Last week, the Perry Center celebrated the graduation of students participating in its Combating Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Networks in the Americas (CTOC) and Strategic Implications of Human Rights and the Rule of Law (HR/ROL) courses. Attended by fifty-six civilian and military officials from sixteen countries, the courses featured academic lectures, educational visits, and distinguished guest speakers. During the course, students sat in on congressional testimony given by Perry Center Professor Celina Realuyo, traveled to the Organization of American States and the Holocaust Museum, and attended the Perry Center’s Hemispheric Forum about LGBT Personnel in the Armed Forces.
Last week’s graduation ceremony marked the end of the courses’ two-week resident phase in Washington, DC. General (ret.) John Kelly, USMC, offered his remarks as the ceremony’s keynote speaker. General Kelly recently concluded his tenure as Commander of U.S. Southern Command, and he spoke to the students about his extensive experience collaborating with the individual governments and militaries of Latin America. General Kelly emphasized the importance of coordination and cooperation in the region, citing Colombia as a recent example of what can result when defense and security leadership dedicates both the military and civilian ministries to the promotion of human rights.
The ceremony concluded with a reception, during with General Kelly conversed with individual students and discussed the Colombian peace process with the courses’ Colombian participants.