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Military leaders to pay visit to Hempfield Area High School

| Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, 8:55 p.m.

Bill Soff, who teaches world history to honors students at Hempfield Area High School, said they will have an opportunity to hear from people writing modern-day history.

Panelists from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle will present “A Look at National Security in 2014: New Challenges and Opportunities” from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday at the high school auditorium. The event is open to the public.

Soff said the seminar will provide students with an experience beyond reading newspapers or studying textbooks.

“You always want students cognizant of what is happening in the world around them, and these men have their finger on the pulse of what is happening right now,” he said. “It gives kids an opportunity to hear from people who are living it.”

Scheduled for the program are:

• Army Col. Kelly Ivanoff — “Is the United States Still at War with al Qaeda? Afghanistan and Beyond.”

• Army Lt. Col. Rob Borcherding — “The Responsibility to Protect: An Emerging International Norm Challenging State Sovereignty.”

• Army Lt. Col. Timothy Mallard — “Religion, War and Culture: The Vital Role of Religious Issues in Joint Operations Today.”

• Navy Cmdr. Tony Conley — “Nuclear Weapons — Strategy Recommendations for the 21st Century.”

• Marine Corps Lt. Col Steve Van Riper — “The Military Community — Who we are, How we're different, and What that means to you.”

Also on the officers' itinerary are schools and libraries in Allegheny County.

“Having events in a lot of different locations allows us to reach a wide range of audience interested in these issues,” said Amiena Mahsoob, director of education programs at the World Affairs Council in Pittsburgh, of the Global Affairs Seminars.

The U.S. Army War College has been offering its Eisenhower Speaker Series since 1969, according to its website.

Mahsoob said senior military officers, who are pursuing master's degrees, go out in the community and give briefings.

“It encourages our students to aspire to those positions in their lives,” Hempfield Senior High Principal Kathleen Charlton said.

When the panel visited Hempfield two years ago, Soff said, the presentation was fascinating.

“Two hours is never enough,” he said.

This year, the officers will visit classrooms after the seminar to speak directly to students.

Michele Stewardson is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.