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The Industries of the Future

with Alec Ross

March 21, 2018
7:30 p.m.
Mountainlair Ballrooms

Alec Ross headshot
After graduating from Northwestern University, Ross started his career as a sixth grade teacher through Teach for America in inner-city Baltimore. In 2000, he and three colleagues co-founded the nonprofit organization One Economy and grew it from modest origins in a basement into a global organization serving millions of low-income people, with programs on four continents.

During his time at the State Department, Ross led an effort to increase the diversity and level of problem-solving abilities in the foreign service. He managed a large-scale process for making the U.S. Department of State a more innovative institution. A 2012 study by Deloitte and the Partnership for Public Service scored the State Department as having the most innovation-friendly culture of any cabinet-level agency.

An advocate for Internet Freedom, he established a global Internet Freedom agenda that became the first distinctly 21st century human rights agenda, deploying $100M in funds for cutting-edge projects that keep the internet open and help protect citizens and activists in authoritarian environments.

Understanding the growing importance of social media, Ross conceived a system of public diplomacy through social media that now reaches 15 million people a day. He is largely responsible for creating the system of using text messaging codes to donate to relief funds. Ross also served as Convener for the Technology, Media & Telecommunications Policy Committee on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and served on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team.

Ross has been awarded many recognitions for his work, including “Top 100 Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy Magazine, Huffington Post’s “10 Game Changers in Politics,” the 2010 Middle East/North Africa Technology Person of the Year by the Union of Arab ICT organizations, and the Department of State Distinguished Honor Award.

Ross has served as a guest lecturer at numerous institutions, including the United Nations, Harvard Law School, and the London School of Economics His writing has appeared in publications including the Johns Hopkins SAIS Review of International Affairs and the NATO Review.

Ross lives in Baltimore with his wife and their three young children.

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