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Friday 25 March 2011
Senior Course 118 Field Study I. Kuwait
On Tuesday 22 March, Senior Course (SC) 118 set off on the first of three programmed Field Studies (FS), entitled "The European Security Perspectives & Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) Field Study". The Field Studies, an integral part of the SC curriculum, are aimed at giving Course Members (CMs) an opportunity to develop a wider appreciation of political, economic and security issues from the national perspective of selected countries, and to consider how these countries' policies contribute to and/or affect Euro–Atlantic security. FS 1 includes visits to the State of Kuwait, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
SC118 spent Wednesday 23 March in Kuwait City where they received a warm and enthusiastic welcome from the Vice President of the National Security Bureau, His Excellency Sheikh Thamer Ali Al-Sabah. The Vice President expressed his pleasure at hosting the visitors from the NDC, who were honoured with a magnificent reception.
On Thursday 24 March, CMs visited the Mubarak Al-Abdullah Joint Command & Staff College, where they were briefed on the College, its history and mission, and given an overview of Kuwaiti national military strategy. During the subsequent Q&A session, CMs asked questions largely related to the work of the College within the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The CMs then travelled to the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, where they were welcomed by the Assistant Regional Manager, Mr Mustafa Ebrahim Bushihri. They were briefed on "Kuwait's Role in Promoting Sustainable Economic and Social Progress in the Developing World" by Mr Tariq Al-Munais and Dr Mohammed Sadegi, who described the activities of the Kuwait Fund and the ways in which it distributes financial aid to nations.
For the final briefing, the SC moved to the Kuwait Diplomatic Institute (KDI). The Director General, His Excellency Mr Al-Sharikh, gave the NDC Commandant and CMs a very warm welcome. He then chaired a panel discussion between two distinguished speakers: Dr Alshayji, the Head of the Political Science Department of Kuwait University, and Major General (Ret) Alsuwaidan. The theme of the discussion was "Kuwait's Foreign Policy & the Strategic Situation in the Gulf Region". Dr Alshayji gave an overview of geopolitical factors and the security environment of Kuwait, and described the basic features of his country's national security. Major General (Ret) Alsuwaidan focused on the military aspects of potential threats. The lecture was followed by a Q&A session during which the CMs showed a significant level of interest in the topics, as demonstrated by the numerous challenging questions they asked.
Following the Q&A session, Lieutenant General Loeser thanked the Vice President of the National Security Bureau, His Excellency Sheikh Thamer Ali Al-Sabah, and His Excellency Sheikh Al-Sharikh for their hospitality, and expressed his hope for further close cooperation between the NDC and Kuwaiti institutions.
SC 118 left Kuwait with a much deeper knowledge and better understanding of the region which is experiencing a crucial moment in its history.
The next stage of the European Security Perspectives & ICI Field Study takes the course to London.