The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook is a German and American national and, until 2021, was the Executive Director of the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), which examines the challenges to negotiation and statecraft in the 21st century. From 2018-2021, she served as Executive Director of the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship. From 2011-2017, she served as the Executive Director of the India and South Asia Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at HKS, a program that ended formal activities in 2018. Her areas of expertise include EU-US relations – including trade and security policy – and digital public policy in urban and national contexts.
In her capacity as Executive Director, she researched negotiation practice, international conflict mitigation, and the impact of technology and communication on diplomatic and non-governmental actors. In this capacity, she has advised foreign ministries, city halls, and international organizations across the globe on questions of digital strategy and institutional reform and has served as an expert panelist and lecturer including at the U.S. Naval War College, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, the U.S. State Department Foreign Service Institute, the German Foreign Ministry, the Munich Security Conference, the Aspen Institute, the International Women's Forum, the Koerber Foundation, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the European Forum Alpbach, and at international academic conferences from Bahrain to Toronto.
She served on the management team of the European Policy Centre in Brussels, where she was the Deputy Editor of its public policy journal, Challenge Europe, and the think tank’s Communications Director, before joining Roland Berger Strategy Consultants as Senior Journalist and consultant in 2005. There, she worked on public policy issues (demographic change, urban competitiveness, green energy) and advised both the consultancy’s Chinese and French offices on branding and communication strategies. In 2009 she served in the second Bloomberg mayoral administration, where she implemented an online program for New York City's 1.8 million limited-English-proficiency migrants to access essential public services. She began her public service career as a legislative adviser at the European Parliament and later the UK House of Commons.
Formerly an international broadcast journalist, she had a ten-year career in international journalism during which she covered global affairs, most notably EU politics, business, and economics in the aftermath of September 11th, working as a producer and writer/reporter for CNN-International based in Atlanta and London.
She provides expert commentary in English, German and French on transatlantic relations, EU and U.S. foreign and security policy, Germany domestic policy, and urban development for news outlets including NPR, BBC, Deutschlandfunk, PBS Newshour and ABC News, New York Times, Washington Post and on German television, radio and print publications, including in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Internationale Politik, Der SPIEGEL, Die Welt, Die Presse (Austria) and on ARD, ZDF, and PHOENIX. She has provided live election commentary for the past three U.S. election cycles on German television and has published a number of peer-review journal articles and book chapters.
Cathryn holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration (MPA) from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was a Hauser Fellow in Nonprofit Management and recipient of the Donald K. Price award for academic excellence and community service. She is a graduate of the London School of Economics, where she received a Masters Degree in European Studies, and of Brown University, where she completed her undergraduate degree with honors in International Relations and French Civilization.
She is the co-director of the American Council on Germany's Eric M. Warburg Chapter in Boston, a member of the Advisory Committee (Beirat) of the European Forum Alpbach, a member of the Advisory Council of the Women in Diplomacy, Defense and Development (W3D), and served a five-year term on the Advisory Council of the BMW Center for German and European Studies and Georgetown University. She is an Associate Editor of the academic journal, "Diplomacy and Foreign Policy." In 2017 she was named an Eisenhower Fellow for her leadership on urban issues in international relations and has been a Munich Security Conference Young leader since 2014, and a Truman National Security Fellow since 2011. For the past six years, she has served on the Faculty of the Albright Institute at Wellesley College. She served the maximum elected term-length on the HKS Alumni Board of Directors for eight years from 2011-2019.Last Updated: Jul 19, 2021, 3:13pm
2017 Eisenhower Fellow