Ambassador’s Remarks at the School of Police Staff and Command Graduation

Ambassador’s Remarks at the School of Police Staff and Command Graduation, November 9, 2023

(As Prepared)
Good morning. Minister of Justice Haxhiu, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Gashani, General Director of Police Hoxha, Deputy Commander of Kosovo Security Force Major General Cikaqi, Northwestern University Deputy Director Camden, and Assistant Director for ICITAP Fields, distinguished guests.

I am honored to join you to celebrate the graduation of the 7th iteration of the United States-supported Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command, also known as SPSC.

Let me begin by adding my voice to the many congratulations being offered to you today.

Northwestern University’s ten-week School of Police Staff and Command is among the best law enforcement leadership and management programs offered in the United States.

Many SPSC graduates serve in supervisory and leadership positions in law enforcement in the United States – and here in Kosovo too.

This course prepares you graduates well as you assure greater positions of leadership and management in your respective services.

I’d like to take a minute to share some brief thoughts on the topic of leadership – something I know you’ve had the chance to think about over the past ten weeks.

I want to highlight three specific aspects of leadership that I think are essential for any leader and vital to any organization: vision, teamwork, and integrity.

Let’s start with vision.

The difference between someone who is a leader and someone who is simply managing or supervising others is that a leader has, shares, and obtains buy-in from others for a long-term vision of what his/her organization seeks to accomplish.

A leader works with other stake holders – peers, subordinates, and superiors, as well as those outside the organization – to identify the strategic goals that comprise the overall vision.

And a leader inspires others to accept and advance those goals.
Here’s an example: in 1961, President John F. Kennedy challenged the United States – the government, the Congress, the business community, and the American people – to send a man to the moon within eight years. It seemed impossible – but in a famous speech Kennedy said:

“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade not because it is easy, but because it is hard…because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.” That is vision.

But no individual can execute a vision alone. It takes a team to transform vision into reality. A leader elicits and promotes teamwork.

As police and public safety officials, I know that you already are quite familiar with teamwork. You rely on your partners to have your back- just as you have theirs.

But let’s talk about what that looks like at a larger organizational level. Here I want to paraphrase remarks from an American military leader of the 1970s, Lieutenant General Walter Ulmer.

Ulmer was writing about the Army, but the same analysis could apply to any large organization:

“The essence of ‘high-performing units’ or teams is probably easier to feel or sense than to describe.

But there is a pervasive sense of mission. There is a common agreement on what are the top priorities. There are clear standards. There is joy in teamwork.”

Now I’d like to end by talking a bit about integrity.

It is no secret that corruption is a problem in Kosovo’s institutions, just as it is in many other countries’ institutions, and that as leaders you will be challenged to resist and counter corruption on many levels.

As senior leaders, you need to model honesty and integrity every day. Your fellow officers are watching – and so are your fellow citizens.

Fighting corruption is difficult, sometimes dangerous work, but success is possible.

To sum up, I hope that vision, teamwork, and integrity are at the forefront of your thoughts and efforts as you fulfill your responsibilities as public safety and law enforcement leaders.

I urge you to be up front about your values and expectations, and to model good leadership practices in your respective organizations – particularly to those who work for you.

I hope this course has both given you the tools and the inspiration to be the professional public safety officials your country needs and deserves.

Thank you, and I wish you well as you continue your leadership journey