Graduation of the Senior Staff and Colonels Courses 2002


On June 21 BDCOL celebrated the graduation of 39 students from Senior Staff Course and 6 students from the Colonels Course.

The main graduation speech was given by H.E. Mr Lennart Meri, Former President of the Republic of Estonia. We give you welcome remarks by the Commandant of the Baltic Defence College Brig Gen Michael Hesselholt Clemmesen as spoken on the graduation ceremony.

BG Michael H. Clemmesen
Welcome Address at the 21 June 2002 Graduation of the 3rd Senior Staff Course and 1st Colonels Course

As a first remark I want to express the deep gratitude of the College to Estonia that has built our new education area and to the supporting states that have assisted in equipping it. Please use the occasion to get a guided tour, assisted by one of the graduates.

This school year has seen the next phase in the development of the College: The 1st Civil Service Course graduated in November last year, and today the 1st Colonels Course graduates together with the 3rd Senior Staff Course, the best so far.

Thanks to the hard work of the College staff, we were also able to

  • arrange two "brain-storming" seminars together with the MFAs and MoDs of the three states, the first about the regional effects of 11th September, the other about the Baltic states and the CFE Treaty and
  • host two war-gaming seminars for the Estonian General Staff and one for the central staffs of all three states.

It is with deep satisfaction that we have seen the work and development of the three BiH students, now graduates, and I want to thank Switzerland for the sponsorship of this very important sub-project, with 6 students in the next class.

Thanks to the efforts of the staff, we have just ended the first school year in Tartu International School, an institution that will be a major element not only in the development of the College, but of Tartu as a whole.

The first steps in the difficult process of Baltification have been accomplished:

  • The Baltic taking-over of the College budget has started without any problems.
  • The planned development in the management field is proceeding: the follow-on MoU is far in development, and Lithuania has designated a very qualified successor Commandant.
  • The directing staff Baltification has started: the first graduates are working here, and the states have agreed to second the academics necessary to build-up the College "Institute for Defence Studies", a key tool in the later taking over of the academic teaching.

During the very successful, well-hosted, study tour to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary in June, the College had the chance to measure our standard against other similar education institutions. This underlined that we are on the right way, a good deal ahead.

All the extra activities and students have led to extra work and challenges for the College Support Staff. All have responded magnificently. I feel privileged to work with this group, now a proven team.

Michael H. Clemmesen
Brigadier General


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