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J.R. McDowell Speaker – Admiral James Stavridis

September 27 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm


Admiral James Stavridis, bestselling author and former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, will be the Transylvania County Library Foundation’s Fall 2022 J.R. McDowell Speaker. The annual speaker series is designed to present a wide array of viewpoints on challenging and thought-provoking topics. His timely talk, Global Geopolitics and the Ukraine War, will be held on Tuesday, September 27th beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Porter Center at Brevard College. General admission tickets are $10 and are available for purchase at the Transylvania County Library, cash or check only.  Tickets are available at no charge for students. Highland Books will be on site with copies of his most recent books for sale and signing following the program.

A Florida native, Jim Stavridis attended the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, and spent 37 years in the Navy, rising to the rank of 4-star Admiral. Among his many commands were four years as the 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, where he oversaw operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the Balkans, and counter piracy off the coast of Africa. He also commanded US Southern Command in Miami, charged with military operations throughout Latin America for nearly three years. He was the longest serving Combatant Commander in recent US history. Following his military career, he served for five years as the 12th Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Over the course of his career in the Navy, he served as senior military assistant to the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of Defense. He led the Navy’s premier operational think tank for innovation, Deep Blue, immediately after the 9/11 attacks. Admiral Stavridis was promoted directly from 1-star rank to 3-star rank in 2004.

He won the Battenberg Cup for commanding the top ship in the Atlantic Fleet and the Navy League John Paul Jones Award for Inspirational leadership, along with more than 50 US and international medals and decorations, including 28 from foreign nations. He also commanded a Destroyer Squadron and a Carrier Strike Group, both in combat.

In 2016, he was vetted for Vice President by Secretary Hillary Clinton, and subsequently invited to Trump Tower to discuss a cabinet position with President Donald Trump.

Admiral Stavridis has published twelve books on leadership, character, risk, the oceans, maritime affairs, and Latin America, as well as hundreds of articles in leading journals. His TED talk on 21st century security in 2012 has close to one million views. He tweeted the end of combat operations in the Libyan NATO intervention. His two most recent books are “To Risk It All: Nine Crises and The Crucible Of Decision,” in 2022, and the novel “2034: A Novel of the Next World War” in 2021, which was a New York Times bestseller.

During his talk on September 27, Admiral Stavridis, drawing on his time as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, will describe the roots of the war in Ukraine, beginning with a profile of Vladimir Putin based on personal experience. He will sketch out the state of the conflict, the response of the Ukrainian resistance, the role of NATO, the chances of nuclear or cyber attacks, and ultimately how larger geopolitical forces will come to bear in this tragic and very dangerous situation. Calling on his current role as Vice Chair, Global Affairs of The Carlyle Group, one of the largest private equity firms in the world, he will assess the impact on the global economy, the efficacy of sanctions, and the role of China in the conflict. Admiral Stavridis will conclude with some additional measures the west must take to maintain democracy as a viable force in this turbulent 21st century, as well as a look at potential outcomes stemming from the war in Ukraine.

The Library Foundation enhances the Library and the community through five additional areas of support including funds for the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room collection; underwriting special events for children; exploring new technologies in library services; providing continuing education and career enhancement for library staff with the Elizabeth R. Kapp Tyson Professional Development Fund; and memorial gifts and collections.

The Transylvania County Library is a hub for learning, gathering and growing, together. Discover a welcoming space, friendly staff, engaging programs, and the vital resources needed to explore every corner of the imagination, whether visiting the library in person, greeting the bookmobile while “on the road,” or accessing online resources from home. To learn more, visit or call 884-3151.


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(828) 884-3151

212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712