National Leadership Conference at West Point

April 28, 2015

Seniors John Wirges and Aaron Gilani recently attended the McDonald Cadet Leadership Conference at West Point. This marks the third year that Hampden-Sydney College students have participated.

John Wirges '15; Secretary of Veteran Affairs, Bob McDonald; Aaron Gilani '15"The topic of the conference was 'cross-cultural competence,' and we were able to discuss this essential part of leadership alongside students from the world's top undergraduate institutions" said Gilani.

The program's mission is "For top undergraduate student leaders from diverse backgrounds to participate in a team-based, experiential and analytical exercise that bolsters leadership skills, fosters critical thinking and collaboration, and develops potential strategies for addressing pressing global issues."

The faculty of 30 select colleges and universities world-wide were invited to nominate their top two undergraduate candidates to attend as fellows. There were 84 student participants, and others in attendance included Dr. Donna Shalala, President of the University of Miami; Tom Tierney, CEO of Bridgespan Group; and Sir John Hood, Chairman of the Rhodes Trust.  

Wirges said of his unique experience, "We were able to work in small group sessions with some of the world's most influential leaders in order to craft op-ed pieces to be published in The New York Times... We felt even luckier to undergo this experience in the beautiful shadow of the United States Military Academy, whose hallowed grounds have been visited by some of the most prominent leaders of American history.

"Aaron and I both felt this conference to be a transformational experience in the way we understand the responsibility leaders have as stewards for their professions and their organizations."

Photo: John Wirges '15; Secretary of Veteran Affairs, Bob McDonald; Aaron Gilani '15