On October 10, the Perry Center received 72 participants for the first day of the Strategy and Defense Policy course’s in-person phase. The participants, representing 19 different countries throughout the Western Hemisphere, have already been working with Perry Center faculty and one another for over a month as part of SDP’s rigorous distance-learning phase. Collaborating online in synchronous and asynchronous sessions, participants read assigned texts, engaged in vibrant breakout group discussions, and completed required coursework. After successfully finishing the distance-learning phase, both participants and faculty were ready to hit the ground running on their first day in DC.
Dr. Boris Saavedra, Associate Professor, is directing the course. Supporting Dr. Saavedra and facilitating breakout group discussions are fellow Perry Center faculty Dr. Luis Bitencourt, Dr. Alejandra Bolaños, Dr. William Godnick, Professor Pat Paterson, and Dr. David Spencer. Dr. Vicente Torrijos, an accomplished political scientist from Colombia and graduate of six previous Perry Center courses, joins the Perry Center faculty as a Visiting Professor and breakout group facilitator.
Over the next two weeks, participants will engage faculty and local defense and security experts about the principles and processes of defense policymaking, decision-making, implementation, and oversight. During their time in Washington, participants will also step outside the classroom to visit the US Capitol and the Pentagon and learn about how legislation and policy are written. They will have the chance to hear from and ask questions of senior policymakers and defense experts during Beyond Convergence: World Without Order, a Hemispheric Forum scheduled for October 18 at the National Defense University. “Beyond Convergence” will feature remarks by Ms. Caryn Hollis, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics and Global Threats, and Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, USN, Commander, US Southern Command. By the end of their second week in Washington, participants will be responsible for applying the principles they have learned in a complex group exercise, the results of which they will present to their colleagues before graduation.