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Class 47 Returns from Latin American Trip

WASHINGTON, DC (Mar. 18) - On March 2, IADC Class 47 took a welcome break from the rigors of research and static presentations at Fort McNair, and headed to South America for a 12-day academic experience out of country. The trip, which included stops in Santiago, Chile; Cuzco and Lima, Peru, was one of the most anticipated aspects of Class 47’s 12-month academic program, which began August 6.

IADC Director Rear Adm. Moira Flanders (USA), Vice-Director BG Ernesto Florián (Dominican Republic) and several IADC advisors and staff accompanied the 54 students on the trip.

High-level officials traveling as guests included IADB Chairman Rear Adm. Elis Öberg (Brasil), IADB Director-General BG Ancil Antoine (Trinidad & Tobago), and IADB Chiefs of Delegation LTG Jose Williams-Zapata (Peru), BG Juan Cordero-Gómez (México), BG Antonino Solis (Paraguay), Col. Mario Calderón (Ecuador) and Col. Yohalmo Figueroa (El Salvador).

Santiago, Chile

In Chile, the students had the opportunity to visit other institutes of higher learning, and to acquaint themselves with the country’s defense and security mechanisms. Among the organizations that hosted the IADC were the Ministries of Defense and Foreign Relations, the Joint Peace Operations headquarters for Argentina and Chile, the National Academy of Political and Strategic Studies and the Chilean War College.

Senior IADC staff members made several stops of their own, both to promote the college’s academic program to influential officials in the defense and security fields, and to encourage partnerships with other educational institutions. At the Catholic University of Chile, Flanders met with university Rector Dr. Pedro Rosso. The two colleges signed an academic agreement to work together on the curricula of future classes, and to provide faculty support for the students’ thesis work.

In the gubernatorial sector, the virtues of the college were well-known: Chile’s current President, Michelle Bachelet is a graduate of Class 37.

Cuzco and Lima, Peru

After more than a dozen briefings in Chile, Class 47 welcomed a short recess in the form of a cultural stop in Cuzco, Peru. They toured Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas” which at more than 7, 800 feet above sea level, is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Some of the braver students even climbed Wayna Picchu, the mountain that rises above Machu Picchu, and boasts an altitude almost 9,000 feet above sea level.

In Lima, the students visited the departments of Military and Criminal Justice, the Gubernatorial Palace, the National Center of Higher Studies and the Industrial Service of the Navy.

Through office calls, Flanders continued to promote the college agenda to senior-ranking officials, including Ántero Flores-Aráoz, Peru’s Minister of Defense, and a long-time supporter of the IADB and IADC.

“The friendships and relationships established at the IADC helps in the resolution of conflicts. Getting to know each other better helps to identify the problems that each country faces and helps our leaders identify and cooperate in the solutions to those problems,” Flores-Aráoz said, speaking at a reception attended by several IADC graduates.

During another cultural stop, in Lima, Peru, Class 47 visited the Chavín de Huantar Museum, a monument to Operation Chavín de Huantar, the Peruvian military operation led by IADC guest Williams-Zapata, which on April 22, 1997 raided the Japanese ambassador’s residence to free 72 hostages. The museum featured a reenactment of the operation, and provided the students with a valuable lesson in successful hostage emancipation.

“We had a wonderful time, from the ancient city of Machu Picchu, to the resort city of Cuzco, to Lima, everything has been absolutely perfect and everyone within the Ministry of Defense has done a fantastic job,” Flanders said.

“The trip was well organized, and every country put forth a very fine effort,” added Col. Gozalvo Archila (Guatemala), a Class 47 student. “They even scheduled enough time for us to explore the cities we visited, and experience the customs, food and local attractions.”

The IADC, located on Fort Lesley J. McNair, is one of the foremost institutes of learning for senior-level military, police, and diplomatic officials with an interest in security and defense issues facing Latin America today. An entity of the Organization of American States, the IADC is able to offer approximately 60 students a year from member states of the OAS an unparalleled educational and research experience. Former IADC students include two presidents, 31 ministers, 539 generals and admirals and many other high-ranking officials. Class 47 will graduate June 27.