Director's Graduation Speech

Boa dia e Bem-vindos. 

Buenos dias y Bienvenidos. 

Bonjour et Bienvenue. 

Good morning.

It is my distinct honor to welcome everyone to the Inter-American Defense College graduation ceremony.  On behalf of our Vice Director, General Ivan Rosas and our Chief of Studies, Admiral Francisco Yábar, I thank each of you for joining us today. 

Each of you in various ways is a participant in our program.  Your relationship with us is important to our work and we are pleased to say, that, your College is, and continues to be, a center of excellence for defense and security education in the Hemisphere. 

To the Permanent Representatives of the Organization of American States, thank you for your encouragement and sponsorship of the College mission.  We are committed to maintaining the highest educational standard, and with your support, we deliver a world class program that prepares our graduates for leadership positions in a complex and dynamic environment.  We listen with interest to your dialogue and your support is key to achieving our objectives.

We are especially appreciative of our relationship with the Committee on Hemispheric Security and the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security, in developing joint seminars. These provide our students an opportunity to witness first-hand the diplomatic and political decision making process and give currency and relevancy to our work.

To the Chiefs of Delegation, thank you for enabling the College to become the nexus for defense and security education.  Your nations have entrusted us with a premier group of professional students and we are pleased to report that we have accelerated their thinking and that they possess strong capacity for future greatness.

    To our academic colleagues…the College seeks to deliver an extensive and broad-based education.  We are able to do so through the special relationships we have developed with both local and international educational institutions.  Our students benefit greatly from courses of instruction coordinated with American University, our long standing friend and critical partner.  Similarly, our relationship with the National Defense University provides an exchange of shared electives for both of our student bodies.  Thank you also to the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies for contributing to our understanding of national strategy and defense policy development.  Working together and through our seminar program, we have all benefited from outside participants and guest lecturers. 

We have also recently partnered with the Academia Nacional de Estudios Politicos y Estrategicos (ANEPE) who have examined our students and conferred upon several of them a Masters Degree in Hemispheric Defense and Security based solely on the curriculum of the IADC.

    To the family and friends of our graduating class, I am indeed grateful for the support you have provided during this past year.  You are the foundation of strength that our graduates depend upon each day.  Your presence is a reminder that service is also shared by our families, and we thank you for your love and support during this past year.

Lastly, to the members of Class 51, La Clase Sin Fronteras, I want to thank you.  You have dedicated a year of your life to examining the factors that determine the strength and security of our Hemisphere.  To do so, most of you had to move your family far away from home and to a new country.  You left behind positions of great importance to your nations and immersed yourselves in a challenging, multi-lingual, academic environment that refined your perception of the world within which we live.  During this year you have developed strong new relationships that will become a basis for life-long collaboration.  You have worked diligently to prepare yourselves for greater roles in the defense and security arena.  As you go forward, know that you too have strengthened the College and we are better prepared to receive the future leaders of this Hemisphere because of our experience with you.

This year celebrates fifty years since the founding of the College in 1962.  The geopolitical environment has changed greatly since that time, with new concepts of global markets and non-state actors.  Over time, the College has made adjustments to our curriculum to address these issues.  Unchanged, however, is our ongoing pursuit of academic excellence and my advice to you today is simply this: continue growing; continue your life-long journey of studying and learning, because you must keep pace with change in this ever changing world.  We depend upon your ability to lead, adapt and solve the challenges ahead.  I know you are ready and I salute you for what you will do for all of us in years ahead.

Now to my real purpose which is introducing our keynote speaker.  We are honored by the presence of Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of the American States.  Secretary General Insulza has extensive experience in government, serving at the highest levels of responsibility.  He has been the Minister of the Interior and Vice President of the Republic of Chile.  Indeed, Secretary General Insulza has the longest continuous tenure as a minister in the Chilean government, with over a decade of service.

He is a stalwart proponent for strengthening democratic institutions throughout the hemisphere and is a key supporter of the College’s role in addressing defense and security challenges.

Secretary General Insulza, we are grateful for your presence today.  It is my honor to present to you these candidates for graduation who will soon return to their countries, ready to assume higher positions of responsibility in service to their nations.  I commend them to you as leaders who possess a clear understanding of the issues of critical importance to their citizens and to the OAS.

Ladies and gentlemen, our distinguished keynote speaker for the 51st graduating class of the Inter-American Defense College, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza.