Dear Members of the Class of 2021:
Congratulations on completing your course of study at IWP! As you go out into the world, armed with knowledge from your studies at the Institute, I would like to share a few thoughts.
There are few people who have studied all the arts of statecraft and their integration as you have. So, no matter where you end up working, I hope your education will serve you well. In many cases, our alumni have been able to think outside “the box” of the bureaucratic culture in which they find themselves. They have been able to deliver effective solutions for some of our difficult national security problems, and I hope you will find that the same is true for you.
I trust that you will maintain a realistic attitude towards the problems of national security and international affairs and will continue to avoid the wishful thinking, ideological templates, and utopianism that can sometimes appear in our field. Part of this realistic attitude is to retain a sensitivity to propaganda and disinformation – for which IWP students have been traditionally prepared.
I hope that your study of American founding principles will help inform your work as you defend our country, represent it abroad, or teach others.
I hope that your study of moral philosophy and applied ethics at IWP will inform your work and your life. Your study of some of the world’s greatest philosophers will be there to guide you when you are faced with difficult decisions. Sound prudential judgment is vital to avoiding potentially catastrophic errors – which, in our businesses, are the costliest errors in terms of blood and treasure, that can be committed by anyone in our public life.
I trust that you will be people of good character who do the right thing, even – and especially – when no one is looking. I hope that you will avoid hubris and be conscious of the importance of humility. As you may have heard me say before, I entreat you to be mission-oriented people, as opposed to having a focus solely on your own career advancement.
I hope that your education does not stop here, as you leave IWP’s (virtual) classrooms. The pursuit of truth is a lifelong process. While some of you may continue formal education here or elsewhere, I hope that each of you will continue to become more and more expert in your field each day, while not losing sight of the bigger picture.
And finally, I hope that you will lead a fulfilling life serving a mission higher than yourself, whatever your particular calling and talents may be. Whether you will have contributed to building peace internationally, protecting our country, or serving others in some other way, when you are in your advanced years, I hope that you will look back on a life well-lived.
Please do stay in touch with the school and know that we remain here as a resource for you. So many of your fellow alumni, who are working throughout the government and private sector, are also happy to support you as you move along in your career. If you have any questions on this, please contact Katie Bridges in our alumni office (email@example.com). If you are in need of career counseling, please reach out to Derrick Dortch in our career office (firstname.lastname@example.org). We hope to see you at IWP often, in person or virtually, to attend alumni social events as the world opens up again, to mentor our students, to speak in our classrooms, to contribute – as you are able – to the IWP Alumni Scholarship fund, and to participate in other IWP activities.
Again, congratulations!! I look forward to celebrating with you in person as soon as it becomes possible.
Founder and President