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Generals, Flag Officers and Ambassadors' Course for Partners, GFOAC-P (former SERC)

  • 01 Feb. 2022
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  • Last updated: 01 Feb. 2022 00:00

Generals, Flag Officers and Ambassadors' Course for Partners (GFOAC-P)

GFOAC-P 2022 group photo

The current 10-week course dedicated to NATO member states and their partners in the Mediterranean and the Gulf (NATO Regional Cooperation Course - NRCC) has proved highly successful. It allows representatives of the countries and organizations in the region* to meet regularly with their counterparts from NATO countries and to enjoy a unique dialogue in a spirit of complete academic freedom. Based on this experience, and mirroring that of the twice-yearly GFOAC (Generals, Flag Officers and Ambassadors ' Course), the Generals, Flag Officers and Ambassadors' Course for Partners, GFOAC-P (formerly known as Senior Executive Regional Conference ,SERC) was launched in September 2012. This one-week Course is addressed to high-level military and civilian officials from NATO and its partner countries across the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region.

The aim of this intensive week of study is to:

  • promote mutual understanding on issues related to the regions concerned, allowing a select group of senior individuals to meet in an open framework;
  • provide a high-level forum for exchange of views on strategic matters involving the Alliance and these regions;
  • contribute to enhancing knowledge of the Alliance and its role at the service of common security.

To date, the GFOAC-P has been attended by decision-makers, leaders and influential thinkers, representing the Alliance, its Southern and Regional partnerships (MD and ICI), and other participants among the Alliance’s Global Partners (Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia).

Experts and prominent speakers address a different topic on each day of the program, covering the major geopolitical changes that are affecting NATO and its partners. Some of the main topics discussed in the GFOAC-P have so far included:

  • NATO’s Projecting Stability agenda towards the MENA region;
  • the Syrian crisis and its regional ramifications;
  • NATO and the Gulf Security,
  • The fight against terrorism and de-radicalization;
  • The Crisis in Libya and its regional implications,

Following the presentations by invited experts, discussion among participants, guest speakers and mentors continues over lunch. This tried and tested formula contributes towards further enhancing the range of useful perspectives on the topics under discussion.

Prominent personalities who have spoken to the GFOAC-P include some of the highest NATO military authorities and Ministers from Partners Countries.

NDC Commandant, Lieutenant General Olivier Rittimann (FRA A), as his predecessors, dwells on the importance of the Course as a major contribution to the College’s cooperation with the Alliance’s partner countries in the Mediterranean and Gulf region. The GFOAC-P offers a forum in the true sense of the term, fostering multilateral perspectives and a lively exchange of ideas on current topics of lasting importance, in a true spirit of academic freedom based on the Chatham House Rule.

The General, Flag Officers and Ambassadors' Course for Partners (former Senior Executive Regional Conference) took place from Monday 6 to Friday 10 June 2022.

* The seven Mediterranean Dialogue members (Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel and Jordan); the four Istanbul Cooperation Initiative members (Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE); participants on a regular basis from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Oman and Pakistan. This very broad panel is further complemented by the participation of representatives from regional organizations like the Arab League.