Senior Course 127: European Perspectives Field Study - Lisbon
The Senior Course 127 delegation arrived in Lisbon on Thursday for the Portugal leg of the European Perspectives Field Study. The Course Members enjoyed an informative bus tour of Lisbon sponsored by the Portuguese Ministry of Defense. The tour highlighted many of the capital city's most treasured historical sites. The delegation stopped to visit the Jeronimos Monastery, dedicated to the Order of Saint Jerome and the Padrao dos Descobrimentos, a beautiful monument on the bank of the Tagus River dedicated to the Portuguese age of discovery during the 15th and 16th centuries.
Later in the evening, the Director of the Portuguese National Defense Institute, Major General Vítor Daniel Rodrigues Viana hosted a welcome reception at the Monsanto Air Force Mess. Following a formal welcome and gift exchange, Course Members enjoyed a beautiful outdoor reception and interaction with Portuguese hosts, NDC Anciens, and former NDC faculty members.
On Friday, the delegation participated in strategic level discussions at the National Defense Institute led by select representatives from the Portuguese Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Finance, and Defense. Course Members gained an increased understanding of the main trends in Portuguese foreign policy and the relevance of Portugal as an international actor. The Deputy Director General of Foreign Policy, Dr Rita Laranjinha, shared insights regarding factors affecting the Portuguese approach to foreign policy in a constantly changing international environment. The Director General of the Office for Economic Policy and International Affairs, Dr Alvaro Matias, provided an economic outlook for Portugal that included an explanation of how Portugal responded to the economic crisis and the resulting economic model used to stabilize the Portuguese financial system.
The multi-ministerial approach to the day's strategic discussions continued with a briefing from the Chief of Cabinet of the Ministry of National Defense, General Rui Clero, and concluded with Brigadier General Erico Craveiro of the Portuguese Joint Staff providing an armed forces brief. The defense briefings described the organization, framework, and transformation of Portuguese defense forces and Portugal's commitment to NATO, UN and other multi-national requirements across the globe. The NDC delegation departed the Lisbon visit with current and relevant security and foreign policy information as a result of the candid and realistic assessment the briefers provided.