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Retired U.S. Navy Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s 16th Supreme Allied Commander Europe and 15th Commander of the U.S. European Command (2009-2013), to speak at Whitworth’s President’s Leadership Forum Sept. 20

September 2, 2022


Whitworth University is pleased to welcome retired U.S. Navy Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s 16th Supreme Allied Commander Europe and 15th Commander of the U.S. European Command (2009-2013), as the featured speaker at the university’s President’s Leadership Forum on Tuesday, Sept. 20, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Spokane Convention Center. Lunch will be served.

Admiral Stavridis is the longest-serving combatant commander in recent U.S. history. He is currently vice chair, global affairs of The Carlyle Group and chair of the Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees. 

His presentation “Ukraine and China: Geopolitics and the Way Forward” will draw on his time as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, describing the roots of the war in Ukraine, beginning with a profile of Vladimir Putin that is based on personal experience. He will sketch out the state of the conflict, the response of the Ukrainian resistance, the role of NATO, the chances of nuclear or cyberattacks, and ultimately how larger geopolitical forces will come to bear in this tragic and very dangerous situation. Calling on his current role with the Carlyle Group, one of the largest private equity firms in the world, he will assess the impact on the global economy, the efficacy of sanctions, and the role of China in the conflict. Admiral Stavridis will conclude with some additional measures the West must take to maintain democracy as a viable force in this turbulent 21st century, as well as a look at potential outcomes stemming from the war in Ukraine. 

“Given the state of the world, and particularly current events in Ukraine, Russia and Europe, which have tremendous human and global impact, perhaps no one can speak to the crisis and its ongoing effects more than Admiral Stavridis,” Whitworth President Scott McQuilkin says. “He possesses a wealth of firsthand knowledge about the region, the tensions, the leaders and the people. We greatly look forward to the insights he will share with the Inland Northwest community.”

Admiral Stavridis attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and spent 37 years in the Navy, rising to the rank of four-star admiral. Among his many commands were four years as the 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, where he oversaw operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and the Balkans and counter-piracy off the coast of Africa. He also commanded U.S. Southern Command in Miami, charged with military operations through Latin America for nearly three years. 

Following his military career, Admiral Stavridis served for five years as the 12th dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. In the course of his career in the Navy, he served as senior military assistant to the secretary of the Navy and the secretary of defense. He led the Navy’s premier operational think tank for innovation, Deep Blue, immediately after the 9/11 attacks. He was promoted directly from one-star rank to three-star rank in 2004. 

Admiral Stavridis won the Battenberg Cup for commanding the top ship in the Atlantic Fleet and the Navy League John Paul Jones Award for Inspirational leadership, along with more than 50 U.S. and international medals and decorations, including 28 from foreign nations. He also commanded a Destroyer Squadron and a Carrier Strike Group, both in combat. 

In 2016, he was vetted for vice president by Hillary Clinton, and subsequently invited to discuss a cabinet position with President Donald Trump. 

He earned a Ph.D. from The Fletcher School at Tufts, winning the Gullion prize as outstanding student in his class in 1983, as well as academic honors from the National and Naval War Colleges as a distinguished student. 

Admiral Stavridis has published 10 books on leadership, the oceans, maritime affairs and Latin America, as well as hundreds of articles in leading journals. An active user of social networks, he has tens of thousands of connections on social networks. His TED talk on 21st-century security in 2012 has close to 1 million views. He posted on Twitter about the end of combat operations in the Libyan NATO intervention. His two most recent books are Sailing True North: Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character (2019) and 2034: A Novel of the Next World War (2021), which was a New York Times bestseller. Admiral Stavridis is a contributing editor for TIME magazine and chief international security and diplomacy analyst for NBC News.

The Whitworth President’s Leadership Forum draws key national leaders to the Inland Northwest to provide wisdom and insight on a variety of contemporary issues. The event costs $60 per person or $600 for a corporate table (10 seats per table). Advance online registration is required. Please click here to register.

About Whitworth University:

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. 


Rashel Rogers, events manager, institutional advancement, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4974 or

Trisha Coder, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or