Cyberthreats primarily international, range from simple to sophisticated

Cybercriminals, just as computer users in general, have a wide range of sophistication and effort in their attacks, noted speakers at the World Affairs Council of St. Louis’s session, “Cyber Security and You” presented May 23.  Speakers Rob Rudloff of RubinBrown’s cybersecurity group, and Matt Flinner of the Better Business Bureau, offered perspective on the nature of the attackers as well as protective strategies.

“We’re finding attacks are mostly coming from four countries, Russia, Romania, Jamaica, and France,” Rudloff said. 

  • Both speakers agreed that threats are constant and their greatest chance of success is when people don’t take appropriate precautions.  Using weak or obvious passwords, opening emails and attachments without some skepticism, failing to check links for unusual URLs (or country codes such as ca for China), and not protecting key information can open people up to cybertheft.Suggestions include:
  • using a password manager, such as LastPass,
  • only using a credit card, not debit card, for transactions,
  • keeping a close eye on your credit score and bank statements
  • avoiding quizzes online
  • don’t follow links from emails but go to the website for the company itself
  • don’t post on social media that you will be out of town, or provide details that can help criminals guess your passwords
  • use different passwords for each online activity

 

Novus Corporate Breakfast

Join us on June 14 from 8:00am-9:30am at the Novus International Headquarters and Research Center, to discover how they are working to sustainably meet the growing global need for food, nutrition and health.

Meet the branch leaders and innovators over a complimentary continental breakfast, followed by presentations and Q&A.

End the morning with a tour of the state of the art LEED Platinum certified facility.

Space is limited to 35 people. Registration is free!

Register here:

Home Hospitality Request!

The World Affairs Council of St. Louis and the International Visitor Leadership Program are looking for a host for a home hospitality dinner.

Hosting a home hospitality dinner entails picking up the visitors from their hotel, taking them to your home, serving them dinner, and then returning them to the hotel at the end of the evening.

In the upcoming weeks, IVLP has requested home hospitality visits for two groups.

The first group is from the Lake Chad Basin and is focusing on Community Relations and the Fight Against Terrorism in the US. Their home hospitality visit will be on May 31st, June 1st, or June 2nd.  The visitors are observing Ramadan, which means the host must be open to a later dinner time and the meal served must be halal. This group is made up of three interpreters and nine visitors. We are looking for three hosts available to host four visitors (1 interpreter and 3 International Visitors) on any of the previously mentioned nights. Please contact Elizabeth Hatfield if you are interested in hosting a home hospitality visit for this group.

 

 

 

The visitors:

Mr. Adam Adam Tchari – Director of Kadaye FM Radio

Mr. Hissein Dudoua Hamit – Chief Comander of the Mobile Intervention Police Group of the Ministry of National Security

Mr. Moussa Aniguey Khassim – Head of Civil Military Unit of the Chadian Army’s AntiTerrorism Group

Mr. Abdoul Aziz Abdoulaye Moussa – Police Inspector of the Niamey District V Police Station

Mr. Aboubakar Francois Bernazou – Police Commissioner of Niamey District V Police Station

Mr. Moctar Kio Abdou – Police Officer at the Niamey District V Police Station

Ms. Esther Abimiku Ibanga – Executive Director of Women without Walls Initiative

Mr. Wilson Iyamu – Deputy Superintendent of the Nigeria Police

Mr. Saleh Ibrahim Saad – Assistant Commissioner of Nigeria Police

Mr. Philippe Chamy – Simultaneous Interpreter

Mr. Zac Heyman – Simultaneous Interpreter

Ms. Christiane Metral – Administrative Interpreter

 

The second group is a group of seven visitors from Russia. This group is focused on Preventing Trafficking in Persons: Advocacy and Partnerships. Their home hospitality visit will be on June 4th or June 5th. We are looking for one host to host 4 visitors (1 interpreter and 3 international visitors) and a second host for 5 visitors (1 interpreter and 4 international visitors) on either of the previously listed nights. Please contact Elizabeth Hatfield if you are interested in hosting a home hospitality visit on the dates above.

The visitors:

Ms. Veronica Antimonik – Project Coordinator of Safehouse Foundation in Lyubertsy

Ms. Vladlena Avdeeva – Project Manager of Stellit in St. Petersburg

Ms. Svetlana Bazhenova – Founder and Director of Far-Eastern Center for Civil Initiatives and Social Partnerships in Vladivostok

Ms. Nurzida Bensgier – Chief Executive of Non-Commercial Partnership International Information Center Association in Yekaterinburg

Mrs. Elena Boliubakh – Chief Executive of Institute of Non-Discriminatory Gender Relations, Women’s Crisis Center in St. Petersburg

Mr. Oluremi Kekhinde – Head of Help Services for Nigerians in Russia in Moscow

Ms. Nadezhda Zamotaeva – Chief Executive of Sisters Charity Center for Victims of Sexual Violence in Moscow

Ms. Mila Bonnichsen – Russian Language Interpreter

Mr. Raymond Krischchyunas – Russian Language Interpreter

WAC-STL hosts international group focused on Combating Gender-Based Violence

To aid in the international campaign against Gender-Based Violence, the World Affairs Council of St. Louis hosted seven visitors from the country of Georgia May 6-9. The delegation included two language interpreters and five individuals with careers in national and local law enforcement and NGOs, all concentrating their time in the U.S. upon Combating Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

The group arrived in Saint Louis looking to learn more about:

  • the impact of legislation on Domestic Violence,
  • Specialized Police and Courts roles in these topics and
  • NGO activity in the legal sphere of GBV.

During their time here, they met with various governmental department heads and leaders of organizations.  On Monday, May 7, the group’s meetings focused on law enforcement and legal rulings pertaining to domestic violence cases. They observed Judges presiding over their domestic abuse court cases in St. Louis County.

After meeting with several circuit judges, they finished the day meeting with a St. Louis Metropolitan Police Detective from the Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART).

On May 8, the meetings focused more on policy and service aspects of domestic violence. The group met with an attorney from the Legal Advocates for Abused Women (LAAW), the only domestic violence program partnering with law enforcement and criminal court systems.

Next, they met with the Public Policy Director of the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV) who discussed efforts and challenges in lobbying for legislation related to victims of abuse. They concluded the day by meeting with a manager from Provident, INC. an organization providing therapy services to families and individuals suffering from abuse, as well as those who have, themselves, committed domestic violence.

The group on May 9 continued their trip to Boston, Massachusetts, where they spent two more days meeting with leaders of current local efforts to combating GBV and exploring various prevention and education programs within the city.

This visit was made possible through the State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs as well as Global Ties U.S.    The World Affairs Council of St. Louis annually hosts more than 150 visitors through the program, providing an important link between local experts on important global issues and countries where deeper knowledge on those issues is important.

 

Cyber Security and You: Hear the Experts May 23


Learn about protecting yourself and your organization from cyber threats.

Hear from Rob Rudloff, a Cyber Security services team leader from RubinBrown and Matt Flinner, Better Business Bureau Education and Outreach Coordinator.

The key points of the presentation will cover the steps for concrete prevention and remedies of today’s greatest cyber threats, the latest information on emerging threats and tactics used by cyber criminals, and effective strategies for minimizing your risk of identity theft online.

There will be appetizers and a cash bar!

Cost is $20 a person, purchasing a whole table with 8 spots is $120.

Register here:

Pay by mail to:
Robert Foster, Executive Director
World Affairs Council
812 Olive Street, Suite 110, St. Louis MO 63101
or pay at the door.

Wac Welcomes Summer 2018 Intern

The school year is over and summer has begun, which means we are welcoming a new intern to WAC-STL!

Bonjour, hi! My name is Jessica Ryan and I am a Junior majoring in Environmental Sciences and minoring in Communication Studies and Social Entrepreneurship at McGill University. I plan to use this mélange work in a philanthropic minded international organization. I grew up in Saint Louis and moved to Montréal, Canada for school two years ago. During the year, I participate in McGill’s Ski club and volunteer for Junior Peacemakers: an organization that provides middle school classrooms with UN designed curriculum and activities to expand American kids’ global knowledge in a captivating way. I love learning new languages because it also helps me increase my awareness of a culture (food plays a significant role here!). I am fluent in English and French although I have previously studied Ancient Greek and Spanish, and hope to start Korean soon. I greatly look forward to spending my summer connecting Saint Louis to the international community here at the World Affairs Council.

If you are interested in becoming an intern for the Fall or Spring semesters, be sure to fill out our interest form!

Great Decisions 2018 Wrap Up

This year’s Great Decisions program had a great turn out! Attendees listened to experts on a variety of pressing topics. Highlights of this year’s program included Dr. Ellen Carnaghan‘s presentation on the recent Russian election, Dr. Jean-Germain Gros’s discussion on South Africa’s progress and challenges, and Dr. Joel Glassman’s assessment of US-China government relationships in 2018.

WAC-STL would like to thank all of our speakers and attendees who make our programs such a success. Thank you for attending Great Decisions 2018 and we look forward to seeing you next year!

We are looking for feedback to help improve for next year’s Great Decisions Lecture Series. If you attended any of the Great Decisions events in 2018, please be sure to fill out this survey.

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Global Health, Local Focus

On Wednesday, April 25th Dr. Matthew Gabel presented on topics in Global Health as the final presenter in the World Affairs Council’s 2018 Great Decisions Series. His presentation focused on the amount of resources put into public health and the way those resources are used by various agents in the processes that perform public health abroad.

Dr. Gabel’s presentation called for reflection on the allotment of funds to global health initiatives. The presentation emphasized the difficulty that organizations who focus on global health initiatives are faced with when trying to evaluate and better their programs. Any policy change has a large number of surrounding confounding variables that make it difficult to understand the results of the enacted policies and practices.

The goal of global public health may be better suited to be carried out by philanthropic efforts, as the current channels of the US government have  a large emphasis on foreign policy, not a focus on long term sustainable health solutions. United States infrastructure abroad is mainly focused on military structures and group, so the results when health initiatives are put forth by the United States’ government is that they can exclude local experts and officials in ways that make the initiatives unsustainable.

Global Public Health’s role in national security was emphasized as an overlooked objective of the United States’ foreign policy. There is a lot of focus on intentional biological violence, but not as much focus on the more realistic culprit of the unassuming transmission of germs through travelers on a daily basis.

SLU Professor reports on Russian Elections

Dr. Ellen Carnaghan

“How did it look to have an elections where everyone knew what the outcome would be?”  That’s the question Dr. Ellen Carnaghan of Saint Louis University wanted to answer by visiting Russia during the March 18 presidential elections.

She shared details of her trip as part of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis’ Great Decisions series April 5.  One example of the strangeness:  The presidential debates, which often devolved into shouting matches between the challengers to President Vladimir Putin, reflecting badly on all involved.  Putin, meantime, stayed above the fray, “looking presidential and doing presidential things” in state-controlled media coverage.

Putin as expected won handily, but his victory might not be fully satisfying, Carnaghan said.  “Autocrats seem to be secure in their regimes to outside observers but they don’t FEEL secure,” she said.

“Regimes near him have fallen,” she said, noting the Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004 and Euromaidan unrest in 2013-14.  She said Putin’s regime is vulnerable on issues such as corruption, a potential economic downturn or unseen popular sentiment.

Operating in Putin’s favor: The GDP of Russia has grown during Putin’s regime and with it, the living standard of most Russians.

Also operating in his favor: Control of the press allows Russia to shape opinions of the unrest in Ukraine and assertions of Russian interference in U.S. elections.

On that topic, she said the U.S. response has been rather mild: sanctions and the expulsion of diplomats.

In general, “the checks and balances that we political scientists know are important don’t exist in Russia,” she said. “There’s no free press and no independent judiciary.” Both factors were crucial to controlling the March election and assuring Putin a third six-year term.

U.S. and China relationship takes center stage at WAC-STL forum

Dr. Joel Glassman calls on an audience member during his presentation at Great Decisions March 22.

On a day when fears of a trade war with China sent the Dow Jones Industrial Index plummeting, UM-St. Louis Associate Provost Dr. Joel Glassman described the complex relations between the U.S. and China as part of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis’ Great Decisions series March 22.

Headlined “China and America: the New Geopolitical Equation”, the presentation was focused on flashpoints such as the status of Taiwan and domination of the South China Sea, which Dr. Glassman observed could both be “resolved” if China chose to do so.  On those issues, and with North Korea, he praised the U.S. and China for “agreeing not to fight against each other.”  While the issues remain unresolved, tensions are not escalating and that’s a net positive in Dr. Glassman’s view.

Similarly, North Korea has become less of a flashpoint in recent weeks after the U.S. stopped insisting that China “resolve” the North Korean regime’s quest for nuclear weapons. “The U.S. in the last few weeks has decided China will not resolve the problem for us,” Dr. Glassman observed.

 In regard to the idea of imposing tariffs on Chinese imports to the U.S., Dr. Glassman stated “tariffs only impoverish all parties.” He further explored the potential impact on the local economy, focusing on the negative impact that proposed tariffs would have on Missouri farmers.

As a university professor, he also noted a trade war with China could have an enormous impact on higher education in the U.S. if visas are restricted, as one-third of international students at U.S. institutions are from China. Overall, the economic impact of these students is $40 billion he said.