2/7/2014 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Political Science Department on Wednesday wrapped up the 55th annual Academy Assembly, which focused this year on U.S.-India relations.
Topics covered during the assembly included how India's growing power in Southeast Asia will affect that region and the larger community of nations and how developments in Indian diplomatic, economic and military power affect relations between that nation and the United States.
A staff of roughly 40 cadets planned and oversaw the entire assembly, said Maj. Marietta Sanders, assistant professor of the Political Science Department.
"They've done a phenomenal job," Sanders said. "Cadet 1st Class Adrianna Dong and Waruna Ambanpola led their team of cadets to organize, advertise and then execute this year's assembly. They're a fantastic group of students, for sure."
While weather closures and delays may have affected some aspects of this year's assembly, the show went on without a hitch, Sanders said.
"Despite the weather, the cadets overcame and made sure we had plans in place," she said. "Everything has gone wonderfully."
More than 70 students from other colleges around the U.S. visited the Academy to take part in the assembly, as did four students from India, Sanders said. The guests spent most of their time inside the Cadet Area, allowing them to learn more about the Academy's mission.
"We try to focus on establishing long-lasting relationships among the delegates," she said. "It further solidifies military and civil relations and community relations in general. The guests get to interact with cadets and learn more about the Academy, and cadets get to learn more about civilian college life. It leads to a better understanding of the other and fosters relationships that really do last a lifetime."
Sanders thanked the 10th Force Support Squadron and 10th Logistics Readiness Squadron for supporting the event, as well as the Olmstead Foundation, the Association of Graduates, the American Assembly of Columbia University and the U.S. Air Force Academy Endowment.
Vikram Singh, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia, was the keynote speaker. Appointed in April 2012, Singh serves as the principal adviser to Defense Department leadership for policy matters related to defense strategies for the region.
Other speakers included Jacqueline Lundquist, vice president of corporate affairs for WaterHealth International, which helps provide safe, clean water to people in South and Southeast Asia; David Bargueño, a foreign affairs officer with the State Department's Office of Global Food Security; Dr. S. Paul Kapur, a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School's National Security Affairs Department; Dr. Sumit Ganguly, the Rabindranath Tagore chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations for Indiana University; and Brig. Gen. Andrew Armacost, the Academy's dean of the faculty. Complete biographies are online at http://bit.ly/1jh4AW5.