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The University of Southampton

Stan McChrystal: Leading in harm's way - the 6th annual Military Education Committee (MEC) lecture Event

General Stan McChrystal
6 March 2014
Turner Sims, Highfield Campus

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Event details

Retired United States General Stan McChrystal delivered the 6th annual Military Education Committee (MEC) Lecture at the University of Southampton.

About the speaker

General McChrystal retired in 2010 after leading all Coalition forces in Afghanistan following his role as head of the US Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq. He also commanded the 2,000-strong US 75th Ranger Regiment.

About the lecture

Speaking to a group of invited guests, including hundreds of Southampton officer cadets from all three branches of the Armed Services, together with civilian students sponsored by the Ministry of Defence technical branches, General McChrystal spoke about the contributions each one would make during the years ahead.

He told the cadets: “You are at your point in life where you are going to make big contributions in the future. You don’t always know that and you don’t know how – none of us could predict how – but I think we can say with certainty that you will.”

During his lecture, entitled ‘Leading in Harm’s Way’, General McChrystal recounted examples from his own military career which spanned more than 40 years following his graduation from the US Military Academy in New York in 1976. He particularly focused on what he believes are the keys to successful leadership – understanding, collaboration and relationships – underlining the need for shared consciousness and purpose to be a priority in order for teams to be successful.

“It’s a simple idea but an elusive one for many organisations,” he explained. “It’s an extraordinary gift to be given the opportunity to lead – not because you’re in charge but because you get the opportunity to be a servant to people who desperately deserve it; and the things you get to see and experience and be a part of become a part of you. They get inside of your mind. They get inside of your soul.”

The MEC Lecture serves to reinforce the link between the academic education and intellectual development provided by higher education institutions comprising the Southampton MEC (University of Southampton, Bournemouth University, University of Portsmouth, Southampton Solent University and University of Winchester) and the professional and personnel development provided by the University Service Units (Officer Training Corps, Air Squadron, Royal Navy Unit, Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme). It also helps demonstrate to our officer cadets, and their respective Services, that the University is committed to supporting both them personally and to helping the Armed Services achieve their wider training and recruitment objectives.

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