On Thursday, January 12, Perry Center Director Mark Wilkins presented the 2016 William J. Perry Award for Excellence in Security and Defense Education to Ambassador Luigi Einaudi during a ceremony in Lincoln Hall Auditorium. Mr. Wilkins opened the ceremony by welcoming Ambassador Einaudi’s family and other guests and acknowledging the many dignitaries in attendance, including the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro. Mr. Wilkins noted that the number of attendees was an indication of the high esteem accorded Ambassador Einaudi among the international relations community, and he also indicated that the security and defense officials present can be proud of the role they have played in developing U.S. Government policy in the Western Hemisphere, a region that, though not without challenges, is enjoying relative peace and prosperity. Director Wilkins credited 19th Secretary of Defense William J. Perry with encouraging proactive approaches to threats and challenges in the region. He then turned the podium over to Mr. Jay Cope, the Center’s founding director.
Mr. Cope expressed pride that the Perry Center is celebrating its 20th anniversary and provided some background on the Center’s history. Inspired by the first Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas (CDMA) in the summer of 1995 and a visit to the Marshall Center in Germany shortly thereafter, Secretary Perry observed the potential of a specialized regional center for defense education in the Americas. During the CDMA, he recognized the value of meeting his counterparts in the region face-to-face and initiating dialogues on such important issues as the simmering border conflict between Ecuador and Peru. He explored this idea further at the second CDMA in Argentina in October 1996, where he pledged to create a regional center in Washington to educate civilians with defense related duties.
The Center opened formally in 1997, following collaborative discussions in Washington and within the region to develop a shared vision for the Center. Ambassador Einaudi played a significant role in those discussions. He provided the Latin translation of the Center’s motto – “Mens et fides mutua,” understanding and mutual trust – and played an active role as a sounding board during the Center’s development. He also contributed to stability in the region throughout his career by helping to shape U.S. and international policy, advocating for advanced democracy and the rule of law, participating in conflict resolution endeavors, engaging with military and civilian leaders, and mentoring junior diplomatic and military officers. These efforts, in the words of Mr. Cope, “provided the intellectual underpinnings for the NDU concept that is today the William J. Perry Center … and showed what can be accomplished by strengthening mutual understanding and trust. Ambassador Einaudi’s many enduring accomplishments are consistent with and support the Perry Center’s mission, which is why I recommended him to receive the 2016 William J. Perry Award for Excellence in Security and Defense Education.”
At the conclusion of his remarks, Mr. Cope introduced Ambassador Tom Shannon, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, to elaborate on the Ambassador’s work and legacy. He indicated that Ambassador Einaudi has received many well-deserved decorations throughout his diplomatic career, but the significance of the William J. Perry Award is that it recognizes his important role as an educator, especially in the realm of defense policy and diplomacy. Ambassador Shannon reviewed Ambassador Einaudi’s role as the United States representative in MOMEP, the multilateral observer mission that oversaw the resolution of the conflict between Ecuador and Peru in 1995. During this mission, Ambassador Einaudi saw first-hand the importance of bringing the opposing parties together to negotiations, and, in the course of negotiations, to let the parties lead the way. The negotiations led to agreements on a range of topics and also brought about an end to the last active territorial conflict in South America. Ambassador Shannon described Ambassador Einaudi, who was the Acting Secretary General of the OAS during the 2000s, as a “treasure to the region,” and deserving of the William J. Perry Award.
In his acceptance remarks, Ambassador Einaudi acknowledged the importance of public service by saying it is, “like the priesthood, a calling.” He thanked Mr. Cope and Ambassador Shannon for their service in their respective careers. He recalled meeting and working with Secretary of Defense William Perry and recommended his latest book, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink.
The majority of Ambassador Einaudi’s remarks consisted of his thoughts on the state of the region. He indicated that, in the past twenty years or so, “governing has become harder and more complicated,” due to conditions that have undermined shared viewpoints and hindered international understanding. He used the definition of the OAS as a “multilateral organization of the sovereign states of the Western Hemisphere” to illustrate the concepts that are currently in flux as being valid in today’s governing environment. Those concepts are multilateralism, sovereignty, and geography.
Multilateralism, international governance involving three or more parties in an alliance, is based on a common understanding of predictable universal rules. Often reputed to foster inefficiency instead of order, multilateralism can be further weakened by failures to ratify treaties or to conform to their obligations. Sovereignty, a long-standing principle of the international system, means that individual countries have the right to govern themselves free of outside interference, but this concept is increasingly challenged by illegal activities and other forces that don’t necessarily respect international boundaries. Geography, in this context, is the proposition that “the peoples of this Hemisphere stand in a special relationship to one another which sets them apart from the rest of the world,” but this proposition is potentially rendered irrelevant in the era of internet usage and increased air travel. Nonetheless, Einaudi asserted, at the Perry Center and NDU, professors and students recognize that integrating multiple elements of power is necessary to confront threats because, “Neither force nor diplomacy can work alone.”
Ambassador Einaudi suggested three objectives to further this idea. First, to ensure that multilateral consultations are part of any strategy, which can reduce confusion and enhance future cooperation even when agreement itself is elusive. Second, to respect the law and support local institutions, a practice that proved valuable during his experience with the Peru-Ecuador conflict but has subsequently been eroded by U.S. failure to ratify international treaties and OAS members’ failure to follow their own incentives and proposals to support democracy. The third objective is to prepare professionals to cooperate across cultures.
It is in the pursuit of this objective where the Perry Center has had and can continue to have a great impact. The diverse faculty, the institutional relationships, the network of graduates, and the programs offered by the Center have contributed to providing “a unique foundation for a safe neighborhood” in the Western Hemisphere. While difficult and time-consuming work remains, this work is important to ensure the security of the region and of the world. In closing, the Ambassador reiterated the importance of the Center’s motto (“Mens et fides mutua”) as a guiding principle, and he thanked the Center for bestowing on him the honor of receiving the William Perry Award in its twentieth anniversary year.
Director Wilkins closed the ceremony by thanking Ambassador Einaudi for his work in the region and the inspiration he brings to the next generation of scholars and practitioners. He then went on to thank attendees for their various contributions to the Center’s continuing success.