|Baghdad, Cultural Centre Compound— NTM-I CG Frank Helmick is delivering his speech at the NDC Graduation Ceremony
BAGHDAD, Iraq, 19th August 09 – The National Defence College held its third graduation Aug. 19, with 27 students, including two brigadier generals earning a masters' degree in National Security Studies in the one-year program.
The ceremony, held at the National Defence University auditorium here, recognized the students who attended from various government ministries and the Kurdish Regional Government. The course gives flag-level and strategic civilian decision makers a higher-level education in the field of leadership. The course began Sept. 16, 2008. The two previous courses graduated 13 and 18 students respectively and the selection for the fourth course is now going on.
The ceremony was followed by the inauguration of a library presided by the Chief of Defence. Italy, in particular, contributed to the project with a donation of about 700 books to the Military Centre for Strategic Studies.
Among the various high civilian and military authorities who attended the ceremony were the Iraqi Minister of Defence, Mohammed Abdul Kader Al Obeidi; Chief of Staff of Iraqi Joint Forces, Gen. Babakir Zebari; U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, NTM-I Commander, and his Deputy, Italian Maj. Gen. Giuseppe Spinelli.
The NDC Dean, Staff Maj. Gen. Ali Mohammed Mahmud Al Faraj, said the study at the National Defence College has given the students the capability to criticize and analyze the texts and deduct its positive aspects.
Helmick also addressed the audience and in his discourse he praised the graduates for their achievement. "It is a pleasure to be here today to address the new leaders of tomorrow,” he said. "The education you received here at the National Defence College is priceless. We can buy all that is needed to provide security but this solid education is stronger than guns and bullets.
"No one -- and I say again no one -- can take your education away from you or destroy it,” he added. "Education is a never-ending commitment and what you have accomplished over this year is very, very special. You are part of the leadership that will lead Iraq through difficult times -- and there will be difficult times -- but you have the skills now to navigate through these difficult times.” He also thanked Maj. Gen. Spinelli and the NTM-I for their assistance in this program.
The three best students were then awarded prizes for their outstanding performance during the course. The National Defence College is the leading institute for the delivery of educational courses focusing on Grand Strategic and Military Strategic issues and delivers a program on National Security Studies, providing flag-level and strategic civilian decision-makers with a high level education in the field of leadership and has been closely monitored by the NATO Training Mission – Iraq Advisor, Italian Lt. Col. Giampaolo Marin. The NDC is also establishing and developing lasting relationships with military and civilian universities, among them the three faculties in Baghdad.