Marshall Center hosts ‘Countering Malign Influences’ virtual seminar

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Marshall Center hosts ‘Countering Malign Influences’ virtual seminar

By Donna Janca, Alumni Relations Specialist
College of International and Security Studies
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (May 21, 2021) — The Alumni Programs Department at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies held a virtual outreach seminar on the topic “Countering Malign Influences,” May 18.  The seminar was held in cooperation with the U.S. and German Embassies in Nicosia.

Twenty-five Cypriot Alumni and the U.S. and German Ambassadors to Cyprus attended the event, where Marshall Center Security Studies Professors Dr. Katrin Bastian, Dr. Pal Dunay, and Dr. Frank Mouritz discussed countering the malign influences of Russia and China.  

U.S. Ambassador Judith Garber offered introductory remarks, stating that the mandate of the Marshall Center and of its alumni remains extremely relevant.  “This virtual meeting provides an opportunity for Cypriot alumni to renew connections and strengthen the existing alumni network.  It provides opportunities for alumni to discuss current embassy programs and priority efforts of engagement.”

German Ambassador Franz Kremp also offered opening remarks on the importance of the U.S. and German partnership of the Marshall Center and the crucial importance of multilateral cooperation in the global community. “The George C. Marshall Center is known as the pillar of promoting international security and the alumni are encouraged to remain engaged and connected,” Kremp said.

The seminar continued with interactive comments and discussion with senior Marshall Center alumni discussing the malign influences of Russia and China in both the region and specifically in the small nation of Cyprus. Russia claims to defend stability through their international efforts but really wants to keep influence where they already have it, whereas China is growing and expanding their influences, said Bastian. “Although these dynamics are so different in the approach for world power, both must be managed and countered.”  

Mouritz added, “China injects themselves in locations all over the global community; no matter how small.”

Dunay elaborated, “Russia does not want to revise their place in the international order by replacing others, but rather wants to adjust the system to its own interests and becoming a recognized pole of a multipolar international system. One area where Russia has made successful efforts is in communication and showcasing propaganda.”  

Mouritz stressed that one way smaller countries can mitigate foreign interference and dependence on China is to promote transparency. “China avoids transparency.  Any contract made with China should be open and transparent so it can keep China honest.”

“We must stay focused and alert, and events such as these highlight the importance of what we are working for together,” said Charalambos Charis Lapertas, Cypriot GCMC alumnus.  

Alumni can get the latest news and information from the Marshall Center by emailing their current contact info to: mcalumni [at]  Alumni can also follow the latest developments and gain access to networking and research resources through our GlobalNet online alumni portal: