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National Character & Leadership Symposium


2022 Speaker Nominations Deadlines & Fees FAQ’s NCLS in Review 2021 Program Guide NCLS 2021 VIDEO ON-DEMAND 2021 Speakers 2021 Schedule NCLS 2020 VIDEO ON-DEMAND


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 24-25, 2022 (tentative). The theme for 2022 is Ethics and Respect for Human Dignity. We will focus on helping leaders of character comprehend moral knowledge and ethical alternatives, respect the dignity of all persons they encounter, and use ethical judgement in moral decision making.  Our speakers will share their own experience with the character and leadership implications of making ethical decisions, overcoming bias, and promoting inclusivity, among other important topics.

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 at a glance
  • First held in 1993 and now attracts over 6,500 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@afacademy.af.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

Air Force Academy Foundation
Association of Graduates
Falcon Foundation – The Maj Gen William J. “Bud” Breckner Lecture
Earl Enix ’77 and Mrs. Candy Enix – NCLS Speaker for Heritage
Muse Family Foundation (John and Lyn Muse Award & Lecture)
Class of ’59 – Class of ’59 Leadership Lecture
Class of ’73 – NCLS Flagship Sponsor through the Class of 1973 Endowment
Class of ’74 – Brig Gen Malham M. Wakin Character & Leadership Development Award
Class of ’93 – NCLS Panel Fund
Defense Orientation Conference Association (DOCA)