On 17th December 2013, the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL) graduated the students of the Higher Command Studies Course 2013 (HCSC 2013). The Graduation Ceremony was held in Tartu University History Museum and was honoured by presence of the representatives from the Baltic States and honourable guests from allied and partner countries.
Graduation speeches were delivered by the Commandant of BALTDEFCOL Major General Vitalijus Vaikšnoras, and by the highest representatives of the Baltic States present at the ceremony Undersecretary for Defence Planning of Estonian Ministry of Defence Mr. Margus Pae, Parliamentary Secretary of Latvian Ministry of Defence Mr. Veiko Spolītis, and Vice-Minister of Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence Mr. Marijus Velička.
The ceremony was opened by Major General Vitalijus Vaikšnoras who in his speech quoted well-known expression of Mr Albert Einstein: 'Education is not received it is achieved', so emphasising importance of independent study were the college is providing appropriate environment and conditions, but every student effectively contributed to the education process.
Graduates of the HCSC must be prepared to face future assignments in a rapidly and continually changing geopolitical environment. He also mentioned that BALTDEFCOL is providing its graduates with an excellent opportunity to build close networks with counterparts from different countries, as well as with those from the same national agencies.
The HCSC was attended by fifteen officers and civil servants from nine different nations. The Graduation Ceremony of the HCSC was followed by ceremonial handover of Diplomas and Graduation badges, and student speech given by the Class Leader Colonel Franz Wanka (Austrian Army).
Two student of the HCSC 2013 received special awards. Lieutenant Colonel Devis Martusevičius (Lithuanian Air Force) won the Best Student Award for outstanding academic achievements, exceptional leadership and comradeship. Mr. Peeter Kuimet (EST MOD) won the Academic Writing Award for the best Individual Research Paper: Preparing the Army for the Next War: DePuy and the US Army Post-Vietnam.
Best students with Course Director Col. Igors Rajevs (in the centre)
The programme of the Graduation Ceremony was followed by a reception where graduates, honoured guests and the college staff could engage in informal conversations and discussions.
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