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National Character & Leadership Symposium

NCLS 2018 Video On-DemandStudent Information Schedule of Events Deadlines & FeesTravel, Directions & Lodging Speakers Nominate A Speaker NCLS in Review FAQ’s


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. It will next take place on February 22-23, 2018.

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.

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2018 Theme: Ethics and Respect For Human Dignity

This year’s NCLS speakers’ stories will focus on the value and importance of ethics and respect for human dignity across personal and professional cultures. The challenges of a multi-cultural world require individuals to cast aside their own overt or covert biases towards gender, racial, religious, or sexual identities in order to create an environment that facilitates ethical leadership and decision-making as well as personal and professional respect for their fellow human beings.

NCLS at a glance
  • First held in 1993 and now attracts over 5,000 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).

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Thanks to the Following Supporting Organizations

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