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Military Writers' Symposium

For more than two decades, the Norwich Military Writers’ Symposium has brought well over 100 military writers, historians, journalists and biographers to campus, giving NU residential and online students the opportunity to meet some of the most prominent military writers and historians of our time, and to gain a better understanding of the world through their eyes. We invite you to peruse our programs from the past three years. Below that, you will find our symposium topics dating back to 1996. 


2019 PROGRAM - PDF (3 MB)

2018 PROGRAM - PDF (3 MB)

2017 PROGRAM - PDF (2 MB)


2020       Weaponizing Water

2019       Warfare In The 21st Century: Future Battlegrounds

2018       Won The War, Lost The Peace: The U.S. Legacy in Iraq

2017       Won The War, Lost The Peace: The Centennial Legacy of World War One

2016       Going to War: The Cost to Families, Communities, And Nation

2015       Cyberwarfare and Privacy: How Do We Keep the Balance Between the Rights of Citizens and the Security of the Nation?

2014       After The Wars: What Have We Learned from Iraq and Afghanistan and What Is the Future Role of the United States and Our Military?

2013       Coming Home: The Hopes, Fears and Challenges of Veterans Returning from War

2012       Afghanistan and America’s Endless War On Terrorism

2011       An Uncertain Future in Afghanistan: Assessing The Conflict Ten Years On

2010       America at the Crossroads

2009       Chaos & Conflict

2008       The New Battlefield

2007       Civilians in The Path of War

2006       Final Offensive: The Battle of the Bulge, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

2006       Ways of War

2005       The Rules of War

2005       Turning Point - 36 Days On Iwo Jima, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

2004       Writing for War in the 21st Century, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

2004       The New Face of War

2004       D-Day & Normandy: Then and Now, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

2003       Uncommon Valor: Ethical Lessons in Military Literature

2003       Journalists at War, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

2002       Raging War: Understanding The 21st Century Enemy

2002       The Military and the Media, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

2001       The American Way of War

2001       Ethics, Issues and Policy, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

2000       The World at War

1999       The American Way of War, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

1999       Info Wars: The Next Battlefield

1998       The Role of Intelligence Operations Today and Tomorrow, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

1998       Ethics in Military Literature and Film

1997       Military Fiction in America: The Craft and Its Influence

1996       Fact and Fiction in 20th Century Military History

THE PRITZKER MILITARY MUSEUM & LIBRARY is proud to partner with Norwich University to help solidify the university as a regional center on military history and affairs. As both a private university and a non-government organization, Norwich and the Museum & Library share strong stakes in the study of military history and affairs as they have a deep impact on the character of who we are as a country. Together, the Museum & Library and Norwich build awareness of the importance of study of military history and affairs and the role of the military in a democracy.

The biographies of our 2020 distinguished symposium speakers appear below in alphabetical order. We invite you to learn more about them. 

Globally Recognized Engineer and Author

A professor in the department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering at Lulea Technical University in Sweden, Nadhir Al-Ansari specializes in water resources and the environment. Al-Ansari has served in several academic administrative posts, as dean and department head. He is also a prolific author, having published more than 620 articles in international and national journals, chapters in books, and 18 books and special issues. He executed more than 30 major research projects in Iraq, Jordan, and the U.K. Al-Ansari has been honored with several scientific and educational awards, among them recognition as one of the top five scientists in Cultural Relations from the British Council on its 70th anniversary.

Author and Journalist

Randy Brown embedded with his former Iowa Army National Guard unit as a civilian journalist in Afghanistan from May through June 2011. A 20-year veteran with one overseas deployment, he subsequently authored the poetry collection, Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire. Before beginning his freelance writing and editing business in 2002, Brown was the editor of national trade and consumer “how-to” magazines, as well as of community and metro newspapers. His war poetry and nonfiction have appeared widely online and in print, including the forthcoming True War Stories anthology from Z2 Comics. Brown co-edited the 2019 anthology, Why We Write: Craft Essays on Writing War, a project published in partnership with the non-profit Military Writers Guild.

Leading Environmental Security Expert

Sherri Goodman is a senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center’s Polar Institute and Environmental Change & Security Program, as well as a senior strategist at the Center for Climate & Security. Goodman is the secretary general of the International Military Council on Climate & Security (IMCCS), representing over 35 military and national security organizations across the globe.

The former president and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, Goodman served as senior vice president and general counsel of CNA (U.S. Center for Naval Analyses). She is the founder and executive director of the CNA Military Advisory Board, whose landmark reports include National Security and the Threat of Climate Change (2007), National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change (2014), and Advanced Energy and U.S. National Security (2017).

Goodman served as the first Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Environmental Security) and has twice received the DOD medal for Distinguished Public Service.

2020 Colby Award Winner

Adam Higginbotham was born in England in 1968. His narrative nonfiction and feature writing have appeared in magazines including The New Yorker, Wired, Smithsonian, and The New York Times Magazine. Many of his stories have been optioned for development in film and TV. His first book, Midnight In Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster, published in the United States by Simon & Schuster in 2019, is an international best-seller, and has been translated into 20 languages. In addition to winning the 2020 Colby Award, it was named one of the New York Times Ten Best Books of the Year and awarded the 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Non-fiction.

Leading Global Security Expert, Thought Leader

David Kilcullen was a senior fellow at New America and currently is a professor of practice in the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University, where he teaches in the MA in Global Security program. He is also a professor in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of New South Wales, and heads the strategic research firm Cordillera Applications Group. A former soldier and diplomat, Kilcullen served as a counterinsurgency advisor during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, advising both former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and General David Petraeus. In recent years he has supported aid agencies, non-government organizations, and local communities in conflict and disaster-affected regions, and developed new ways to think about highly networked urban environments. Kilcullen was named one of the Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2009 and is the author of The Accidental GuerrillaOut of the Mountains, and Blood Year, in addition to his most recent book, The Dragons and the Snakes.

Executive, Entrepreneur, Leader

William F. Lyons, Jr. is the founder and chief executive officer of Fort Hill Companies LLC, a Boston-based consulting firm. Lyons has more than 30 years of experience in consulting, government, and technology, and is a highly respected executive, entrepreneur, and thought leader. In the last ten years, Lyons’s firm has executed projects in eighteen countries on five continents for U.S. government clients, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and Special Operations Command South. He is a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, for which he served as the human intelligence operations officer for the Iraqi Theater of Operation. He recently retired as a colonel in the Army Reserves, having served most of his career in military intelligence. A graduate of Norwich University, Lyons has served as a senior fellow in the Center for Global Resilience & Security, as an adjunct faculty member in the David Crawford School of Engineering, and as a consultant to the Norwich University Applied Research Institutes (NUARI), supporting energy resilience initiatives. His research interests include environmental security, sustainable urban design in developing countries, and new urban mobility. He is widely published in academic journals, trade journals, and in periodicals.

Richard S. Schultz ’60 Symposium Fellow

Nicole Navarro hails from San Antonio, Texas, and chose to attend Norwich to obtain a commission as an officer in the U.S. Navy. As a political science major, she has a strong passion for history and subsequently added it as a minor. She was chosen as the 2020 research officer for the Olmsted team. Navarro is the president of the Norwich debate team as well as a member of the women’s rugby team. She is the alternative spring break coordinator for the Center for Civic Engagement. After graduation, she will commission as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy and hopes to pursue aviation.



The only program of its kind at an American university, the Norwich University MILITARY WRITERS’ SYMPOSIUM convenes authors and experts in the fields of military history, intelligence, and current affairs to offer important perspectives on pressing global concerns. Traditionally, the symposium takes place on the picturesque Norwich campus in Northfield, Vermont. The 2020 symposium broke with tradition to offer a robust, all-virtual event. We return to campus for the 2021 symposium, with selected programming also offered remotely. 

2021 Symposium

November 3-4, 2021

The 2021 symposium takes place in person at Norwich University. We are also delighted to offer selected programming remotely. Please check back soon for more details. Meanwhile, we invite you to explore the 2020 Symposium schedule


Would you like the opportunity to support the symposium? The Military Writers’ Associates have given generously to support this annual event. All gifts made will be put to good use to connect and support generations of problem-solvers, solutions, and change-makers. Together, we can mobilize minds, accelerate action, and build a better world.

Please consider making a gift to help us carry on this excellent programming into the future.

Make a Gift

Welcome to the 2020 Military Writers’ Symposium

Norwich University President Mark C. Anarumo welcomes you to the Military Writers’ Symposium, a two-day, free event that took place October 7-8, 2020. Wednesday featured six live webinars (recordings now available below). And, you can also watch the Thursday panel discussion featuring distinguished guest speakers: Dr. Nadhir Al-Ansari, Dr. David Kilcullen, Hon. Sherri Goodman, and Adam Higginbotham, moderated by Colonel William Lyons ’90 (see below).

Couldn’t make it? No worries. We recorded each session and they are now available below.


Dr. Nadhir Al-Ansari
Globally Recognized Engineer and Author

9 – 10 a.m. EST
“Analyzing the Complexities of Hydro-politics and Conflict of Tigris and Euphrates Rivers”

Dr. David Kilcullen
Leading Global Security Expert, Thought Leader

10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
“COVID, Conflict and Water: Lessons from the Arab Spring”

Adam Higginbotham
2020 Colby Award Winner

Noon – 1 p.m.
“Midnight in Chernobyl”

Hon. Sherri Goodman
Leading Environmental Security Expert

2 – 3 p.m.
“Water and Climate Security in an Age of Global Disruption”

Randy Brown
Author and Journalist

4 – 5 p.m.
“Aiming to Publish: Military-themed Writing Tips, Techniques, and Markets”

Nicole Navarro ’21
2020 Schultz Fellow

6 – 7 p.m.
“How the People’s Republic of China is Weaponizing Water Ports to Control Business, Politics, Perspective and Trade in Tanzania.”

Presentation of Carlo D’Este Award at 6 p.m.

Also during the 6 p.m. webinar will be the presentation of the D’Este Award. The Carlo D’Este ’58 Military History Award is a $1,000 prize presented to an outstanding undergraduate senior pursuing a degree in history or studies in war and peace.


Weaponizing Water | 2020 Guest Panel

ADAM HIGGINBOTHAM 2020 COLBY AWARD WINNER—Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster

DR. NADHIR AL-ANSARI: Globally recognized engineer and author, “Analyzing the Complexities of Hydro-politics and Conflict of Tigris and Euphrates Rivers”

HON. SHERRI GOODMAN: Leading environmental security expert, “Water and Climate Security in an Age of Global Disruption”

DR. DAVID KILCULLEN: Leading global security expert, thought leader, “COVID, Conflict and Water: Lessons from the Arab Spring”

Moderated by COLONEL WILLIAM LYONS ’90: Executive, Entrepreneur, Leader

Thursday, October 8, 2020, 12:00 p.m. EST. Watch here. No registration required.

THIS IS A CRITICAL TOPIC that all leaders and engaged citizens understand. Water and warfare share a long history, and today’s implications are equally strategic and tactical. From the power struggle in the Arctic, to the war over water in the Middle East, to conflicts in Africa from depleted water resources, the intersection of the environment and security is an issue that will shape the twenty-first century. Norwich aims to be a thought-leader in this domain. Norwich University’s Environmental Security Initiative, a joint endeavor by the Peace & War Center and the Center for Global Resilience and Security, examines the nexus between environmental issues that intertwine with security concerns through research, internships, experimental learning opportunities, and programming.

Keep the conversations flowing. Join The Norwich University Military Writers’ Symposium and Peace & War Center on Facebook.

THE NORWICH UNIVERSITY MILITARY WRITERS’ ASSOCIATES are an affinity group whose members seek to support the Norwich University Military Writers’ Symposium and its corresponding year-round campus experience through:

  • Recommending authors
  • Fostering and encouraging an appreciation of the program by students, faculty and the public
  • Growing opportunities to attract new interest


The Military Writers’ Associates fall 2021 meeting will include Norwich University President Mark Anarumo, Associates chairman, R. Pierce Reid M’14, and John and Mary Frances Patton Peace & War Center executive director, Travis Morris. There is much to celebrate at this meeting, including the Carlo D’Este ’58 Military Writers’ Endowment, the Showalter Research Fellowship, the Richard S. Schultz ’60 Fellowship, and the 2021 William E. Colby Award winner. We will also welcome Alex Kershaw as the new chairman of the Colby Award selection committee, and preview the 2021 Norwich University Military Writers’ Symposium, which takes place in November. 

  • Meeting Date: Friday, September 24, 2021
  • Meeting Time: 9 a.m.

We look forward to seeing you. If you’re planning to attend, please register for Homecoming 2021. See the complete Homecoming schedule of events.

Questions? Contact Nicole Greenwood at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Associates give at all levels, and every gift sustains this one-of-a-kind program.

Learn how you can support the Military Writers’ Symposium


Would you like to join the Military Writers’ Associates and find out more about the Military Writers’ Symposium? Contact Associates chair, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. M’14.


Summer 2021

Spring 2020 - PDF (5 MB)

The Richard S. Schultz ’60 Symposium Fellowship was established in 2017 as an endowed fund in honor of “Dick” by his wife of fifty years, Myrna L. Schultz, their children, Marni and Alan, and his classmates and friends.

The fellowship enables Norwich undergraduates, from any academic discipline, the opportunity to pursue areas of inquiry and experiences that will promote and expand their understanding of the past and how it impacts the present and future. Through research, travel, and inquiry the Schultz Fellow and faculty advisor will offer perspectives for us to face the future with better understanding and confidence.

After a wide solicitation and competitive selection process, this annual fellowship is granted by the Norwich University Peace & War Center to an undergraduate student for a single project that may involve additional Norwich undergraduate students. The award includes a $2,500 grant. 


Larenz Simpkins ’23


2020: Nicole Navarro ’21

2019: Jason Guth ’20

2018: Thaddeus J. Booth Trudo ’19

2017: Jonathan Wriston ’18

Norwich University admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

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