Joint Graduation of Higher Command Studies Course 2022 and Joint Command and General Staff Course 2021/2022


On 16th June, the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL) celebrated the end of Academic Year 2021/2022 with the Graduation Ceremony. 
The ceremonial event was honoured by the attendance of Mr Žilvinas Tomkus, Vice Minister of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania, Brigadier General Enno Mõts, Chief of Staff of Estonian Defence Forces Headquarters and Lieutenant General (ret) Raimonds Graube, Military Advisor to the Minister of Defence as well as Ambassadors, Defence Attachés, heads of partner Professional Military Education institutions and other high-level officials.

The graduation ceremony was inaugurated by the speech of Brigadier General Ilmar Tamm, the BALTDEFCOL Commandant, who discussed Russia’s war against Ukraine during his speech. He stressed that it has affected the College not only academically but also personally. Six Ukrainian students returned to their homeland to defend it. Commandant also thanked all BALTDEFCOL family members for their contribution via multiple donations and other activities offering help to Ukrainian students’ family members. 
He continued to recognize the combined effort of the College faculty and students to achieve the desired quality of education. He finished by wishing determination and good luck to all students in their endeavours. 

The Commandant's speech was followed by the speeches delivered by representatives of the College Framework Nations, Mr. Tomkus, BG Mõts and LTG (ret) Graube. All high-level guests drew attention to the events in Ukraine and stressed the impact on regional security and the military personnel. LTG Graube (ret) said: “The peace is fragile. It is not a promised destination; it is a more never-ending way. The way in which we must make the right choices, decisions, maintain high morale.” He continued, “And in this way cooperation of allies and partners is utmost important.” He linked the quote with the essence of the College mission stating that students’ greatest benefit is learning from each other. As BALTDEFCOL brings together different nationalities, different views, and individual approaches, LTG Graube recommended to the students to preserve friendship and stay united across the borders. 
The Baltic states' representatives recognized the College for its consistently good work and congratulated the students on passing this important milestone. 

This year, 23 students of the Higher Command Studies Course (HCSC) and 63 students of the Joint Command and General Staff Course (JCGSC), altogether 86 students from 20 nations received their diplomas. 
During the ceremony individual students were also recognised for their outstanding overall academic performance:

HCSC
Best Student Award – CDR Michael Raimund Sichler (DEU)
Academic Writing Award – LTC Darius Meilūnas (LTU)
Class Leader Recognition - COL Viesturs Masulis (LVA)

JCGSC 
Commandant’s Award – MAJ Deividas Jasinevičius (LTU)
Joint Operations Award - MAJ Donatas Zakarka (LTU)
Academic Writing Award – MAJ William Minior (USA)
Class Leader Recognition - MAJ Ēriks Keisters (LVA)

The Course Leader COL Viesturs Masulis delivered the graduation speech on behalf of the HCSC 2022. Colonel Masulis supported LTG (ret) Graube’s words by saying that all his classmates showed themselves as unique personalities with their own experiences and backgrounds, which strengthened and supplemented the course curriculum. He gave a strong recommendation to maintain and continue the communication, mutual understanding, and sense of humour. 

During his speech, he recognised Dr Lukaš Dyčka as a Best Faculty Member by HCSC 2022. Congratulations!

In addition to the previous speech, MAJ Ēriks Keisters, the Class Leader of JCGSC delivered the graduation speech on behalf of JCGSC 2021/2022. Major Keisters said that the greatest lesson during the last 11 months was given to the course by their fellow Ukrainian students. “They demonstrated that the will to fight is the single most important attribute in any military conflict. It is very connected to the achievement of military goals,” he said.

The Joint Command and General Staff Course 2021/2022 also recognized the Best Faculty Member – LTC Darius Bernotas (LTU). Congratulations! In addition, they also recognized one of the students with the Best Classmate Award – Ms Līva Bērziņa. 

Both speeches were concluded with appreciation and gratitude to all BALTDEFCOL faculty and staff members for their support and dedication.

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

Baltic Defence College family wishes good luck to all graduates of the Higher Command Studies Course 2022 and Joint Command and General Staff Course 2021/2022 in their future endeavours! Stay in touch with each other and with the College as you are the members of the BALTDEFCOL Family!

 
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