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Commencement remarks by Interim President Amb. Aldona Woś

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

And good morning, graduates. Congratulations on the hard work, commitment, and perseverance that led you here. Thank you to the parents, spouses, and friends who have supported you.

Thank you to the devoted professors who continue to impart their years of professional wisdom to each student. Thank you to the dedicated IWP staff who do everything required to run an academic institution. Thank you to the Trustees and benefactors who make the mission of The Institute of World Politics possible.

Graduates, you have chosen to study at a school unlike any other.

IWP’s founder, Dr. John Lenczowski, realized many years ago the absence of a comprehensive education in statecraft and national security affairs.

As a result, IWP’s unique curriculum includes the study of all the instruments of power and how these instruments are integrated at the level of grand strategy. These include: the arts of war, peacemaking, diplomacy and public diplomacy; strategic influence and political warfare; economic statecraft; psychological strategy, intelligence and counterintelligence; cyber strategy; and the use of other intangible instruments of power such as moral leadership, will power, courage, and rhetoric.

Parents and guests, our students study the entire range of hard and soft power statecraft in order to increase the probability of winning without war.

We hope that our graduates will see the world as it is, not as they wish it to be, or as foreign propaganda or utopian ideologies would have them see it. The Institute’s curriculum exposes students to the full spectrum of international realities, including history, political culture, the practices of foreign powers, current and potential threats, and the strategic role of ideas, values, and belief systems.

These ideas and belief systems are crucial to understand because they have serious political implications. For example, take fascism and communism. These toxic ideologies devastated my native Poland. My freedom-fighting grandparents were forcibly deported to Germany in WW1. During World War II, both my grandparents and parents continued the struggle for liberty. My mother as a child was pressed into Nazi slave labor. My father enlisted in the Polish Army and subsequently became a member of the Polish Underground Armia Krajowa. He protected the Jews from the Nazis, and thus was honored by Israel as a “righteous among the nations.” He was further, a Catholic concentration camp survivor, prisoner number 23,504 in Flossenbürg. He was liberated by the U.S. Army only to return to Poland and live under imposed communist rule.

Communism has caused over 100 million deaths around the world. Currently, more than 1.5 billion people still suffer under communist rule.

For me personally, IWP is Hope. Hope for the future that preserves the values of liberty, security, and freedom.

IWP graduates are armed with an understanding of various totalitarian ideologies and how they can be countered, as well as knowledge of positive alternatives – especially the political philosophy of America’s Founders.

IWP truly offers the most comprehensive education in our field.  We are the only school where students study the moral, political, economic, military, and diplomatic defense of American liberty.

But most importantly, IWP stresses character formation in order to produce ethical leaders with an appreciation for American founding principles and the reasons for America’s history as the most prosperous, free, charitable, and innovative country in history.

Graduates: one of the most important choices you must make as part of your character formation is whether you will be a careerist or mission-oriented.  The careerist is self-centered and is concerned about the promotion, the money, the power, the credit, the bureaucratic empire, and the prestige.  The careerist wants to “be someone.”  In contrast, the mission-oriented person wants to do something positive.  The mission-oriented professional wants to help the mission of his or her organization to succeed.  He or she has a spirit of service to a cause higher than oneself.

Graduates, your mission-oriented leadership is sorely needed in our national security and international affairs communities today. As we emerge from a global pandemic, we are witnessing a belligerent Russia, an era of cyber warfare, and challenges coming from China, North Korea, Iran, and others.  We need leaders who understand the context of these challenges, their history, and the different tools that we can use to address them.

Graduates, you have chosen to study at a school that challenges you academically and in your character formation, and you are well-prepared to address the issues facing our country. I truly hope that you will use your education to serve your country, community, and family to the best of your ability.

I am confident that you will positively impact our nation and all our future lives.

Congratulations, and Godspeed.

Read more about Commencement 2022