Ramsay Scholar attends prestigious US Naval Leadership Conference

Jan 31, 2023 | Announcements, News & Media, PG News

Annapolis, Tuesday, 31 January 2023: 2022 Ramsay Postgraduate Scholar Michael Connors recently attended the prestigious 2023 Leadership Conference at the United States Naval Academy (USNA), Annapolis.

The USNA Leadership Conference is an annual event, which is highly regarded in global leadership circles. This year the conference brought 14 presenters and hosted more than 350 delegates from around the world to the Academy to honour the 50th anniversary of the return of Vietnam Prisoners of War.

The conference is traditionally attended by students at fellow universities or places of higher education, as well as participants in naval reservist and civilian programs.

Michael was selected to attend the conference as a representative of St John’s College, Annapolis, where he is using his Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship to study the College’s celebrated Master of Arts in Liberal Arts degree. In the future he hopes to use his degree and knowledge gained from experiences like this one in leadership roles in Liberal Arts education in Australia.

Reflecting on the experience Michael said: “The USNA Leadership Conference was a fantastic opportunity to learn from accomplished leaders with either, or both, military and corporate success. I was greatly impressed that the themes of panel discussions and presenters did not solely centre around military-specific leadership, although this necessarily featured at times, but rather appealed to the principles which are applicable in all leadership roles. USNA midshipmen were assigned to lead discussion groups after each presentation, which allowed delegates from different institutes and backgrounds to explore presentation themes more deeply.

“Three standout presentations really left an impact on me. The first was the keynote address by LT Brad Snyder, USN Ret., who was blinded by an explosion while serving in the military overseas and went on to win 5 gold medals at the Paralympics. LT Snyder highlighted the difference between seeking glory for glory’s sake, and the importance for leaders to focus on Honour, both personally and in teams.”

“The second notable presentation was by Mr. John Crowley, a military reservist, combat veteran and corporate CEO, whose life has been the subject of the Pulitzer prize-winning book The Cure and the motion picture Extraordinary Measures. Mr. Crowley identified elements for leadership through adversity, drawing on his own family’s experiences with his two children diagnosed with Pompe disease.”

“The third presentation was by three United States POWs: RADM Bob Shumaker, UN, Ret., CAPT Charlie Plumb, USN, Ret., and CDR Everett Alvarez Jr, USN, Ret. These honoured veterans spoke of hope, optimism, faith, and even humour, as the qualities which carried them through years of isolation and confinement.”

The USNA is home to the Stockdale Centre for Ethical Leadership, headed by Dr. Joe Thomas, USMC, Ret., who opened the conference with a speech about the Centre’s namesake, and war hero, James B. Stockdale. Vice Admiral Stockdale USN was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for more than 7 years. Michael said the pertinent part of Dr. Thomas’ lesson for him, was the impact of the philosophy education Stockdale received as a mature-aged student at the University of Princeton.

“Stockdale completed a six-month course of one-to-one philosophy lessons with his professor, Phil Rhinelander, who marked the conclusion of the class by giving Stockdale the book Enchiridion, by Epictetus. Stockdale is said to have relied on his education in philosophy and on the words of Epictetus to endure the extreme hardships of life as a POW.”

The Ramsay Centre offers a full scholarship to St John’s College, Annapolis worth up to AUD$75,000 p.a. The scholarship covers tuition and some living expenses for the College’s Master of Arts in Liberal Arts: a two-year Great Books course exploring some of the most profound and foundational texts in history. The course includes an exciting opportunity to work in Washington, DC. Applications are now open for our 2023 round.

For more information visit: https://www.ramsaycentre.org/scholarships-courses/postgraduate-scholarships/st-johns-college-annapolis-ramsay-postgraduate-scholarship/

Media contact: Sarah Switzer 0407 816 098/ sarah.switzer@ramsaycentre.org

For more information on the centre, visit our website: www.ramsaycentre.org