Convened annually since 1959, the Academy Assembly is an undergraduate student conference held by the United States Air Force Academy, co-sponsored with Columbia University's American Assembly. Held on the Academy grounds at the base of the Rampart Range, this student- planned and executed conference provides a unique opportunity for qualified undergraduates to discuss a topic of contemporary significance. Student delegates are divided into small roundtables and moderated by senior representatives from academia and government. Distinguished speakers provide expert perspective and information on the topic at hand.
The topic for the 54th Academy Assembly "U.S. - China Relations: Conflict or Cooperation in the 21st Century" is a subject of deep interest to both the United States military and United States policy makers as the most important bilateral relationship today. It is predicted that China's economy will eclipse the United States' economy by 2018. This year's Assembly will examine the implications of China's ascension in terms of the United States' foreign, economic, and military policy:
- What are the implications of China's ascension on the geopolitical outlook for the Asia-Pacific region and larger international community?
- How do developments in the various elements of Chinese power (diplomatic, military, economic, and soft) impact relations between the two?
- Will the relationship between the two nations be characterized by conflict or cooperation? In what areas will the two nations' interests converge or diverge?
Student roundtables are the core of the Assembly. Students meet in 10-member roundtables to consider topics related to rebuilding a nation. Distinguished experts in that field facilitate the roundtables. During the roundtable sessions, delegates will seek a consensus on the topic questions. Each roundtable builds on the previous one, tackling a different aspect of the central theme. At the end of every roundtable, members will draft a paragraph to form a consensus on opinions of these pressing issues. The keynote address, informal discussions and roundtable deliberations provide delegates and senior participants the opportunity to learn from and interact with distinguished persons directly involved in our national policy making process. As always, this year's Assembly will bring together a diverse group of scholars, senior government executives, theorists and practitioners. Roundtable leaders will also provide presentations to the delegates in an area of their interest and expertise. Delegates can choose to attend several presentations. A downloadable document of topic readings will soon be provided for this year's conference as well as other related presentations.
• To provide an outstanding group of college students with better understanding of a major national issue, gained through study and discussion.
• To provide these students with a realization of the difficulties of analyzing and reaching consensus on such an issue.
• To develop in them an appreciation for a national community of interest through contact with contemporaries drawn from widely representative institutions.