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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 (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. 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.

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:

$0 Speaker Sessions Only (no meals)



  • 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. Stay tuned for the 2022 speaker lineup.

  • 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.

  • 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
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Contact us

(719) 333-4906

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)