Latvian National Defence Academy and BALTDEFCOL partnership— First MA degree awarded

On March 18 at the Latvian National Defence Academy Baltic Defence College faculty member LTC Albertas Kondrotas of the Lithuanian Army received his MA diploma from the President of the Republic of Latvia, Valdis Zatlers, in a ceremony at the Latvian National Defence Academy. This is the first MA degree awarded by the Latvian National Defence Academy in the MA in Military Leadership and Security program created in 2009.

Working in cooperation with the Baltic Defence College the Latvian National Defence Academy (LNDA) created a MA in Military Leadership and Security Studies program that is based on the Baltic Defence College Joint Course as the core curriculum. The program is open to Baltic Defence College graduates, students and faculty. Officers who complete the year –long Baltic Defence College Joint Staff Course have to take additional graduate seminars taught through the Latvian National Defence Academy and complete a research thesis and pass a final examination. The MA program is based on highly successful programs in the UK and Canada where the staff colleges have partnered with higher education institutions to create graduate programs. In October 2010 the program received full accreditation under the Latvian Education Ministry. The accreditation was the highest level that Latvia can give. The accreditation means that the MA degrees awarded in the program are recognized in the EU and internationally.

Currently more than 30 BALTDEFCOL graduates and current students are enrolled in the MA program and the program is popular with the students. Another BALTDEFCOL graduate, MAJ Stig Nilsen of the Norwegian Armed Forces, also completed his MA degree and several more will be completing this summer.

The successful establishment of this higher education program ensures that Baltic Defence College students and faculty now have the same opportunities to obtain a higher graduate degree that students and faculty in the Western European and North American military staff colleges have. The partnership between institutions to expand and improve the quality of officer education is part of a continuing process to ensure that the armed forces of the Baltic States can meet the best standards of their NATO and EU allies.


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