NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- Six professors from U.S. Naval War College (NWC) hosted a panel discussion as part of Leadership Rhode Island's (LRI) Defense Session Day, Aug. 17, at NWC in Newport, Rhode Island.
The panel discussion served as an opportunity for NWC subject matter experts to network with LRI participants, discuss global issues and U.S. interests in the Middle East, Russia, China, North Korea and Africa.
LRI, a nationally-recognized community leadership development organization, selects a diverse group of leaders each year to participate in a thought-provoking, 10-month educational and community engagement curriculum that typically includes the topics of education, economic development, government, media, basic needs, criminal justice, arts and tourism.
"Any time Rhode Island leaders have the chance to learn from what is arguably the greatest strategy school in the world -- right in our backyard -- we should take it. Based on this year's success, I'm hopeful that LRI and Naval War College will be offering more opportunities for our alumni to engage in leadership strategies for our state's benefits," said Mike Ritz, executive director of LRI and Rhode Island state chairman of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense program that develops and promotes supportive work environments for service members in the reserve components through outreach and educational opportunities.
"I didn't realize how prestigious Naval War College professors were, playing roles globally as advisors to our nation's leaders," said Dan Xavier, LRI class member. "I gained further respect for the college and how dedicated these individuals are to our nation's defense."
"I think it is a mutually-benefiting relationship between the Naval War College and LRI communities because the Naval War College mission is to strengthen global maritime partnerships and teach critical analysis," said Hayat Alvi, NWC's Regional Studies Group scholar for the Greater Middle East and panel discussion participant. "Outreach is very important and beneficial for engaging in discussions and networking from the micro level to the international level."
During the panel discussion, Alvi provided a presentation on the Middle East and North African countries.
According to Alvi, building an awareness of U.S. security, national interests, foreign affairs and international politics with LRI participants promotes critical thinking and understanding among leaders.
In addition to Alvi's presentation, NWC professors William Bundy, director of Gravely Naval Warfare Research Group; Terry Roehrig, director of Asia-Pacific Studies Group; Peter Dutton, director of China Maritime Studies Institute; Chris Jasparro, Africa Area Studies Coordinator; and Tom Fedyszyn, director of Europe-Russia Studies Group, also provided presentations on their areas of expertise.
"I am always an advocate for peace education, and it has never been so important as today," said Alvi. "The purpose of being at the Naval War College is actually to prevent war. In a way, we teach peace here; we teach prevention of war. We need more peace education across the board. It's not what you know; it's what you do with what you know."
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