“First off, I just want to thank you for an amazing two weeks. It was an honor to be accepted into the program and to have the opportunity to engage in such an enriching experience. On a professional basis, I took some valuable lessons away from the program, but the two weeks also left a big impact on me on a personal basis. Experiencing DC for the first time and enjoying it with the 20 great students I had the pleasure of meeting is something I will never forget. . .. We certainly had great discussions with each other at the dorm, dinner, etc.” Again, thank you so much for an awesome and unforgettable two weeks!”

-K. M., Mercyhurst University

“I thought that WAPONS was a phenomenal experience. I was especially impressed by the quality of the speakers and the in-depth discussions we had with them. I also really enjoyed the company of all of the other participants. Their diverse backgrounds made for some really interesting and productive conversations. I will definitely recommend this program to other students at Mercyhurst.”

-D. E., Mercyhurst University

“Celebrating the founding of our nation meant more to me this year than ever before after spending time in DC and meeting the men and women working so hard to keep us safe. This program has been very impactful, and I cannot thank you enough for the amazing experience. . . . I particularly enjoyed speaking with experts on conflict resolution, such as Eric Brown and Dr. Gregorian, because I often did not directly link conflict resolution and national security, and learned it is a field I am very interested in going into. Cols. Maxwell and Eastman and Dr. Berman were also very engaging experts because of their candor and conversational style.”

-T. B., College of Charleston

“Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to engage with such great people and thought provoking ideas. I have gained some great friends and I am now more inspired to protect the classical liberal ideals we often take for granted here in the U.S. I enjoyed hearing from Dr. Spalding, Roger Pilon, Ilan Berman, Greg Scarlatoiu, Andrew Wilson, and of course, Hedieh Mirahmadi. Spalding’s erudition on the role of history and explanation of how, without hindsight, we cannot hope to learn from past error or properly analyze history was phenomenal. I appreciated his interpretation of “prudence” as it was used by the Founders. It was great to be able to hear from someone like Dr. Roger Pilon, who is so well versed in Constitutional law and articulated its evolution so thoroughly. His talk of the bifurcation of rights into fundamental and non-fundamental was particularly interesting and still has me pondering over the notions. It helped me better understand the why lawmakers and judges have come to view the law in the way that they do. Berman impressed me thoroughly because he was able to explain the complexity of the Middle East in such precise terms, leaving little out. As someone who was not as well versed in the intricacy of the Middle East as some of the other students, this was very helpful. Our time with Greg Scarlatoiu was very informative. I learned so much about why North Korea acts in the ways it does. It dispelled some myths about North Korea, which was quite helpful. I previously viewed North Korea as a regime that ruled arbitrarily but now I understand that the government has clear goals for their country even if their methods are questionable. Even though it was the end of the day, Andrew Wilson, from CIPE, was very enjoyable. CIPE seems to do some great work to help private businesses tear down the chains established by the government.”

-M. P., Christopher Newport University

“This experience was so eye-opening in that we absolutely need more individuals, especially in this generation and the generations to come, that are passionate about national security. The field is ever growing and the experts are contributing so much, however if we can get more people excited about national security and to realize the threats we have ongoing daily, America will be a safer place. I am hoping I can contribute to that one day! Thank you for attaching the pictures- I miss the program, D.C., the participants, and you of course and these pictures are a great way to reflect on my experience! I most enjoyed Mr. Dziak, Ms. Mirahmadi, Mr. Berman and Mr. Salman – while I enjoyed the other speakers, I felt that they were the most engaging and spoke about what I was most interested in. The discussion that we had with them were meaningful and I very much enjoyed them!”

-H. C., Christopher Newport University

“I really enjoyed most all of the speakers. A couple that stuck out to me were Colonel Maxwell, particularly due to his connections with Georgetown University, and Omran Salman and Saghar Erica Kasraie’s due to their personal background. I particularly found Salman’s presentation to be very interesting and informative due to all his knowledge he had on Arab countries and their customs. I also loved our trip to Voice of America and that we got to walk around everywhere and see the studios. Finally, I thought Ilan Berman from the American Foreign Policy Council and Hedieh Mirahmadi were absolutely amazing speakers and incredibly knowledgeable. I enjoyed them so much due to their vast knowledge and the fact that they seemed so capable to answer the wide array of questions thrown at them with such precision. I think the program is brilliant the way it is. With such a variety of speakers, every student participating has the chance to really connect with someone who meets their interest. Some of the days were very long and tiring; however, that was something I knew would happen going into the program.”

-I. L., Christopher Newport University