Elias Okwara, CIPP/E, CIPP/US, is Access Now’s Africa Policy Manager. He previously served two vice presidents at the European Parliament where he developed security and defense policy and legislation, and was a speech writer and spokesperson. Elias advised NATO and the African Union on issues ranging from peace and security, technology policy to cybersecurity and data protection–notably, he spearheaded policy work for the 2012 NATO Heads of State Summit chaired by President Barack Obama and whose outcomes were implemented by, among others, the U.S. Department of Defense in 2016. In the private sector, Elias founded LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ Data Privacy and Product Compliance Programs, paving the way for game-changing transnational expansion and unprecedented new revenues, and consequently headed Integrations at Silicon Valley-based cybersecurity company UpGuard where he was embedded in the full breadth of Critical Infrastructure Sectors. He was trained at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, international law firm Duane Morris LLP and the United Nations Association of USA (UNA-USA), and is a longtime State Leader of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC). Elias graduated from Drexel University in Philadelphia with International Area Studies & Legal Studies-Business, and studied in Brussels at the Royal Military Academy of Belgium and Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB). Born in the port city of Mombasa in Kenya, Elias is passionate about using his experiences to uplift others. He loves reading historical accounts, and cannot get enough of Robert A. Caro.