The highlight of our February was the inspirational visit to Norfolk Academy by Julius Johnson. Dr. Rezelman and Ms. Massey first met Mr. Johnson during their December visit to the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center (MUTC), where Mr. Johnson serves as the Afghanistan Field Training Coordinator for the U.S. Department of State. On February 15th Mr. Johnson spoke about his work with the State Department, and indeed his life’s work: to make the world a better place.
Mr. Johnson shared with the Fellows an amazing variety of experiences he has had around the world, from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan to the Congo. He spoke movingly about the difficulties, and the joys, of international development work. By the end of his talk, and the Q&A and that followed, students were inspired to make the world a more peaceful and just place.
As a follow-up to our January discussion of the Foreign Affairs article “Let Women Fight,” on February 20th Major Meghan Cumpston, U.S. Army, Skyped in with the IR Fellows to continue our discussion of women in combat. A friend of Mr. McMahon’s, MAJ Cumpston is a veteran of two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Following completion of her master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, MAJ Cumpston will be teaching International Relations at the U.S. Military Academy, so she was ideally suited to address the issue from both a personal and an academic point of view. Students left the discussion not only with a better understanding of women in combat, but also with another potential personal role model.
Following an exhaustingly rigorous application process, which included an interview and multiple applicant essays, on March 11 the Center for Civic and Global Leadership was proud to announce the International Relations Fellows Class of 2017! Congratulations to the following six newly-minted IRFs:
- Jaden Baum,
- Luke Cromwell,
- Alix Galumbeck,
- Hallie Griffiths,
- Chris Kazakis, and
- Nico Moscoso.
On March 14, Angela Cyrus (CAPT, USN [ret.]) returned to Norfolk Academy to speak to the Fellows about leadership. Dr. Cyrus is the president of the Cyrus Group, an organization committed to “developing powerful leaders who have skill-based competence to lead in a more complex, knowledge driven market and self confidence to authentically lead others to achieve extraordinary results.” Formerly director of admissions at the United States Naval Academy, Dr. Cyrus remains on the faculty at Annapolis within the Leadership, Law, and Ethics Department. She is also on the faculty of the Harvard Summer Institute on College Admissions, but at Norfolk Academy she remains best known as the proud parent of T.J. (’07) and Jordan (’09).
Dr. Cyrus addressed the Fellows as the future leaders of America. The group worked an exercise together where they learned that in order to get the right answers one first has to ask the right questions. Having also spoken to the Chesapeake Bay Fellows (’15) last year, we hope Dr. Cyrus will be able to return to Norfolk Academy every year to speak to each new class of Fellows!
The IRFs also participated, along with the Global Health Fellows and the Chesapeake Bay Fellows, in a variety of other leadership exercises. In preparation for a group discussion, all of the Fellows took the HumanMetrics Jung Typology Test (similar to the Myers-Briggs test). The Fellows then discussed on February 5 with Mr. Kevin Denson the implications of everyone’s personality types for their personal leadership style.
On March 20 all of the Fellows convened to participate in a group discussion, led by CCGL Director Mr. Sean Wetmore, of Rushworth Kidder’s book Moral Courage. A few weeks later, on April 4, NA Spanish teacher Mr. Bernie McMahon led a group discussion of Elbert Hubbard’s class short story “A Message to Garcia.” The combined take-away from the readings and discussions: take the initiative to do the right thing!
Finally, as always, we continued our routine but vital group discussions of Foreign Affairs articles. Since the last blog entry we have addressed
- Héctor Aguilar Camín and Jorge G. Casteñeda, “Mexico’s Age of Agreement” (Pablo);
- Neil Gershenfeld, “How to Make Almost Anything” (Sophie);
- Thane Gustafson, “Putin’s Petroleum Problem” (Hannah);
- Joost R. Hiltermann, “Revenge of the Kurds” (Hannah);
- Lane Kenworthy, “It’s Hard to Make It in America” (Sophie);
- Ronald E. Neumann; Stephen Hadley and John Podesta, “Afghan Endgame” (Jessica);
- Linda Robinson, “The Future of Special Operations”
- Robert S. Ross, “The Problem With the Pivot” (Thomas);
- Jonathan Sacks, “God’s Politics” (Jessica); and
- Dirk Vandewalle, “After Qaddafi” (Thomas).
Next up: Pablo will lead a discussion of the economic and political futures of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, a.k.a. the “Broken BRICs”!