Dear Members of the Class of 2020,
Congratulations in advance on the completion of your graduate degrees! I wish that we could have been together this week to celebrate this tremendous achievement in person.
As you begin or continue in your professional careers, I hope that the lessons you learned at IWP will serve you well and make you more effective in your current and future roles.
We hope that you will bring the ideas learned at IWP to increase the effectiveness of our nation’s foreign relations and national security efforts. You have learned about all the arts of statecraft and their integration. You have learned about the possibilities and limits to what can be accomplished in foreign policy. You have studied the realities of the world and the dangers of utopianism and wishful thinking. You are surely more sensitive to the effects of propaganda, disinformation, and deception than most people in our fields.
I hope that you continue to stay informed – better than your competition. The aim of education is searching for the truth – so, I encourage you to continue to do so, wherever your life may lead you. I also hope that you continue to avoid the temptation to adopt one of several ideological templates to solve every foreign policy problem. I trust that you have absorbed the critical importance of prudence in the conduct of statecraft – sound prudential moral–strategic reasoning.
You have been exposed to some of the world’s great thinkers during your time at IWP. I hope that their ideas are with you as you navigate any ethical questions that arise during your professional career, and that you have the moral strength to do the right thing even when no one is looking. As you have heard me say so often, I hope that you will be mission-oriented and will work for a cause higher than yourself.
You are armed with an education that will enable you to do great things for our country and our world. You are in a field that badly needs people like you. As you leave the halls – and Zoom classes – of IWP, I hope you will rise to the occasion of whatever challenges lie ahead.
Finally, please know that IWP is here for you even as you go out into the world. Please don’t be a stranger. If you need help with career counseling, even years after you graduate, please reach out to Derrick. I strongly encourage you to connect with other alumni, especially in the agency or organization where you are/will be working. You cannot imagine the benefits that can accrue to those who take advantage of our alumni network. Please reach out to Katie for help in making these connections. If you have specific questions that our faculty can answer, please reach out to them. If you are able to mentor our students or help place them in jobs as you move on in your career, please let us know.
Congratulations again on your academic achievements at IWP! I very much hope to see you in September, or whenever it becomes possible, for a proper celebration.
With all my best wishes,
Founder and President
The Institute of World Politics
Perspectives from the Class of 2020