber Center

Mr. Ralph THIELE (C), Chairman, German-Political Military Society


16:15 – 16.30  Closing Remarks –  Dr. Mark PULLEN (C), George Mason University



– Workshop Program –

 Friday, 27 April 2018 

Workshop on Opportunities and Solutions – Day Two

Day Two will be a closed-to-the-public Workshop that focuses on opportunities and possible solutions to the challenges identified on Day One.


  • The Workshop will explore people, processes, organizations and technologies that can help create a connected community to address the identified challenges.  It will give focused attention to Mr. Friedman’s observations concerning “learning systems, training systems, management systems, social safety nets and government regulations” that need to be tuned to these changing conditions.


  • Working Group participants will contribute to shaping the vision, mission, core functions and structures of a prototype Cyber Knowledge Network (CKN) that can help implement the broad GKN initiative through concepts such as NATO ACT’s “Persistent Federated Approach.” The Workshop goal is to develop actionable recommendations.





08.00               Movement to George Mason University Venue


08.15 – 08.45  Welcoming Remarks and Introduction of GMU Facilitators – Mr. Michael Gaul (C), Dr. Jean-Marc Rickli (C), Partnership for Peace Consortium Emerging Security Challenges Working Group Co- Chairs


08.45 – 09.15  Orienting Remarks“Resilience and Innovation in the 21st Century”

Dr. Linton Wells, II (C), George Mason University


09.15 – 10.30  Working Group Session #1: Building Resilience Through Design Innovation


Moderators: Dr. Jean-Marc Rickli (C), Dr. Ken Gnanakan (C), Mr. Ben Zweibelson, Col. Michael Sierco


From the outset, a bold and innovative learning approach is required, one building on existing efforts, but also recognizing the opportunity to build on new energy emerging in the context of the unfolding resilience initiative.  Opportunities arise, for example, to position the military, government administration and the private sector as a connected testbed for new technologies, integrated learning, innovative partnerships and creative thinking.


10.30 – 11.00 Coffee Break


11.00 – 12.15  Working Group Session #2: Building Resilience through Connectedness


Moderators: Dr. Linton Wells (C), Mr. Sean Costigan (C), Dr. Itamara Lochard, Dr. Ranga Pitchumani


Identify the enabling forces, sense-making methodologies and tools that will facilitate moving from big data to big insights to effectuate more robust decision-making.  Address opportunities for a Cyber Knowledge Network to serve as a launching pad in moving from descriptive insight to predictive insight in support of a collaborative design and innovation network.

12.15 – 14.00  Lunch


14.00 – 14.45 PLENARY Presentation – Mr. Alex Mejia (C), UNITAR on the Global Cyber Academy


14.45 – 15.45  Work Group Session #3:  Visioning Exercise for Creating a Cyber Knowledge Network


Moderators:  GMU Facilitators, Mr. Michael Gaul (C), Mr. Adam Elkus, Mr. John Hawley


Knowledge is a critical enabler in successfully managing crises.  Thus, solutions in the realm of knowledge networking require, at their core, holistic approaches to research, education and training.  Group facilitation will explore possibilities for SMART persistent partnerships that are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely


15.45 – 16.15 Coffee Break


16.15 – 16.30  Way Forward – Mr. Michael Gaul (C) & Dr. Walter Christman (C)


16.30 – 16.45  Closing Remarks – George Mason University & Mr. Michael Gaul (C), Partnership for Peace Consortium Emerging Security Challenges Working Group Co-Chair



Saturday, 28 April 2018


07.00 – 17.00  Individual Depar