On May 5, the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies concluded concurrent courses in Strategic Implications of Human Rights and the Rule of Law (HR/ROL) and Combating Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Networks in the Americas (CTOC). Successfully completed by 84 military and civilian officials from seventeen countries, the courses featured a variety of academic lectures from current and former officials in the Department of Defense, Department of State, and international and non-governmental organizations. During the course, HR/ROL students visited the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States, and students from both courses participated in the Perry Center’s Hemispheric Forum, “Command Update: Military and Police Operations During the Colombian Peace Process,” with Major General Carlos Alfonso Rojas Tirado, Chief of Staff of the Colombian Strategic Transition Command (COET). Students also participated in a weekend cultural tour during which they visited Smithsonian museums and various historical sites and monuments in Washington, DC.
Deputy Assistant Security of State for Andean, Brazilian, and Southern Cone Affairs Michael J. Fitzpatrick offered his remarks as the ceremony’s keynote speaker. Mr. Fitzpatrick is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and has served as Interim US Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) and Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Asunción, Paraguay. Both Mr. Fitzpatrick and the Perry Center Director, Mr. Mark Wilkins, lauded graduates for their work in both the distance-learning and resident phases of these rigorous courses and emphasized that the United States looked forward to working with them and their respective ministries and organizations in years to come.