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President Aoun meets with Homeland Security secretary

One week after opening the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security, Northeastern President Joseph Aoun traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

Aoun spoke to Napolitano and other senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials about Northeastern’s longstanding commitment to security research and the opportunities presented by the new Kostas Institute. The University expects to build on its strength in explosives detection, cyber security, underwater robotics and national resilience.

The Kostas Institute will give Northeastern the capacity and clearances to conduct secure research in a restricted environment. The institute will be equipped to test and develop new security technologies and create pathways to implement those technologies to address real security needs.

In 2008, Northeastern was selected as one of 11 universities nationwide to house a DHS Center of Excellence. The $10 million grant established the Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats (ALERT) center at Northeastern.

“At Northeastern, we have made security research one of our top priorities,” said President Aoun. “Expansion in this area builds on our existing strength and helps address a national imperative. We see this alignment as an opportunity to partner with the federal government and make our nation safer.”

Aoun’s meeting with Napolitano was part of a two-day visit to Washington, during which he also met with officials on Capitol Hill and at the White House to discuss higher-education policy and funding priorities. Aoun also met with other university presidents at a meeting of the American Council on Education (ACE). Aoun will become chairman of the ACE Board of Directors in March 2012.

During Aoun’s tenure, the University has prioritized its research agenda around three national imperatives: health, security and sustainability. Aoun has also led a national effort to strengthen the federal Perkins Loan program, which primarily benefits middle-class students and families.