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The Department of Homeland Security’s Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer, Alan Bersin, came to visit Northeastern University on October 8th, 2015. The visit included a stop by the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security and an event on the Boston campus to discuss transnational threats and border protection in the 21st century.

Photo by Matthew Modoono/​Northeastern University

After arriving in Boston, Assistant Secretary Bersin and Stephen Flynn, professor of political science and co-director of the Kostas Institute, gave a lecture on “Transnational Threats and the Role of 21st Century Border Management.” The lecture was part of a series of discussions on Controversial Issues in Security Studies being held at Northeastern University through the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. This particular lecture focused on transnational threats and the fact that border security measures need to adapt to new realities. The lecturers explained that globalization and other factors have disrupted traditional ways of thinking about border security, with the idea that national borders should actually be the last line of defense against threats, as opposed to the first. This discussion continued into how the United States could better work with international partners to better protect its own security, illustrating how homeland security and global security have become increasingly interconnected. The lecture moved into a smaller discussion with a group of students interested in pursuing a career in Homeland Security. Bersin advised students that the best way to find opportunities was to make as many connections as possible with professors and professionals involved in the field, especially with so many readily available.

After talking with students in Boston, Assistant Secretary Bersin was given a tour of the Kostas facility in Burlington, including a tour of the Center for Resilience Studies. Following the tour, the group engaged in a discussion on the Center’s current projects in support of the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the potential for future cooperation.


Further Reading:

Alan Bersin Biography – Department of Homeland Security

Kostas Institute hosts Homeland Security assistant secretary – Northeastern News

Controversial Issues in Security Studies – Northeastern University College of Social Sciences and the Humanities