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Alec Ross - Participant

Alec Ross is one of America’s leading experts on innovation. He is currently a Senior Fellow at Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs and writing a book to be published by Simon & Schuster about the industries and businesses of the future. He serves as an advisor to investors, corporations and government leaders to help them understand the implication of factors emerging at the intersection of geopolitics, markets and increasingly disruptive network technologies.

He currently sits on the board of directors or advisors for institutions in the fields of technology, media, telecommunications, education and cybersecurity.

Alec Ross recently served for four year as Senior Advisor for Innovation to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a role created for him by Secretary Clinton to maximize the potential of technology and innovation in service of America’s diplomatic goals and stewarding the Secretary of State 21st Century Statecraft agenda. In this role, Alec acted as the diplomatic lead on a range of issues including cybersecurity, Internet Freedom, disaster response and the use of network technologies in conflict zones.

Previously, Alec served as the Convener for the Technology, Media & Telecommunications Policy Committee on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and served on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team.

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.

Among recent recognitions:

  • U.S. Department of State Distinguished Honor Award
  • Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine
  • Huffington Post’s 10 Game Changers in Politics
  • 2012 Tribeca Film Festival Disruptive Innovation Award honoree
  • 2010 Middle East/North Africa Technology Person of the Year by the Union of Arab ICT organizations.

Alec has served as a guest lecturer at numerous institutions including the United Nations, Oxford University, Harvard Law School, Stanford Business School and a number of parliamentary bodies. His writing has appeared in publications including the Johns Hopkins SAIS Review of International Affairs and the NATO Review.

Alec started his career as a sixth grade teacher through Teach for America in inner-city Baltimore where he lives with his wife and their three young children.



Columbia University


Senior Fellow,
School of International & Public Affairs

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