Pepperdine’s Switzerland Campus Hosts International Leaders for Cybersecurity and Defense Cooperation Conference | Newsroom | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

On September 23 and 24, 2023, Pepperdine’s newest international campus, Château d’Hauteville in Blonay – Saint-Légier, Switzerland, opened its doors to world leaders for the
Cybersecurity and Defense Cooperation Conference, hosted by the Pepperdine School of Public Policy. 

With keynote addresses from Liz Truss, former British prime minister, and Kersti Kaljulaid,
former president of the Republic of Estonia, the two-part conference fostered an atmosphere
conducive to fruitful policy discussions, realizing Pepperdine’s mission for Château
d’Hauteville as a place that ignites thoughtful dialogue on matters of global significance.
(The photo above depicts, from left to right: Abigail Tacker, Mackenzie Winton, former
President Kaljulaid, former Prime Minister Truss, and Kiron Skinner.)

Co-sponsored by the Heritage Foundation, the Danube Institute, and the Parliamentary
Intelligence–Security Forum, the event assembled an intimate cohort of defense-policy
experts, international security organization executives, and foreign affairs leaders
to discuss European cybersecurity and defense cooperation, with a particular focus
on the strategic integration and future relations of NATO. 

Outdoor pavilion with mountains in the background

Ideally located in Switzerland, the epicenter of geopolitical conversations, Château
d’Hauteville, a breathtaking 90-acre, 18th-century estate, has been reimagined as both a state-of-the-art university campus
and a world-class venue for international leaders in all fields to convene for meaningful
conversations. Pete Peterson, dean of the School of Public Policy and Braun Family
Dean’s Chair, likened the campus to an ideological haven. “The world of policy and
politics can be stress-filled and very fast-paced, not just day to day, but almost
minute to minute,” said Peterson. “The campus here at Château d’Hauteville provides
an opportunity for students and guests to disconnect from that world. It’s a world
that they’re going to have to return to, but it’s also a world that sometimes requires
getting up to the 30,000-foot level to not only learn, but also to discuss and deliberate
over important policy and political decisions.”

In her welcoming remarks, Kiron Skinner, Taube Professor of International Relations
and Politics and former director and advisor at the US Department of State, reflected
on the similarities between the visions for Pepperdine’s Malibu campus and the new
Switzerland campus. “They are campuses that are born of innovation, insight, and possibility,”
she said. “They suggest a commitment to freedom and to faith with their physical beauty,
with the intentionality of how they were started, and with the way that the values
of George Pepperdine are infused in both of these facilities.” 

Conference attendees in a ballroom

Conference speakers addressed issues such as opportunities in and risks to cybersecurity
in Europe, NATO digital integration, the changing character of war, trends in advanced
technology, the defense industrial base, and the future of NATO in view of the ongoing
conflict in Ukraine. 

“This is Pepperdine at its finest moment—its most innovative act of 2023,” said Skinner.
“The future of Europe is happening now. It’s being written in light of the Ukraine
war. This campus is central to the conversation about the future of Europe, about
the future of the transatlantic alliance. It’s important for our students to be able
to be in the heart of that conversation, to help shape it, and to learn about it.”

The School of Public Policy’s next conference will focus on the domestic sphere: Revisiting Broken Windows: Connecting Theory to Policy for America’s Public Safety will be held on October 26, 2023, on the Calabasas campus.


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