Perry Center Announces 2023 Perry Award Recipient during Guyana Presidential Visit
President Mohamed Irfaan Ali
Guyanese President Mohamed Irfaan Ali (front row, second from left) with Perry Center students, staff, and distinguished guests. Credit: WJPC Stratcom
15 Sep 2023
(Left to Right) NDU President LTG Michael Plehn, President of Guyana Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, Perry Center Director Dr. Paul J. Angelo

(left to right) NDU President LTG Michael Plehn, President of Guyana Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, Perry Center Director Dr. Paul J. Angelo

On September 13, National Defense University and the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies were honored to host the President of Guyana, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, for an address to students. President Ali – an alumnus of the Perry Center – shared his perspectives on national security issues confronting Guyana and the greater region. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere Daniel P. Erikson took part in the welcome delegation, National Defense University President Lieutenant General Plehn provided opening remarks, and Perry Center Director Paul J. Angelo moderated a question-and-answer session and provided closing remarks.

During his remarks, Dr. Angelo announced the selection of the University of Guyana to receive the 2023 William J. Perry Award for Excellence in Security and Defense Education. Named after the Center’s founder, former US Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, this distinction is awarded to individuals and institutions in recognition of significant contributions in the field of security and defense education in the Americas.

The University of Guyana was nominated for this award by Brigadier Omar Khan, Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, in recognition of the University’s Master of Science in Strategic Development Studies program.

Excerpts from Dr. Angelo’s remarks:

“It gives me immense pride to close this historic event today, at which we’ve acknowledged and celebrated the enduring partnership between the William J. Perry Center and the nation of Guyana. Our long history of cooperation is a testament to our shared values, ambitions, and dedication to fostering stability and prosperity across the Americas.”

President Mohamed Irfaan Ali

President Ali addresses an audience of students from the Perry Center and National Defense University

“The Perry Center wholeheartedly believes that bolstering education and institutional capacity is foundational to sustainable growth, and we commend President Ali and Brigadier Khan on their trailblazing efforts to launch such an ambitious program. This is a generational investment.”

“As the Master of Science in Strategic Development Studies suggests, the University of Guyana is the nucleus of a much broader national pivot toward strategic thinking and represents the country’s most vital platform for public dialogue about Guyana’s role in the Americas and the world—a leading space for policy makers, civil society, and the private sector to discuss Guyana’s today and tomorrow.”

“This work is timely, relevant, and essential to building the strategic capacity to address challenges in the Western Hemisphere’s complex threat environment. These efforts represent the best of our Perry Center community of practice and honor the legacy of Secretary Perry in the founding of our beloved center, who charged us with the responsibility to ‘prepare the next generation to achieve the goals of peace, prosperity, and cooperation that we in this hemisphere hold dear.'”

“I am hard pressed to think of an institution that more firmly embodies the commitment to good governance, transparency, and positive civil-military relations than the University of Guyana. Congratulations!”

The award will be presented to the University of Guyana in Guyana at a later date.