Fellow Spotlight

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Eugenio Benincasa (ITL) is a resident WSD-Handa Fellow at Pacific Forum. Eugenio holds an M.A. in International Affairs from Columbia University in New York, where he focused on International Security Policy, and a B.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from LUISS University in Rome, Italy. During his B.A., he also took part to a one-semester exchange program at Sciences Po University in Paris, France. Eugenio worked as a Crime Analyst at the New York Police Department and contributed to shaping the initial defense and security policy of Volt Europa, a new pan-European political movement. He also completed internships at the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, Morgan Stanley’s Financial Crimes Unit and at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. His research interests include the role of regional organizations in strengthening cybersecurity. He is fluent in Italian (native), English, French and Spanish.

We asked Eugenio a few questions about himself and his fellowship experience.

What are your research interests?

The role of regional organizations in enhancing cybersecurity, government vulnerability disclosure processes, ASEAN/EU cybersecurity cooperation, autonomous weapons systems, laws of war.

How did you hear about Pacific Forum and why did you apply to become a fellow?

I heard about Pacific Forum from previous fellows and staff members. I’ve been following its activities since 2016 and finally decided to apply to further specialize in my subject matter, i.e. cybersecurity, and to learn more about the Indo-Pacific region. Pacific Forum offers an unparalleled opportunity for learning and personal/professional growth thanks to its high-level meetings, conferences, workshops, international travel and constant confrontation with peers aspiring to similar career goals in the defence and security realm.

Briefly describe the research project you are undertaking as a Pacific Forum fellow:

I’ve been involved in numerous research projects, which were mostly related to cybersecurity and technology. In particular, I have focused on the role of regional organizations in fostering cyber resilience through cooperation or the adoption of relevant policies, such as government vulnerability disclosure processes. I have also conducted Covid-19 related research, providing detailed analysis on measures taken in Asia-Pacific countries to assist Hawaii policymakers in containing the spread of Covid-19.

Describe a Pacific Forum conference you attended and how it helped you in your career:

I have highly benefited by Pacific Forum’s “United States-Singapore Cyber&Tech Security Virtual Series”. It has so far given me a clearer landscape of the threat scenario in the Indo-Pacific, understanding potential threats and opportunities from the perspective of key stakeholders. As an integral part of the team executing the series, I have also had the chance to forge strong connections with relevant experts and practitioners in the cybersecurity sphere. The knowledge and insights gained from this series will prove invaluable in my career moving forward.

Share something you read recently that you enjoyed:

Lately I have been reading a lot of historical fiction books. My two favorite ones have been “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay and “Silence” by Shūsaku Endō.

What are your future plans?

I seek to continue being involved in international affairs matters working on public policy back in Italy, my home country. If time allows, I would also like to pursue a part-time PhD program to further deepen the research I have conducted at Pacific Forum over the past year.

What is a fun fact about you?

I’m an Italian obsessed with American coffee (please don’t tell my countrymen).

Recent publications:

• Benincasa, E. Filling the Gaps of ASEAN-EU Cybercrime Cooperation. The Interpreter, February 1, 2021. https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/filling-gaps-asean-and-eu-cybercrime-cooperation

• Benincasa, E. ASEAN cybercrime cooperation: Overcoming obstacles to criminal investigations. The Strategist, January 19, 2021. https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/asean-needs-to-enhance-cross-border-cooperation-on-cybercrime/

• Benincasa, E. A Missing Piece in Japan’s Cyber Defense. The Diplomat, November 20, 2020. https://thediplomat.com/2020/11/a-missing-piece-in-japans-cyber-defense/

• Benincasa, E.  The case for cyber “disarmament” in the European Union. The International Spectator, February 3, 2021. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03932729.2021.1872200

• Benincasa, E. Brief: Re-opening Hawaii’s economy: Lessons from the Asia-Pacific. Pacific Forum: Covid-19 Research and Perspectives. Last updated: September 10, 2020. https://pacforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Lessons-from-the-Asia-Pacific-06.15.20.pdf

• Benincasa, E. & Pryor, C. Covid-19 Recovery: Re-energizing Hawaii with Regional Insights. Pacific Forum, PacNet #39, July 6, 2020. https://pacforum.org/publication/pacnet-39-covid-19-recovery-re-energizing-hawaii-with-regional-insights

• Benincasa, E. The role of regional organizations in building cyber resilience: ASEAN and the EU. Issues and Insights, Vol. 20 WP 3, June 27, 2020. https://pacforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/issuesinsights_Vol20WP3-1.pdf



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Fellows previously featured in Fellow Spotlight:

Daniel Mitchum

Su Hyun Lee

Jennifer Howe

Eugenio Benincasa

Shwe Yee Oo

Elliot Silverberg

Dong-hyeon Kim