The World Affairs Council 2013 Global Education Gala was hosted Thursday, March 7 at the Ritz Carlton in Washington, D.C. The World Affairs Council is a leading forum for global education and international affairs. Honorees emphasized that it is not the acquisition of knowledge that matters, but what you do with it.
The keynote speaker was General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Charismatic and humorous in his delivery, General Dempsey continued the theme of the speakers of the evening, stating simply, “Knowledge is not power.” Quoting celebrated football legend Vince Lombardi, General Dempsey explained his personal campaign of learning could be summed up in these words: “If you don’t improve, you deteriorate.” He also emphasized the importance of education to our country saying, “Education is a national strategic resource… it illuminates the path that allows us to dare to be great” and “Education is the price of admission into a highly competitive global market place.” Considering himself not only the highest ranking military officer in the land, but also the highest ranking student and teacher, he dynamically exhibited his passion and dedication for learning. General Dempsey views the military as a “customer of our education place.” In the words of Nelson Mandela, he impressed upon us that “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” Ending with a nod to pop culture, General Dempsey referenced the Dos Equis’s Most Interesting Man in the World campaign and urged us all to “Stay curious my friends.”
Students who attended also had the opportunity to meet the State Department’s Undersecretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Tara Sonenshine. Honorees included were Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President of University of Maryland Baltimore County (Educator of the Year), CISCO (Global Education Award), Frederick Thomas, Founder & CEO of MHz Networks (Global Communications Award), and Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States, His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba (Distinguished Diplomatic Service Award).