On Thursday, September 21, 2012, the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS) presented the 2012 William J. Perry Award for Excellence in Security and Defense Education to two deserving institutions, the Regional Security System (RSS) based in Barbados and the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) based at Fort Benning, Georgia. Dr. Richard Downie, Director of CHDS, presided over a gala attended by leaders of both honored organizations and stakeholders and CHDS partners from the interagency, non-governmental, and diplomatic communities.
Charged with ensuring the stability and well-being of the Eastern Caribbean, the Regional Security System comprises both military and police personnel from seven member states: Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent & the Grenadines. Speaking of the work the RSS has done to rebuild after hurricanes, combat drugs, and provide humanitarian support to non-RSS countries, Dr. Downie praised RSS personnel from “different institutional cultures, different command structures, and different countries, who work together to make the Eastern Caribbean a safer, more prosperous corner of the hemisphere.” Regional Security Coordinator Grantley Watson thanked CHDS for this honor and accepted the William J. Perry Award on behalf of the RSS.
As CHDS honored the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, Dr. Downie noted how many of WHINSEC’s 14,000 graduates from 34 countries have become effective leaders in their own organizations and capable, dependable partners in the international arena. “When you look at the most influential men and women in security and defense in our hemisphere, the list includes many WHINSEC graduates.” Dr. Downie specifically praised exceptional leadership by Colonel Glenn R. Huber, Jr., Commandant of WHINSEC, and Colonel Alberto Sepulveda, Assistant Commandant and official representative of partner nations. The CHDS Director also noted the longstanding support and counsel of WHINSEC’s Board of Visitors, ably led by Dr. Johanna Mendelson-Forman. Colonel Huber, Colonel Sepulveda, and Dr. Mendelson-Forman accepted the William J. Perry Award on behalf of the school.
In closing, Dr. Downie called special attention to CHDS’ fifteenth anniversary. He thanked the faculty, staff, friends, and partners who have supported the Center in its mission and spoke of his optimism as CHDS entered its sixteenth year.