By Admiral James Stavridis
Dean, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University
Former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO
Board Member of Onassis Foundation
As the grandson of Greek immigrants, I know first hand how the need for access to education drives generations of people towards distant shores. In my own life, my grandparents' experience instilled in me the value of an education, and that learning continues years after you leave school.
As a “military junior" I moved from city to city, nation to nation, but my schooling always came first. And years after I joined the Navy, I was fortunate enough to attend The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, where I earned my PhD and now have the privilege to serve as the 12th Dean. My education really has come full circle.
Equal access to quality education is key to creating the important qualities we seek in world citizens and leaders: an understanding of other viewpoints, self-confidence in your own abilities, and the listening skills to comprehend complex situations.
This is why I stand for education. It opens doors and builds bridges, which are critical to implementing effective solutions to address many of the world's current challenges. It enables global civilization and builds security. And it is the absolute cornerstone to the world’s economy.
The world needs students who have learned how to negotiate diplomatically, who can see and solve problems from multiple angles, and who have spent considerable time abroad, working in complex environments with diverse constituents in order to achieve multi-pronged goals. All this stems from education.
My own education has led me on a long and happy voyage indeed, allowing me to not only meet with world leaders, but also consult with them and affect real change in the world. Today I influence the next generation of world leaders -- my students.
My Greek immigrant grandparents knew the importance of a good education decades ago, and in honor of their memory I stand for education.