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Ethics and Respect for Human Dignity

National Character & Leadership Symposium

FEBRUARY 24-25, 2022

The annual National Character and Leadership Symposium is a flagship event on character and leadership held at the U.S. Air Force Academy. 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 2022 National Character and Leadership Symposium (NCLS) will be a hybrid event held at the U.S. Air Force Academy on February 24-25, 2022. The symposium will offer a combination of in-person and virtual sessions. This year’s theme is Ethics and Respect for Human Dignity which will focus on helping leaders of character comprehend moral knowledge and ethical alternatives, respect the dignity of all persons they encounter, and use ethical judgment 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 throughout the year, to encourage reflection and motivate personal action. To view our recent discussions regarding ethics and respect for human dignity, click on the links below.

China’s military threat

Operation Allies Refuge

at a Glance

NCLS Facts




168+Visiting Universities


Deadlines and Fees

Dates & Deadlines:
October 4, 2021 Registration opens for Visiting Students and Faculty
December 6, 2021 Registration closes for Visiting Students and Faculty
January 3, 2022 Registration & Speaker Sessions open for all other participants
February 7, 2022 Registration closes to all participants
February 24, 2022 NCLS begins
Conference Fees:

Speaker Sessions (no meals) – Free

A limited number of meals are available for purchase for an additional cost. Please note that due to the high volume of in-person participants and the limited food vendors available onsite, we highly encourage participants to consider purchasing meals in advance during the registration process. The meal options and pricing are available upon registration and can be selected and confirmed until February 7.

Refund Policy: Full refunds for cancellations will be given until February 7, 2022 5:00 p.m. MST. In order to meet our catering deadlines, no refunds will be given after February 7, 2022 5:00 p.m. MST.

Please note that all meals need to be ordered and confirmed with payment through your registration by February 7 and we cannot accommodate new meal requests past this date.


Service Academy Cadets & Partnering University Students (includes ROTC cadets only if associated with a partnering university): The meal fee will be waived in the registration system with discount code provided to your faculty representative.

Visiting Students staying at USAFA: The mandatory meal fee includes all meals for duration of stay at Cadet Dining Facility “Mitchell Hall”.

Click here for travel directions and lodging info.

Check-in Process

All Community Participants, Visiting Students and Faculty, and Distinguished Guests will check-in and receive their badges at the Falcon Club.

Early check-in will be available on Wednesday February 23rd starting at 10:00 am MST until 10:00 p.m. MST.



  • Is NCLS 2022 going to be virtual or in-person?

    USAFA is planning to have a hybrid format for NCLS 2022 with in-person sessions for visiting faculty, visiting students, and a limited number of community members. Participants will have the option to select a combination of in-person and virtual sessions to attend. Additional community members will have the opportunity to attend all speaker sessions virtually. USAFA reserves the right to switch to a fully virtual event based on developing COVID-19 conditions, as required.

  • What COVID-19 mitigation plan is in effect?
    • The U.S. Air Force Academy is committed to the health and safety of our visitors and requires everyone on Academy grounds to follow Federal, Department of Defense, state, and local COVID guidelines while on the military installation. Your expected cooperation and strict adherence to these policies is what has made it possible to hold NCLS 2022 in person. If you choose to attend in person, please be expected to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test.
    • All Guests (fully vaccinated and not fully vaccinated) must wear masks when on USAFA premises in indoor venues. Cloth masks that comply with CDC guidelines must cover the nose and mouth, and be worn continually except for brief periods of time when eating and drinking. This policy is in effect indoors and outdoors and will be strictly enforced. For guests who cannot tolerate a cloth mask due to a medical condition, a face shield is an acceptable alternative.
    • This guidance is subject to change based on updated guidance from the DoD and Air Force
  • What is NCLS?

    NCLS is a two day symposium in which participants have an opportunity to hear from speakers sharing inspirational stories of character and leadership with the audience through his/her own words. It is one of the premier national symposiums in the area of character development, brings together distinguished scholars, armed forces leaders, corporate presidents and others to explore various dimensions of character and leadership. Speakers share their life experiences in order to challenge the audience to meet the objectives. NCLS is a personal development symposium. Due to COVID-19 fluctuating health guidelines, NCLS 2022 format will be announced in the fall.

  • Who can attend?

    NCLS is open to anyone. This includes, but is not limited to, Undergraduate Students, Visiting Faculty members, community participants, military academy graduates, Association of Graduates members, USAFA staff and faculty, out of state military members, local military/ DoD ID Card Holders, and federal, state, county, and city government employees.

  • Who will be speaking?

    You will hear from distinguished scholars, military leaders, corporate presidents, world-class athletes, and others in order to explore a character-related theme. The speakers will share their life experiences, challenges, and triumphs in alignment with the NCLS year-long theme, reinforcing the Air Force Core Values, encouraging reflection, and motivation for personal action. Click here to access speaker information.

  • How do I register?

    Registration for NCLS is scheduled to open in October for Visiting Students and Faculty and in January for all other participants. Once registration is open, an email invitation will be sent to our previous participants and a “Registration” button will be available on our website. Please visit the Deadlines and Fees page for specific dates or email us at ncls@afacademy.af.edu for more questions.

  • What is my registration type?

    On the NCLS registration landing page, click the hot button that describes you.

    Visiting Student
    • You are a student at a college or university between ages 18-26
    Visiting Faculty:
    • You are a college or university faculty or staff member attending NCLS with students
    • You are an academic educator attending without students
    Community Participant
    • You are a college or university student over age 26
    • You are an Air Force Academy alum or Association of Graduates member
    • You are a member of the local community with no military affiliation
    • You are local or non-local area military, not assigned to USAFA and not an Association of Graduates member
    USAFA Permanent Party
    • You are military or civilian assigned to any USAFA organization

  • I do not see my college or university on the list, what do I do?

    In order to complete your registration in a timely manner, please select “Other” to proceed. Our NCLS registration team will update both your individual registration and our list of visiting universities.

  • If my school already has four students selected, can I still attend?

    If your school already has four students confirmed, we can place students on a waiting list. Should a spot become available, students will be notified on a first come first served basis, after December 6. Once all the registration requirements have been met, the registration status will change from “pending” to “confirmed.” If you wish to be placed on the waiting list, please have your faculty sponsor email NCLS@afacademy.af.edu with your name, email and college/university.

  • When I register I only see a certain speaker listed once, but I know they are speaking more than once. Why is this?

    Typically, each NCLS speaker is schedule to present multiple times over the course of the two days, however a few of our speakers may only speak once, due to schedule limitations. Speakers are scheduled for various sessions throughout the event, some large and some small . The speaker you are looking for may be scheduled for a smaller session, which may already be full. If that is the case, that specific speaker session will no longer be visible as a registration selection.

  • Can I register a guest?

    While a guest may certainly attend with you, the registration system requires all attendees register independently for Visiting Faculty, Visiting Students and USAFA Cadets. All other categories of attendees will be able to register a guest. Your guest will receive a separate confirmation email with their registration.

  • Where do I pick-up my badge?

    Check-in and badge pick-up for Visiting Students, Visiting Faculty and Community Participants will be available in Falcon Club according to the following schedule:
    Wednesday, February 23rd from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
    Thursday, February 24th from 6:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
    Friday, February 25th from 6:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
    *Please note that USAFA Permanent Party members are not required to check-in at Falcon Club and will not be issued badges.

  • Will there be transportation?

    Transportation from Colorado Springs Airport will be available on Wednesday, February 23. Shuttles will depart the airport for the Academy every 1.5 hours beginning at 10 a.m. and concluding at 10 p.m. Arriving participants who indicated they require transportation to the Academy can find shuttle personnel outside the baggage claim area.

    On Saturday, February 26, shuttles will again be available to transport participants from the Academy to the Colorado Springs Airport. Saturday shuttles will depart the Cadet Area for the Falcon Club at 4 a.m., 6 a.m., 8 a.m., and 10:30 a.m. They will depart the Falcon Club at 4:15 a.m., 6:15 a.m., 8:15 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. respectively and arrive at the Colorado Springs Airport approximately 45 minutes later.

    Shuttles will not run to or from Colorado Springs Airport on Thursday, February 24, or Friday, February 25. Transportation will not be provided to or from Denver International Airport or other local locations. Participants will be required to coordinate their own travel arrangements.

  • Where will I stay?
    • Undergraduate Students (age 18 – 26) will be housed at no cost in the Air Force Academy Cadet Dormitories. Visiting students will be assigned a cadet escort and will room with that cadet in the cadet dormitories. The two Academy dorms, Vandenberg and Sijan Hall, are co-ed dorms with shower facilities on each floor. While dormitories are co-ed, individual rooms and shower facilities are not. Rooms have either two or three residents. Only students that provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination will be allowed in the dormitories.
    • Faculty and Guest: Visiting faculty and guests may stay on the USAFA campus at the Rampart Lodge (also known as the Visiting Officers’ Quarters, or VOQ) pending availability. Alternative lodging is available at other surrounding
  • What is the CCLD?


    To serve USAFA by advancing character and leadership development in preparation for service to the nation.


    To be the center of excellence for the advancement of character and leadership development.

    Created in 1993, originally as the Center for Character Development, the CCLD serves as the focal point of USAFA’s commitment to developing leaders of character. Since character and leadership are complementary and inseparable concepts, synergies result from integrating character and leadership training/education into a common effort. The focus of the CCLD is on the development of cadet character and leadership through high quality, daily interactions with faculty and staff. The Center’s three areas of commitment are:

    1. Elevate and integrate character and leadership development
    2. Develop the character and leadership of cadets and faculty/staff
    3. Advance the scholarship of character and leadership development
  • Where can I find information regarding past NCLS events?

    Please click here to access archived NCLS information from past events.

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Thanks to the Following Supporting Organizations

Air Force Academy Foundation
Association of Graduates
Falcon Foundation – The Maj Gen William J. “Bud” Breckner Lecture
Lt Col (Ret) Earl A. 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 ’77
Class of ’93 – NCLS Panel Fund
Defense Orientation Conference Association (DOCA)