Pearson Global Forum to explore what misinformation means for global conflict

Fourth annual Pearson Global Forum will convene experts Oct. 12-14 for virtual events

The University of Chicago will gather global policymakers alongside leading scholars and experts Oct. 12-14 at the 2021 Pearson Global Forum, a virtual event that will examine the consequences of misinformation in the digital age.

Hosted by the Harris School of Public Policy’s Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts, the fourth annual Pearson Global Forum is entitled “Information in Conflict,” and will explore how misinformation has flourished and its troubling implications for worsening conflict throughout the world.

“There is growing concern about the devastating toll that misinformation and disinformation pose to our global health, security and future,” said Prof. James A. Robinson, director of the Pearson Institute and a leading scholar of political and economic institutions. “By gathering such a world-class field of scholars and experts, the Pearson Global Forum hopes to increase our collective understanding of these and related issues, exchange ideas, and maximize the potential for advancing progress in preventing and resolving violent conflicts and informing policy.”

The 2021 Pearson Global Forum will be free to the public; registration is required. Robinson will speak each day, including welcome and closing remarks for the three-day event. Other UChicago faculty speakers include Profs. David Awschalom, Chris Blattman and Konstantin Sonin. The full conference agenda is available here.

Tuesday, Oct. 12

Focus on manipulating knowledge and the impact of social media on global affairs.

The event’s first day will begin with an exploration of the means of misinformation, with experts looking to examples from a history of misinformation going back hundreds of years and continuing to the current day, including efforts that have recently shaken the United States to its foundation. Lessons learned from an outspoken whistleblower, as well as global efforts to align on how to manage misinformation, will also be discussed. Featured speakers include:

Wednesday, Oct. 13

Focus on the impact of misinformation in Yemen, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The second day will highlight the impact of misinformation by citing the three different case studies of Yemen, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Special attention will be given to nuclear talks and Iran’s diplomacy with the West, Yemen’s downward spiral and manipulation of information at the highest levels in Saudi Arabia. Featured speakers include:

  • Pouya Alimagham — Massachusetts Institute of Technology lecturer and historian of the modern Middle East
  • Arwa Damon — CNN senior international correspondent
  • Tawakkol Karman — 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner and Yemen-based journalist
  • Pascal Menoret — Brandeis University, Renée and Lester Crown Professor of Modern Middle East Studies

Thursday, Oct. 14

Focus on artificial intelligence and international security, cyber abuse, security and defense.

The final day will feature in-depth discussions of U.S. cybersecurity policy as well as how the negative impact of artificial intelligence can be mitigated with respect to global conflict. Special attention will also be given to cyber abuse and its impact on perpetuating global campaigns of misinformation. Featured speakers will include:

  • Brett Goldstein – Former director of Defense Digital Service, U.S. Department of Defense
  • Gregory C. Allen – Director of Strategy and Policy, U.S. Department of Defense Joint Artificial Intelligence Center
  • Jeff Moss – Founder and director of Black Hat and DEFCON security conferences
  • Christopher Painter – President of the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise Foundation