Conference of Commandants – 35 Edition, Lucerne (Switzerland )
The 35th Conference of Commandants, organised by the NATO Defence College, was held in Lucerne, Switzerland from 24 to 25 April 2006, under the chairmanship of the NDC Commandant, Lieutenant General Marc Vankeirsbilck. The conference, hosted by the Höhere Kaderausbildung der Armee (Swiss Armed Forces College), was attended by 91 participants, 48 of whom were Commandants or Delegated Officers representing 35 nations of NATO, the PfP (Austria, Belarus, Croatia, Finland*, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Uzbekistan), the Med. Dialogue (Egypt, Mauritania, Tunisia) and Saudi Arabia.
The theme of the conference, "Education to Shape the Global Environment", served as the thread to discuss issues related to the challenges faced by security and defence education institutions to ensure their students or course members leave with the right intellectual baggage to meet tomorrow’s environment. Our two keynote speakers complemented each other perfectly where Brigadier General Umberto Rossi, just returning from Afghanistan as Coordinator of "Area West" in Herat, covered the "Required and Desired Characteristics of Officers Who Participate in Multinational Operation" and Swiss Professor Dr. Andreas Wenger offered his views on "Professional Military Education: a Civilian Perspective" to describe how our education system can shape itself to meet the challenges that our officers face on deployment. They enunciated the obligations and the role of the military leadership in the non traditional military tasks and crisis management which are translated into a more focused teaching philosophy.
All in all, a most fruitful conference marked by very interesting debates touching various education issues that affect our institutions.