Event Details

Closing the Gap 2023 | Emerging and Disruptive Digital Technologies: Regional Perspectives


The EU Cyber Diplomacy Initiative – EU Cyber Direct is partnering with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and joining forces with research institutions and civil society organisations around the world to organise the third edition of the Closing the Gap Conference, taking place on 6 and 7 December 2023 in The Hague, Netherlands. This two-day, in person, conference aims to explore regional perspectives on emerging and disruptive digital technologies.


The motivation for this thematic focus is threefold:

  1. To de-center approaches to emerging and disruptive digital technologies that have largely been Western/European centric;
  2. To explore the diversity of interpretations regarding associated challenges and opportunities;
  3. To enrich the state of the art with novel research ideas, theoretical insights, and empirical case studies.

In 2021, the sixth United Nations Group of Governmental Experts focusing on ICTs in international security explicitly mentioned emerging technologies in its consensus report for the first time. In doing so, the report stated that 'new and emerging technologies are expanding development opportunities,' whilst noting that they 'may also have important human rights and ICT security implications.' Taking this acknowledgement as its point of departure, and recognising that these technologies and their associated risks, opportunities, controversies and threats may differ across geographies, the 2023 Closing the Gap Conference will explore regional interpretations of what is and can be considered emergent and disruptive digital technologies. Contributors are invited to consider a broad range of digital technologies such as (but not limited to) mobile, fintech, AI, quantum computing, 5G, IoT, biometrics, and blockchain, in both the military and civil spheres.

In keeping the thematic focus broad, the conference aims to bring to the fore a variety of perspectives, ideas, and mechanisms from different disciplines to inform policymakers, cyber diplomats and academics, as well as contribute to evidence-based policymaking. Scholars are welcomed from fields as diverse as international relations, security studies, political science, law, behavioural science, computer science, science and technology studies, sociology, and communication studies. The conference is aimed at both emerging and established academics, think tankers and researchers, and early career researchers are highly encouraged to apply.


The conference has three primary objectives:

  1. Forging collaboration between scholars and practitioners to produce evidence-based policymaking and policy-relevant research;
  2. Encouraging productive exchanges between different generations of scholars (emerging and established researchers), sectors (government, private sector, academia, NGOs) and regions (Global South-North);
  3. Fostering interdisciplinary approaches and encouraging discussions between disciplines.

Selection Committee

  • Luca Belli, Fundação Getulio Vargas Law School / CyberBRICS
  • Dennis Broeders, The Hague Program on International Cyber Security / Leiden University
  • Fréderick Douzet, University of Paris 8 / GÉODE
  • Maria Lorena Florez Rojas, University of Groningen
  • Caitríona Heinl, University College Dublin
  • Margaret E. Kosal, Georgia Tech
  • Chantal Lavallee, Royal Military College of St-Jean
  • Lu Chuanying, Shanghai Institute for International Studies
  • Bruno Oliveira Martins, PRIO
  • Tal Mimran, Hebrew University of Jersusalem
  • Patryk Pawlak, European University Institute, Italy
  • Nanjira Sambuli, Carnegie
  • Elke Schwarz, Queen Mary University of London 

Tentative Timeline

6 April 2023: Publication of call for abstracts
1 June 2023: Deadline for submission of abstracts
15 June 2023: Information to selected authors
15 October 2023: Deadline for submission of draft papers
20 November 2023: Feedback from review committee of papers
6-7 December 2023: Closing the Gap 2023 conference
29 February 2024: Deadline for revised/final papers
Summer 2024: Publication of the edited volume


08:30 - 09:00
Welcome and Registration
09:00 - 09:30
by Dennis Broeders (Full Professor of Global Security and Technology, Institute of Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University, the Netherlands)
09:30 - 10:30
The international techno-politics of AI: Balancing the narratives of existential threat, trustworthiness, risk management, to meaningful human control
Chair: Raluca Csernatoni (Fellow, Carnegie Europe, Belgium) 

  1. J.P. Singh (George Mason University, USA)
  2. Marijn Hoijtink (University of Antwerp, Belgium)
  3. Jessica Dorsey (Utrecht University, the Netherlands)
  4. Mariarosaria Taddeo (University of Oxford, UK)
  5. Elke Schwarz (Queen Mary University London, UK)
10:30 - 11:00
Coffee break
11:00 - 13:00
Panel 1
Regulating new and emerging technologies
Chair: Tal Mimran (Adjunct Lecturer, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)

  • Navigating Privacy and Digital Surveillance within Smart Cities: A Case Study of the Malaysian Smart City Framework, Hesam Nourooz Pour (University of Malaya, Malaysia)
  • The Politics of Uber: Examining the Rise of New Interest Groups and Their Impacts on Regulatory Process in Global Cities, Chee Hae Chung (Seoul National University, South Korea)
  • Facial Recognition at Crossroads: Policy Perspectives on Disruption and Innovation, Kosha Doshi and Bandana Saikia (Pune, India)
  • The Politics of Digital Currency, Vagisha Srivastava (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA)
13:00 - 14:00
14:00 - 15:30
Panel 2
The impact of artificial intelligence
Chair: Raluca Csernatoni (Fellow, Carnegie Europe, Belgium)

  1. Gender Mainstreaming in African Artificial Intelligence Policies: Egypt, Rwanda, and Mauritius Case Studies, Ifeoma E. Nwafor (IEN Legal Associates/Godfrey Okoye University, Nigeria)
  2. Regionalizing the Governance of Artificial Intelligence in Africa: An Assessment of Developments within the AU Framework, Uchenna Jerome Orji (University of Nigeria, Nigeria)
  3. Path for China-US Global Security Governance Cooperation on AI Militarization, Chenghao Sun and Yuqi Zhao (Tsinghua University, China)
15:30 - 16:00
Coffee break
16:00 - 18:00
Panel 3
Policy meets technology: national perspectives
Chair: Dennis Broeders (Full Professor of Global Security and Technology, Institute of Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University, the Netherlands)

  1. India's Tryst with Cyber Security: Analysing India's Cyber Diplomacy, the 2023 National Cybersecurity Policy and Practice, Esha Banerji (East Asia Centre MP-IDSA, India)
  2. Hedging Against Unknowns: Understanding China's Strategic Thinking about Big Data, Duan Xiaolin (Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
  3. Sovereignty Narratives and Digital Technology Competitions: A Comparative Analysis of the EU and China, Gong Yunmu and Shen Yi (Fudan University, China)
  4. Emerging Technologies and Disruptive Policies, Jakob Bund (European Cyber Conflict Research Initiative, Germany)
08:30 - 09:00
Welcome and Registration
09:00 - 10:30
Panel 4
The impact of quantum technology
  1. Chair: Caitríona Heinl (Executive Director, The Azure Forum for Contemporary Security Strategy, Ireland)

    • Analysis of Quantum Technologies in the Light of Systems of Innovation and Development: Insights for the Global South from the Brazilian Case, Walter Britto Gaspar (FGV Law School, Brazil)
    • Quantum Technologies and Large Satellite Constellations in Outer Space: Securing Communications in Europe, Giovanni Tricco (University of Bologna, Italy)
    • Role of Epistemic Communities in Setting Standards for Emerging ICTs: The Case of Quantum Technologies, Yug Desai (South Asian University, India)
10:30 - 11:00
Coffee break
11:00 - 12:00
Panel 5
Governing lethal autonomous weapon systems
Chair: Margaret E. Kosal (Associate Professor, Georgia Tech, USA)

  1. The Global Governance of Autonomous Weapon Systems: An Israeli Case Study, Mayuri Mukherjee (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)
  2. Autonomous Weapon Systems and Middle Power Status Identity: Netherlands' AI diplomacy and Cooperation with South Korea, Hyunsu Kim (Seoul National University, South Korea)
12:00 - 13:00
Bridging the gap between technology and policy: the value and skills of the knowledge translator
Chair: Patryk Pawlak (Visiting Fellow, European University Institute, Italy) 

  1. Paul Timmers (University of Oxford, UK)
  2. Olaf Kolkman (Internet Society, the Netherlands)
  3. Lu Chuanying (Shanghai Institute for International Studies, China)
  4. Moliehi Makumane (UNIDIR, South Africa)
  5. Frédérick Douzet (University of Paris 8/GÉODE, France)
13:00 - 13:10
Closing Remarks
By Dennis Broeders (Full Professor of Global Security and Technology, Institute of Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University, the Netherlands)
13:10 - 14:00