Today was such a fabulous day for the Bloomfield – Patterson crew as we attended the graduation ceremony for Kelsey, our youngest, from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies where she received her Master’s degree in International Relations, International Economics and a speciality in National Security and a concentration in the Middle East…whew! Just thinking about all of that and what it entails makes me a little bit stressed.
This degree was the culmination of two long years for Kelsey taking course on military strategy, international sanctions, trade agreements, Farsi (Persian – where she actually had to do a two day proficiency exam to graduate…and this is from a family where languages are a challenge!), nuclear proliferation strategies, and a lot of economics. Her classmates in her relatively small program – around 500 graduate and PhD students in campuses in Washington DC, Italy and China includes students from 69 countries. Do the math. That is one diverse group of students and many of them mid-career and a number of them military and security professionals from the United States and across the world.
SAIS was created nearly 75 years ago through Johns Hopkins following the end of World War II as a means to prepare men and women with the international responsibilities for the United States that followed that war and now is focused on grooming innovative thinkers and problem-solvers with the economic and policy expertise to address today’s most pressing challenges…and we know there are many. Kelsey’s internships included working for the National Defense University, the US House of Representatives Terrorism Subcommittee, international think tanks and being the research assistant to the former Under Secretary of Defense and Ambassador to Turkey (and Finland).
As I sat that and watched these amazing young people and listened to their faculty – former heads of the CIA, Department of Treasury, leaders in the State Department, Department of Defense, the National Security Council, Ambassadors and Think Tank founders, it was hard to not put into perspective how much hope and expectations ride on this next generation of leaders willing to go into service to find ways to find solutions to the complex issues ahead of the United States on so many fronts. Not only did it make me a little bit weary for the mantle of responsibility that they will carry out the door along with their new advanced degrees, but also with a great deal of pride (and of course a few tears) for how proud I am – not only of Kelsey – but of her classmates who have a strong sense of duty to country and to the future of the world.
I have so much hope for the days ahead!