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Commencement Remarks by Vice Chairman John Lovewell

The remarks below were given by IWP Vice Chairman John Lovewell at IWP Commencement on May 19, 2018, following remarks by Secretary of Defense James Mattis. To read more about Commencement, please click here.

Secretary Mattis, President Lenczowski, Honored Guests, and Members of the Class of 2018.

I have the honor of congratulating this Class on behalf of Chairman Owen Smith.  He sends you his greetings.  We all wish him a speedy recovery from his illness.

Your graduation today is a cause for celebration, but also for hope.  Let me try to explain.

This Class, like the Classes before it, is the beneficiary of a unique education and therefore will play a key role in the destiny of our nation, and in the future our children and grandchildren will inherit. 

In my 13 years as a Trustee, I have come to realize how unique and precious is the education offered by the Institute.  It is simply far and away the finest graduate school of diplomacy and integrated statecraft in the nation.  It is not even close.  I believe it is vitally important for all of us to understand this, understand why this is, and what the implications are for our nation’s security and sound leadership in a dangerous world.  

IWP students learn how decent civilization and freedom can be defended while reducing the potential for kinetic warfare.  You have learned about military power and diplomacy, but also how to recognize and discredit evil, to engage in the war of ideas, and to win hearts and minds.  Through the use of integrated strategy, you have learned that some wars can be won without killing people.  Indeed, “winning without war” is a key theme and policy goal at the Institute. 

The development of a Grand Strategy using the complete array of Statecraft instruments led to the defeat of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War without firing a shot. You have studied how this happened. And you have been taught not by career political science professors or ivory tower academics, but by some of the finest scholar-practitioners in their field in the world. The IWP professors possess very unique and precious knowledge difficult to find elsewhere. Collectively, they constitute a national treasure, in my opinion.

Add to this an emphasis on American history and principles, Western Judeo-Christian moral philosophy, leadership character formation, and sense of mission, and you have attended, in my opinion, not just the finest graduate school of diplomacy and statecraft in the world, but the only school which comprehensively addresses the values and intellectual foundation which should comprise American leadership. 

Yes, it is true.  Much of this is ignored or missing in the curriculum and mission statements of our most prominent, and larger, foreign policy graduate schools.

Many of IWP’s graduates are performing magnificently, and their principled leadership and effectiveness is being recognized by their colleagues in government. The Institute’s reputation is growing, and our graduates are finding great jobs.

Therefore, all of us at IWP are committed to expanding the Institute and ensuring its future to meet the urgent need for its graduates. 

So here is the Good News!

Our enrollment increased by over 23% last year, and is poised to for another substantial increase this fall. We have established partnerships with a number of undergraduate programs, including for example, Duke University Villanova, and the University of North Carolina. This past year we launched the nation’s first professional Doctoral Degree in Statecraft and National Security. We are on the verge of offering the nation’s first educational program in Cyber Intelligence. We are also working to grow the endowment to ensure the permanence of the Institute.

I have always liked the expression “magnificent obsession.” Those of us who are committed to the Institute of World Politics share a magnificent obsession.

Now here is what I really want you to remember:

It is our hope and expectation that each of you will discover and pursue a magnificent obsession in the context of your careers; that you will pursue it with dedication, courage, humility and prudence; that your knowledge of statecraft allows you to pursue policies for our country that preserve our liberty and prosperity while reducing the potential for war; and above all, that you lead with integrity and a focus on the mission, rather than your career. It will pay off for the nation, and for you in the long run.

The Class of 2018 is joining the ranks of over 1200 IWP alumni, many of whom are rising to important policy-making positions in government. There are many stories of IWP alumni performing heroically to protect our freedom. In the next few years, I expect to hear of your achievements, although I know some of you will toil in anonymity, and few will know of the service and sacrifices you have made for the nation. Your reward may only be the knowledge you have served well and faithfully.

Please stay connected to your IWP family, and participate as alumni. You have received the best possible education to succeed in your service missions. I wish you Godspeed and good fortune in your careers and all your future endeavors. May you find great satisfaction in a magnificent obsession and in serving a cause greater than yourselves.