NRCC 12 Graduation Ceremony
On 28 November 2014, the NATO Defense College’s (NDC) Middle East Faculty (MEF) celebrated the graduation of the twelfth session of the NATO Regional Cooperation Course (NRCC 12).
The occasion was greatly honored by the presence of ambassadors and high-level guests from various embassies and diplomatic missions, and by the participation of Amb. Sameh Aboul Enein (EGY) as guest speaker. Amb. Aboul Enein, MEF Academic Advisory Board Member, is currently Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister of Egypt for Disarmament, International Security and Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
Upon arrival, participants were warmly welcomed by NDC Commandant Maj. Gen. Janusz Bojarski (POL F), Dean Dr Daria Daniels Skodnik (SVN, C), Head of the Middle East Faculty Col Giuseppe Morabito (ITA A) and Dr Jean-Loup Samaan (FRA C), Faculty Research Advisor at the MEF.
Before the graduation ceremony, the distinguished guests joined NRCC 12 Course Members in the Main Auditorium for a lecture by Amb. Aboul Enein on “The Changing Security Environment in the Middle East: Challenges, Strategies and Solutions”. Following the speaker’s address, Maj. Gen. Bojarski spoke about the importance of this unique Course, reminding all present that NRCC is truly a unique environment to promote interregional political dialogue, and that mutual understanding is a necessary element to peace that does not necessarily require parties to agree on every issue.
Afterwards, NRCC 12 Course Members came forward individually to receive their graduation diplomas and personal congratulations from the NDC leadership.
NRCC 12 brought together 40 Course Members from a total of 15 different countries - within NATO, the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, as well as Global Partner countries. The curriculum was extensive and topical, embracing a number of significant strategic challenges and the resulting need for informed planning at regional and global levels. Far from offering a mere complement to mainstream security-related topics, the Course enabled participants to work towards a truly comprehensive strategic dialogue and to develop what the College calls “human interoperability,” establishing mutual trust as a firm basis for cooperation.
The NRCC program was inspired by the Alliance’s successful promotion of partnership in the Middle East in recent decades - starting with the creation of the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Partnership for Peace in 1994, and then with the establishment of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative in 2004. The first Course (NRCC 1) was held in 2009, with the objective of enhancing dialogue, mutual understanding and cooperation between NATO and its partners.
In order to ensure that the NRCC 12 would not be limited to daily lectures, the Course included field studies to Naples, Brussels and Paris. Sections of the Course which the Course Members particularly appreciated included those on regional security, the threats posed by weapons of mass destruction, and ongoing crises. Course Members also enjoyed the two crisis management exercises, which took place during the last few weeks of the NRCC. Finally, the NRCC Interreligious Panel was singled out as an exceptionally valuable learning experience, contributing greatly to the acknowledgment and promotion of shared values.
All at the MEF have greatly appreciated the Course Members’ hard work throughout their ten weeks at the College. NRCC 13 is scheduled to begin in the spring.