Longtime Congressman James Langevin to serve as senior fellow at Brown’s Watson Institute

The retired U.S. congressman and native Rhode Islander will lead an undergraduate study group confronting the topic of cybersecurity, giving students unique insight into his more than three decades of governing experience.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — James Langevin, who retired in January from a public service career in Congress after representing Rhode Island’s second district in the U.S. House of Representatives for 11 terms, has been appointed a senior fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

Langevin, a cybersecurity expert who is the founder and former chair of the House Cybersecurity Caucus, will lead an undergraduate study group, "Surveying the Cyber Threat Landscape and Protecting the United States Against Cyberattacks of Significant Consequence," in Spring 2023. The five-week study group will examine the current threat landscape, how federal and state governments are structured to respond to threats, what policies can strengthen the nation’s cyber ecosystem, what public-private partnerships could address critical infrastructure systems, and how to engage internationally to strengthen cybersecurity. In addition to leading the study group, Langevin will hold office hours and at least one special event in the spring semester.

“All of us at Watson feel deeply honored to have Congressman Langevin join our academic community as a senior fellow,” Watson Institute Director Edward Steinfeld said. “Throughout his 22 years in Congress, Jim Langevin has demonstrated exceptional leadership in policy areas ranging from health care and the environment to current challenges surrounding cybersecurity. What a privilege for us all to have the opportunity to learn from such an exemplary civil servant and policy leader.”

Langevin, a native Rhode Islander, said that he hopes to give Brown students unique insights into his more than three decades of governing experience. 

“I’ve learned in my [academic] training and in government experience that public policymaking is not always easy or quick, and sometimes the government moves too slowly,” Langevin said. “Three main elements — having a problem, having a solution and having a window of opportunity to enact a policy — must be present; while they don’t always line up quickly or easily, when they do, [you] must be ready to push your initiative across the finish line.”

“ What a privilege for us all to have the opportunity to learn from such an exemplary civil servant and policy leader. ”

Edward Steinfeld Director, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Born in Providence, Langevin earned a bachelor’s degree from Rhode Island College and a master’s degree in public affairs from Harvard University. At just 22, he was elected to the Ocean State’s constitutional convention and became its secretary. Two years later, he was elected to the Rhode Island General Assembly and later became Rhode Island’s secretary of state. In 2001, Langevin became the first quadriplegic member of the U.S. House of Representatives; he served Rhode Island’s second congressional district for 11 terms before retiring in early January 2023.

Langevin said he now lives full time in Rhode Island. In addition to serving as a senior fellow at Watson, Langevin will be a visiting scholar in the political science department at the University of Rhode Island for the Spring 2023 and Fall 2023 semesters.

More information is available on the Watson Institute’s website.

This story was adapted from a Watson Institute story written by Nancy Kirsch.