Graduation Ceremony of the HCSC 2016 and JCGSC 2015/2016

Graduation Ceremony of the HCSC 2016 and JCGSC 2015/2016

On 16th June 2016, the Graduation Ceremony for students of Higher Command Studies Course 2016 (HCSC) and Joint Command and General Staff Course 2015/2016 (JCGSC) took place at the Baltic Defence College.

The main speakers at this year’s graduation event, besides Major General Vitalijus Vaikšnoras, the Commandant of the Baltic Defence College, were Mr Juozas Olekas, Lithuanian Minister of National Defence, Lieutenant General Riho Terras, Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces and Lieutenant General Raimonds Graube, Commander of the Latvian National Defence Forces. In addition to the representatives of the three Baltic States, the Graduation Ceremony was honoured with the presence of many distinguished guests from allied and partner nations, as well as family members and relatives of students.

During the graduation ceremony, certificates were awarded altogether to 70 officers and civil servants from 18 countries, both from Baltic States and our allied and partner nations. This academic year 17 students from the HCSC and 53 students from JCGSC graduated. The graduates were granted diplomas to mark the successful completion of their studies at the Baltic Defence College. During the ceremony individual students were also recognized for their outstanding overall academic performance. For the HCSC, Mr Karolis Aleksa (LTU) received the Best Student Award and LTC Armin Wagner (DEU) was awarded with the Academic Writing Award. For the JCGSC, the most outstanding student was MAJ Indrek Sarap (EST) who received both the Joint Operations Award and the Best Coursemate Award. MAJ Linas Idzelis (LTU) was awarded with Class Leader Recognition and MAJ Priit Heinloo (EST) received the Academic Writing Award.

A musical interlude by the Military Orchestra of the Estonian Defence Forces was followed by the recognition ceremony, where the Commandant awarded Ms Maija Strazdina (LVA), Ms Inga Zilaityte (LTU) and Ms Liivi Turk (EST) with the Medal of Merit Silver. These three ladies serve as the desk officers for the Baltic Defence College in the Ministries of the three Baltic States and therefore play a vital role in BALTDEFCOL’s everyday work.

Baltic Defence College has a tradition to recognize individuals for their outstanding contribution to the development of the college. During the graduation ceremony Professor Andres Kasekamp, Professor of Baltic Politics in the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies and Deputy Director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute, was awarded with the Honorary Fellows Award. Mr Tomas Jermalavičius, Research Fellow/Head of Studies of the International Centre for Defence and Security and Professor Žaneta Ozoliņa, Professor in the Department of Political Science in University of Latvia, received the award by distance.

“Special thanks go to the families of our staff and students for their great support throughout the year,” said the Commandant in his address. To demonstrate this appreciation, the members of Baltgirls were also acknowledged for their significant contributions and commitment to common goals.


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