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Graduation Ceremony of the Higher Command Studies Course 2012 and Change of Command of the Baltic Defence College

On 19 December the Graduation of the Higher Command Studies Course (HCSC) and Change of Command Ceremony was held in the Baltic Defence College. The HCSC 2012 was graduated by 14 students representing Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Japan, Georgia, Moldova, Slovenia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. During the same ceremony, Brigadier General Meelis Kiili (EST A) handed command of the college over to Major General Vitalijus Vaikšnoras (LTU A).

HCSC 2012 was a 5-month course starting in August this year. The course has been developed to provide a broad understanding of the leadership and management of defence transformation programmes, both in national structures, and in NATO and the EU. A total of 97 students, representing 26 states, have graduated from the course. Many graduates have since received important and demanding postings in their home countries or international organisations.

Brigadier General Meelis Kiili addressed the students of the HCSC 2012 with a graduation speech. Traditional student’s speech was conducted by Wing Commander Philip James Wadlow. At the ceremony, the Command of the College was officially handed over to the Major General Vitalijus Vaikšnoras by receiving the Colours of the College from the leaving Commandant Brigadier General Meelis Kiili. Major General Vitalijus Vaikšnoras had also Commandant’s Initiation speech.

Graduated Students and Commandants were addressed by speeches by the Minister of Defence of Estonia Mr Urmas Reinsalu, Parlamentary Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Defence Mr Veiko Spolitis and Commander of the Lithuanian Land Forces Major General Almandas Leika. Also, the first Commandant of the BALTDEFCOL, Brigadier General (ret) Michael H. Clemmesen passed his congratulations and best wishes to the college and to all counterparts on the historic moment in the history of the Baltic Defence College - on the Change of the College Command.

Official Ceremony was followed by Commandant’s reception in the History Museum of Tartu University.

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