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National Character & Leadership Symposium

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The annual National Character and Leadership Symposium (NCLS) is the United States Air Force Academy’s flagship event on character and leadership. It brings together distinguished scholars, military leaders, corporate executives and world-class athletes to motivate and equip participants for honorable living and effective leadership. The next symposium will take place on February 20-21, 2020.

This two-day symposium provides an opportunity for all Academy personnel, visiting university students and faculty, and community members to experience dynamic speakers and take part in group discussions to enhance their own understanding of the importance of sound moral character and good leadership.

Each NCLS connects participants with powerful speakers from all walks of life, in presentations and discussion sessions, to encourage reflection and motivate personal action. By reinforcing Air Force Core Values of service, integrity and excellence, NCLS contributes to the Academy’s role as a unique and valuable character and leadership resource for both the Air Force, and the nation.

NCLS 2018 Opening Ceremony
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NCLS 2018 - Berkowitz
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NCLS 2018 - Villanueva
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NCLS 2018 - Kolditz
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NCLS 2018 - Nelson
NCLS 2018 - Gen Silveria
NCLS 2018 - Southers
NCLS 2018 - Tatum
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NCLS 2018 - Westheimer
NCLS 2018 - Birdine
NCLS 2018 - Caret
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NCLS 2018 - Hrabowski
NCLS 2018 - Transgender Panel
NCLS 2018 - Crisp
NCLS 2018 - West/George
NCLS 2018 - Gibbens
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NCLS 2018 - Prodan
NCLS 2018 - Tomlinson
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2020 Theme: Valuing Human Conditions, Cultures, and Societies

Next year’s NCLS speakers’ stories will have an emphasis on cultural awareness and fostering successful interactions through a three-phased approach in understanding human conditions, cultures and societies: knowing oneself, knowing others and constructive engagement. Self-reflection, distinguishing between objective and subjective elements of identities, and engaging dialogues will be at the heart of the 2020 NCLS theme.

NCLS at a glance
  • First held in 1993 and now attracts over 6,000 attendees annually
  • One of the premier national symposia on character and leadership
  • Theme changes each year in a deliberate cycle, to reflect the broader mission of the Academy and its relationship to serving in the Profession of Arms
  • Cadets on the NCLS staff practice character-based leadership in a real-world context over the course of seven months, in a signature developmental opportunity that results in a major Academy event

The National Character & Leadership Symposium is held every year in February. To learn more, email ncls@usafa.edu.

Get the NCLS app!

Visit your app store on or after 16 February and search for “NCLS 2018” to locate, download, and install the NCLS app.

New for 2018

Your registration QR code may be scanned to admit you to speaker sessions. This will ensure all participants have a seat to the sessions for which they have registered. Please ensure you have a copy of your NCLS QR code (printed or digital).

Thanks to the Following Supporting Organizations

Association of Graduates
Falcon Foundation
John and Lyn Muse Educational Foundation
USAFA Endowment
Class of ’59
Class of ’73 Flagship Sponsor
Class of ’74
Class of ’93