Large group of students and staff posed in front of the Balsillie School banner

Inaugural Technology Governance Policy Challenge features a disinformation campaign theme

Photo credit: J Weston/BSIA

The Balsillie School of International Affairs, in collaboration with the School of International Service at the American University in Washington, D.C., hosted the first annual Technology Governance Policy Challenge on April 18 and 19, 2024.

This unique challenge offered an opportunity for students to engage with critical issues in the evolving landscape of technology governance. The teams reviewed a case study authored by BSIA MAGG graduate and AU assistant professor Samantha Bradshaw entitled “Combating a Coordinated Disinformation Campaign”, wrote a policy brief addressing the issue, and presented to judges from academia, policy and government.

Congratulations to the winning team: Benjamin Joseph Pletta, Aida Alexandra Olivas, Sierra Buehlman Barbeau, and Walker Evans, from American University. Their presentation and brief, “Countering Active Disinformation and Ensuring Election Integrity” impressed the judges as they delved into the challenges posed by disinformation campaigns, emphasizing the critical need to uphold trust in elections and prevent potential conflicts.

Jessica Stewart, Christy Lorenz, and Jessica Uitvlugt, from the Balsillie School, came in second place with their presentation and brief, “Confronting Disinformation and Safeguarding Democracy”. The team took a human rights-based approach to combat foreign election interference, emphasizing the protection of core human rights in the electoral process.

The judges were impressed with the presentations and research conducted by all of the teams. The briefs will be compiled into an anthology and published on the website this summer.

Special thanks to Tara Denham, Global Affairs Canada; James Hinton, Own Innovation and CIGI Fellow; and Wesley Wark, BSIA and CIGI Fellow, for judging the inaugural challenge!

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