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Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on National Security

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic posed new strategic challenges within the political, military, economic, social, infrastructure, information (PMESII), and intelligence domains of nation-states. To analyze the implications of the pandemic’s impact on these domains and to explore their implications on national security the Institute for Leadership and Strategic Studies, the College of Arts and Letters, and the UNG Press are pleased to announce a symposium on the topic for the purpose of contributing to the scholarly discussion of this complex and strategically challenging issue.

For the purpose of this symposium, national security is the safekeeping of the nation as a whole. Its highest order of business is the protection of the nation and its people from attack and other external dangers by maintaining armed forces and guarding state secrets. Because national security entails both national defense and the protection of a series of geopolitical, economic, and other interests, it affects not only defense policy, but foreign and other policies as well.

Symposium format. The symposium will consist of a series of speakers and panels on 7 and 8 April as well as undergraduate student presentations on the afternoon of 8 April. Panelists will be selected competitively from those who submit abstracts for papers, and tentatively, travel and lodging will be covered by the symposium. Paper submission guidelines are below. Undergraduate student involvement information is in the “Student Presentations” tab below.

Writing contest. A writing contest will be held in conjunction with the symposium and judged by PhD professors at the University of North Georgia. Cash honoraria will be awarded to the winning author and two runners-up. The winner will be afforded the opportunity to attend the symposium at no cost with travel and lodging paid by the symposium. Details are in the “Writing Contest” tab below.

ILSS Symposium 2021 Paper Submission Guidelines

U.S. and international scholars, graduate, and undergraduate students are invited to submit abstracts for papers on topics related to the theme. Please submit abstracts (500 words) and short bio (150 words) by January 18, 2021 to Panel presentations will be a maximum of 20 minutes in length. Participants will be notified of acceptance by February 8, 2021.

More information about the symposium will be updated here when announced.



April 7-8, 2021


University of North Georgia
Dahlonega Campus
Convocation Center


If you need closed captioning for this event, please email Keith Antonia or call 706 867-4576.


In the event the pandemic prevents an in-person event, the symposium will be live-streamed online.

Schedule & Livestream

Wednesday, April 7

Time Event
7:45 a.m. Registration
8:30 a.m. Welcome Administrative Remarks
8:35 a.m. Opening Remarks 
8:45 a.m. Speaker 1: 
9:15 a.m. Q&A
9:30 a.m. Break
9:45 a.m. Panel 1:
10:45 a.m. Discussion and Q&A
11:00 a.m. Break 
11:15 a.m. Speaker 2:
12:00 p.m. Q&A
12:15 p.m. Lunch
1:45 p.m. Panel 2:
2:45 p.m. Discussion and Q&A 
3:00 p.m. Break
3:15 p.m. Speaker 3:
3:45 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
4:00 p.m. Break
4:15 p.m. Speaker 4: 
4:45 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
5:00 p.m. Writing contest story reading
5:30 p.m. Break
6:30 p.m. Symposium Social 

Thursday, April 8

Time Event
8:00 a.m. Registration
8:45 a.m. Welcome, administrative remarks 
9:00 a.m. Panel 3:
10:00 a.m. Discussion and Q&A
10:15 a.m. Break
10:30 a.m. Speaker 5:
11:00 a.m. Discussion and Q&A
11:15 p.m. Symposium part 1 closing remarks
11:30 a.m. Break/lunch
1:00 p.m. Opening remarks and instructions
1:15 p.m. Undergraduate presentation 1
1:35 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
1:45 p.m. Undergraduate presentation 2
2:05 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
2:15 p.m. Break
2:30 p.m. Undergraduate presentation 3
2:50 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
3:05 p.m. Undergraduate presentation 4
3:25 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
3:35 p.m. Break
3:45 p.m. Undergraduate presentation 5
4:05 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
4:15 p.m. Undergraduate presentation 6
4:35 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
4:45 p.m. Closing remarks
5:00 p.m. End of symposium
More details to come.
More details to come.
Writing Contest

2021 UNG Institute for Leadership and Strategic Studies Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Story Contest

“Dr. Rieux resolved to compile this chronicle, so that he should not be one of those who hold their peace but should bear witness in favor of those plague-stricken people; so that some memorial of the injustice and outrage done them might endure; and to state quite simply what we learn in time of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise. 

Nonetheless, he knew that the tale he had to tell could not be of a final victory. It could be only the record of what had had to be done, and what assuredly would have to be done again in the never ending fight against terror and its relentless onslaughts, despite their personal afflictions, by all who, while unable to be saints but refusing to bow down to pestilences, strive their utmost to be healers.” -From the ending of The Plague by Albert Camus.

The University of North Georgia’s Institute for Leadership and Strategic Studies, in conjunction with ILSS’s annual Symposium, is holding a Fiction and Creative Nonfiction story contest. The contest theme ties with this year’s Symposium theme: “Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on National Security.”


  • Dr. Renée Bricker, Professor of History, University of North Georgia
  • Dr. Bibek Chand, Assistant Professor of Political Science & International Affairs, University of North Georgia
  • Dr. Donna A. Gessell, Professor of English, University of North Georgia

Submissions are open until February 24, 2021 

Thematic Guidelines:

Continuing in the tradition of fiction and creative nonfiction pandemic stories, authors should take into account how humans, both individual and in groups, react to the disease and its aftermath. To tie in with the Symposium theme, “Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on National Security,” the story should in some way consider and/or reflect the new strategic challenges—as well as opportunities—that the COVID-19 global pandemic poses within the political, military, economic, social, infrastructure information (PMESII), and/or intelligence domains of nation-states. As with other epidemic-related literature, the story should not focus primarily on the disease itself, but instead on the possible changes the COVID-19 Pandemic will bring to social norms, including human interactions of all types, leadership roles, and concepts of community, and how those changes will challenge nation-states. Although the COVID-19 global pandemic is biological, authors may choose to treat associated challenges that are metaphorical, as in Camus’ treatment of fascism in The Plague.


  • Grand Prize winner receives $500 honorarium and travel and lodging for the symposium
  • Two runners-up $200 cash prize
  • All three receive publication in UNG Press ILSS Symposium Monograph and one print copy

Contest Guidelines are as follows:

  • Are open to all writers (inside and outside the US)
  • Must be fiction or creative nonfiction only
  • Must be original and unpublished. Authors retain sole rights to any works submitted
  • Must be 4,000 words or less
  • Must use acceptable file types: doc, dox, rtf, pdf
  • Must use 8.5x11 page size, double-spaced throughout with 1-inch margins on top and bottom/1.25-inch margins on left and right sides
  • Must use Arial, Courier, or Times font, 12 point font size
  • Must be in the English language
  • Winners and Runners-up will allow the UNG Press first publication rights, after which rights will revert back to the authors
  • That promote hatred of any given race, religion, sex, or ethnicity will be disqualified

How to enter:

Submit one manuscript per author to Subject line must read ILSS Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Contest Submission

Note: UNG Press/ILSS cannot be held responsible for any failure of the delivery of entries due to any electronic or Internet outage issues. By entering this contest, you agree that you have read, understand, and agree that contest judging is subjective and that you agree to accept and abide by the decision making of the judges in the scoring and judging of the fiction you enter. By submitting your fiction, you agree to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless UNG/ILSS selected officers, judges, instructors, and staff associated with this contest.

Student Involvement

There are three possibilities for U.S. and international undergraduate student involvement:

  1. Students are invited to attend the entire symposium, or parts of the symposium of interest to them, at no cost. Please follow the symposium registration instructions in the “Registration info” tab. 
  2. Students may submit abstracts for papers on which they are conducting research. Undergraduate research abstracts will be evaluated competitively along with other submissions for opportunities to present their work during one of the symposium panel presentations.
  3. Students may submit abstracts for PechaKucha presentations of their ideas concerning the implications of the pandemic’s impact on national security. Papers are encouraged, but not required. PechaKucha presentation abstracts are due by 24 February 2021 to symposium organizer Keith Antonia at Six students will be selected to present on the afternoon of 8 April. The PechaKucha timed presentation format is as follows:
    • Use Powerpoint
    • Use 20 slides, including the title slide (no more, no less)
    • Title slide should contain your name, academic major, the name of your institution, and title of your presentation
    • Set each slide to automatically advance at 20 seconds
    • Total presentation is 6 minutes and 40 seconds
    • Images are preferred over text; text should be very limited
    • Avoid bulleted lists
    • No animations or video

Examples of PechaKucha presentations

Reading List

National Security Implications of covid-19: A Framework
Geipel, G.L. (2020). National Security Implications of COVID-19: A Framework. Real Clear Defense

The symposium organizers are assembling a reading list as a reference for symposium participants and others who may be interested in the topic.

Registration Info

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Use of military-themed imagery does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. Department of Defense.

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