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Gift Will Support Digital Technology, Public Policy, and Cybersecurity

Posted Feb 19 2019
SIPA’s annual Global Digital Futures Forum will be named for donors Alexander Niejelow and Judith Rodin.
SIPA’s annual Global Digital Futures Forum will be named for donors Alexander Niejelow and Judith Rodin.

SIPA will use a recent gift from Alexander Niejelow and Judith Rodin to advance its leading-edge work on issues related to digital technology and its intersection with public policy, with a specific focus on cybersecurity-related issues, the School announced today.

The gift will provide support over five years to convene thought leaders, conduct training and research, and pursue other cyber- and digital-focused activities under SIPA’s Technology and Policy Initiative. As part of the gift, SIPA’s annual technology policy gathering – the Global Digital Futures Policy Forum – will be renamed the Niejelow/Rodin Global Digital Futures Forum and continue to serve as a gathering that draws experts from across academia, business, technology, and policy to discuss cutting edge issues in a forward-looking and solutions-oriented format. The Tech and Policy Initiative was launched in 2014 to develop new thinking and training at the intersection of digital technology, public policy, and SIPA’s core fields.  

“Cybersecurity and digital technology are profoundly impacting every aspect of global business, governance, and public and private life. These issues present critical opportunities for scholarship, training and engagement,” said Dean Merit E. Janow. “This gift will enhance SIPA’s role as a center for the exploration of cyber and digital policy challenges while providing important training for the next generation of cyber professionals and policy leaders. We are grateful to Dr. Judith Rodin and Alexander Niejelow for their generous support.”

Rodin received her PhD from Columbia in 1971. After a distinguished academic career at Yale, including serving as provost, she became the first woman named to lead an Ivy League institution, serving as president of the University of Pennsylvania from 1994 to 2004. She later became president of the Rockefeller Foundation, stepping down in in 2017. Rodin received one of SIPA’s Global Leadership Awards in 2014. Niejelow, who is Rodin’s son, is senior vice president for Cybersecurity Coordination and Advocacy at Mastercard. He previously served as director of cybersecurity for the Obama administration, holding numerous other senior White House positions.

For more information about the Technology and Policy Initiative, visit