General Colin L. Powell, former Secretary of State, drew from his formidable experience to speak about leadership, security, and America's place in the world to an audience of about 5,000 at Colgate University on Friday.
"It is still America that leads this world," Powell said. "We are still the land of hopes and dreams and opportunity."
Powell presented his lecture, "Leadership: Taking Charge", as a part of Colgate's Global Leaders lecture series in Hamilton. Powell has served as Secretary of Defense and as National Security Advisor to President Reagan. He also served 35 years in the United States Army, where he rose to the rank of Four-Star General and served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Powell discussed the importance of a shared purpose to effective leadership.
"How many of you have been in organizations where there have been lots of Powerpoint charts and lots of nice mission statements, but not everybody believes?" Powell said. "What you want to do is not just motivate people, but inspire people so that they're self motivated."
Powell was Secretary of State during the events of September 11, 2001, and he stressed the importance of security after the tragedy.
"We didn't believe there were people out there who would do this to us," he said. "We have to keep our security up, we have to keep our vigilance up."
At the same time, Powell said, there was a point when he told President George W. Bush that the price of security had become too high -- the number of foreign students at American schools were dwindling, and fewer foreign tourists were coming to America because of stricter security and biases.
Powell said it was important for those from other nations to visit America in order to maintain our positive standing in the world.