For the first time since September 2019, The Institute of World Politics (IWP) hosted its semi-annual Cyber Embassy Night (CEN). Occurring on Friday, November 5, 2022, the event included a number of diplomats, academics, and professionals coming together to discuss and conduct cyber diplomacy.
Representatives from dozens of embassies and organizations attended the event. The guest of honor and the keynote speaker was Ambassador Nathaniel Fick, U.S. Department of State Ambassador at Large of the Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy. Amb. Fick is the first ambassador of the U.S.’s new Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy after the Senate confirmed him and was sworn in only six weeks ago at the end of September.
The event began with opening remarks by Joe Billingsley (IWP Adjunct Professor and Advisor of the Cyber Intelligence Initiative) who shared the history of this series and its purpose of supporting “the small but growing community of diplomats focused on cyber affairs.” The microphone was then handed off to Dean Lane (IWP Chief Information Officer and Senior Advisor of the Initiative) who discussed the Initiative and its role in sponsoring this series.
Then came former Ambassador Aldona Woś (IWP President). Amb. Woś spoke of the mission of IWP, both for its students and its place in the community of international affairs and national security. She proceeded to welcome Ambassador Fick to the “club” of ambassadors and to give him center stage.
Ambassador Fick, in one of his first public appearances since taking his oath, highlighted the need for digital solidarity and a holistic approach to global challenges. Capacity building, threat intelligence sharing, and counterpart relations were just some of the topics he discussed in the question-and-answer session that followed his presentation. Some of his counterparts, such as Dr. Tobias Feakin (Australian Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and one of the first cyber-focused ambassadors in the world) had previously served as speakers in this series.
Amongst the array of notable attendees were Jennifer Bachus (Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy) and Rear Admiral (Retired) Mark Montgomery, who served as Executive Director of the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission. The Commission’s 2020 Report recommended the establishment of the new cyber-focused bureau and ambassador role at the U.S. Department of State. Other organizations represented include the Military Cyber Professionals Association and the College of Information and Cyberspace at National Defense University.