LBS Discusses Political Challenges of Virtual and Physical Borders

London Business School published an article on its blog about a recent Leadership Institute and Alumni Mining Club-sponsored talk that former US Secretary of Homeland Security and current University of California President Janet Napolitano presented about the political challenges that borders present in both the virtual and physical domains.

 Napolitano paid a visit to an event hosted by Professor of Organisational Behavior Randall S. Peterson in which she addressed the dilemma of maintaining national security while adhering to democratic values. She implored those in positions of power to “make a clear distinction between security and immigration policies.”

“We live in very difficult and challenging times,” Napolitano elaborated, “and the ability to identify complex problems and bring to bear complex solutions are the competencies that help effective leadership, both in the political and policy realms, and the private sector.”

The blog post relays the fact that Napolitano used the recent controversy of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s refusal to facilitate FBI access to the San Bernardino mass-murder Syed Farook’s iPhone on the grounds that it would “threaten the security” of its users. She used this story as a case study to illuminate the fact that “we need powerful international partnerships to counter violent extremism. Third party partnerships, the private and the non-profit sector all have a part to play.”

Napolitano emphasized the powerful role that educational institutions can potentially play in allaying extremism and driving more nuanced conversations. “[Universities] offer opportunities for transformation. As more people take up education, it gives me confidence that open and free societies will trump extremism.”

The blog post notes that Napolitano considers the complications associated with attempting to play both sides at once: “When you’re in a leadership role, and security is in your portfolio, you have to deal with issues like these, day in day out. There’s no denying that sometimes the balance is very difficult to strike.”


About the Author

Jonathan Pfeffer

Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as contributing writer at MetroMBA and contributing editor at Clear Admit, he is co-founder and lead producer of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.

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