World Leader for Peace and Security Award 2018
President Sauli Niinistö – President of the Republic of Finland received the World Leader for Peace and Cybersecurity Award from the Boston Global Forum (BGF) and the Michael Dukakis Institute for Leadership and Innovation (MDI). He was honored during Global Cybersecurity Day, which is observed on December 12 each year.
The goal of Global Cybersecurity Day is to inspire the shared responsibility of the world’s citizens to protect the Internet’s safety and transparency. This year’s conference revolved around the theme “AI solutions solve disinformation“. During the discussion, experts explored the current state of cybersecurity and the threat posed by disinformation, anonymous sources and fake news as well as the role AI can play as an effective defense mechanism against these threats to truth and the principles of democracy.
Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, Chairman and Co-founder of BGF & MDI, moderated this year’s event.
President Niinistö was presented with the World Leader for Peace and Cybersecurity Award for his leadership role in establishing Finland as a vital member of the world community and his support of The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats. In this role, he has fostered the understanding of, and solutions to the numerous threats we face from political forces, economic instability, military intervention, civil unrest, climate change, and unsafe Internet practices.
In a video message presented at the Global Cybersecurity Day Symposium, President Niinistö expressed his honor to receive this award and emphasized the importance of cooperation between nations to tackle the issues related to ongoing cyberthreats. “To increase national cybersecurity, all nations need to do their upmost to increase awareness among their citizens in all sectors of society. In cyberspace, we need to strengthen our cooperation between nations and rules over international borders,” said President Niinistö.
He said that he hopes the establishment of an intergovernmental think tank— The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats—will make our society more secure. In conclusion he also highlighted the role of women in the era of rapid technological development. “Unlocking their full potential is crucial for our success as an international community. We should educate and advocate more young women to become active in this field. It will make us better prepared to profit from the immense opportunity that the digital era affords us.”
To guarantee the interoperability among different frameworks and approaches of governments, given the conditions of uncertainty and complexity in the AI ecosystem, Boston Global Forum – Michael Dukakis Institute for Leadership and Innovation (BGF-MDI) published AIWS Report on AI Ethics and proposed the model for Government AIWS Ethics and Practices Index. Also, BGF-MDI cooperated with AI World to form a strategic alliance host of the AI World Government Conference & Expo, on June 24 to 26, 2019, Washington, D.C.
Remarks of Governor Michael Dukakis to honor President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö
I’m pleased to announce the recipient of this year’s World Leader for Peace and Cybersecurity – The President of Finland Sauli Niinistö.
President Niinistö has an honor and privilege of holding nearly every high office in Finland. He was the Minister of Justice, Minister of Finance, Deputy Prime Minister, Speaker of the Parliament, and since 2012 the President of Finland. Earlier this year, he won a second term as President, prevailing by the largest margin of any presidential candidates in the nation’s history.
He has been a leading voice for European peace & unity and has taken a particularly strong stance on Russian stakeholders with the Crimea. President has also been praised for critical looks at other countries that violate international laws. Despite the risk of Finland’s traditional economic diplomatic relationship with Russia and others, he has been outspoken on these kinds of issues. He said, I quote “We condemn any illegal occupations, illegal use of force or attempts to limit the sovereignty of independent nations. Such actions never achieve anything but danger and increased tension.” Yet at the same time, he has worked very hard to ease tensions and develop understandings between Russia and Europe.
He has also been a strong advocate for cybersecurity. During his term, Finland has developed by the most comprehensive cybersecurity strategies in the world; one that cuts across all sectors of siding and the economy, includes substantial investment inside for research development and the stated goal of strategy is to make Finland of the world’s leading authorities and contributors to cybersecurity.
It’s a pleasure for the Boston Global Forum and the Michael Dukakis Institute to honor him the World Leader for Peace and Cybersecurity.
The Michael Dukakis Institute for Leadership and Innovation
67 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, MA 02108
+1 617 286 6589
Award Ceremony Video
Award Ceremony Speech
Mr. Dukakis, ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor for me to receive this award and to greet you with this message. We live in a time of rapid technological change. Our societies are getting more and more digital. While this development clearly benefits us in a number of ways, it also makes us more vulnerable to accidental incidents as well as to malicious behavior by others. Different kinds of cyber threats now challenged us all over the world, countering them pickings at home. To increase their national cyber security, all nations need to do their utmost to increase awareness among their citizens and to build resilience in all sectors of society. Yet cyber threats are a prime example of 21st century challenge. They don’t respect national borders. Nobody can tackle them on their own in cyberspace – we need to strengthen international cooperation and rules-based international order. Finland continues to stress the importance of a single, open, free, stable, and peaceful cyberspace. Responsible state behavior is needed. International law and UN Charter apply in the digital world just as they do in the physical world. As an example of international cooperation in this field, we are delighted to have established the European center of excellence for countering hybrid threats in Helsinki. It is a joint effort of the EU and NATO aiming to make our societies more secure.
To conclude I would like to highlight one specific aspect: the role of girls and women. Unlocking their full potential is crucial for our success as an international community, also in the cyber domain. We should educate and advocate more girls and women to become active in this field. It will make us better prepared for to profit from the immense opportunities the digital era is providing us. I wish you a fruitful and thought-provoking event. Once again, thank you.