Media Center



  June 22, 2007

WASHINGTON, June 22 – Fifty-two proud members of the Inter-American Defense College’s 46th class marched across the stage Friday to receive their diplomas, at a graduation ceremony held at the Organization of American States headquarters in Washington. An impressive array of ambassadors, generals, admirals and senior level officials, many of them graduates of previous classes, attended the event, in recognition of the hard work and dedication of what was the largest class in the history of the college.
The official party included U.S. Maj. Gen. Keith Huber, Director of the IADC; José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the OAS, Ambassador Albert R. Ramdin, Assistant Secretary General of the OAS; Brazilian Lt. Gen. Jorge Armando de Almeida Ribeiro, Chairman of the IADB. Otto Perez Molina, currently a presidential candidate for Guatemala’s Sept. 9 elections, and graduate of Class 28, also had a front-row seat, as father of Class 46 graduate, Consejero Otto F. Perez.

In recognition of the diversity of a class that hailed from 16 member nations of the OAS, Huber, commended the students for being able to work together and learn from each other during their grueling academic year.

“Every day for 11 months, they’re learning by listening, they’re sharing, they’re teaching, with different perspectives, without criticism,” Huber said. “And now these leaders of today have a responsibility to take this knowledge and improve the situation in our world.”
Ramdin, in his remarks to the graduates, echoed Huber’s admonition:

“Graduates of this college, which continues to grow in prestige and results, I encourage you to be mindful that security in the Americas requires a holistic approach,” he said. “I believe that in the past, the lack of coordination between civilian and military personnel represented missed opportunities both for dialogue and information sharing. As you return to your countries I wish you the very best and encourage you to remember the important nexus between democracy, security and development.”

In addition to the IADC’s diploma in Hemispheric Defense and Security, more than 65 percent of the class (33 students) elected to pursue a Master’s degree in Hemispheric Security from IADC partner school, University of El Salvador in Argentina. Ten students received a Master’s degree in International Relations from American University in Washington, which also has academic agreements with the college. Seven students astounded the audience by earning all three diplomas.

The Inter-American Defense College, located on Fort Lesley J. McNair, is one of the foremost institutes of learning for senior-level military, police, and diplomatic officials with an interest in security and defense issues facing Latin America today. An entity of the Organization of American States, the IADC is able to offer approximately 60 students a year from member states of the OAS an unparalleled educational and research experience. Many former scholars have returned to their parent countries to become presidents, ministers or senior ranking military and diplomatic officials.

During the academic year, many students formed strong relationships with their classmates from other countries. The students and their families routinely hosted social events together, and as Capt. Jose Lemus of Guatemala said, the friends they made will be sorely missed.
“I am happy to have reached my goal,” Lemus said. “But saddened, because I have to leave my friends. But I am thankful for the opportunity, especially for my children, to have been here, and experienced the American language and culture.”

Reference: IADC-02-07