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Meet Elly          Scholar | Storyteller

Elly Rostoum is a Lecturer, and the Associate Director of the Alperovitch Institute

for Cybersecurity Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

at Johns Hopkins University, where she formerly served as the Associate Director

of the SAIS China Global Research Center. Elly is a Hans J. Morgenthau Fellow

in U.S. Grand Strategy. She teaches courses on national security vulnerabilities

of critical and emerging technologies, intelligence, strategic studies, and energy


Elly’s research examines American national security vulnerabilities of foreign direct investment, with a focus on foundational and critical and emerging technologies (CET) in the AI, finance, biotech, and IoT sectors. Elly is an expert on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’ (CFIUS) governance. Her current book project, CFIUS in the 21st Century: The Guardian of the Technology Revolution, examines the American and the Chinese conceptualizations of national security, and their implications on how each nation defines their grand strategies vis-à-vis one another. The book theorizes on the Chinese model of economic statecraft as grand strategy, with a specific focus on how the state instrumentalizes commercial actors and foreign direct investment (FDI), in the strategic competition on foundational and critical and emerging technologies. The book makes the case for the need to reform and reimagine CFIUS’ role in relation to both research and development and foreign direct investment flows from key competitors, informed by case studies covering critical and emerging technology transactions in biotech, telecom, computing, semiconductors, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things.  

Methodologically, Elly specializes in scenario planning, forecasting, commodity modeling, and econometric analysis, with regional expertise covering China and the Middle East.  Elly is fluent in classical Arabic, the 22 Arabic dialects, and French. She is conversant in German and Spanish. Elly has lived and traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East, and has done field research in Austria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, and Jordan.

Prior to academia, Elly served as a U.S. intelligence and National Security Council staffer at the White House, covering the Middle East portfolio. She was awarded the Central Intelligence Agency’s graduate fellowship in energy markets, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fellowship in Energy Policy & Electric Systems Analysis. Elly began her career in the private sector, forecasting oil prices, and advising and consulting with C-suite executives in the energy sector worldwide, covering energy, geopolitics, above-ground risk management, global investment trends and R&D spending, and the electrification of the global drivetrain. Her research has been prolifically published and featured in industry and policymaking circles. Elly was privileged to serve, alongside 11 distinguished MIT faculty, on the MIT Climate Change Conversation committee, which outlined policy recommendations detailing how MIT can tackle challenges posed by climate change and improvements in campus sustainability.  

As a graduate student, Elly was a White House Intern with the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), where she has worked on issues ranging from cybersecurity, climate change as a national security issue, precision medicine, to diversity inclusion in STEM fields. She has also worked with the office of the Chief Technology Officer at the White House on a joint White House-Silicon Valley Artificial Intelligence initiative.

Elly holds a Master’s degree in liberal arts in Government from Harvard University, a Certificate in Decision Analysis & Risk Management from Stanford University, a Certificate in Energy Modeling from the International Energy Agency, and a Bachelor's degree in political science from Bates College. She is completing her Ph.D. in Global Governance and Human Security from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.  

A New Englander at heart, Elly enjoys reading, hiking, and sailing. She loves volunteering with children, and she is a strong supporter of the Big Brother Big Sister FoundationThe Posse Foundation and Smile Train. On most days, however, she just fantasizes about being able to play the Oud.

"Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, he told me, just remember that not all the people in this world have had the advantages that you have had."

                                            - F. Scott Fitzgerald​
Elly Rostoum Picture.jpg

With the magnificent children of Abha, Saudi Arabia. 

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