The same week that the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS) celebrated its 11th anniversary, on September 17, it also presented its second annual William J. Perry Awards for Excellence in Security and Defense Education to two of the Americas’ most worthy individuals and institutions. The award is named after the former U.S. secretary of defense whose vision was responsible for the establishment of the Center. Its recipients are chosen for having embodied that spirit, and who have contributed in tangible ways to CHDS’s mission and objectives, in building mutually beneficial relationships and increasing security in the Americas.
The Chilean Academia Nacional de Estudios Politicos y Estrategicos (ANEPE), headed by General Carlos Stuardo Escobar, was given the Perry award in the institutional category. ANEPE is an institution whose mission and cadre of experts have done so much to consolidate sound military relations and critical awareness of current and future security and defense challenges, in Chile, around the hemisphere and around the globe.
At a ceremony held at the historic Willard Hotel, the award in the individual category was presented to Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez. “President Uribe’s inspiring efforts and accomplishments are absolutely in keeping with the spirit of your vision, of knowledgeable civilians providing strong defense and security leadership,” noted Center Director Richard D. Downie. Uribe, he added, is a leader whose “absolutely extraordinary drive and energy have made the dream of democratic security in his country a reality.”
As a result of Uribe’s leadership, Downie pointed out, “Colombia is far more secure, and its armed forces far more professional, capable and respected than at any time in recent history. Professional education and training has been an important part of that success, and for that reason, among others, we have selected our special guest to receive this year’s Perry Award in the individual category.”
In accepting the award, Uribe said that, “if you asked me for a definition of what the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies is, I would say that it is very important for obtaining global support for the fight against criminals.” He added that he was grateful for the educational opportunities the Center has offered senior Colombian civilian and security officials.
The same week the Perry Award ceremonies were held, CHDS sponsored, together with the office of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs Paul McHale, a cutting edge conference on defense support for civilian authorities in the Americas, as well as a workshop for CHDS’ growing number of alumni associations.