Workshop on Recognition and Accreditation of Military Colleges and Development of War Studies in the Baltics

Workshop on Recognition and Accreditation of Military Colleges and Development of War Studies in the Baltics took place at the BALTDEFCOL on 20 -21 February 2006. One of the main goals of the workshop was to explore various ways for the College to become an integral part of the civilian education network in the Baltic States in order to facilitate academic education of officers. Another goal was to promote war studies culture in the region as one of the prerequisites for the future success of the BALTDEFCOL. The participants included representatives of the universities of Tartu, Vilnius and Latvia, the Estonian National Defence College, the Lithuanian Military Academy, the Royal Danish Defence College, the Swedish National Defence College, the UK Joint Services Command and Staff College, the Canadian Defence Academy and NATO Defence College.

The workshop was opened and the goals of the workshop were presented by the Dean of the Baltic Defence College Professor Tomas Jermalavičius. The Commandant of the Baltic Defence College Brigadier General Algis Vaičeliūnas has introduced current course developments in the College.

The first session, which convened on 20 February, was devoted to the recognition and accreditation of military colleges, which was discussed in the context of future enhanced cooperation between military and civilian higher education institutions. The discussions revealed that all the countries are facing similar problems in this field. Professor Gediminas Vitkus, Head of the Political Science Department of the Lithuanian Military Academy and Mr. Frederic Labarre of NATO Defence College presented two possible solutions to the problem of recognition. Prof. Vitkus introduced a new Master’s in Military Diplomacy programme, to be launched at the Lithuanian Military Academy from Autumn 2006, and the integration of academic modules of the BALTDEFCOL Joint Command and General Staff course as a possible model for cooperation with the Baltic Defence College.

The peak of the first day was the signing of a Memorandum of Intent between the Baltic Defence College, represented by Professor Tomas Jermalavicius, and the Lithuanian Military Academy, represented by Professor Gediminas Vitkus. This memorandum envisages steps to be taken towards further cooperation between the two institutions, particularly encouraging the officers to pursue post-graduate academic degrees.

The main part of the second session (21 February) was devoted to a discussion on the development of war studies in the Baltic States. The session started with presentations of experiences of Professor Berndt Brehmer and Professor Nils Marius Rekkedal from the Swedish National Defence College, Professor Ole Kværnø from the Royal Danish Defence College, Dr. Tim Bird from the UK Joint Services Command and Staff College and Dr. Doug Green from the Canadian Defence Academy.

Professor Ausra Raulickyte from the Institute of International Relations and Political Science of the University of Vilnius introduced plans of establishing a Master’s in War Studies programme at the University of Vilnius. The participants of the workshop recognized the lack of war studies expertise in the region and necessity to develop it. Moreover they expressed their commitment to support future developments of war studies in the Baltic countries, in close cooperation with the Institute of International Relations and Political Science of the University of Vilnius.

The session was concluded by Professor Jurate Novagrockiene, Director of the Centre of Strategic Studies, the joint think-tank of the Lithuanian Military Academy and the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University, who delivered a presentation on the research aims and achievements of the Centre of Strategic Studies.

The main conclusion of the discussions and presentations of the second session was that the content of war studies as a multi-disciplinary field has changed due to the new threats in the international environment and requires a flexible curriculum, incorporating more subjects, such as post-conflict reconstruction, peacebuilding and sustainable development.



Prepared by Ditte Henriksen and Riho Kangur

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