Joint Graduation Ceremony of the Higher Command Studies Course and Joint Command and General Staff Course

On 17th June, the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL) held the Joint Graduation Ceremony of the Higher Command Studies Course (HCSC) 2021 and the Joint Command and General Staff Course (JCGSC) 2020/2021. 

This year 19 students from HCSC and 62 students of JCGSC altogether representing 12 nations – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Montenegro, Moldova, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine and the US - received their diplomas.

The Commandant Brigadier General Ilmar Tamm opened the Ceremony with his opening remarks. He said that the demanding and challenging year has been heavily dictated by the uncertainty and tensions due to the pandemic but should not be remembered because of the COVID-19 situation. “It should be remembered of the things what you were able to accomplish despite it”, he continued. General also stressed that BALTDEFCOL will uphold the highest level of quality in education and will take seriously the feedback, which was given by the students. He was certain that many Lessons Identified would become implemented after the analysis as Lessons Learned. Finally, the Commandant encouraged students to face new challenges with gained confidence and knowledge. “Still, when you are expected to tackle a problem, unknown or at first glance, an easy one, remember to apply critical thinking and always ask fair questions, so what and what if”, he said. 

The Commandant speech was followed by the remarks of Deputy Prime Minister / Minister for Defence of Latvia, Dr Artis Pabriks. Minister recognized the BALTDEFCOL as an example of good cooperation between EU and NATO partners. Like the Commandant, he also mentioned the difficulties and challenges we are facing related to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he equated the current situation and military conflicts. It helps us to be capable of improvising and changes the tactics if needed. “BALTDEFCOL will give you the capability, assist you to combine knowledge and create something new”, he continued and added, “It is not important to have a diploma, it is important to have a brain and knowledge and know, how to use these”. 

As a tradition, the best students of BALTDEFCOL courses were recognised for their outstanding performance during the graduation ceremony. 


Best Student Award – Colonel Kaspars Pudāns (LVA)
Academic Writing Award – Lieutenant Colonel Janno Märk (EST)
Class Leader Recognition - Colonel Kaspars Pudāns (LVA)

Commandant’s Award – Major Darius Žūkas (LTU)
Joint Operations Award - Major Riho Juurik (EST)
Academic Writing Award – Major Mindaugas Rekašius (LTU)
Class Leader Recognition - Major Darius Žūkas (LTU)

The Course Leader Colonel Kaspars Pudāns delivered the graduation speech on behalf of the HCSC 2021. Colonel Pudāns stressed that all the students of the course should be proud of themselves, as “we were selected for the course”, he said. He expressed conviction that all students of HCSC are filled with accomplishments and feel that they are ready to be strategic leaders. 

During his speech, Col Pudāns recognised Dr Jörg Muth as a Best Faculty Member by HCSC 2021. Congratulations! 

In addition to the previous speech, Major Darius Žūkas, the Class Leader of JCGSC delivered the graduation speech on behalf of JCGSC 2020/2021. He highlighted that their journey there at the College has been challenging and demanding but still interesting. According to the Class Leader, the Course was cohesive and no one was left behind, as it was a common effort. 

During his speech, Maj Žūkas recognised LTC Darius Bernotas as a Best Faculty Member by JCGSC 2020/2021. Congratulations! 

The programme was concluded with the reception for all invited guests, staff and faculty members and students together with their families. 

We send our warmest congratulations to all the graduates! We hope you will continue the road of self-development, and we wish you all the best in your future endeavours! 



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