Jason Howk
Society of Skeptics Welcomed Back National Security Expert Jason Criss Howk
Paula Hong '16

Returning to Blair Skeptics for the fourth time since his first visit in 2017 was national security expert in defense, diplomacy and intelligence Jason Howk. With over 30 years of experience in foreign policy, Mr. Howk is an author and speaker on Afghanistan, interfaith issues, Islam, and other foreign policy and national security topics. Watch his presentation below:

Mr. Howk visited Blair Academy to share his experiences on Tuesday, January 25. He discussed his time in Afghanistan while honing in on five key moments that led to the recent fallout in Afghanistan. "I wanted to talk about what happened in Afghanistan by while examining what went on for the past 20 years—and how I was involved in it for the last 19 and a half,” stated Mr. Howk. 

As for what he hoped students took away from his talk, the national security and career-advice columnist thinks it was important for students to understand what and where America’s policies are, where they fit into the world and their impact. 

Mr. Howk is a columnist at ClearanceJobs News and an Islamic and Afghan studies professor at the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School. Additionally, he works as a contributing writer for over two dozen journals and regularly appears on news outlets to discuss Afghanistan. He holds a master’s degree in Middle Eastern and South Asian studies and served as a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Howk is a Malone Fellow in Arab and Islamic Studies and studied Afghan Farsi (Dari) and Arabic. 

Blair students cannot help but be drawn in each time Mr. Howk makes an appearance, for students feel not only the passion behind Mr. Howk’s work, but also his desire to excite students and get them involved in global affairs. 

“I think Skeptics is perfect for high school students and I wish every school in America did something like it for their students,” said Mr. Howk. “I love how Blair keeps this focus on introducing students to things that are so much bigger than they’ll ever know if not afforded that chance. I also love the focus on helping guide students into a field of their interest.”

“Whether it’s getting the chance to sit in a Blair history class or speak to students more officially, I enjoy continuing  to connect with students.”

The History of Skeptics
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.
The program was an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon.’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial.

For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please click here.

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