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SRS 2013

Participants from the 2013 Seminar on Regional Security confer during the interactive discussions part of the course at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch, Germany. (DOD Photo by Karlheinz Wedhorn/RELEASED)

By Christine June
GCMC Public Affairs

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany – There were those who were doubtful a course on international crisis management launched in 2013 would take hold at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.

Its leader had no doubt whatsoever, and now, there’s a waiting list to attend.

“Some (last year’s participants) were quite skeptical about comparing two crises regions,” said German Air Force Col. Heinz-Joachim Henseler, the course director. “They thought it was impossible because each crisis is unique, but nevertheless, we managed to really find key questions by comparing the problems in the Western Balkans and Southern Caucasus.”

These two crises regions will again be the focus of this year’s Seminar on Regional Security, which begins Jan. 27 and ends Feb. 14, the first resident course of 2014 here.

The key questions seminar participants are seeking answers involving international crises management, or, as Henseler said, “What kind of help should the international community provide? How dominant should the international community be, or how much local ownership should there be in this crises management? That’s the perspective and issues we are looking at to help future crisis managers in those areas and elsewhere in the world.”

Henseler expects 45 students for the event. Henseler said more than two weeks ago, there were three seats remaining and a very long waiting list to fill them. More than 60 percent of the participants in this year’s course are from these crisis regions or surrounding areas, said Henseler, who added this shows that the course is going in the right direction for crises management.

“I hope those participants really tell us what they think are the problems in those areas and what they think should be done there for crisis management,” said Henseler.

During the three-week course, participants will conduct case studies, interact in discussions and conduct a closing exercise using the crises management skills and principles they learned during the course.

A German initiative, the Seminar on Regional Security offers “a new perspective, another way to look at international crises management than other courses offered at the Marshall Center,” said Henseler.

“Germany, in close coordination with the U.S., wanted to establish a seminar that takes much more ‘care’ of regional crises than just having a global perspective,” explained Henseler.

Henseler said, “Care” is how participants will need to look at these two crises.

“They should dig deep into the political structures, humanitarian issues, education, infrastructure, medical service, and daily lives of the citizens who live there and especially, how do these people from three ethnical groups live together. This reconciliation is a very big issue among those groups who were doing very cruel things against each other during the war.”

For regular updates on the course as it happens, visit our Twitter and Facebook pages –@Marshall_Center and https://www.facebook.com/GCMCOnline