Information Technology
Authors
Gi-Wook Shin
News Type
Commentary
Date
Paragraphs

This essay originally appeared in Korean on January 3 in Sindonga (New East Asia), Korea’s oldest monthly magazine (established 1931), as part of a monthly column, "Shin’s Reflections on Korea." Translated by Raymond Ha. A PDF version of this essay is also available to download


 

Kanwal Rekhi is regarded as a pioneer of the Indian diaspora in Silicon Valley. After studying at IIT Bombay, Rekhi completed his graduate studies at Michigan Tech and moved to San Jose in 1982, where he co-founded Excelan. The company went public on Nasdaq in 1987. It was the first time that immigrants from India had created a company and succeeded in listing it on a U.S. stock exchange.[1]

Since having found success as an entrepreneur, Rekhi has sought to give back to the diaspora community and his home country. In 1992, he co-founded The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE), a non-profit that supports Indian entrepreneurs seeking to create startups. Rekhi explained to me that “there were many young Indians who wanted to start businesses, but they lacked the know-how and the networks.” TiE was intended to fill that gap. Rekhi also made a sizable donation to his alma mater, and he has advised the Indian government on policy issues. Moreover, he has supported the work of various universities in the United States, including Stanford.

The Story of India’s Diaspora

Rekhi belonged to the first generation of Indian immigrants to establish a foothold in Silicon Valley. Countless others, including Google CEO Sundar Pichai, have since followed in his footsteps. Upon graduating from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), these individuals pursued further studies in the United States, where they successfully created startups or climbed the ladder to become C-level executives at major companies. They also maintain and cultivate close ties with their home country. Indian immigrants have been integral to Silicon Valley’s explosive growth, and they are now also contributing to India’s rise as a major economic power. India has now overtaken the United Kingdom, its former colonial ruler, with the fifth-largest GDP in the world.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that the Indian diaspora now has greater influence and impact in Silicon Valley than the Chinese diaspora.
Gi-Wook Shin

The Indian diaspora has made its presence felt beyond the economic sector. Numerous graduates of the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) practice medicine in the United States, and renowned scholars of Indian heritage serve on the faculty of elite American universities. For instance, Stanford selected Dr. Arun Majumdar to serve as the inaugural dean of the Doerr School of Sustainability, which opened its doors in the fall of 2022. Majumdar completed his undergraduate studies at IIT Bombay and obtained his PhD from UC Berkeley in 1989. His career has spanned the public and private sectors, and he now spearheads Stanford’s first new school in 70 years—an ambitious effort to “tackle urgent climate and sustainability challenges facing people and ecosystems worldwide.”[2] It would not be an exaggeration to say that the Indian diaspora now has greater influence and impact in Silicon Valley than the Chinese diaspora.

Moreover, India plays a central role in Washington’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, which has become the focal point of American foreign policy. New Delhi was the leader of the non-aligned movement during the Cold War, but it is now building closer ties with liberal democracies around the world. Unlike China, India is not locked in a strategic competition with the West. High English proficiency among Indians also facilitates relations and exchanges at all levels. It is also worth noting that there are now influential politicians of Indian heritage in major countries, including Kamala Harris in the United States and Rishi Sunak in the United Kingdom. India prides itself on being the most populous democracy in the world, and its stature in the international community is only likely to grow in the coming decades.

Despite these developments, Korean public sentiment toward India is largely negative. There is broad awareness of the legacy of historical figures like Mahatma Gandhi and cultural achievements such as the Taj Mahal. However, many Koreans still perceive India as a poor and chaotic country with rigid and obsolete customs, including the caste system. There are substantial cultural, social, and historical differences between Korea and India, but it is time for Korea to cast aside any prejudices and take a clear-eyed view of India. It is encouraging to see the Yoon Suk-Yeol administration stress in its recently announced Indo-Pacific Strategy that Korea “will advance [its] special strategic partnership with India, a leading regional partner with shared values.” The document also rightly notes the importance of “enhanced economic cooperation” between the two countries.[3]

[India’s] overseas diaspora also plays a unique role in catalyzing economic growth. Korea should learn from the successes of India’s diaspora and build closer ties with such networks.
Gi-Wook Shin

In this context, it is especially vital for Korea to pay attention to the rise of the Indian diaspora in the United States and beyond. They are a force to be reckoned with in the global market. Unlike the state-driven development models of East Asia, India has pursued a market-driven policy since liberalizing its economy in 1991. The country’s overseas diaspora also plays a unique role in catalyzing economic growth. Korea should learn from the successes of India’s diaspora and build closer ties with such networks.

The Rise of Japan, China, and India

Japan was the undisputed leader of the Asia-Pacific in the 1980s, and China has taken on this mantle since the dawn of the 21st century. As China closes its doors amidst its intensifying strategic competition with the United States, India is emerging as the new regional leader. A close examination of the rise of these three countries reveals crucial differences. The contributions of the overseas diaspora to economic development, as noted above, are a distinguishing factor.

Let us begin with Japan. Relying on a well-educated workforce and meticulous training within companies, Japan built upon proprietary technology from the West to achieve incremental innovation. Sony’s worldwide success in consumer electronics, for example, can be attributed to sophisticated engineering and attention to detail in product design, not to significant advancements in the underlying technologies. Furthermore, Japan took great advantage of short-term overseas training programs to learn and utilize advanced technologies to further its own economy. This strategy enabled Japan to increase its economic heft without suffering a “brain drain,” to the point of challenging U.S. dominance over the global economy in the 1980s. There were, however, disputes with the United States over intellectual property rights (IPR).

Throughout this process, Japan’s diaspora did not play a visible role. Many Japanese abroad had already assimilated into their countries of residence, and the few that contributed only provided low-skilled labor. Japanese Americans, for example, have largely assimilated into American society despite the traumatic experience of forced internment during World War II. Contact with their home country was fairly limited. Some Japanese immigrants who settled in South America later returned to Japan, but most of these returnees were low-skilled laborers. After experiencing hardships and discrimination, however, they went back to South America once again after the 2008 global financial crisis.

China took a different path. The Chinese diaspora has a long history centered on Southeast Asia, and its role in enabling China’s reform and opening by providing much-needed capital is well known. In the 1980s, China adopted an “open door” policy and enabled large numbers of students to study abroad. It also proactively pursued a policy of “brain circulation” by inviting these students to return to China and contribute their talents to the country’s development. No country has sent more students abroad than China. With rapid economic growth in the 2000s, over 80% of these students returned. These individuals are called haigui (sea turtles) in China.[4] In Beijing’s Zhongguancun, China’s Silicon Valley, there are a plethora of programs and facilities tailored to haigui. They have not only spearheaded China’s technological innovation, but also made important contributions to the economy, scientific research, and higher education.

China’s pursuit of “brain circulation” has seen some success, but it also created friction with the United States. After studying and gaining work experience in the United States, Chinese talent returned home and directed their know-how toward accelerating China’s rise. However, U.S. authorities began to suspect that China’s talent policy was being misused for industrial espionage, especially in advanced technologies. For example, the Pentagon stated in 2018 that China’s Thousand Talents Program was a “toolkit for foreign technology acquisition.” U.S. intelligence officials added that the program was “a key part of multi-pronged efforts to transfer, replicate and eventually overtake U.S. military and commercial technology.”[5]

India has taken yet another path, although it resembles China’s experience in some respects. Like China, India experienced an enormous brain drain. It is second only to China in the number of overseas students. In terms of highly skilled emigration, it has seen the largest outflow of any country. Unlike Chinese talent, Indian immigrants tended to settle down in host countries, where they have built successful careers. During the 1980s, over a third (37.5%) of IIT Bombay graduates went abroad, and 82% of these individuals stayed abroad.[6] Between 2004 and 2016, 30% of grantees in Optional Practical Training (OPT), a temporary employment visa for F-1 students in the United States, were students from India.[7] Many of these students arrived in America after receiving a rigorous education in STEM or medicine in India. Their native fluency in English is also an important asset. Since India itself is extremely diverse in terms of religion, ethnicity, and culture, prior experience with diverse settings also gives Indian students an advantage for studying and living in America.

Indian talent… abroad… create “brain linkages” through extensive interaction with their home country. They bring young talent from India to overseas universities and companies, support start-up entrepreneurs in India, and connect global companies to India's…high-quality workforce
Gi-Wook Shin

Even if Indian talent mostly stays abroad, they create “brain linkages” through extensive interaction with their home country. They bring young talent from India to overseas universities and companies, support start-up entrepreneurs in India, and connect global companies to India’s low-cost, high-quality workforce.

Immigrants from India make up the bulk of H-1B visa recipients in the United States. In fiscal year 2021, 74% consisted of Indian nationals.[8] Unicorn companies formed with diaspora support are appearing left and right in Bangalore, the hub for India’s high-tech industry. The total investment in Bangalore’s tech sector has jumped from $550 million in 2010 to $2 billion in 2017, spread across 6,000 start-ups.[9] This amount is projected to reach $30 billion by 2025.[10] Furthermore, unlike China, India is not currently engaged in disputes with the United States or other major economies over talent policy or IPR in advanced technologies.

Modi’s Visit to Silicon Valley

In 2015, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to a crowd of 20,000 at the Shark Tank in San Jose. Many in the diaspora community gathered for the occasion. Modi asserted that “what looks like brain drain is actually a brain deposit.”[11] He also met with leaders of the Indian diaspora during his visit, including Sundar Pichai (Google) and Satya Nadella (Microsoft), and secured support for the government’s “Digital India” initiative.[12] Naren Gupta, a member of India’s diaspora and the co-founder of Nexus Venture Partners, played an instrumental role in planning the visit. Modi’s tour of Silicon Valley encapsulated the power and influence of the Indian diaspora in America. It also revealed the strength of the brain linkages that the community had built with its home country.

The Indian diaspora is a force to be reckoned with in Silicon Valley. Of all engineering and tech start-ups formed in America by immigrants between 2006 and 2012, 33.2% were created by individuals of Indian origin.[13]This exceeds the total number of companies created by entrepreneurs from China, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Israel, Russia, and Korea combined. Indian immigrants are also filling executive-level positions in major American IT companies. Those of Indian origin make up “just about 1% of the U.S. population and 6% of Silicon Valley’s workforce.”[14] However, they have an outsized impact. Immigrants from India to the United States tend to be highly educated, with over 70% possessing at least a bachelor’s degree.[15] This is markedly higher than the corresponding proportion for the U.S. population, which reached 37.9% in 2021.[16] Various factors help explain the Indian diaspora’s success in the United States: high levels of technical competence, a robust professional network, and strong communication skills based on native English fluency and familiarity with Western culture.

Moreover, Indian immigrants are very much willing to acquire citizenship in their host countries. In recent years, the number of Indian nationals who acquired U.S. citizenship through naturalization has been almost twice the number of Chinese nationals who were naturalized.[17] Indians reportedly do not have qualms about renouncing their Indian citizenship. Modi’s 2015 speech in San Jose, referenced above, clearly reflects how those in India view the overseas diaspora. Regardless of one’s citizenship or place of residence, there is a prevailing mentality of “once an Indian, always an Indian.” Leaders in India’s modern history, including Nehru and Gandhi, were also members of the diaspora. The tightly knit diaspora community gives rise to robust and mutually supportive professional networks, which helps elevate the presence of Indian immigrants in host countries. This is certainly the case in the United States.

Unlike China, India does not have a government-led policy to attract talent. Nevertheless, members of the overseas diaspora can temporarily return to India and engage in various activities with relative ease. There are also institutions that facilitate such endeavors. One is the legal status of “non-resident Indians” that is given to Indians who reside overseas for over 183 days in a given year. This status accords short-term diaspora visitors with legal and economic rights similar to that of resident citizens.

Since 2003, the Indian government has also officially recognized Non-Resident Indian Day (Pravasi Bharatiya Divas) on January 9, which commemorates the day of Gandhi’s return from South Africa to Mumbai in 1915. To mark the occasion, the Indian government presents an award to individuals in the diaspora community who have made significant achievements in their respective fields. Past recipients include Satya Nadella and Kalpana Chawla, an Indian American astronaut who posthumously received the award as the first person of Indian origin to go to space. By taking such steps, the Indian government promotes and strengthens solidarity between India and its diaspora, no matter where its members reside.

The New Argonauts

Members of the Indian diaspora are actively building ties to their home country. In 2021, they sent $87 billion in remittances to India. China’s diaspora came second with $53 billion.[18] This includes money earned by Indian immigrants in the United States, China, and other countries. Overseas Indians in the business sector not only invest in start-ups and real estate in India, but also give policy recommendations to their home government and provide support for higher education. They also organized charity fundraisers to assist COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, responding to the devastation that the pandemic wreaked across the country. According to my own analysis, 42% of 97 major Indian diaspora organizations in the United States maintain close ties with India. As a whole, they are even more active than Chinese diaspora organizations.

The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE), founded in Silicon Valley, is one of the best examples. It was established in 1992 with the goal of facilitating networking between entrepreneurs from South Asia, providing mentoring for the next generation, and incubating and investing in start-ups. As of 2020, TiE had 61 branches across 14 countries, with 20 offices in the United States and 23 in India, and boasted a membership of 15,000. To date, it has supported around 10,000 start-ups founded by entrepreneurs of Indian origin. The total valuation of these start-ups is approximately $200 billion. With offices in Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai, TiE has acted as a conduit for successful Indian businesspeople in Silicon Valley to interact with their home country. These individuals emphasized the importance of entrepreneurship to youth in India. They acted as role models, mentors, and investors at a time when there was little support to be found elsewhere. TiE continues to serve as a vital link between Silicon Valley and India.

The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), founded in 1982, plays an essential role in creating brain linkages in the field of medicine. AAPI has 80,000 doctors and 40,000 students, residents, and fellows as members. It fosters closer ties between its members and pursues opportunities for cooperation with Indian medical schools. Since 2007, it has hosted an annual global healthcare summit in India. AAPI also operates 19 clinics across India and established a charitable foundation to provide medical relief. During the height of COVID-19, AAPI sent medical supplies and held various activities to help India overcome the pandemic. It is said that those in the diaspora community view such actions as a responsibility, not just as a charitable activity.

Furthermore, the Indian diaspora is heavily engaged in supporting higher education back home. Consider IIT Kharagpur, which opened its doors in 1951. Vinod Gupta graduated from this school, found success in the United States, and helped launch the Vinod Gupta School of Management at his alma mater in 1993. Arjun Malhotra, another IIT Kharagpur graduate, was involved in the creation of the G. S. Sanyal School of Telecommunications and the M. N. Faruqui Innovation Centre. In another example, leaders from the diaspora community joined forces in 2014 to establish Ashoka University, a private school modeled after American liberal arts colleges, a rarity in a higher education landscape dominated by public universities. Ashok Trivedi, one of the school’s founders, earned his bachelor’s and master’s at the University of Delhi before pursuing an MBA at Ohio University and subsequently co-founding IGATE, an IT services company. As these cases illustrate, leaders in the Indian diaspora community donate to their alma maters and even create new schools altogether. They also facilitate academic exchanges between prominent U.S. and Indian universities, including student exchange programs.

AnnaLee Saxenian, a professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Information, has referred to these immigrant entrepreneurs who maintain ties with their home country after building successful careers overseas as the “new argonauts.” Just like the Argonauts of Greek mythology who set sail across the Mediterranean in search of the Golden Fleece, these individuals have crossed oceans aboard their own Argo to seek success in the 21st century. Kanwal Rekhi emphasized to me that “the diaspora led India’s independence movement in the past, but now it is playing an important role for India’s economy.”

India lags far behind China in… national power, [but] has a much younger population and its rate of economic growth will likely exceed China’s for the foreseeable future. India is the only country [whose] supply of highly skilled labor in the tech sector exceeds domestic demand.
Gi-Wook Shin

Will India Surpass China?

In a previous essay in this series, I argued that “China will not surpass the United States in our time.”[19] We could ask, in a similar fashion, whether India could overtake China in the future. While there are significant challenges on the road ahead, India could become a formidable competitor for China if current trends continue. At present, India lags far behind China in terms of overall national power. India has a much younger population, however, and its rate of economic growth will likely exceed China’s for the foreseeable future. India is the only country where the supply of highly skilled labor in the technology sector exceeds domestic demand. In addition to IITs and AIIMS, there are excellent engineering and medical schools across all regions of India. These institutions are an important source of talent for the global economy.

China is gradually closing its doors as the Sino-U.S. competition intensifies. In terms of its economy and trade relations, it is at risk of falling into a quagmire similar to Japan’s “Two Lost Decades.” Beijing must also contend with strong anti-China sentiment, especially among developed countries, and it must overcome the challenges that come with diplomatic isolation. India does not face the same geopolitical risks. As one of the four corners of the Quad, New Delhi is pursuing a foreign policy that includes various forms of cooperation with countries across the Indo-Pacific region in both economic and security issues. At the same time, the power and influence of the Indian diaspora only continues to grow. In an October 2022 op-ed on the subject, Tyler Cowen notes that Rishi Sunak is only one example of a much wider phenomenon. “It is now impossible to deny what has been evident for some while,” he says. “Indian talent is revolutionizing the Western world far more than had been expected 10 or 15 years ago.”[20]

To be sure, India faces a complex set of challenges at home. Poverty remains widespread, along with ethnic and religious conflicts. The Modi government has taken an authoritarian turn in its pursuit of Hindu nationalism, and there are serious governance challenges associated with corruption in both government and the private sector. Ajantha Subramanian, a professor of anthropology at Harvard, has pointed out that successful members of the Indian diaspora in Silicon Valley largely come from the upper castes. Some criticize these individuals for amplifying caste-based inequality overseas through their exclusive professional networks in ways that are no longer as prevalent in India. While accounting for such criticism and taking an honest look at India’s domestic issues, it would also be unwise for Korea to discount the importance of India and its diaspora in the coming decades.

To Become Asia’s Small Giant

A few years ago, I gave a lecture on Korea’s development at a leading university in New Delhi. I was deeply impressed by the passion and enthusiasm of the students who came to listen. There is growing interest in India about the story of Korea’s remarkable economic development, as well as K-pop and Korean dramas. Unfortunately, this has not always been reciprocated. In 2017, a bar in Itaewon, an area of Seoul famous for its multicultural atmosphere, drew controversy when it denied entry to a student from India.[21] In 2009, in another incident, an Indian research professor and a female Korean companion were harassed by a fellow bus passenger.[22] Such inexcusable acts of discrimination are ultimately rooted in prejudices and negative stereotypes about India in Korea.

Building closer ties with India is a foreign policy imperative under the Yoon administration’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, but high-level policies alone will not be enough. It is vital for civil society to enhance mutual understanding by strengthening… people-to-people ties.
Gi-Wook Shin

I once had the opportunity to speak to Indian engineers who work in Korea. They told me that while they enjoyed working for Korean companies such as Samsung or SK, prejudice among Koreans toward India often made life difficult.[23] Building closer ties with India is a foreign policy imperative under the Yoon administration’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, but high-level policies alone will not be enough. It is vital for civil society to enhance mutual understanding between Korea and India by expanding cultural exchanges and strengthening people-to-people ties. The private sector also has an important role to play, as they can augment efforts by government-run Korean cultural centers and public entities such as the Korea Foundation.[24]

Indian talent could play an important role in Korea’s economic future. Korea will soon face significant labor shortages due to “a crisis on three fronts: a plummeting birth rate, an aging population, and a serious brain drain.”[25]On the other hand, India has a relatively young population and a large, highly skilled workforce. According to one estimate, “India is projected to have a skilled-labour surplus of around 245.3 million workers by 2030.”[26] There is also a natural synergy between the two economies. India excels in software, whereas Korea’s strength lies in hardware. If China provided opportunities for Korean manufacturers to export intermediate goods, India could provide the talent that Korea’s economy will increasingly rely on in the coming years.

Cowen argues that “India is by far the world’s most significant source of undiscovered and undervalued talent.” Anyone who is concerned about “the future of their own nation” in today’s world, he adds, “really should be focusing on India.”[27] Korea would do well to heed his advice.

While seeking ways to strengthen cooperation with India, Korea should also strive to build closer ties with the Indian diaspora and its networks. East Asian countries, including Korea, adopted a state-centered model of economic development. India took a different path, and its overseas diaspora has played a unique role in driving India’s economic growth. The ever-increasing influence of India’s new argonauts extends beyond Silicon Valley. Australia and Germany have sought to attract Indian talents and draw on their professional networks. The same goes for countries in the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates. Korea could form closer partnerships with the extensive global networks of India’s diaspora community as it seeks to attract Indian talent and pursue new economic opportunities.

During the Cold War, Korea looked east toward the United States and Japan. As the Iron Curtain fell in the 1980s, Korea pursued Nordpolitik by normalizing ties with Moscow and Beijing. It is now time for Korea to look south. Even as Southeast Asia grows in importance, Korea must keep its eyes fixed on India. If Korea aims to become Asia’s small giant in this turbulent era, it would be wise for Seoul to use prevailing geopolitical currents to its favor.


[1]This essay draws on ongoing research by the author, which will be published in an upcoming book tentatively titled Talent Giants in the Asia-Pacific Century: A Comparative Analysis of Japan, Australia, China, and India.

[2] Amy Adams and Anneke Cole, “Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, University’s First New School in 70 Years, Will Accelerate Solutions to Global Climate Crisis,” Stanford University, May 4, 2022, https://news.stanford.edu/2022/05/04/stanford-doerr-school-sustainability-universitys-first-new-school-70-years-will-accelerate-solutions-global-climate-crisis/.

[3] Republic of Korea Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Strategy for a Free, Peaceful, and Prosperous Indo-Pacific Region, December 28, 2022, 17, https://www.mofa.go.kr/eng/brd/m_5676/view.do?seq=322133.

[4] The terms “sea turtle” () and “return from overseas” () are homophones for each other.

[5] Anthony Capaccio, “U.S. Faces ‘Unprecedented Threat’ from China on Tech Takeover,” Bloomberg, June 22, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-22/china-s-thousand-talents-called-key-in-seizing-u-s-expertise.

[6] S. P. Sukhatme and I. Mahadevan, Pilot Study on Magnitude and Nature of the Brain-Drain of Graduates of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (Bombay: Indian Institute of Technology, 1987).

[7] Neil G. Ruiz and Abby Budiman, “Number of Foreign College Students Staying and Working in U.S. After Graduation Surges,” Pew Research Center, May 10, 2018, https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2018/05/10/number-of-foreign-college-students-staying-and-working-in-u-s-after-graduation-surges/.

[8] Lubna Kably, “Indians Bagged 3.01 Lakh H-1B Visas During Fiscal 2021–74% of the Total,” Times of India, April 14, 2022, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/indians-bagged-3-01-lakh-h-1b-visas-during-fiscal-2021-74-of-the-total/articleshow/90845244.cms.

[9] Indian Tech Start-Up Ecosystem: Approaching Escape Velocity (Noida: NASSCOM-Zinnov, 2018), 6; Manish Singh, “Indian Tech Startups Raised a Record$14.5B in 2019,” TechCrunch, December 30, 2019, https://techcrunch.com/2019/12/29/indian-tech-startups-funding-amount-2019/.

[10] “HNIs to Invest $30 Billion in Indian Tech Startups By 2025: Report,” Economic Times, June 17, 2021, https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/startups/hnis-to-invest-30-billion-in-indian-tech-startups-by-2025-report/articleshow/83607846.cms.

[11] “Narendra Modi’s Speech at the Shark Tank, Silicon Valley As It Happened,” Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2015, https://www.wsj.com/articles/BL-IRTB-30506.

[12] Chidanand Rajghatta, “Silicon Valley Stars Sign on to PM Modi’s ‘Digital India’ Vision,” Times of India, September 27, 2015, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech-news/silicon-valley-stars-sign-on-to-pm-modis-digital-india-vision/articleshow/49129060.cms.

[13] Vivek Wadhwa, AnnaLee Saxenian, and F. Daniel Siciliano, Then and Now: America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Part VII (Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 2012), 3, https://www.kauffman.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Then_and_now_americas_new_immigrant_entrepreneurs.pdf.

[14] Nikhil Inamdar and Aparna Alluri, “Parag Agrawal: Why Indian-born CEOs dominate Silicon Valley,” BBC News, December 4, 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-59457015.

[15] Jens Manuel Krogstad and Jynnah Radford, “Education Levels of U.S. Immigrants Are on the Rise,” Pew Research Center, September 14, 2018, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/14/education-levels-of-u-s-immigrants-are-on-the-rise/.

[16] United States Census Bureau, “Census Bureau Releases New Education Attainment Data,” February 24, 2022, https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2022/educational-attainment.html.

[17] U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2020 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics, 2022), 53–54, https://www.dhs.gov/immigration-statistics/yearbook/2020.

[18] “With $87 Billion, India Top Remittance Recipient in 2021: UN Report,” Economic Times, July 20, 2022, https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/nri/invest/with-87-billion-india-top-remittance-recipient-in-2021-un-report/articleshow/93012012.cms.

[19] Gi-Wook Shin, “Walking a Tightrope,” Shorenstein APARC, November 16, 2022, https://aparc.fsi.stanford.edu/korea/news/walking-tightrope.

[20] Tyler Cowen, “Rishi Sunak Shows the Growing Influence of Indian Talent in the West,” Bloomberg, October 28, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2022-10-28/rishi-sunak-shows-growing-influence-of-indian-talent-in-west.

[21] Ock Hyun-ju, “Itaewon Bar Accused of Discriminating Against Indian,” Korean Herald, June 7, 2017, https://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20170607000796.

[22] Park Si-soo, “Indian Accuses Korean of Racial Discrimination,” Korea Times, August 3, 2009, http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2009/08/117_49537.html; Paul Kerry and Matthew Lamers, “Setting a Precedent on Racism,” Korea Herald, March 30, 2010, https://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20091106000044.

[23] Gi-Wook Shin and Joon Nak Choi, Global Talent: Skilled Labor as Social Capital in Korea (Stanford University Press, 2015).

[24] For more information about the Korea Foundation, see the organization’s “About Us” page at https://www.kf.or.kr/kfEng/cm/cntnts/cntntsView2.do?mi=2126.

[25] Gi-Wook Shin, “Demographic Headwinds,” Shorenstein APARC, December 15, 2022, https://aparc.fsi.stanford.edu/news/demographic-headwinds.

[26] “India to Have Talent Surplus of 245 Million Workers by 2030: Study,” Economic Times, May 7, 2018, https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/indicators/india-to-have-talent-surplus-of-245-million-workers-by-2030-study/articleshow/64064096.cms.

[27] Cowen, “Rishi Sunak Shows the Growing Influence of Indian Talent in the West.”

DOWNLOAD A PDF VERSION OF THIS ESSAY

Read More

Two elderly male South Korean job seekers fill out job applications at an elderly persons' job fair in Seoul, South Korea.
Commentary

Demographic Headwinds

Can Korea Avoid Japan’s Lost Decade?
Demographic Headwinds
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol speaks on the government supplementary budget at the National Assembly on May 16, 2022 in Seoul.
Commentary

Beyond Representation: How Diversity Can Unleash Korea’s Innovation

A social and corporate culture that values and enforces conformity surely cannot be a wellspring of creativity and innovation. Korean society must find a new source of vitality. Enhancing diversity to stimulate innovation and change could be the answer.
Beyond Representation: How Diversity Can Unleash Korea’s Innovation
All News button
1
Subtitle

Opportunities for Korea-India Relations

Paragraphs

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) provides a civil cause of action for computer hacking victims that have suffered certain types of harm. Of these harms, the one most commonly invoked by plaintiffs is having suffered $5,000 or more of cognizable “loss” as defined by the statute. In its first-ever CFAA case, 2021’s Van Buren v. United States, the Supreme Court included intriguing language that “loss” in civil cases should be limited to “technological harms” constituting “the typical consequences of hacking.” To date, lower courts have only followed the Court’s interpretation if their circuit already interpreted “loss” narrowly pre-Van Buren and have continued to approach “loss” broadly otherwise.

Van Buren did not fully dissipate the legal risks the CFAA has long posed to a particular community: people who engage in good-faith cybersecurity research. Discovering and reporting security vulnerabilities in software and hardware risks legal action from vendors displeased with unflattering revelations about their products’ flaws. Research activities have even led to criminal investigations at times. Although Van Buren narrowed the CFAA’s scope and prompted reforms in federal criminal charging policy, researchers continue to face some legal exposure. The CFAA still lets litigious vendors “shoot the messenger” by suing over security research that did them no harm. Spending just $5,000 addressing a vulnerability is sufficient to allow the vendor to sue the researcher who reported it, because such remediation costs qualify as “loss” even in courts that read that term narrowly.

To mitigate the CFAA’s legal risk to researchers, a common proposal is a statutory safe harbor for security research. Such proposals walk a fine line between being unduly byzantine for good-faith actors to follow and lax enough to invite abuse by malicious actors. Instead of the safe harbor approach, this article recommends a simpler way to reduce litigation over harmless research: follow the money.

The Article proposes (1) amending the CFAA’s “loss” definition to prevent vulnerability remediation costs alone from satisfying the $5,000 standing threshold absent any other alleged loss, and (2) adding a fee-shifting provision that can be invoked where plaintiffs’ losses do not meet that threshold. Tightening up the “loss” calculus would disqualify retaliatory litigation against beneficial (or at least benign) security research while preserving victims’ ability to seek redress where well-intended research activities do cause harm. Fee-shifting would deter weak CFAA claims and give the recipients of legal threats some leverage to fight back. Coupled with the Van Buren decision, these changes would reach beyond the context of vendor versus researcher: they would help rein in the CFAA’s rampant misuse over behavior far afield from the law’s core anti-hacking purpose.

All Publications button
1
Publication Type
Journal Articles
Publication Date
Journal Publisher
Richmond Journal of Law & Technology
Authors
Riana Pfefferkorn
Number
1
-
blue background with text overlay that reads uncommon yet consequential online harms

Come join The Journal of Online Trust & Safety, an open access journal for cutting-edge trust and safety scholarship, as we bring together authors published in our special issue, Uncommon yet Consequential Online Harms, for a webinar, hosted on September 1, 9:30-10:30am PT. 

The Journal of Online Trust & Safety publishes research from computer science, sociology, political science, law, and more. Journal articles have been covered in The Guardian, The Washington Post, and Platformer and cited in Senate testimony and a platform policy announcement.

Articles in this special issue will include: 

Election Fraud, YouTube, and Public Perception of the Legitimacy of President Biden by James Bisbee, Megan A. Brown, Angela Lai, Richard Bonneau, Joshua A. Tucker, and Jonathan Nagler

Predictors of Radical Intentions among Incels: A Survey of 54 Self-identified Incels by Sophia Moskalenko, Naama Kates, Juncal Fernández-Garayzábal González, and Mia Bloom

Procedural Justice and Self Governance on Twitter: Unpacking the Experience of Rule Breaking on Twitter by Matthew Katsaros, Tom Tyler, Jisu Kim, and Tracey Meares

Twitter’s Disputed Tags May Be Ineffective at Reducing Belief in Fake News and Only Reduce Intentions to Share Fake News Among Democrats and Independents by Jeffrey Lees, Abigail McCarter, and Dawn M. Sarno

To hear from the authors about their new research, please register for the webinar. To be notified about journal updates, please sign up for Stanford Internet Observatory announcements and follow @journalsafetech. Questions about the journal can be sent to trustandsafetyjournal@stanford.edu.

 

 

Panel Discussions
-
abstract blue image with text Trust and Safety Research Conference

Join us September 29-30 for two days of cross-professional presentations and conversations designed to push forward research on trust and safety.

Hosted at Stanford University’s Frances. C. Arrillaga Alumni Center, the Trust and Safety Research Conference will convene trust and safety practitioners, people in government and civil society, and academics in fields like computer science, sociology, law, and political science to think deeply about trust and safety issues.

Your ticket gives you access to:

  • Two days of talks, panels, workshops, and breakouts
  • Networking opportunities, including happy hours on September 28, 29 and 30th.
  • Breakfast and lunch on September 29 and 30th.

Early bird tickets are $100 for attendees from academia and civil society and $500 for attendees from industry. Ticket prices go up August 1, 2022. Full refunds or substitutions will be honored until August 15, 2022. After August 15, 2022 no refunds will be allowed.

More information is available at: http://www.tsresearchconference.org

For questions, please contact us through internetobservatory@stanford.edu

Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center
326 Galvez Street
Stanford, CA 94305

Conferences
-

Image
Big Data China logo
The event will be webcast live from this page.

The Stanford Center on China’s Economy and Institutions (SCCEI) and the CSIS Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics launch the third feature of the new collaboration, Big Data China, on July 27 at 9 a.m. PDT / 12 p.m. EDT.  The feature, “The AI-Surveillance Symbiosis in China,” highlights the work of professors Noam Yuchtman (London School of Economics) and David Yang (Harvard University) and their colleagues. The feature shows how China‘s large-scale investments in surveillance technology is both enhancing the state‘s capacity to repress dissent and providing commercial advantage to Chinese AI companies operating in the facial recognition and surveillance space.


The event will feature a presentation of the key findings of the analysis and its implications for the Washington policy community by Noam Yuchtman of London School of Economics, David Yang of Harvard University, and Trustee Chair Fellow Ilaria Mazzocco. Trustee Chair Director Scott Kennedy will moderate a panel discussion which will include questions from the public and questions from the audience. The distinguished panelists for the event are: Emily Weinstein of CSET, Paul Mozur of the New York Times, and Trustee Chair non-resident senior associate Paul Triolo


WATCH THE RECORDING

FEATURING

Noam Yuchtman
Professor of Managerial Economics and Strategy, London School of Economics and Political Science

David Yang
Assistant Professor of Economics, Harvard University
Emily Weinstein 
Research Fellow, Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), Georgetown University
Paul Mozur
Correspondent, New York Times
Scott Kennedy
Senior Adviser and Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics
Ilaria Mazzocco
Fellow, Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics
Paul Triolo
Senior Associate (Non-resident), Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics
 

EVENT PARTNERS
 

Image
SCCEI and CSIS logos

Virtual Livestream 

Scott Kennedy
Ilaria Mazzocco
Paul Mozur
Paul Triolo
Emily Weinstein
David Yang
Noam Yuchtman
Panel Discussions
-

Image
3D mockup cover of APARC's volume 'South Korea's Democracy in Crisis'

South Korea's Democracy in Crisis: The Threats of Illiberalism, Populism, and Polarization 
위기의 한국 민주주의: 비자유주의, 포퓰리즘, 양극화의 위협

In this book launch event held in Korea, the participants will examine and discuss the threats to democracy in Korea. For more information about the book, please visit the publication webpage.

<The book launch event will be in Korean>

14:00-14:05 Introduction by Ho-Ki Kim, Professor of Sociology, Yonsei University

Moderated by Dukjin Chang, Professor of Sociology, Seoul National University

14:05-15:20 Presentations

Democracy in Crisis: Populism in Post-Truth Era
Gi-Wook Shin, Director of Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University
Ho-Ki Kim, Professor of Sociology, Yonsei University

Two divergences in South Korea’s Economy and Disparities in Democracy
Jun-Ho Jeong, Professor of Economics, Kangwon University
Il-Young Lee, Professor of Economics, Hanshin University

Judicialization of Politics and Politicization of  the Judiciary in Korea : Challenges in Maintaining the Balance of Power
Seongwook Heo, Professor of Law, Seoul National University

15:20-15:40 Break

15:40-16:55 Panel Discussion

Won-Taek Kang, Professor of Political Science, Seoul National University
Seeun Jeong, Professor of Economics, Chungnam National University
Chulwoo Lee, Professor of Law, Yonsei University

16:55-17:00 Closing Remarks by Gi-Wook Shin, Director of Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University

In-Person event in Korea
June 14, 2PM-5PM, Korea Time
Press Center, Seoul

Seminars
Authors
Melissa De Witte, Taylor Kubota, Ker Than
Taylor Kubota
Ker Than
News Type
News
Date
Paragraphs

During a speech at Stanford University on Thursday, April 21, 2022, former U.S. President Barack Obama presented his audience with a stark choice: “Do we allow our democracy to wither, or do we make it better?”

Over the course of an hour-long address, Obama outlined the threat that disinformation online, including deepfake technology powered by AI, poses to democracy as well as ways he thought the problems might be addressed in the United States and abroad.

“This is an opportunity, it’s a chance that we should welcome for governments to take on a big important problem and prove that democracy and innovation can coexist,” Obama said.

Obama, who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017, was the keynote speaker at a one-day symposium, titled “Challenges to Democracy in the Digital Information Realm,” co-hosted by the Stanford Cyber Policy Center and the Obama Foundation on the Stanford campus on April 21.

The event brought together people working in technology, policy, and academia for panel discussions on topics ranging from the role of government in establishing online trust, the relationship between democracy and tech companies, and the threat of digital authoritarians.

Obama told a packed audience of more than 600 people in CEMEX auditorium – as well as more than 250,000 viewers tuning in online – that everyone is part of the solution to make democracy stronger in the digital age and that all of us – from technology companies and their employees to students and ordinary citizens – must work together to adapt old institutions and values to a new era of information. “If we do nothing, I’m convinced the trends that we’re seeing will get worse,” he said.

Introducing the former president was Michael McFaul, director at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and U.S. ambassador to Russia under Obama, and Stanford alum and Obama Foundation fellow, Tiana Epps-Johnson, BA ’08.

Epps-Johnson, who is the founder and executive director of the Center for Tech and Civic Life, recalled her time answering calls to an election protection hotline during the 2006 midterm election. She said the experience taught her an important lesson, which was that “the overall health of our democracy, whether we have a voting process that is fair and trustworthy, is more important than any one election outcome.”

Stanford freshman Evan Jackson said afterward that Obama’s speech resonated with him. “I use social media a lot, every day, and I’m always seeing all the fake news that can be spread easily. And I do understand that when you have controversy attached to what you’re saying, it can reach larger crowds,” Jackson said. “So if we do find a way to better contain the controversy and the fake news, it can definitely help our democracy stay powerful for our nation.”

The Promise and Perils Technology Poses to Democracy


In his keynote, Obama reflected on how technology has transformed the way people create and consume media. Digital and social media companies have upended traditional media – from local newspapers to broadcast television, as well as the role these outlets played in society at large.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the American public tuned in to one of three major networks, and while media from those earlier eras had their own set of problems – such as excluding women and people of color – they did provide people with a shared culture, Obama said.

Moreover, these media institutions, with established journalistic best practices for accuracy and accountability, also provided people with similar information: “When it came to the news, at least, citizens across the political spectrum tended to operate using a shared set of facts – what they saw or what they heard from Walter Cronkite or David Brinkley.”

Fast forward to today, where everyone has access to individualized news feeds that are fed by algorithms that reward the loudest and angriest voices (and which technology companies profit from). “You have the sheer proliferation of content, and the splintering of information and audiences,” Obama observed. “That’s made democracy more complicated.”

Facts are competing with opinions, conspiracy theories, and fiction. “For more and more of us, search and social media platforms aren’t just our window into the internet. They serve as our primary source of news and information,” Obama said. “No one tells us that the window is blurred, subject to unseen distortions, and subtle manipulations.”

The splintering of news sources has also made all of us more prone to what psychologists call “confirmation bias,” Obama said. “Inside our personal information bubbles, our assumptions, our blind spots, our prejudices aren’t challenged, they are reinforced and naturally, we’re more likely to react negatively to those consuming different facts and opinions – all of which deepens existing racial and religious and cultural divides.”

But the problem is not just that our brains can’t keep up with the growing amount of information online, Obama argued. “They’re also the result of very specific choices made by the companies that have come to dominate the internet generally, and social media platforms in particular.”

The former president also made clear that he did not think technology was to blame for many of our social ills. Racism, sexism, and misogyny, all predate the internet, but technology has helped amplify them.

“Solving the disinformation problem won’t cure all that ails our democracies or tears at the fabric of our world, but it can help tamp down divisions and let us rebuild the trust and solidarity needed to make our democracy stronger,” Obama said.

He gave examples of how social media has fueled violence and extremism around the world. For example, leaders from countries such as Russia to China, Hungary, the Philippines, and Brazil have harnessed social media platforms to manipulate their populations. “Autocrats like Putin have used these platforms as a strategic weapon against democratic countries that they consider a threat,” Obama said.

He also called out emerging technologies such as AI for their potential to sow further discord online. “I’ve already seen demonstrations of deep fake technology that show what looks like me on a screen, saying stuff I did not say. It’s a strange experience people,” Obama said. “Without some standards, implications of this technology – for our elections, for our legal system, for our democracy, for rules of evidence, for our entire social order – are frightening and profound.”

‘Regulation Has to Be Part of the Answer’


Obama discussed potential solutions for addressing some of the problems he viewed as contributing to a backsliding of democracy in the second half of his talk.

In an apt metaphor for a speech delivered in Silicon Valley, Obama compared the U.S. Constitution to software for running society. It had “a really innovative design,” Obama said, but also significant bugs. “Slavery. You can discriminate against entire classes of people. Women couldn’t vote. Even white men without property couldn’t vote, couldn’t participate, weren’t part of ‘We the People.’”

The amendments to the Constitution were akin to software patches, the former president said, that allowed us to “continue to perfect our union.”

Similarly, governments and technology companies should be willing to introduce changes aimed at improving civil discourse online and reducing the amount of disinformation on the internet, Obama said.

“The internet is a tool. Social media is a tool. At the end of the day, tools don’t control us. We control them. And we can remake them. It’s up to each of us to decide what we value and then use the tools we’ve been given to advance those values,” he said.

The former president put forth various solutions for combating online disinformation, including regulation, which many tech companies fiercely oppose.

“Here in the United States, we have a long history of regulating new technologies in the name of public safety, from cars and airplanes to prescription drugs to appliances,” Obama said. “And while companies initially always complain that the rules are going to stifle innovation and destroy the industry, the truth is that a good regulatory environment usually ends up spurring innovation, because it raises the bar on safety and quality. And it turns out that innovation can meet that higher bar.”

In particular, Obama urged policymakers to rethink Section 230, enacted as part of the United States Communications Decency Act in 1996, which ​​stipulates that generally, online platforms cannot be held liable for content that other people post on their website.

But technology has changed dramatically over the past two decades since Section 230 was enacted, Obama said. “These platforms are not like the old phone company.”

He added: “In some cases, industry standards may replace or substitute for regulation, but regulation has to be part of the answer.”

Obama also urged technology companies to be more transparent in how they operate and “at minimum” should share with researchers and regulators how some of their products and services are designed so there is some accountability.

The responsibility also lies with ordinary citizens, the former president said. “We have to take it upon ourselves to become better consumers of news – looking at sources, thinking before we share, and teaching our kids to become critical thinkers who know how to evaluate sources and separate opinion from fact.”

Obama warned that if the U.S. does not act on these issues, it risks being eclipsed in this arena by other countries. “As the world’s leading democracy, we have to set a better example. We should be able to lead on these discussions internationally, not [be] in the rear. Right now, Europe is forging ahead with some of the most sweeping legislation in years to regulate the abuses that are seen in big tech companies,” Obama said. “Their approach may not be exactly right for the United States, but it points to the need for us to coordinate with other democracies. We need to find our voice in this global conversation.”

 

Transcript of President Obama's Keynote

Read More

Larry Diamond speaking in the Bechtel Conference Center in Encina Hall
Commentary

"We Have Entered a New Historical Era": Larry Diamond on the Future of Democracy

Speaking at the April 2022 meeting of the FSI Council, Larry Diamond offered his assessment of the present dangers to global democracy and the need to take decisive action in support of liberal values.
"We Have Entered a New Historical Era": Larry Diamond on the Future of Democracy
Fake or Fact news on coronavirus
Q&As

Does Free Speech Protect COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation?

While some might say making or spreading known false statements related to the COVID-19 vaccine should be criminalized, the First Amendment, which guarantees free speech, continues to provide protection for people who promulgate such faulty information. So, how can the spread of misinformation be stopped without quashing free speech?
Does Free Speech Protect COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation?
Image of social media icons and a hand holding a phone
Blogs

Full-Spectrum Pro-Kremlin Online Propaganda about Ukraine

Narratives from overt propaganda, unattributed Telegram channels, and inauthentic social media accounts
Full-Spectrum Pro-Kremlin Online Propaganda about Ukraine
All News button
1
Subtitle

At a conference hosted by the Cyber Policy Center and Obama Foundation, former U.S. President Barack Obama delivered the keynote address about how information is created and consumed, and the threat that disinformation poses to democracy.

-

With starting the war in Ukraine Vladimir Putin started the war on information within Russia: in a couple of weeks Russian authorities shut down all the independent media, dozens of independent journalists were forced to leave the country. Russian propaganda is working really hard to convince Russians to support the war in Ukraine. Is there a chance to win in Russian propaganda war. Tikhon Dzyadko, editor in chief of TVRain, the last independent TV-station in Russia, believes that it is possible and will explain what is needed to be done in order to succeed.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Image
tikhon_dzyadko.jpeg
Tikhon Dzyadko is a Russian journalist, television presenter and media manager. He is the former editor-in-chief for TV Rain, one of the last independent television stations in Russia, and host of the Russian Television International (RTVI TV) network, a Russian-language television station based in New York.

 

 

At this time, in-person attendance is limited to Stanford affiliates only. We continue to welcome our greater community to join virtually via Zoom.

 

This event is co-sponsored by CDDRL and the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.

Image
CDDRL and CREEES logos

Tikhon Dzyadko
Lectures
Authors
Melissa Morgan
News Type
News
Date
Paragraphs

In a memo from March 2021, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin outlined new mandates for the Department of Defense to modernize, encourage innovation and “invest smartly for the future” in order to meet the dynamic threat landscape of the modern world. Writing in the same memo, he acknowledged that this goal cannot be met without the cooperation of stakeholders from across the board, including private industries and academic institutions.

In keeping with that priority, on April 5, 2022, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks and her team joined a cross-departmental roundtable of faculty and students to hear more about Stanford's efforts to bring Silicon Valley-style innovation to projects at the Department of Defense and its interagencies.

These students are working under the umbrella of the Gordian Knot Center for National Security Innovation (GKC), a new program at the Center for International Cooperation and Security (CISAC) at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI). GKC aims to coordinate resources at Stanford, peer universities, and across Silicon Valley’s innovation ecosystem in order to provide cutting-edge national security education and train national security innovators.


This is a great place to be doing this. Here in Silicon Valley, there’s a huge amount of opportunity and ecosystem available across both Stanford and the broader research community and commercial sector.
Kathleen Hicks
Deputy Secretary of Defense

At the core of GKC is a series of classes and initiatives that combine STEM skills with policy know-how in a way that’s meant to encourage students to leverage entrepreneurship and innovation in order to develop rapid, scalable solutions to national security issues. Students from both undergraduate and graduate level programs, regardless of their prior experience in national defense, are encouraged to participate.

“We’re really trying to empower students to pursue national security-relevant work while they’re here at Stanford,” explains Joe Felter, GKC’s director, co-founder, and senior research scholar at CISAC. FSI and CISAC have deep roots in this type of innovative, interdisciplinary approach to policy solutions GKC is working to implement. Michael McFaul, FSI’s director, is a founding faculty member and principal investigator for GKC, and David Hoyt, the assistant director of GKC, is an alumnus of the CISAC honors program.

Results from GKC’s classes have been very encouraging so far. Working through "Hacking for Defense," a GKC-affiliated class taught out of the MS&E department, Jeff Jang, a new Defense Innovation Scholar and MBA student, showed how implementing a rapid interview process and focusing on problem and customer discovery has allowed his team to create enterprise software for United States Air Force (USAF) fleet management that has vastly improved efficiency, reduced errors and enabled better planning capabilities into the workflow. Their product has been given numerous grants and awards, and the team has received signed letters of interest from 29 different USAF bases across the world.

In another GKC class, "Technology, Innovation, and Great Power Competition,” Abeer Dahiya and Youngjun Kwak, along with Mikk Raud, Dave Sprague and Miku Yamada — three students from FSI’s Ford Dorsey Master’s in International Policy program (MIP) — have been tackling the challenges involved in developing a domestic U.S. semiconductor strategy. They were among the student teams asked to present the results of their work to Dep. Sec. Hicks during her visit.

“Attending this class has been one of the highlights of my time at Stanford,” says Mikk Raud (MIP ‘22). “It’s been a great example of how important it is to run interdisciplinary courses and bring people from different fields together.”

He continues, “As a policy student, it was very insightful for me to learn from my peers from different programs, as well as make numerous visits to the engineering quad to speak to technical professors whom I otherwise would have never met. After meeting with and presenting to Deputy Secretary Hicks and hearing about the work other students are doing, it really hit home to me that the government does listen to students, and it really is possible that a small Stanford group project can eventually lead into significant changes and improvements of the highest levels of policy making.”

This kind of renewed interest in national security and defense tech among students is precisely what the Gordian Knot Center is hoping to foster. Building an interconnected innovation workforce that can “think deeply, [and] act quickly,” GKC’s motto, is a driving priority for the center and its supporters.


We’re really trying to empower students to pursue national security-relevant work while they’re here at Stanford.
Joe Felter
GKC Director

The Department of Defense recognizes the value of this approach. In her remarks, Dep. Sec. Kathleen Hicks acknowledged that reshaping the culture and methodologies by which the DoD runs is as imperative as it is difficult.

“My life is a Gordian knot, day in and day out at the Defense Department,” she quipped. Speaking seriously, she reminded the audience of the tremendous driving power DoD has had in creating future-looking national security defenses.  “Because of its sophistication, diversity, and capacity to innovate, the U.S. Defense Industrial Base and vibrant innovation ecosystem remains the envy of the world,” Hicks emphasized. “Every day, people like you are designing, building, and producing the critical materials and technologies that ensure our armed forces have what they need.”

But she also recognized that the challenges facing the DoD are real and complex. “There are many barriers in front of the Department of Defense in terms of what it takes to operate in government and to make the kinds of shifts we need in order to have the agility to take advantage of opportunities and partner effectively.” She reiterated that one of her key priorities is to accelerate innovation adoption across DoD, including organizational structure, processes, culture, and people.

Partnerships with groups like the Gordian Knot Center are a key component to breaking down the barriers to innovation facing our national institutions and rebuilding them into new, more adaptable bridges forward. While the challenges facing the Department of Defense remain significant, the work of the students in GKC’s classes so far proves that progress is not only possible, but can be made quickly as well.

Read More

2022-23 CDDRL Honors Students
News

Introducing Our 2022-23 CDDRL Honors Students

Representing nine different majors and minors and hailing from four different countries, we are thrilled to welcome these twelve outstanding students to our Fisher Family Honors Program.
Introducing Our 2022-23 CDDRL Honors Students
Woman
Q&As

Are We Dumb about Intelligence?

Amy Zegart on the Capabilities of American Intel Gathering
Are We Dumb about Intelligence?
MIP Class of 2022
News

Meet the Ford Dorsey Master’s in International Policy Class of 2022

The new cohort of MIP students kicked off an unusual fall quarter last week. Four of the first-year students describe what attracted them to the program and their hopes for the future.
Meet the Ford Dorsey Master’s in International Policy Class of 2022
All News button
1
Subtitle

A visit from the Department of Defense’s deputy secretary gave the Gordian Knot Center a prime opportunity to showcase how its faculty and students are working to build an innovative workforce that can help solve the nation’s most pressing national security challenges.

-

Common sense states that foreign policy rarely becomes an issue in South Korea’s elections. However, given the unusually high anti-China sentiment among the South Korean public today, some view that it may become an “unspoken agenda” that every South Korean voter is cognizant about. As Seoul and Beijing mark their 30th diplomatic anniversary this year, their mutual attraction appears visibly moderated. Is it a temporary setback in the neighboring countries’ relationship? What choices will Kim Jong-un make under strategic competition between the U.S. and China? The panel will examine the factors that will shape and influence the future prospect of the Seoul-Beijing ties and the relationship between North Korea and China.   

Speakers:

Image
portrait of Seong Hyon Lee
Seong-hyon Lee is a Senior Fellow at the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations and a visiting scholar at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. His research focuses on contemporary relations between China and South Korea. Lee received a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College, a master’s degree from Harvard University and a PhD from Tsinghua University.

Image
portrait of Sheen Woo
Sheen Woo, Special Policy Advisor to the South Korean Ambassador in China, joined the Korea Program at Shorenstein APARC as a 2021-22 visiting scholar. He is a specialist in China-North Korea relations with expertise in Chinese aid and sanctions against North Korea. He has worked at and with a variety of organizations including NGOs, start-ups, art centers, and state-run think tanks in Korea and China. While at APARC, his research focus is on the development and changes of China's aid to North Korea. He holds a PhD in Management Science from Tsinghua University.

Gi-Wook Shin, director of APARC and the Korea Program, will moderate the discussion.

Via Zoom. Register at https://bit.ly/3tMDyjo

Panel Discussions
Subscribe to Information Technology
Top