At a ceremony in Lincoln Hall Auditorium, the Perry Center honored Admiral Vidal Francisco Soberón Sanz, Secretary of the Navy of Mexico, and Dr. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, one of the world’s leading scholars on Caribbean defense and security issues, with the ninth annual William J. Perry Awards for Excellence in Security and Defense Education. Mark Wilkins, Director of the Perry Center, presided over the ceremony.
“Every year,” Director Wilkins began, “this community of security and defense professionals gathers to recognize those among us who have made exceptional contributions to defense and security education with an honor named for our Center’s founder, the 19th US Secretary of Defense, Dr. William J. Perry. This year’s awardees are no exception; both have spent decades doing the quiet, methodical work in their respective arenas to make our shared hemisphere safer, more secure, and more prosperous.”
The first of this year’s recipients, Dr. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, has demonstrated a strong commitment to furthering hemispheric security and cooperation throughout his distinguished academic career. In introducing Dr. Griffith, Perry Center Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Scott Tollefson described him as a “tireless ambassador for the Caribbean on matters of security and defense” and emphasized his excellent teaching abilities and innovative research. Dr. Griffith has published over fifty articles and books, and his innovative ideas have fostered the growth of a cooperative international security environment among the nations of the Caribbean Basin. In accepting his award, Dr. Griffith thanked his friends, family, and colleagues, including those at the Perry Center. He quoted Aristotle in his remarks. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
The Perry Center Director then honored Admiral Vidal Francisco Soberón Sanz, this year’s other Perry Award recipient. Throughout his distinguished forty-year career in Mexico’s Navy, Admiral Soberón has consistently worked to promote education and regional cooperation. “Only education, knowledge, and research,” remarked Admiral Soberón during his acceptance of the Perry Award, “can take us all to safe port.” His work with CESNAV, SEMAR, and the Perry Center demonstrates an enduring commitment to education, and his intellectual and operational leadership has been instrumental in promoting good governance, the rule of law, and human rights throughout the hemisphere. Director Wilkins named Admiral Soberón “an international leader in professional development of military officers.” In accepting his award, Admiral Soberón thanked his friends, family, and colleagues for their support.
Both Dr. Griffith and Admiral Soberón are deserving Perry Award honorees. When reflecting upon this year’s recipients, Director Wilkins concluded, “I cannot think of two people who better embody the Perry Center’s unique mission than today’s honorees.”