CGI U selects 29 ASU students to attend 2015 event


February 11, 2015

The 2015 Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) has selected 29 Arizona State University students to advance at the annual conference, which will be held this year on March 6-8 at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.

The annual CGI U conference is a highly anticipated event that convenes over 1,000 students from over 300 colleges and 80 countries. Hosted at ASU in 2014, CGI U provides selected undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to engage with topic experts, renowned leaders and celebrities through interactive workshops and plenary sessions. Bill Clinton speaking at CGI U at Arizona State University in 2014 Download Full Image

Of the 29 ASU students selected to attend this year’s CGI U, 12 are graduate students and 17 are undergraduate students. They represent over 18 different majors and nine colleges, including the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. For fourteen of these students, this is their first time being invited to attend the conference.

To attend, students must pass a competitive selection process by submitting compelling solutions, called Commitments to Action, to today’s most pressing issues in one of five focus areas: education; environment and climate change; peace and human rights; poverty alleviation; and public health. Students must also explain how their Commitments to Action are new, specific and measureable.

Andrew Ninh, an online student studying electrical engineering, shared how his life experiences inspired his Commitment to Action, called DocBot. “DocBot’s story began when I spent my graduation in the ICU of a local children’s hospital because my lung collapsed,” explains Ninh. “During my recovery, I spent time thinking of ways in which the health care process and delivery of care may be individualized and optimized.”

Last summer, DocBot was selected to the Microsoft Idea Camp accelerator program, during which Ninh and his team engaged in market validation by interviewing several physicians and gathering enough information to build customized software programs around the physicians’ needs.

CGI U invites students to propose projects that would affect one’s local community, as well as projects that may have a more global reach. Bernard Jere, a MasterCard Foundation Scholar studying Global Agribusiness in the W. P. Carey School of Business, shares that his Commitment to Action, XPRI-EMPOWER, will socially and economically empower ex-prisoners of correctional facilities in Malawi.

“I am inspired by ASU's mission of creating value and impact for the global community it serves,” says Jere. “I am glad to be both a beneficiary and an agent of that mission.”

The CGI U conference is held annually each spring, and offers selected students the opportunity to network, build skills and collaborate with like-minded and passionate individuals from around the world.

With their sights set for Miami this March, the CGI U Sun Devils will take part in a proud tradition of bringing great ideas into action.  

Emma Greguska

Reporter, ASU Now

(480) 965-9657

Global Security Initiative to address emerging challenges


February 11, 2015

How can we tackle resource security, global health, changing climate, economic and political instability, and other emerging challenges that are complex, interconnected and interdependent? Driving positive outcomes to these problems will take collaboration among a diversity of experts, not just within one university or country, but across the globe.

To address this need, Arizona State University has announced a new Global Security Initiative (GSI), to be led by Nadya Bliss, as director of the initiative and professor of practice in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering. Portrait of Nadya Bliss Download Full Image

The new initiative will serve as a university-wide interdisciplinary hub for global security research, and is the evolution of ASU’s Security & Defense Systems Initiative.

“GSI was born from the observation that global security is really national security, and that our current challenges require imagination, collaboration, and exploration,” says Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan, senior vice president for Knowledge Enterprise Development at ASU. “ASU as a New American University is well positioned to provide these capabilities.”

The initiative was developed with a focus on openness, inclusiveness and connections to the global defense, development and diplomacy communities. It will address the types of challenges characterized by complex interdependencies and conflicting objectives, where there may not be obvious solutions.

The initiative will also have the benefit of working from the foundation the Security & Defense Systems Initiative (SDSI) helped develop, says Kyle Squires, director of the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, who served as interim co-director for SDSI.

“SDSI was ASU’s entry as a university initiative into the sphere of security and defense,” Squires says. “That was an important launch for us. It begins to make you identifiable in this space, it begins to coalesce a lot of activities of the faculty, and gets you thinking about what large research initiatives you can tackle.”

The Foresight Initiative, funded by a $20 million National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency cooperative agreement, serves as the foundation for the Global Security Initiative. The Foresight Initiative is a five-year effort to develop research products, tools and processes for decision-making in the context of environmental change and national security dynamics. It will also enable the development and assessment of sustainability and resilience strategies. This challenge requires multidisciplinary cooperation and global partnerships, which GSI will be capable of facilitating.

Cyber security and digital identity is another key challenge cutting across many application domains. Addressing this concern will require the expertise of computer scientists as well as individuals from the business community and the field of law. In addition, it is essential to incorporate the humanist perspective.

“A lot of our lives are spent online and this creates all types of vulnerabilities,” Bliss says. “Ethically, what does it mean to have all of this data out there for everyone to see?”

GSI will allow the interdisciplinary partnerships necessary to see the full picture of a complex challenge.

In dealing with issues of national and global security, there is a significant need for open, inclusive research that draws from the broader scholarly community in addition to closed and classified research. With this new initative, the university is ready to address that need, leveraging the best of both worlds.

Research efforts to address these emerging and enduring challenges will also provide insights on new learning approaches to create and sustain the national security workforce needed to maintain a competitive edge in the global knowledge economy. The Global Security Initiative is representative of ASU’s willingness to be driven by global needs, Bliss says.

“We are addressing these emergent challenges, and as a university and a dynamic environment, it is our calling to do that," she adds.

The initiative will leverage the ASURE (ASU Research Enterprise), an off-campus entity started by the Security & Defense Systems Initiative, to do different types of research that, in the past, university faculty have not pursued.

“That’s very important in the security space, because a lot of the work that is out there for funding will be of a nature where faculty won’t necessarily think of it first,” Panchanathan says.

Written by Allie Nicodemo, Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development

Director, Knowledge Enterprise Development

480-965-7260