This past November, I represented Wake Forest at the 66th Annual Student Conference on U.S. Policy held at West Point Military Academy. Students from all over the world attend the conference each year to facilitate collaboration between civilian student delegates and West Point cadets. The task of this year’s conference was to determine “What’s the Worst that Could Happen” in terms of international crises and develop foreign policy suggestions advising the United States how to respond. Each day, we engaged in round table discussions focused on a specific type of international crisis. My round table topic was ‘Constitutions and Coup D’etats’ and at the end of the weekend we presented a paper about our research. In addition to the round table discussions, we attended panel lectures and listened to an address by the key note speaker Thomas Pickering. Working and living with the West Point cadets for the duration of the conference was an awesome experience and I am very grateful I had the opportunity to attend.
This past January I had the opportunity to represent Wake Forest University at the 2015 United States Naval Academy Leadership Conference in Annapolis, Maryland. The mission of the conference is to address specific issues facing emerging leaders in both the military and civilian world by breeding understanding and identifying successful themes to overcome such obstacles. The four day conference was a mixture of panel discussions, small breakout groups, and informal dialogues amongst conference attendees. The participants ranged from ROTC cadets and Naval Academy midshipmen to civilian university students and professors which permitted very productive conversations on how to address ethical issues in the information age. The speakers ranged from Pat Finn, Cisco’s U.S. public sector vice president, to General Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan; the diversity of life experiences which each speaker brought to the conference was matched by those of the participants in the conference having the effect of breeding a productive and friendly environment for discussion. My resounding takeaway from the conference was the high degree of similarity which characterizes successful and ethical leadership regardless of context. Overall the conference was very inspiring for me personally and I am honored to have had the opportunity to represent Wake Forest University and the Department of Politics and International Affairs.