(Editor’s Note: This blog is written by Public Affairs intern Rebecca Seawell, who joined the Marshall Center in July.)
Last week, Marshall Center Director Dr. John Rose invited me to attend his lecture, which also serves as an icebreaker and introduction to the Program for Security, Stability, Transition and Reconstruction. As I took my seat, the contrast struck me; here we were, in a room that was easily 75 degrees, attending a lecture titled “The Iceberg Brief.”
What the director’s iceberg symbolized is the challenges program participants and leaders will face in their own nations. Rose explained that, as leaders, they will be expected to make quick decisions with very little information (the tip of the iceberg). And they will also be expected to make the right decision.
These issues could include global pandemics, WMD proliferation, migration, global warming/climate change, energy security or cyber security.
“Past solutions aren’t going to work,” Rose said. “Some of these problems are new to us, and we can’t just look at what happened in the past and say it’s going to happen again.”
This year’s second SSTaR class contains 44 students from 25 nations. For the next few weeks, the six women and 38 men from Europe, Eurasia, North America and 10 out-of-region participants will learn about a number of topics, including multinational collaboration and economic reconstruction.
Their goal: “To forge a common understanding of the challenges, identify realistic possibilities for constructive assistance and develop a basis for more effective international and inter-agency cooperation.”
“I really do believe that we, as leaders – and you, as leaders of your country – need to think strategically about these issues,” Rose said.
Rose ended his briefing with a challenge to program participants: “Don’t believe what you read and what you hear – find out for yourself what the facts are.”