On Sunday evening, June 18, Dr. Juliana Geran Pilon, Senior Fellow of the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) and director of its Washington Program on National Security (WaPoNS), will welcome eighteen students at a dinner that will kick off an innovative two-week program in Washington, D.C.

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Students from Hamilton College, Rochester Institute of Technology, College of Charleston, Texas Tech University, Williams College, Mercyhurst University, Liberty University, Christopher Newport University, Skidmore College, Colgate University, and the University of Rochester will engage with some of the best thinkers on and practitioners in the field of national security, Congress, the Pentagon, and the White House.  The schedule includes meetings with Congressman Trent Franks, Ambassador Steve Steiner at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Marion Smith at the Victims of Communism FoundationJosh Carter at the U.S. Senate, Dr. Steve Bryen, former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Trade Security Policy, and Dr. Todd Leventhal at the State Department.

The inaugural WAPONS program in 2016 was extremely well received and director Dr. Juliana Pilon is excited for the students to participate.  “No other program includes such a wide variety of distinguished experts and so many site visits, said Dr. Pilon.  “National security education is sorely lacking.  Too often there is a distinction between military and civilian exercise of power, when in fact both are indispensable.  Our students will come away with a deeper appreciation of all it takes to keep our nation safe,” she said.

WAPONS was designed to give students an opportunity to observe the process of national security policymaking up close, from the perspective of the practitioners themselves.  It is intended to encourage and enhance students’ leadership skills, as well as open opportunities for future professional development.