SC 138 – Graduation Day
On 16 July 2021, Senior Course 138 (SC 138) formally marked the end of its Course at the NATO Defense College with the Graduation Ceremony. The Graduation Address was delivered remotely by GEN (Ret.) Curtis “Mike” Scaparrotti, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander of United States European Command.
Ambassadors to Rome, Defence Attachés and distinguished guests were officially welcomed at the NATO Defense College upon their arrival. NDC Commandant, LGEN Olivier Rittimann, opened the ceremony by addressing Course Members by stating “your Course was very special and began in very particular conditions due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Yet you have shown motivation, engagement, adaptability and, most importantly, incredible resilience and personal discipline throughout the Course program.” He highlighted the “competencies and skills that the course has provided you. They will better equip you in managing diversity in a multinational environment, with better cultural awareness and an enhanced ability to communicate and negotiate.” GEN (Ret.) Curtis Scaparrotti, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander of United States European Command then delivered the Graduation Address. He spoke at length about teamwork, inclusivity and respect as the keys to success. GEN Scaparrotti also stated that “because of the current security environment, our collective resources and our trust in the Alliance are important in order to succeed.” Perhaps most importantly, he provided parting advice for the graduates as they transition into roles senior leaders. His characteristic wisdom and sage guidance were very well-received and the highlight of the graduation ceremony.
Following this, Course President, COL Laurence Venat, and Course Vice-President, Mr Peter Nielsen, took the floor to give a joint Farewell Speech. They emphasized “the capability to adapt despite the COVID period we have been through.” They also thanked Course Members and the NDC Staff for making SC 138 possible. NDC Dean, Dr Stephen J. Mariano, then announced the names of those who wrote Individual Papers that were deemed worthy of publication. The winners stood up to a round of applause. As the ceremony drew to a close, the much-coveted winner of the Eisenhower Prize was for best Committee Study Project was announced, and went to Committee 7. The Graduation Ceremony, which could be followed live via the NDC’s Social Media channels, concluded with the Conferment of Diplomas to the 64 Course Members representing 26 different nations.