Syracuse University

SU Cyber Security Symposium Held in Gulf
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Syracuse University's College of Engineering and Computer Science held a cyber security symposium in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates in December. More than 100 regional alumni and representatives of Gulf countries, banks and corporations gathered at the GE Innovation in Techno Valley in Dammam and at the Ritz Carlton Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai. The events were also sponsored by the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.  

Dean Laura Steinberg of Engineering led a delegation of 12 SU faculty and staff in round table discussions in Dammam and Dubai which included SU alumni from faculties at several Middle East institutions including American University of Sharjah and American University of Beirut. 

While in Damman, the delegation held a high-level IT meeting with Aramco Oil Company executives to discuss a possible strategic partnership. The group of SU faculty also toured King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dammam. KFUPM and SU Engineering are working on a collaboration to provide support for KFUPM's expansion in cyber security curriculums. 

Faculty attending included Dean Steinberg, Shiu-Kai Chin, Bill Banks (Maxwell /Law and Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism), Kevin Chan, Sam Salem and Associate Dean of Engineering Can Isik. Thanks to Booz, Allen, Hamilton (BAH) executive Richard Wilhelm, who serves on the Maxwell Advisory Board, Jim Fox of BAH of Abu Dhabi delivered the keynote address.

The symposiums were focused on engaging prospective partners in cyber security research and marketplace applications of knowledge and experience earned at SU over decades. SU has a cross-curriculum approach to cyber security study, thanks to support from JP Morgan Chase, the Rome Air Force Lab and other partners.  

The Regional Council of SU, headquartered in Dubai, planned and sponsored the events. Primary financial support was provided by The Family Office, a Bahraini bank whose principal, Abdulmohsin Al Omran, is a former SU parent and an alumnus of KFUPM. 

Substantial financial and material support was also provided by Regional Council Members Reda Raad of TBWA/Raad Advertising and Public Relations, Nabil Habayeb of GE and Mike Venutolo of Raymond International Pipe Services.  

In Dubai, an alumni reception and dinner was held at the Ritz Carlton at Jumeirah Beach. The crowd was addressed by US Ambassador Michael Corbin, a former US State Department colleague of Maxwell Dean James Steinberg.  

Executive Director of Middle East Advancement and External Affairs Jim O'Connor expressed thanks to supporters. “We are proud of this academic display of excellence by our faculty and dean, and we are eager to continue our work of raising awareness about SU in the Gulf.”

According to Regional Manager Sherlyn Sychua, who heads the Dubai office, admissions recruitment activity since the office opened in 2011 is growing rapidly. “Engineering and computer science courses are very popular in the MENAT region. We are appreciative of the support given by Syracuse University's College of Engineering and Computer Science in holding the symposium. It helps significantly in our promotion of the university.”