NATO Defense College hosts the 67th Anciens’ Annual Conference and Seminar with a virtual address by keynote speaker NATO Deputy Secretary General, Dr Mircea Dan Geoană
The Anciens’ Annual Conference and Seminar was held on Friday 16 October at the NATO Defense College. The Association made up of the alumni of the Senior Course, NDC’s flagship course, and celebrates its 67th edition – a tradition sustained since 1954. This year's theme, "What kind of NATO do we need in a post-Covid World?" focused on the strategic consequences of COVID-19 for the Alliance.
The Commandant of the NDC, Lieutenant General Olivier Rittimann, welcomed the audience members who were present and physically distanced in the auditorium, in compliance with national measures, as well as the Anciens participating remotely.
“Such a crisis and its outcome have been the subject of many discussions and reflections, and the implications have extensive consequences. It has added to the constraints that already apparent in the NATO-Transformation process,” said LGEN Rittimann during his welcome address. He then continued, “An academic institution like the NATO Defense College is very well placed to address these types of complex issues”. During his speech, he highlighted the importance of events like the Seminar which serve to “preserve and renew the bonds and friendships forged during Courses at the College”.
The Keynote Speaker and guest of the Seminar, NATO’s Deputy Secretary General Mr Mircea Geoană then delivered his remarks from Brussels on the role of NATO in a changing world. “On my own behalf and that of Secretary General Stoltenberg, I would like to thank the College for its lasting contribution to our Alliance. The Faculty, its leaders and of course everyone attending the wonderful courses at the NATO Defence College deserve our thanks. And I also want to thank all of you, and your nations, for appreciating what the NATO Defense College has to offer, what it teaches, what you learn and what you experience, including the interpersonal network of relationships. The College enjoys a stellar reputation – both in the eyes of NATO and the world at large. Many of the Alliance’s military and political leaders have been educated and trained at the NDC. That includes many of you, members of the Anciens.”
The panel, which was moderated by Dr Thierry Tardy, Director of Research at the NDC, was made up of Dr Thomas Mahnken, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, who took part virtually from Washington, and Dr Mark Webber, Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham, who was at the College, together with the Commandant of the NDC. They provided extensive and unique insights on the Alliance’s adaptability during the outbreak of the pandemic. LGEN Rittimann was on the frontline operations as VCOS at SHAPE Headquarters, and also led NATO’s COVID-19 Task Force.
The Dean of the College, Dr Stephen Mariano delivered the concluding remarks. The event was streamed online through NDC social media, without broadcasting of Q&A sessions which were held under the Chatham House rule.