For more than six decades, the MSC Student Conference on National Affairs (SCONA) has helped prepare students to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems.
The annual conference hosts delegates from colleges across the nation and around the world who gather at Texas A&M each year to address topics of national importance. These students participate in roundtable discussions culminating in a policy paper and hear from prominent military, political and academic experts about each year’s theme.
“SCONA allows us to engage with a wide-ranging set of perspectives to discuss what the United States’ future looks like in a global system,” said SCONA 66 Chair Jacob Williams ’20 ’22. “As students, we can begin to change the conversation about what is happening with the international system and the U.S.”
This year, the conference featured the theme “Sailing Uncertain Waters: Navigating America Through a Changing International Paradigm.” Students examined the challenges facing international institutions and discussed roundtable topics such as international health systems, climate change, and relations with China and Russia. Delegates also interacted with keynote speakers Gen. James McConville, chief of staff of the U.S. Army; Greg Vogle, a senior advisor with the McChrystal Group and the retired director of the CIA’s clandestine services; and Dr. Nora Janjan, chief medical officer of STATinMED Research.
“We were motivated to talk about not just where America stands today, but also the future of America’s role in the world,” Williams explained.
As the 66th SCONA, this year’s event builds on previous conferences’ legacies of inviting top speakers to impart their knowledge to the next generation of problem-solvers. Here’s a look back at some of those conferences and the esteemed experts who shared their worldly wisdom.