2017 Perry Award Ceremony and 20th Anniversary Celebration
Guyanese President David Granger
05 Oct 2017

On Thursday, September 21, Acting Director Jeffrey Murphy presented the 2017 William J Perry Awards for Excellence in Security and Defense Education as part of ongoing commemorations of the Perry Center’s 20th Anniversary. Named after the 19th Secretary of Defense, the Perry Awards are awarded annually to individuals and organizations with significant educational contributions to the field of security and defense studies. Individuals and organizations committed to strengthening institutional capacity in the Americas and fostering transparent and stable governance institutions through education, research, outreach, and/or scholastic leadership are recognized for their achievements in advancing hemispheric security.

Mr. Murphy welcomed Perry Award recipients and guests and briefly discussed the history of the Center. Highlighting the geopolitical changes undergone by the countries of the Americas over the past 20 years, Mr. Murphy emphasized how the core principles and mission of the Center have endured, largely unchanged. Keynote speaker and President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, David Granger, spoke movingly about his time as a student and expressed his deep appreciation for the educational opportunities the Center has given to thousands of defense professionals. In the spirit of the Perry Center’s values, President Granger urged increased cooperation in the region, with an emphasis on environmental security, countering transnational threats, and development.

Jay Cope Legacy Award

Jay Cope (left) being presented with the WJPC Legacy Award

Following keynote remarks from President Granger, Dr. Margaret Daly Hayes, former Perry Center director, introduced Colonel (ret.) John “Jay” Cope, recipient of the Perry Legacy Award. Dr. Hayes touched upon her time working with COL Cope, speaking highly of his “persistence” and his leadership in founding the Perry Center. Mr. Cope acknowledged the CHDS founders present and explored the roots of the Center. Elaborating on the growth and progression of the Center over the past 20 years, he expressed how multilateral partnership was instrumental to the transparency and mutual trust that underpins much of this success. Referring to himself as “the lucky guy to get the task” of leading the original CHDS team, Mr. Cope thanked the Center for this award.

Dr. Moloeznik delivers his acceptance remarks

Dr. Scott Tollefson, Dean of Academic Affairs, then introduced Dr. Marcos Pablo Moloeznik Gruer, recipient of the 2017 Perry Award in the individual category. Dr. Tollefson discussed Dr. Moloeznik’s leadership in the Perry Center alumni community, as well as his teaching and researching contributions at the Universidad de Guadalajara and other prestigious institutions of higher learning. Past students have described Dr. Moloeznik as a “deeply committed” and extremely caring professor. Recognized for his commitment to public security and human rights, particularly in Mexico, Dr. Moloeznik said that his great wish was that the Perry Center enjoy another 20 years of success.

Accepting the Institutional Award on behalf of UNMG

Afterwards, Dr. David Spencer, Associate Professor at the Perry Center, introduced the recipient of the 2017 Perry Award in the institutional category, Universidad Militar Nueva Granada of Bogotá, Colombia. Dr. Spencer commented on the university’s dedication to educating students with military, police, and civilian backgrounds on interagency and international cooperation. Major General (ret.) Jairo Aponte Prieto and Jorge Isaza Quebrada accepted on the behalf of the university, with General Aponte highlighting the Perry Center as the model of an integrated hemispheric solution. General Aponte expressed hope that all present could seek such integrated solutions in closing the gap between public security and human rights.

Acting Director Jeff Murphy closed the ceremony by congratulating the 2017 Perry Award winners. He spoke optimistically about the prospects for peace and democratic security in the Americas.