Brady High School student Karly Steffens, daughter of Karlton and Sandra Steffens of Brady, attended the National Youth Leadership Forum on Defense, Intelligence and Diplomacy from Oct. 17-22 in Washington, D.C. Having demonstrated academic achievement and an interest in a career related to national security, Karly joined more than 350 high school juniors and seniors from across the country at the conference. Students learned first-hand about national security, diplomacy and global defense systems. Marc Grossman, director of the Foreign Service, welcomed the students during the keynote address entitled, “Leading America Forward.” Grossman discussed the challenges of being a diplomat and representing their country’s beliefs in an ever-changing world. He encouraged the students to learn all they can to affect positive, global change, “Due to the changing nature of diplomacy, a broader education is best.” “There are essential skills and abilities you need to work in the field of diplomacy, like listening, being self-aware and having common sense.” He also encouraged the students to “live abroad, get a well-rounded education, speak another language, practice negotiating, recognize differences. In diplomacy, you have to remember that you can’t please everyone and you should not back away from your values in order to do so.” During the conference, Karly experienced how the United States plans for peace and prepares for crisis. The students also had the opportunity to visit several military installations including the Pentagon, the U. S. Marine Corps Combat Development Command at Quantico, the National Air Station at Patuxent River, the U.S. Naval Academy among others. Later in the week, John McLaughlin, deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, discussed his role and the challenges of working within the national security community. Drawing on his experiences, McLaughlin said, “I’ve never had a boring day at the office.” He also urged the students to give serious consideration to a life in the intelligence community. “Our country needs you, he said. The forum culminated with a student-run simulation of a fictional, international crisis involving Korea, where students assumed true-to-life roles in making decisions to resolve a global emergency situation. The National Youth Leadership Forum is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational organization that sponsors highly specialized career-oriented programs for outstanding high school student who demonstrate leadership potential. For additional information on NYLF program, visit its web site at www.nylf.org.