Visiting Nigerian Scholar Focuses on Cybersecurity
“We have a lot of political unrest in my country (Nigeria), which tends to dominate our national identity,” says Aladesanmi. “However, my time in the United States has made me hopeful and excited about returning home and bringing some innovative thinking, especially in the area of cybersecurity, to my people.”
Aladesanmi is on campus for six weeks following two semesters at Syracuse University as part of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program, a Fulbright exchange activity that brings mid-career professionals from designated countries to the United States for cultural exchange and leadership study.
In Nigeria, Aladesanmi is head of training and internet services in the Information Technology and Communications Unit at Obafemi Awolowo University. He holds a PhD in technology management from the same institution.
During his time at Mason, Aladesanmi is focusing on cybersecurity issues, including the development of policies and standards to assist in better implementing Nigeria’s new national cybersecurity law. He is confident that more actionable cybersecurity efforts will lead to increased trust in economic growth in Nigeria, which has the largest economy in Africa.
For example, oil is a large component of Nigeria’s financial resources. Part of Aladesanmi’s research includes looking at advanced methods to secure the oil infrastructure from adversarial attacks.
Aladesanmi chose to visit Mason because of the university’s position as a national leader in cybersecurity education and research with programs spanning the School of Business, the Volgenau School of Engineering and the School of Policy, Government and International Affairs.
“After my education here, I plan to build a pool of cyber defenders and champions in Nigeria,” says Aladesanmi. He would also like to set up an Academy for Cybersecurity and Innovation at his university.
Aladesanmi is making every moment count during his final weeks in the U.S. as he fills his meeting calendar with U.S. government executives, business professionals and Mason staff and faculty members, including business school dean Sarah Nutter; Marilyn Smith, Mason’s chief information officer; and Dave Landry, Mason’s chief information security officer. He has also spoken to classes in the MS in the Management of Secure Information Systems and the Executive MBA programs, in addition to presenting at the Cybersecurity Leadership and Innovation Conference in May (pictured above, left).
Aladesanmi is the third Humphrey Fellow to join Mason, working with Professor J.P. Auffret. Last year, the university hosted a scholar from Russia and, in 2014, an executive from Namibia.
“We have greatly appreciated hosting and working with Temi (Aladesanmi),” says Auffret. “Visiting scholars greatly enrich our academic endeavors and our global connections.”
As a next step, Mason is working with Aladesanmi to explore the possibility of a Memorandum of Understanding with Obafemi Awolowo University in regard to cybersecurity training and also the development of cybersecurity standards and policies.
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