On September 26, Dr. Maria Liz Garcia de Arnold, former Minister of Defense of Paraguay, received the 2013 Perry Award for Excellence in Security and Defense Education. Acting Director Ken LaPlante presented her with the award during a private luncheon in National Defense University’s Marshall Hall.
Since 2007, the Perry Center (formerly CHDS) has awarded the William J. Perry Award for Excellence in Security and Defense Education to individuals and institutions to recognize their significant contributions in the field of security and defense studies. Awardees are chosen for their achievements in promoting education, research, outreach, and knowledge-sharing on security and defense issues that affect the Western Hemisphere. These efforts have often resulted in the enhancement of security and defense capacity, the advancement of cooperative international security environment, and the fostering of effective civil-military relations, consistent with the Perry Center’s core values. The Colombian National War College (Escuela Superior de Guerra de Colombia, or ESDEGUE, in Spanish) received this year’s institutional Perry Award.
Dr. Garcia de Arnold’s distinguished career and devotion to human rights and modernization of her country’s institutions of national security make her an exemplary selection for this year’s Perry Award. On June 25, 2012, she became Paraguay’s first ever female Minister of Defense. During her tenure, she drove the development and articulation of the country’s first official national defense strategy. She consistently promoted women as leaders in both the military and civilian institutions of government, and has played an integral role in the enhancement of security and defense education in Paraguay. As Director (and founder) of the Post-Graduate School of Development, Security, Defense, and Human Rights at the Metropolitan University of Asuncion, she has expanded and modernized the curriculum, making the processes and institutions of national security and defense accessible to a wider audience in Paraguay.