Kick-off of Field Study 1 for NRCC 29. First stop: Cairo
On 12 March 2023, NRCC 29 travelled to Cairo, Egypt as the first destination on their Field Study trip. Course Members gained a deeper perspective on Egypt’s vision regarding security and foreign policy. Moreover, they were given the opportunity to network with Egyptian NDC alumni and Defence Attachés in a gathering hosted by Greece’s Ambassador to Egypt.
The visit in Cairo started with a scenic view over the Nile as the NATO Defense College (NDC) delegation, led by Brigadier General René Leitgen, Director of the NDC Academic Plans, Policy & Engagement Division, attended a hosted dinner on the Naval Fleet Club’s Flandara ship.
On the following day, the delegation visited the Nasser Higher Military Academy. Upon arrival, Brigadier General Leitgen had an Office Call with Major General Ashraf Mohamed Fares, Commandant of the Nasser Higher Military Academy, while the rest of the delegation attended a hosted reception. Afterwards, the whole group was shown an introductory documentary about the main activities and history of the Nasser Higher Military Academy.
Major General Ashraf Fares delivered his opening remarks, introducing Egypt’s strategic security vision as well as the country’s major internal security challenges. He stressed his support for broadening the scope of cooperation between NATO and Egypt, and highlighted the important role performed by NATO in contributing to an “unprecedent level of stability” in Western Europe and North Africa, through communication and cooperation with international partners.
The first series of presentations started with a briefing by Major General Samir Mohamed Badawi on the Egyptian vision on foreign policy and guidance. Then, Dr Rana Mohamed talked about the Egyptian outlook on the strategic balance in the region and General Samir concluded with a briefing on Egypt’s contributions to maritime security in the Red Sea. The presentations were followed by a Q&A session.
The second part of the briefings was delivered by General Osama Ibrahim Mohamed Youssef, focusing on the efforts of the Egyptian Armed Forces in the field of combating terrorism, smuggling, weapons trafficking and illegal immigration. The briefing was followed by a comprehensive Q&A session. The visit at the Nasser Higher Military Academy concluded with closing remarks and words of appreciation by Brigadier General Leitgen, followed by an exchange of gifts between both institutions and the signature of the Academy’s Guest Book by Brigadier General Leitgen.
In the evening, the Ambassador of Greece in Cairo, H.E. Mr Nikolaos Papageorgiou, hosted a meeting at the Embassy Residence with the NDC delegation, Egyptian NDC alumni and Defence Attachés of Allied countries. Mr Sherif Nada, from the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and an NDC Ancien himself, highlighted the importance of this event as a “very valuable opportunity to network and get to know each other”.
The Ambassador delivered a speech in which he stressed how pleased he and his team were to see Greece assume the role of NATO Contact Point Embassy in Egypt and affirmed his commitment to “convey NATO’s voice to their host (Egypt) and the Egyptian voice to NATO”.
The main objective of Field Study trips is not only to get first-hand knowledge and perspectives from the visited countries on security and defence issues, but also to gain a deeper understanding of those countries’ culture and history. Therefore, on 14 March, the day before their departure from Cairo, the NDC delegation visited the Giza Pyramids and the Sphynx, as well as the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.