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Inter-American Defense College hosts Colombian Police Academy Students

  September 14, 2007

For the first time in its history, the Inter-American Defense College (IADC) integrated a group of visiting students from another defense college into one of its core modules.

Thirty-five students from the Colombian National Police School of Higher Learning, pursuing a specialization in security, listened in on lectures, asked questions and participated in group discussions, during the IADC’s Fundamentals of Defense and Security module Sept. 10-14. Deputy Chief of Studies Paul Damren said this particular module included a general overview of the fundamental concepts of security and defense in the region and was a good fit for the visiting delegation.

“A Colombian National Police official who graduated from last year’s (IADC) class suggested to his superiors that the group attend the IADC module as part of their preparatory studies required for promotion,” said Col. Paul Damren, Deputy Chief of Studies at IADC. The group, which arrived in the United States on Sept. 1, has already visited New York, Boston and Toronto, Canada, as part of their 2-week academic trip, and will fly back to Bogotá from Miami.

“We get the opportunity to familiarize ourselves not only with the operations of the IADC, but also to identify the changes on a doctrinal, structural and operational level that have arisen in hemispheric and defense security systems,” explained Maj. Juan Carlos Buetrago-Arias, one of the visiting students.

“Not only are they providing information that helps us to understand the current strategic situation of other countries but also the current political, economic and social realities, and future perspectives, of our neighbors. One important aspect of the job of the police, as community servants, is that we now have to adapt in order to address the political, economic and social aspects that characterize each country’s security.”

Maj. María Mercedes Cabra Dussán said that she has benefited both personally and professionally from her visit to the College.

“I’ve been able to meet people of different cultures who are dealing with the same problems, but have identified new ways to address them. Coming here has given me better resources and new outlooks. Nobody ever gives you the answers to questions you do not ask. Coming here has taught me more about investigating and researching issues that affect us all. I have more tools to ask the proper questions and provide a higher quality output on the job.”

“Visits like this benefit our students because it opens the door to new perspectives,” added Damren. “It’s always beneficial whenever we have outside participation and can benefit from viewpoints from other areas of the hemisphere. We are always searching for new ways, like our distance-learning program, to share information with persons who may not be able to participate in the entire year-long course at the college.”

Damren said within the next two weeks the college will host another group of students, this time from the Dominican Republic.

The IADC, 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. Former IADC students include two presidents, 31 ministers, 539 generals or admirals and 11 other high-ranking officials.

Reference: IDC-05-07