Sterling, VA, June 23 - IWP president John Lenczowski and his wife Susan met with the pilots of the Solar Impulse, a revolutionary aircraft which is powered entirely by solar energy and can fly day and night.
The aircraft has the wingspan of a Boeing 747, but weighs no more than an automobile. Its average speed is about 43 miles per hour. The plane had just arrived in Dulles Airport on the penultimate leg of its transcontinental flight from the West Coast.
Pilots André Borschberg, an engineer and former Swiss Air Force pilot, and Dr. Bertrand Piccard, whose unprecedented nonstop round-the-world hot air balloon flight made news in 1999, gave a private briefing to the group, which included former head of the Air Force Space Command, General Thomas Moorman.
The Solar Impulse project has great significance. It was sponsored by a number of major corporations that have used this project to develop and dramatize new technologies that have many applications beyond their use in aviation.
"These technologies represent major new frontiers for economic growth, as well as the sustainability of resources, both of which issues have huge international implications," comments Dr. Lenczowski.
"The project is noteworthy also from the perspective of international relations. It is a significant initiative in public diplomacy and cross-cultural communication, where the Swiss leaders and other European partners in this project have been able to use this as an instrument of goodwill, transatlantic cooperation, and mutual understanding."
During the meeting, Dr. Lenczowski told the group about the Institute, which shares with the Solar Impulse project the understanding of the importance of public diplomacy.
"You have created an approach that doesn't just teach the mechanics but also the foundation: ethics and philosophy without which statecraft, diplomacy and war are unanchored political folly," said Alisas Jost, Honorary Consul of Switzerland in Phoenix , Arizona and host of the briefing. "We don't ask ourselves 'why' enough and it struck me that you've created IWP with this as the cornerstone."
Dr. and Mrs. Lenczowski were invited to the briefing by Barbara Barrett, former U.S. Ambassador to Norway and Chairman of the U.S. Public Diplomacy Advisory Commission and her husband Craig Barrett, former Chairman and CEO of Intel Corporation.