Graduation of Senior Course 137
On 29 January 2021, the NATO Defense College held the Graduation Ceremony for Senior Course 137. The awarding of the Eisenhower Prize for best Committee Project also took place during the ceremony. The Graduation Address was delivered by Lieutenant General Brice Houdet, Vice Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, who joined the ceremony online.
“Today, we are participating in our first graduation ceremony: you as Course Members, me as Commandant of the NDC,” began Lieutenant General Olivier Rittimann, Commandant of the NDC in his welcome remarks to SC 137. He highlighted the “motivation, engagement, adaptability and, most importantly, incredible resilience and personal discipline” all Course Members displayed during these recent months.
He then gave the floor to Lieutenant General Brice Houdet, Vice Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. LGEN Houdet, who is an Ancien from SC 109, talked about his previous experience at the NDC, and gave a few recommendations to Course Members from SC 137. He also spoke about how SHAPE is continuing to operate and accomplish its work, despite the pandemic, “we do everything in our power to maintain NATO operations and capabilities during this pandemic.”
Course President Colonel Laurent Fontaine (FRA, A) and Course Vice-President, Senior Lecturer Ronneaug Holmoey (NOR C) delivered a joint farewell address. They acknowledged the high level of adaptability of all their colleagues and how “Course Members coming from various horizons and backgrounds really developed our Human Quotient.”
Dr Stephen J. Mariano, Dean of the NATO Defense College, then announced the names of those who wrote the best Individual Papers from SC 137. He then revealed the winner of the Eisenhower Award for best Committee Study Project: Committee 7.
The ceremony concluded with the conferment of diplomas to the 54 Course Members, representing 22 NATO and partner nations, who now officially become part of the Anciens’ Community.
Ambassadors, Defense Attachés, Italian authorities and distinguished guests followed the ceremony via the NDC’s social media channels.